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Hartz Mountains for the ‘soft adventurer’

18 August 2011 One Comment

Hartz National Park TasmaniaShort on time, fitness or courage but keen to glimpse the beautiful south-west wilderness area of Tasmania?

As well as the challenging walk up to Hartz Peak (1255 metres), the Hartz Mountains National Park features several much shorter and easier walks that will give you a taste of this spectacular alpine landscape shaped by glaciers during past ice ages.

The turn off for the Hartz Mountains National Park is about an hour and ten minutes drive south of Hobart, on the road to the well-known Tahune Airwalk attraction.

Twenty minutes later you’ll reach the first car park. By now you’re already at 700 metres and you haven’t taken a step. The Waratah Lookout is only a five-minute stroll down a very well maintained path. Crystal-clear water tumbles off the plateau in to the valley below and there are stunning views of snow-capped mountains.

A little further up lies the start of the 20 minute return walk to Arve Falls. The track meanders through alpine heath, pineapple grass and snow gums along the Arve River. Signs along the path tell you about the landscape and its special plants.

If a slightly longer walk is in order, Lake Esperance and Ladies Tarn are ideal. Sub-alpine vegetation including cushion plants and King Billy pines hide amongst large boulders shaped by glaciers. On the day we visited, the sun shone while the wind whipped up icy waves on the lake surface. It takes less than two hours return from the main car park and walker registration hut.

While these walks are easy and anyone with reasonable mobility could do them, as with any walks in Tasmania, it is essential to be prepared for all kinds of weather. This means layers of warm and ideally waterproof clothing, sturdy shoes and some snacks and water as a minimum.

A stark reminder of this lies along the track to Lake Esperance and Ladies Tarn: a memorial to Sydney and Arthur Geeves, who perished here in 1897 in sudden harsh blizzard conditions.

Tip: take a picnic. There’s a great shelter complete with gas barbeques and a log fire with firewood provided at the Waratah car park, the perfect place to warm up after your walk.

Susan Moore lives in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. She shares  a glimpse of daily life in Tasmania, as written by a “blow in” from the mainland,  on her fascinating site Houn View. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive her regular articles.

Image: ccdho1 via Flickr

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One Comment »

  • john flory said:

    Many,like myself will welcome articles such as these. At a later stage in life where we are not able to tackle Tasmanias “peaks”. Information such as this is invaluabel!

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