A sunny autumn day was forecast and we were keen to summit our last Abel in the Mt Field area. Instead of a simple up and back, we decided to make it a circuit and walk in via Lake Nicholls and out along Lake Fenton. We parked about halfway between the Lake Fenton and Mt Field East carparks, then walked about 1km back down along the Pack Track prior to intersecting the Mt Field East Track. As it is a pretty quick walk all up, we decided to check out a few other spots along the way- the first of these was Beatties Tarn, which takes about 5 minutes to reach from the main track. This is a nice little tarn, nestled under the eastern slopes of Seagers Lookout and is worth checking out.
Our next stop was at the day use hut at Lake Nichols, which is in good shape and has a lot of information about the history of the area. From the hut the track begins to climb up towards Windy Moor, with another possible detour to check out the crystal clear water of Lake Rayner. As we were heading up, we noticed the cloud was moving quickly out of the valley towards us and had already reached Lake Nichols. Worried that we might soon be in the clouds, we pushed up along the rocky scree and towards the plateau of Windy Moor.
Once on the plateau, the track continues north east for ~200m before reaching the main route from Lake Fenton. From here we turned right and followed a cairned pad up to the summit, which we reached about 2 hours after leaving the car. We had good views of the rest of the Mt Field Abels including Mt Lord , which we had bagged a few weeks back in complete whiteout.
On the way back we quickly traversed the newly constructed duckboards across Windy Moor. Once across, the track starts to drop down towards Lake Fenton and passes by old snow gum before reaching the intersection to Seagers Lookout. We decided to go and check it out ,and spent a bit of time scrambling across the rock on the eastern side to get a good view of Beatties Tarn. Unfortunately we didn’t find a good vantage point, so we made our way back towards the carpark. The fagus had started to turn and the last 30 minutes was spent photographing various bushes between Lake Fenton and the car.
On the way back home we decided to go and check out the Styx Big Tree Reserve, which can be found about 20 minutes from Gordon River Road just out of Maydena.
Carpark to Lake Nicholls via Beatties Tarn 3.6kms in 55min.
Lake Nicholls to Mt Field East 1.8kms in 46min.
Mt Field East to Seagers Lookout 3.5kms in 1 hour.
All up 10.9kms in 3hours and 50 minutes with 618m ascent.
Getting There: Follow all signs to Mt Field then drive up towards Lake Dobson. Road status can be checked by contacting Mt Field Visitor Centre. The carpark to Mt Field East is well indicated about 10-15 minutes in. There is another small carpark about 1km up the road that is about halfway if completing the walk as a circuit.
The Easter break had long been set aside to do an extended walk somewhere in Tas. I was reasonably confident that my knee would hold up if managed correctly, and we’d considered doing the Southern Ranges weather permitting. Our other options were to do the Tyndall Range and check out some of the Tarkine, or to walk through The Never Never. After a lot of planning and weather checking we scrapped the first two options and decided to walk from Lake Ada to Lake St Clair, passing through The Never Never. This appeared to be the safest option, as there is not a great deal of ascent and descent, so would be easier on the knees; plus the forecast for the central plateau looked half decent for the first few days. So after shuttling a car to the Lake St Clair carpark and a great meal at the Derwent Bridge Pub, we headed off to Lake Ada to spend the night sleeping in the back of the ute.
Unfortunately about 20m from the the Lake Ada carpark we hit a wombat and found that she had a baby in her pouch. The mum had died instantly, but the baby seemed in good health; we managed to pull him out and wrapped him up in one of Emily’s jumpers for warmth. We drove back towards The Great Lake to get some phone reception, and got a hold of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. As it was 9:30pm they could not send anyone out to meet us until the next day, and so suggested that we ask the people at The Thousand Lakes Lodge to keep him warm for the night. Luckily enough, they were more than happy to take care of him-we later found out that he was a hit with guests and by the time he was picked up, was happily rambling around the lodge. We eventually made it back to the carpark next to Lake Ada and settled in for the night.
