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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lake Oberon, Western Arthur's Traverse
     Tasmania will steal your heart long before you let her. Since longer than anything she’s been a metaphor for wilderness in its purest form, for unconquerable roughness of her isolated coastlines which could have only arisen from the last land torn off from eternal frost of Antarctica by ferocious forces of the Southern Ocean. It is a long way to get down there. A long way from anywhere. 
     But there’s something else about Tasmania. Something intriguingly warm and sensual. Something anciently resourceful and fertile. Forgiveness flowing timelessly that will bring you home wherever you’re coming from. That will make you believe, that despite all her roughness, she will eventually welcome you. That she will love you back. Although how tough her love will be will depend on how much you’re willing to give her. 

     Tasmania, the only island state of Australia, lies 40 degrees south of the Equator and offers you 334 islands of dramatic coastlines, rugged mountains, spectacular wildlife and endless slabs of uninhabited wilderness. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area covers about 1/5 of the area of Tasmania and protects one of the last true wilderness regions on Earth. The following national parks make up the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area:

     Whether you decide to take a guided tour and visit one of the most popular walks or test your limits off the beaten track and explore some of the most remote regions, the quality of wilderness accessible to any walk in Tasmania won’t disappoint you.
     If remote wilderness and individual tramping off the beaten track are what you’re looking for, then the following 4 week hiking itinerary can serve you as a rough guide to what you may be able to fit into your next Tasmanian adventure. From high plateau of dolerite peaks and endemic pencil pine forests of Central Highlands it will lead you down via breathtaking alpine scenery to vast buttongrass plains and dense rainforests of Southwest, and then further, to the very end where the Southern Ocean starts and the remote coastal wilderness awaits you.
     The following itinerary is based on our experiences and highly subjected to kind of hikes that we love: adventurous, intense and rewarding. Any walk can be done on its own, but if you decide to combine them into similar itinerary, it requires a full month of camping with minimum facilities, 4 season tent and a good food dryer to dehydrate your meals, great fitness, high pain threshold, passion for all rewards waiting for you out there and a vast opening in your soul that can accommodate them all.

