Charles Darwin’s Naturalist Footsteps in Hobart

On 5 February 1836, a young explorer, by the name of Charles arrived ashore at Hobart town on the ship by the name of the HMS Beagle. This wasn’t just your ordinary explorer, young Charles was on a five-year mission for Robert Fitzroy, commander of the Beagle.


When Charles Darwin set foot on Hobart’s Eastern Shore, he made notes and observations, as he did in so many other places as a naturalist on his second voyage of the beagle around South America. These observations would later serve as a basis for what would be later published in ‘The Origin of Species’.

The Charles Darwin Trail is mapped out along the Eastern Shore in five sections, to follow in Darwin’s footsteps and see what he saw, albeit with a much more developed view. While the shoreline no longer resembles that rugged, windy coast that Darwin observed, many of the geological aspects still remain today – like the changes in rock type and formation along the Hobart coastline.

Sedimentary rock formation reminded him of Andean glaciers, to which he concluded must be the effects of ancient glaciers in Tasmania. The University of Tasmania has a nice little summary of Darwin’s geological discoveries in Hobart.

The 11.5 kilometre trail lines the coast, coming inland near Howrah Beach to form a loop and back to Kangaroo Bay, taking approximately 4.5 hours.

Click here for a map and trail description.There are some moderately steep sections however, and Hobart is renowned for its windy coastline – each section almost with its own microclimate – so all-weather preparation is needed.

If you’re feeling particularly energetic, take the bicycle path that follows the trail along the coast. If you don’t have your own bike, you can hire one for free from the Hobart City Council’s Initiative Artbikes.

On a clear day, there is also one of the city’s best views of Mount Wellington from Kangaroo Bay to Bellerive Bluff.  If if the day is calm, listen and you can hear the church bells ringing across the waters in the city, and the noise of daily life at Constitution Dock.




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  • Natasha Malinda from Melbourne, Australia
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