Day 1: Lake Ada to Dixons Kingdom
We left the car at the carpark by the boat ramp at Lake Ada, and continued down the Talinah Track in the early morning. This track can also be accessed with a 4WD, but as it’s for day use only we did not want to risk getting locked in. As we reached Ada Lagoon, we met an older fisherman who was happy to share a few tips about our upcoming journey. He spoke very highly of The Never Never, and mentioned that there is a natural rock bridge upstream of Ferguson Falls that can be used to cross the Mersey. We then crossed the outlet creek and made our way around the southern end of Ada Lagoon, following an old vehicle track towards the distant collection of peaks that make up the Walls of Jerusalem. Even at this early stage, it was obvious that there had been a lot of water dumped here over the past week; water was coursing down the track and every tarn we passed was full to the brim.
We reached the end of the vehicule track after ~45 minutes and made our way towards the remnants of an old hut that was little more than a pile of rusted metal and broken glass. Upon reaching Talleh Lagoons, I noticed a number of brightly coloured plants dotting the shore of the most northern lagoon. Upon closer inspection, I found that these were mountain rocket (belladona montana) and they were to become more abundant as the day wore on. We then had to cross a the small creek that flows from the upper lagoon to the lower lagoon. Normally, this would be a straight forward rock hop but there was enough water coming down that we first decided to check for a safer place to cross. A quick look upstream revealed an old log that might have once been used to cross the creek, but was now too rotten to be any use. In the end we decided to use the normal crossing, and managed to get through without getting too wet.
A short walk from the crossing, there is a very nice sheltered campsite that could be used to break the trip in-or-out of the walls. Given that we had only been walking for 2 and a half hours (9.1kms), we continued on towards Lake Fanny. The track follows Powena Creek (the outlet and inlet creek of Lake Fanny) and passed by a large number of cushion plants of all shapes and sizes.
Once we reached Lake Fanny we continued along the rough pad that follows the eastern shore, losing it and finding our way back repeatedly. There is a decent amount of scrub that can be avoided if you are careful, and our goal was to reach the northern end of Lake Fanny and sit down for some lunch.
A lot of water was coming down Powena Creek and we noticed a number of cairns situated not far from where the creek runs into Lake Fanny; these cairns indicated a relatively easy spot to cross to the other side. The walk from here to Zion Gate was one of the highlights of the entire trip. We passed hundreds of small tarns that were chock full of water, and some were surrounded by Pencil Pine. Walking was quite slow-going as we were forced to zigzag across the spongy, pineapple grass landscape in order to avoid large water channels that looked like they could swallow you whole. Again, there was no obvious pad, but we would occasionally stumble across an old cairn or two. After ~2 and a half hours hours were reached the forest around Zion Gate and began descending into the Valley of Hinom. Once we reached the start of the Fysh River we turned west, and made our way through the Valley of Hinom and up towards Jaffa Gate. The large cliffs of Mt Jerusalem were a nice change from the open and sometimes desolate landscape from earlier in the day.
Once at the top of Jaffa Gate it was only a short walk down some duckboards to Dixon’s Kingdom, where we picked a sheltered spot under the large pines and settled in for the night. Walking for 7 hours and 21.7kms across the spongy marshland took its toll, and we decided to have a rest before summiting Mt Jerusalem in the morning . Unfortunately, we were kept awake most of the night thanks to a very large possum that insisted on getting into the vestibule and causing havoc. At one point during the night I caught him hanging off our food bags that I had carefully hung in the pines.
At this point I will refer to a quote from the Chapman book on Cradle Mounatin/Lake St Clair where he states “Ones love of animals is often forgotten in the battle between possum and walker”
Carpark to Lake Fanny – 11.5kms in 3 hours and 20 minutes.
Lake Fanny to Zion Gate – 7 kms in 2 hours and 30 minutes including lunch.
Zion Gate to Dixons Kingdom – 3.1kms in 1 hour.
