[SUBW-A] Trip Report - