Andy Crawford: Walk on kunanyi
Dip a toe in the River Derwent and head to the summit of kunanyi / Mount Wellington with Tassie’s latest walking outfit, Walk on kunanyi
What happens when you live your entire life in the foothills of kunanyi / Mount Wellington? For one Tasmanian, it has led to a new career path, right to the 1271-metre-high summit.
Andy Crawford is a strategy and market development analyst at Hydro Tasmania. He’s also been working on his sideline business, and in October 2019 he officially launched his walking tours company – Walk on kunanyi.
“What brought me to the walking business was a desire to celebrate the mountain and its wildness. I’ve grown up here, exploring the mountain since I was a young boy. I felt there was a gap – most people only head to the top when there is a whole web of trails that are less familiar and less travelled,” describes Andy.
“I figured that Sydney has its iconic Harbour Bridge climb but what is Tasmania’s equivalent? The idea of dipping a toe in the River Derwent and then making our way to the pinnacle of kunanyi / Mount Wellington, 18 kilometres later, has the potential to be this comparative icon.”
A network of trails sprawl through Wellington Park and form the fabric of this new natural and cultural offering. There are three guided walks on offer and each comes complete with Tassie produce and plenty of mountain stories weaved in. Whether it’s the Alpine Loop, Mountain Gems, or Sea to Summit experience, each day walk varies in grade, length, time, ability and mountain narrative.
“The Sea to Summit is our flagship tour, where we begin by touching the water of the River Derwent. We then head from the coastal environment through historic Hobart, past famed Cascade Brewery, into wet forest before climbing into the more exposed rocky alpine reaches where on most days we’ll feel the Roaring Forties wind on our faces en route to the summit. Where else in the country can you do that?”
The Sea to Summit walk follows one of the steepest bioclines in the world, from coast to alpine, following in the steps of early naturalist Sir Charles Darwin. Along the way, passing towering swamp gums (among the tallest flowering plants on the planet), guests enjoy plenty of trail treats. From local pastries and gourmet sandwiches to wallaby burgers and cool brews at the mountain top, Tasmanian flavours are all part of the sensory experience.
Small groups of no more than 12 are led by passionate local guides who are well versed in the mountain’s history, geology, fauna and flora. All tours include a visit to the pinnacle to soak up the expansive southern Tasmanian views along with a mix of indigenous stories, ice huts and botanists.
A tour guide himself, Andy’s background in geology and environmental management means that he brings further insights to the visitor experience. What’s more, he managed the mountain’s drinking water catchments for eight years. His love of the mountain is something he hopes to pass on to others.
“I continue to love my time spent on the mountain,” smiles Andy. “Whether it’s climbing, mountain biking, running or walking to the Octopus Tree with my wife Sarah and our kids, I just can’t get enough. I work a nine-day fortnight with Hydro these days, so I have more time to enjoy our wild backyard on the city doorstep.”
Passionate about business sustainability, the Walk on kunanyi company is also dedicated to treading lightly, using local suppliers, sharing conservation knowledge and giving back through charities, wildlife rescue, and mountain working bees.
“I have done a lot of travel, including walking in Nepal, but always call Tassie home,” says Andy. “We enjoy the lifestyle, the accessible great food and minimal commutes. Being able to drop the children to school along the road, and for my wife to easily work as a website consultant and illustrator from home, we live in a relaxed Tasmanian way. All this, we do beneath that beautiful mountain.”
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
Find out more about Walk on kunanyi.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.