Day 2: Dixon’s Kingdom to Lake Meston – Mt Jerusalem
After an interrupted night we woke early to summit Mt Jerusalem and, if the weather cleared, also to summit Solomon’s Throne and King David’s Peak. The wind and rain worsened as we climbed higher, and unfortunately we had no view whatsoever. On the way back down we decided to scratch climbing the other peaks in the area and save them for a nicer day. Instead, we would continue on past our intended destination of Lake Adelaide and head further west towards the hut at Lake Meston. We packed up our wet tent and gear, and followed a pad down towards Lake Ball. The track along the lake passes through some large fagus trees that had just started to turn yellow. We reached the old hut about halfway around the lake 54 minutes after leaving Dixon’s Kingdom, and decided to stop for some lunch.
The track then continues around the shore of the lake, passing by a number of creeks that were flowing quickly. We reached the northern end expecting to see the usual pineapple grass fields; unfortunately they were all underwater, with only the tops of a few mountain rocket plants visible. Shortly after, a large creek needs to be traversed- which unsurprisingly, was rather deep and uninviting. Not that interested in going swimming, we continued further up for about 20m and found a log that someone had placed across two large boulders. After a bit of hesitation, we traversed the small log and made it to the other side. The track then climbs through some old dead pine forest before dropping down towards Lake Adelaide.
We stopped briefly to check out the campsite for a potential future visit, and unfortunately found not only had someone gone to the toilet 2m from the campsite, they’d also gone 5m from the nearby water source, with minimal attempt at bury it. That was enough to ruin the beautiful area, and on we went around the lake. The camping at the southern end seemed a bit nicer but we still had plenty of daylight left so we continued on towards Lake Meston.
The open plains between Lake Adelaide and Lake Meston were a highlight for me, and we would have happily spent more time around there if we hadn’t been walking all morning. Once we reached the excellent campsite on northern end of Lake Meston, we decided to stop there to dry our tent and everything else that got wet the night before. This was definitely the best campsite we came across on the whole trip, and we were surprised that no one else had planned to stay there that night. There were a number of large log seats, a small beach, plenty of water nearby and an excellent view across the lake; we will definitely be back again.
Another restless night ensued, though this time not thanks to a devil spawn possum but actually due to a slow leak in my air mattress. It meant that every 2 hours or so I would wake up on the cold ground and have to blow it back up again.
Dixon’s Kingdom to Mt Jerusalem – 2kms in 35 minutes.
Dixon’s Kingdom to Lake Ball Hut – 3.1kms in 54 minutes.
Lake Ball Hut to Lake Adelaide – 2.4 kms in 50 minutes.
Lake Adelaide to southern end of Lake Adelaide – 4.4kms in 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Southern end of Lake Adelaide to Lake Meston – 2.5kms in 40 minutes.
Day 3: Lake Meston to Junction Lake – Mountains of Jupiter
I woke early to find the tent frosted over and the skies clear; as this was probably the best chance to catch a nice sunrise, I went straight down to the lake to set up my tripod. The lake was mirror calm and certain sections were covered in a small amount of mist-before long the skies turned pink and I had the sunrise that I was hoping for. With the water so still, it was also a good chance to find the leak in my mattress.
The plan was to walk to Junction Lake then drop our packs before heading up to the Mountains of Jupiter for the afternoon. We reached the Meston Hut within 35 minutes and had a chat to some people that were heading back out that day. The hut itself was fairly large and in pretty good condition; something worth remembering if visiting the area in winter, or if the weather is too miserable to camp.
We continued around the northern shore of the lake towards Mayfield Flats, with a dozen or so currawong keeping us company for part of the way. The walk to the Junction Lake wasn’t very exciting so we pushed on to get there ahead of schedule. 1.5 hours after leaving Meston Hut we reached the sign that indicates the Junction Lake Hut. We continued right towards the campsites so that we could get the tent up and dry some stuff while the sun was out. There are a number of nice and flat campsites overlooking the lake, but unfortunately there are also a lot of jack jumpers that were quick to crawl over everything. Once set up, we headed back towards to hut where we would have to find a place to cross the Mersey River.
