Assigning a particular grade to a walk is a notoriously difficult task. The factors that make a walk challenging include the distances covered, the condition of the track, elevation gain, pack weight, steepness, exposure to weather, the technical skills required, how sustained the difficulties are, and countless others. The local context also tends to affect walk grades. Tasmania is well known for its challenging walking and what is considered an “easy” walk here might feel significantly more difficult than a “hard” walk elsewhere.

Many walks contain days of varying difficulty and have been given multiple ratings to reflect this (eg. easy-moderate).

Ratings are for the main track only and take into account the pack that will need to be carried. Side trips will often have harder ratings, however they are always optional and a full-pack is generally not required.

Easy

Easy walks are on well formed tracks, with generous time frames and relatively short distances. Elevation gain per day is usually modest (less than 400m) and any steep sections will be short and technically easy. While the tracks covered might not be manicured paths, they require no technical skills or prior experience and should be comfortably manageable for first time walkers with a basic level of fitness.

Moderate

Moderate walks are on tracks that are rougher underfoot and require bigger days. Roots, broken rocks and shallow mud will be encountered, and walkers will need to move slowly and carefully. There will be more time spent walking each day (6 hours or more) and longer distances will be covered (above 15 km). Elevation gain will be greater (more than 400m) and there may be sustained, steeper sections where hands are needed for balance. There may be exposed sections of track where the full force of bad weather will be felt. These walks are suitable for adventurous first-time walkers with a moderate level of fitness.

Hard

Hard walks are on very rough tracks that involve deep mud, overgrown vegetation and steep, difficult terrain.  Longer days (8 hours or more) will be required to cover the minimum distances between campsites and the pace will be a little faster out of necessity. Significant elevation gain (up to 1000m) may be necessary and steep sections can be long and relentless. No climbing experience is necessary, but walkers must be comfortable scrambling over rough terrain with some exposure. On walks of this difficulty, walkers may be required to carry a small portion of the food, resulting in heavier packs. Hard walks are only suitable for those with good fitness and previous bushwalking experience.

Severe

Severe walks are on extremely rugged tracks or routes that traverse untracked areas. Days can be long (10 hours or more) and exhausting even for very fit and experienced individuals. Climbs of more than 1000m with unrelentingly steep gradients are to be expected. The vegetation can range from overgrown branches that have to be manoeuvred around, to fallen trees that must be crawled under to dense walls of scrub that have to be bashed through. Technical rock climbing abilities are not required, but there are likely to be sections that border on rock climbing. Large, unprotected drops will be unavoidable. There may be multiple days spent on ridgetops exposed to the weather. Walkers will need to carry more gear and a portion of the food. Severe walks should only be considered by those with excellent fitness and extensive bushwalking experience.