33 days itinerary for the ultimate Tasmanian adventure

  1. DAY 1: Fly from Australia to Launceston and stay overnight at Riverside Caravan Park on the banks of the lovely Macquarie River. Purchase your Park Pass or maps, and hire a Personal Locator Beacon in one of the Service Tasmania offices. You can't bring any fresh foods to Tasmania, so if you're arriving on Saturday, don't forget to visit the famous fresh produce Harvest Market. Purchase your camping gas canister in one of many Launceston's outdoor shops
  2. DAY 2-3 (easy): Hire a car, catch a Tassielink bus or arrange a transport to Cradle Mountain. Take the 2 night Lake Dove-Scott-Kilvert Hut-Waterfall Valley Hut-Kitchen Hut-Marion's Lookout-Crater Lake-Lake Dove track with camping at Lake Rodway (Scott-Kilvert Hut) and Waterfall Valley Hut. Waterfall Valley to Cradle Mountain is the first part of the Overland track (OLT) which is allowed to walk in south-north direction. Also, unless you walk more than one overnight segment, you don't have to pay $200 OLT fee. Not many walkers are aware of the alternate route from Lake Dove to Lake Rodway via Twisted Lakes and Artist's Pool, and it remains one of the last few hidden gems of Cradle Mountain. If the weather is clear and you have an extra day, you can climb to the summit of Barn Bluff (1559m) and Cradle Mountain (1545m). Read more about Cradle Mountain...
  3. DAY 4-12 (moderate to difficult): After finishing your track back at Lake Dove, drive or catch the pre-arranged transport to Walls of Jerusalem (If you have a car and are planning to complete the whole Walls of Jerusalem to Lake St Clair track via Never Never, leave your car in Cradle Mountain and return from Lake St Clair by one of the numerous shuttle companies providing this transport). From the car park walk to Wild Dog Creek campsite (1.night), then via inner Walls region to Dixon's Kingdom (2.night), Lake Meston (3.night), Junction Lake (4.night), Windy Ridge Hut (Bert Nichols Hut, 5.night) and Pine Valley Hut (6. & 7.night). Stay here for 2 nights and explore The Parthenon, The Acropolis, Du Cane Range, etc. as day walks. Walk to Lake St Clair and catch the ferry across the lake. Stay for 1-2 nights at eco-friendly Lake St Clair Lodge to rejuvenate. Read more about Walls of Jerusalem...
  4. DAY 13-15 (very easy): Lake Rhona in Franklin-Gordon National Park. Very remote, stunning scenery, a photographer's dream...The walk into Lake Rhona takes about 8 hours depending on track conditions.
  5. DAY 16-21 (very difficult): Drive or arrange a transport to Scott's Peak Dam. Western Arthur's Range Traverse, the 60km walk in Tasmania's southwest wilderness, offers one of the most scenic as well as demanding terrain in Australia. It will surround you with spectacular and dramatic alpine scenery filled with glacier lakes which in a good weather will reward you with a stunning and rugged skyline view from Bathurst Harbour in the South and Lake Pedder in the North. Depending on your fitness, weather and time you can either do the return walk to Lake Oberon (3-4 days), do the Moraine A-K circuit (6-8 days), or traverse the entire Western Arthur's Range (8-10 days). Read more about Western Arthur's Range here...
  6. DAY 22-24: Drive to Hobart or arrange a transport with one of the private shuttle companies. If you want to explore Hobart or just rest for a few days, stay in Hobart Hostel which offers a range of accommodation from dorms to large ensuite rooms.
  7. DAY 24-27 (easy): For a completely different experience, drive to Freycinet National Park and do the famous (and very busy) 1-3 days Wineglass Bay/Hazard Beach Circuit. Or, drive to Tasman National Park which takes you high above the ocean on fluted seacliffs, and enjoy short to medium walks to stunning monumental rock formations. Read more about Freycinet National Park...
  8. DAY 28-33 (moderate to difficult): Book a flight to Melaleuca from where 5-7 days South Coast Track will lead you along the coast of the magnificent Southern Ocean and via two mountain ranges to a little settlement at Cockle Creek. From the Cockle Creek catch a public bus to Hobart 3 times a week or arrange a transport with Evans Coaches. Catch a flight from Hobart to your next destination. Read more about South Coast Track...
     If you have time to explore only one region and it is the remote quality of wilderness as well as the experience of Southern Ocean that you are coming for, then the magnificent south-west coast is where you want to head off to. There are many world-renowned walks and summits that aren't mentioned on this blog such as Mount Anne, Port Davey Track that connects Scott's Peak Dam with Melaleuca, Federation Peak, Precipitous Bluff & Southern RangesSouth West Cape, as well as very hard 165km route through the West Coast, and they all deserve your attention before you plan any trip to Tasmania.

Traverse of the Ironbound Range, South Coast Track

          Southwest Tasmania is where she lets you taste the saltiness of your passion far beyond your self-perceived limits. Where she will drag you in the thickest knee-deep mud for miles in the most isolated gorges. Where she will tear your soul to pieces while fighting her “Roaring Forties” on top of her mountains ranges. Where she will burn your skin through clothes by her freezing late-summer nights. But then, just when you think you’ve been tested enough, she’ll let you breathe the cleanest air and drink the purest water. She’ll freeze your senses by mesmerising night skies unpolluted by earthly Lights. She might even let you swim with the black swans in her hidden lakes, and whisper to you the secret of their dark songs.
If you’re naked enough…


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But I've promised myself, way back when the life didn't belong to me yet, that I would never say no to life in any of its spontaneous insanities, to any of its fears,to any of its challenges. That when I feel that it is the time to subtract rather than add anything else to my life, to run towards something rather than escape from, to share rather than receive, I will do so. I will subtract, I will run and I will share... read more...