The normal crossing behind the hut was around knee-to-waist-deep water, so instead we crossed on a fallen tree with the help of a large stick to counterbalance. After a short climb, the well-marked track enters some of the most spectacular mossy forest I have seen to date. It then passes below some large rocky outcrops before emerging onto an open marsh. From here on, the bauera takes over and the legs get a nice tickle all the way up to Lake Artemis. The “track” to Mountains of Jupiter can be found just before dropping down toward the lake. Given that we hadn’t had lunch yet, we chose to head down to the lake and find a nice spot to sit. The overgrown track follows the southern side around and presumably continues out to Lake Eros.
We retraced our steps back to the “lookout” and headed straight up. There is no real path to follow-just a bunch of cairns that are more confusing than helpful-and in the end decided to follow the large rock slabs to avoid the scrub. Once on the rim of the plateau, we made our way east to what appeared to be the highpoint. This would have to be one of the most unusual mountains around, with large dolerite slabs as far as the eye can see and some nice tarns had made me wish we had the time to camp up there. We spent the next little while getting weather updates and touching base with family. The forecast for the coming night and morning wasn’t looking good, and we thought it might be a good idea to spend the night in the hut to avoid packing up a wet tent.
By the time we made it back down to our camp, a few others had arrived and set up. Thankfully no one had set themselves up in the hut, and so we moved in. We lit the fire and patched up my mattress, then finally had the first uninterrupted sleep of the trip. The hut is rough around the edges, but has four bunks and is dry and warm; though the presence of some rodent friends is noted.
Lake Meston north end to Meston Hut – 2kms in 35 minutes.
Meston Hut to Junction Lake – 5.3kms in 1 and a half hours.
Junction Lake Hut to Lake Artemis – 2.5kms in 1 hour and 5 minutes.
Lake Artemis to Mountains of Jupiter Summit – 2kms in 1 hours.
Day 4: Junction Lake to Narcissus Hut
The day crossing through The Never Never had finally arrived. Not knowing how easy it would be to cross the Mersey River, we left early to give us as much time as possible to find a safe way across. The track into The Never Never goes past the campsite and follows the eastern side of the Junction Lake. Before long, we reached the registration box and made our way down the steep and slippery track to Clarke Falls. Unfortunately there was so much water coming down that we couldn’t even get near the falls without going for a swim. By this point I was starting to get a little nervous about the crossing, particularly with full packs on.
Nevertheless we continued along the banks of the river, following faint pads that wound their way through forest and open plains. Feather Falls grew closer but we decided not to detour up to its base and instead to continue along the river. At one point we had deviated a few hundreds metres from the river bank and found ourself walking through some nice moss covered forest, similar to what we saw on the way to The Mountains of Jupiter. After not being able to locate a pad, we decided to head back down to the river and sure enough we passed by what appeared to be a pad through some sphagnum moss down to the river’s edge. This appeared to be the normal place to cross when the river is much lower, but we decided to head a bit further down to try and find a fallen tree. The next 15 minutes were spent pushing through tea tree and scoparia to try and keep the river in view; lucky for us there was a large pencil pine that appeared to have come down recently that provided a decent crossing to the western side.
Once across we located the pad we made our way down to McCoy Falls, passing by a number of other fallen trees that could have also been used to cross safely. The track down to McCoy Falls is steep and requires a short climb down some tree roots. On the way back up, Emily managed to get a leech in her eye and the next 10 minutes were spent trying to pull it off her eyeball where it had latched on, with a pair of crappy plastic tweezers from the first aid kit.
From here on in, The Never Never exceeded expectations. Walking along the moss covered banks of the Mersey, and passing by toadstools of all sizes really felt like something out of a fairy tale. It was unlike anything I had seen before in Tasmania and was worth every leech. By the end we had lost the track again and popped out very wet and muddy on the track to Hartnett Falls, 4 hours after leaving the hut.
Instead of staying at Burt Nichols Hut, we decided to push through to Narcissus Hut so that we had less walking to do in the morning. The walk between the huts was uneventful, but we did pass through some nice forest. We reached Narcissus Hut 8 and a half hours (23.4 kms) after leaving Junction Lake Hut, and it’s safe to say we were pretty happy to put the feet up. Unfortunately the hut began to fill and a long sleepless night ensued, mostly due two noisy snorers and restless tossing and turning of others. This is why I prefer to camp.
