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Sunday, April 14, 2013



     If you decide to visit the Walls of Jerusalem in a remote part of Tasmanian Central Highlands (Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area) you'll be rewarded by incredibly pristine world of highland tarns surrounded by high plateau of dolerite peaks and endemic Pencil Pine forests. There are no facilities and no constructed routes within the Walls. The height of the plateau is around 1200m above sea level and is frequently subjected to extreme weather conditions. You have to be fully self-sufficient and have good route finding skills. The Walls of Jerusalem offer pristine and practically untouched alpine environment which allows for almost unlimited wilderness exploration.




Access to the Walls of Jerusalem


     There is no road leading to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and you have to walk to this relatively remote area from the car park near Lake Rowallan. If driving, after you pass Mole Creek, turn to Mersey Forest Road to Lake Rowallan. Continue on gravel road for about 10km until it crosses the Fish River, then take the first road on the left. The last 1-2km of the road are very rough and if you're lucky as we were you might be just ok with 2WD car. 




    
   
      From the car park the well maintained track leads you through tall eucalyptus forest climbing constantly up from around 600m to 1200m above sea level. Depending on your fitness 1-2 hours climb brings you to Trappers Hut which can offer some shelter in poor weather. From the hut another climb up leads to the edge of the Central Plateau. At the track junction with the unmarked route leading to Lake Adelaide follow the one on the left. The entrance into the high plateau especially in the late afternoon light is simply spectacular: countless small tarns called Solomon Jewels scattered across the mossy alpine plains and surrounded by the ancient Pencil Pines. 

     After the last of the "tarn jewels" the track brings you to the Wild Dog Creek campsite just at the door of Heron's Gate marking the entry into the central area of the Walls.

     The Walls of Jerusalem consists of 7 main peaks that can easily be climbed: Mt Ophel and King David's Peak immediately after Heron's Gate marking the entrance into the Walls from the north and the south, The Temple, Zion Hill and Mt Moriah in the central area of the Walls and popular Solomon's Throne and Mt Jerusalem above Jaffa Gate. The entry into the Walls is through Herod's Gate leading into incredibly beautiful alpine area of open grassy valleys, highland tarns and endemic pines. Lake Salome appears immediately surrounded by Pool of Siloam and Pool of Bethesda. There are no constructed or marked walking tracks although no scrub either compared to Southwest Tasmania, so walking is easy. To reach the other recommended campsite, Dixon's Kingdom, you need to walk for about an hour south-east from the Herod's Gate and exit via Jaffa Gate.



     The exploration possibilities within the Inner Area of the Walls are almost limitless. The Walls of Jerusalem track officially finishes at Dixon's Kingdom campsite and Mt Jerusalem. 2-3 days are recommended for exploration of the Central Walls area or if you want to finish the circuit via Lake Ball and Lake Adelaide and return back to Trapper's Hut. If you want to visit Lake Ball, there are a few unmarked routes down the Jaffa Valley and a hut at the lake where you can stay overnight. After Lake Ball, a short descent leads you down to Lake Adelaide where you have two options: to return back via unmarked route (4 hours) to Trappers Hut and car park, or continue south along the length of Lake Adelaide to Lake Meston and Junction Lake, and return back to Mersey Forest Rd via Lake Myrtle and Lake Bill. It is also possible to join the Walls of Jerusalem and the Overland track/Lake St Clair adventure into one.






Weather

     Most people walk during the warmer months with longer daylight hours from December to March, but you have to be prepared for cold winds, freezing temperatures, frequent rains or heavy snow fall any time of year. Rain falls on average every second day during summer. During poor weather conditions navigation skills are essential since snow can cover the track and low cloud can reduce the visibility. 




Camping


     Camping is discouraged within the Walls to protect the fragile alpine vegetation. The two recommended campsites are at Wild Dog Creek (near Herod's Gate) and Dixon's Kingdom (near Jaffa Gate), an hour walk south-east from Heron's Gate. Leeches can be a big problem when camping or walking unprotected. Camping platforms with water supply and a toilet have been provided at Wild Dog Creek campsite and there are no other facilities in the park. The Walls of Jerusalem are fuel stove only area.



Fees

Current park passes must be purchased for entry to Tasmania's national parks. 
Please check Parks & Wildlife Service page for National Parks Entry Fees.

Maps, books and links


  • Tasmap 1:25000 Topo Map sheets available here
  • Wilkinson, B. (1994) The Abels Book, Vol. 1.
  • Chapman, J and M. and Siseman, J. (1998). Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair and Walls of Jerusalem National Parks
  • Dickenson, M., Howard, C. and Rubock, G. (1993). Day walks in Tasmania. Envirobook
  • http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=3904
  • http://bushwalk.com/forum/



     The Walls of Jerusalem has managed to remain a spectacular mountain region which if you proceed beyond the Dixon's Kingdom it can offer you one of the most remote wilderness experience in Tasmania.





























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