Junction Lake Hut to McCoy Falls – 4.8kms in 2 hours and 10 minutes.
McCoy Falls to Hartnett Falls – 3kms in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Hartnett Falls to Burt Nichols Hut – 5kms in 1 hour and 45 minutes including lunch.
Burt Nichols Hut to Narcissus Hut – 10.1kms in 2 hours and 35 minutes.
Day 5: Narcissus Hut to Cynthia Bay
Unfortunately the weather had not improved and our plan to camp on Mt Olympus was scrapped. We decided to walk back to the visitor centre instead of taking the ferry, as we felt a sense of cheating if we had caught the boat. In the end, I was glad we took that option as the walk back-although wet-consisted of a nice stroll through beautiful myrtle, sassafras, manfern and dogwood forests, spaced out far enough apart to keep things interesting. It also gave us a chance to locate the track up to Olympus, as well as sussing out the small but welcoming hut at Echo Point. In the end it took us just over 4 hours and 20 minutes (17.3kms) to reach the visitors centre from Narcissus Hut, and we happily jumped into the free showers before the midday ferry arrived. Before long, we were at The Hungry Wombat Cafe devouring a burger and chips, and back to reality.
Narcissus Hut to Echo Point Hut – 6.3kms in 1 and a half hours
Echo Point Hut to Cynthia Bay 11kms in 2 hours and 50 minutes
Getting There: Turn onto Lake Augusta Road from Liaweenee and follow past the Thousand Lakes Lodge. Continue along the dam wall and follow all signs to Lake Ada. There is a large carpark at Lake Ada.
A month had passed since our last trip to Mt Weld where I had seriously aggravated an ongoing knee injury. I thought it would be a good idea to take some time off to go and see a specialist. Unfortunately, I am still waiting to for an appointment; but for the most part, currently the pain has gone away. Anticipating a pretty full Easter walking period, I decided to go and test the knee out on a shortish walk close to Hobart. I wanted to try something with a decent climb and some scrub, as this will most likely be what the Easter walk will comprise.
We settled on climbing Mt Lord, and in the interest of time we wanted to head up from the Florentine Valley rather than walking across from Newdegate Pass. We left Hobart after working during the morning and made it to the forestry coupe just after 3pm. By following the right hand side (when looking from below) of the coupe up to the tree line, we were able to knock off a few hundred meters of forest walking. Initially I thought we were on a taped track, but shortly after we entered the forest the tapes stopped at a small wooden platform supported by two wire legs. Not sure what this is used for, but it looked to me as though it supports something else; maybe an insect trap?
From here the plan was to follow the easiest route up and emerge on the plateau halfway between Lanes Peak and Mt Lord. The climb through the forest was steep but fairly open, and it was clear that very few people had walked through these trees. Large sections of moss covered rocks, and passing by big eucalypts and sassafras made the climb much more enjoyable. As we gained ground, the clouds rolled in and a number of large rocky outcrops began to appear. We were now in the clouds and knew we were getting close to the plateau, as bauera started to fill the forest floor.
Once at the plateau we had a choice to make; either we would first head up to Lanes Peak then backtrack across to Lords Peak, or vice versa. Given that we were already soaked from pushing through wet bauera, we decided to do Lords first and then head up to Lanes on the way back if we had the time or motivation. Visibility was low and the scrub was thick; the first step was to make it to a small, unnamed lake on the southern end of the plateau. At this point we had to rely solely on the GPS for navigation, as we could not see more that 20-30m in front of us. The scrub only got thicker as we moved across the plateau and we were forced to weave around the worst of it. Once at the lake, we filled up our drink bottles-I believe it is the only decent source of water around-and chucked on an extra layer as the cold started to sink in.
We then followed a couple of wombat tracks in the direction of the first of many rocky outcrops on the way to the summit of Lord. The final climb was slow and demoralising; visibility had not improved and we kept having to drop back down into scrubby gullies to reach the next highpoint. We eventually reached the peak about an hour after leaving the lake, and all of a sudden the clouds blew away and views opened up. We didn’t stay long however, as the day was getting late and we were keen to get back to the National Park Pub for dinner. The absence of cloud made the return trip MUCH quicker, as we were able to pick the easiest route down to the lake then back into the forest.
Car to Plateau – 1.2kms in 50 minutes.
Plateau to Mt Lord via lake – 1.6kms in 1hour and 10 minutes.
Summit back to car – 1hour and 20 minutes.
All up 5.3kms in 3 and a half hours with 547m ascent
Getting there: From Maydena, turn right off Gordon River Road onto Florentine Road. Follow Florentine Road for 27.6kms then turn right onto Lawrence Rivulet Road. Follow Lawrence Rivulet Road for 3.9kms then turn left onto Westfield Road before the Lawrence Rivulet bridge (you can probably access this from Nine Road and save a few K’s). Take the first right and follow this road for approximately 2.6kms as it climbs higher up the valley. You will reach a large coupe that has recently been cleared. This coupe does appear on LISTmap state aerial photo but not on google maps. From this point head straight up and you will reach the plateau between Lanes Peak and Mt Lord. Click this link for google maps route.
Mt Weld had been on the to do list for some time; I’d first taken an interest in it while walking along Nevada Peak, and noted it’s apparent isolation around some more well-known mountains and mountain ranges. The original plan for this week was to traverse the Western Arthurs, but unfortunately a persistent knee injury and a pretty average weather forecast prevented that from happening.
The walk begins at a collapsed bridge on Isabella Creek and follows the South Weld Road for just over a kilometre. The road then turns sharply to the left and a taped stick in front of a wall of cutting grass indicates the start of the track. This old bulldozer track is now overgrown with high cutting grass, and a number of fallen trees slow progress. Between sections of cutting grass the track passes by large eucalypts, as well as a number of small streams. Overall it is well marked with ribbon and relatively easy to follow to the Trout Lake outlet creek. This is the last source of decent water for a while so it is recommended to fill up here before starting the long climb.
Once the Trout Lake outlet creek has been traversed, the track then passes briefly through some horizontal forest before climbing very steeply through Tea Tree and Dogwood forests and along a ridge line. There is no defined track for most of this section and locating the next coloured ribbon can be tricky at times. As you climb higher, large eucalyptus are replaced by old myrtles and sassafras, and before long pandani and snow gums begin to appear. This is probably the worst section of track as it is very overgrown and poorly marked; we spent a character-building hour or so pushing through bauera, scoparia and pandani while still climbing up towards the campsite. Eventually the track levels off, before dropping slightly to a nice alpine moor with a number of small ponds. From here the coloured ribbons disappear, and you need to follow a faint pad across the moorland. Views of Trout Lake and the skeletal remains of snowgum are a nice change from the scrub that made up the last hour of walking.
The plan here is to walk (in a south westerly direction) towards the outlet creek of the unnamed tarn above Trout Lake. As far as I could tell, there was no distinct pad from here and we just followed the clearest line up towards the tarn along the creek. The western side of the creek seems to be more open-however the rocks are slippery when wet. Once up on the plateau, there are a number of decent camp sites on the southern side of the tarn. After a wet, scrubby climb we decided to have some dinner before heading up to the summit for sunset. As outlined in the Abels Vol.2, head up on the northern end of the creek outlet and follow the easiest route up towards the eastern highpoint. We came across a few cairns along the way, but for the most part we just followed the most obvious path along the boulders. As we climbed higher we were treated with a light show from the fading sun trying to pierce through the cloud. Rays of light lit up parts of the Anne group and the Gallagher Plateau, as well as the Western Arthurs. To reach the summit you need to drop back down along a nice, but windy, alpine plateau before a short climb to the summit of Mt Weld. Remnants of an old trig were scattered around the highpoint, and unfortunately the clouds rolled in just as we reached the top. We then walked back to our camp and settled in for the night.
My alarm was set early to catch the sunrise, but the cloud was so thick that I didn’t get to see anything and opted to stay in bed. Intermittent rain and strong gusts of wind were another good reason to stay in the tent longer than planed. A break in the rain gave us enough time to pack up and cook some breakfast in the cold before heading back down the way we came.
Walking back was a pretty painful affair as my supposedly good knee must have had enough of making up for the dodgy one and decided to go about 10 minutes after leaving camp. I resorted to walking down backwards on the steeper sections as I couldn’t bend it all and was forced to drag it over the numerous obstacles strewn across the track. The last few kms through the cutting grass weren’t much better as the lack of foot lifting meant that I would constantly get snagged on loose strands. Apart from that it was an excellent trip and lived up to the expectations. Unfortunately I will have to take some time off doing some of the more strenuous walks as I wait for surgery on my knee, it might be a good chance to go and check out some waterfalls or buy a packraft…
Summiting Tasmania’s highest mountain had been on my mind for a very long time, but the thought of getting there and then not caring about climbing any others was a slight concern. However, after experiencing some of the wide variety and variable difficulty of other mountains in Tasmania, this was unlikely to be the case. We had decided to do it in style, and walk in-and-out in a day from the Arm River Track. A number of online sources stated that it would take around the 12 hour mark, so we were keen to get an early start and be back on the road to Hobart before too late.
We arrived at the carpark at 9:30pm the night before and were surprised to see a number of cars parked, there given the weather had been pretty average over the last few days. After a quick check of daypacks and food, alarms were set for 5:30 and a restless night ensued.
We were on the track by 6:20am and made our way up the zigzag track to the western rim of the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair NP. We reached Lake Price in 50 minutes, slightly wet from the dew covered bushes that were encroaching on the track. In an attempt to reduce weight and increase comfort we had opted not to wear gaiters and only pack the bare minimum, not including my tripod, which I had instantly regretted when we arrived at the lake. The next 15 minutes were spent taking a number of photos of the lake and Mt Pillinger. From here the track descends into open myrtle forests, before crossing a small creek and onto clear marshland. Another small tarn is passed before heading south, down into the forest and towards Lake Ayr. The registration box can be found near the start of Lake Ayr and it also indicates the hard to see intersection with the Lees Paddocks Track.
It was then onto New Pelion Hut where we had a quick snack and avoided the hoards of miserable looking people (this might have been due to the rain the previous day or the fact that they had to sleep in a hut with 40 or so other people). We had arrived there in just under 3 hours and were making pretty good time, even with the extended stop at Lake Price. The walk up to Pelion Gap consisted of overtaking large groups of people and Emily taking a slip on a tree root. Fancy new steps, similar to the grippy plastic stuff that we saw on the way to Vera Hut, had been installed on the first part of the ascent to Mt Doris and made for quick climbing. The track then contours the southern side of Mt Doris on some very nice rock work that weaves around cushion plants and scoparia, before dropping down into a saddle before the first rock scramble. Unfortunately we were following a couple in front of us, and hadn’t paid attention to the ski poles marking the way; this meant that we went straight up the chute and had to a climb up a fairly exposed section of rock instead of the somewhat less airy route on the right hand side.
The track then dips again slightly, before the last little climb to the plateau and on to the mass of boulders that is the true highpoint. Hail had started to fall as we reached The Pools of Icarus and we sought shelter from the wind on a large rock on the northern side of the boulders, looking towards Cradle Mountain and Mt Oakleigh. After a bite to eat and losing half my chocolate bar down a deep crevasse between the boulders, we made our way back down towards New Pelion Hut. About 15 minutes before reaching the hut we made a quick detour to check out a track that leads down to Douglas Creek beside the track. We were delighted to find a couple of very nice little waterfalls that were flowing quickly, and again made me regret not having a tripod. From here we basically walked straight out, with only a couple of short stops to get a snack or stretch the legs. We were happy to have made it back in just over 11 hours and for the most part, in pretty good condition except for a sore knee and a bit of sun burn.
All up: 39.2kms in 11 hours and 9 minutes with 1660m ascent.
Start of the track to Lake Price – 50 min, 3.2kms
Lake Price to New Pelion Hut – 1 hour and 55 minutes, 8.8kms
New Pelion Hut to Pelion Gap – 1 hour, 4.4kms
Pelion Gap to Ossa summit – 1 hour 15 minutes, 2.8kms
Ossa summit to carpark – 5 hours and 18 minutes 19.5kms
Getting there: Access to the Arm River Track is off the Mersey Forest Road. Follow the Mersey Forest Road past the dam and continue until the road becomes dirt. Shortly after, take a right up Arm River Road and continue for 3kms past the old Arm River Outdoor Education Centre. The road then forks and you need to turn left onto Maggs Road as the bridge on Arm River Road is down. Follow Maggs Road for 13kms until you reach a pile of dirt. Take a left again and follow this road for about 1km to the carpark.
We were still camped by Lake Rosebery and it had been raining on and off for most of the night, showing no signs of stopping. After flicking through The Abels Vol 2. we were keen to do a longer walk in the area, but decided against it due to the lack of visibility and the likelihood of spending half a day wet and cold. Having done Murchison the previous day, we were left with climbing Tyndall or driving down to Queenstown and summiting Jukes or Owen. I had always been interested in doing the Tyndall Range and so we decided to go and check out the first part of it.
The road by the highway leads to a locked boom gate, but has room for a number of cars. Follow the road past the boom gate and continue across a bridge before reaching a road on the left that follows the powerlines. Continue along this road for a few hundred meters and you will reach the registration box. The start of the track follows a boggy, overgrown section that makes its way up towards the short section of forest, where the climb begins and is pretty relentless until you reach the Tyndall Plateau. A number of small creeks are passed along the way, as well as large conglomerate boulders that provide a good place to stop and catch your breath.
Once we reached the plateau we turned north and followed a faint pad up towards the summit. The visibility was low and there was no distinct summit, so we walked to what we thought was the highest point and had a quick bite to eat. The wind was blowing the low lying cloud up and over the cliffs on the north eastern of the summit; before long, we started to get cold and decided to head back down to the car.
Even in poor visibility it was clear that this is a very beautiful mountain range with excellent camping, and I am looking forward to getting back here for a few days. The way back down was much quicker and we reached the car in 1 hour and 20 minutes, unfortunately I had left the lights on and we had to spend almost 2 hours sitting in the car waiting for a friend to come and give us a jump.
All up 7kms in 3hours and 10 minutes with 696m ascent.
Getting there: Coming from Queenstown, follow the Zeehan Highway (A10) until you reach Anthony Road on you right. Follow Anthony road for 10.8kms and you will see a dirt road on the right hand side with a pile a tyres. Note that this road is a few hundred meters before you drive over Tyndall Creek.
We were camping with a group of friends on the shores of Lake Rosebery and managed to convince them to head up to Mt Murchison with us. In hindsight, it was probably not the best walk for those with very little bushwalking experience-not to mention with a fear of heights. We left our campsite and drove a short distance to the start of the track.
The well cleared track starts off by climbing up through teatree forests, before the bush thins out and reveals the glaciated cliffs and small lakes that occupy the main ‘bowl’. The track then continues along a ridge before climbing steeply to the north. Unfortunately we had to leave one of our friends before the steepest section, as she did not think she could make it back down due to a fear of heights. Luckily, the skies were clear and the view towards the east was very easy on the eyes.
A couple of small creeks and nearby tarns are passed on the way up and would be an excellent place to camp; however, some sections of this track are pretty exposed and would require extra care in adverse weather. The trig can be seen a few hundred meters away after climbing up through a small rocky chute and requires you to drop back down on the western side of the ridge before following a large rock slab straight up to the top.
All up 6.3kms in 4 hours and 25 minutes with plenty of breaks for those less experienced and 774m ascent.
Getting there: Drive along Anthony Road and you will see a sign indicating start of the track. There is a sign on on both sides of the road and there are a number of spots for cars to pull over. The start of the track is closer to the Tullah end of the road and about a 10 minute drive from the town centre.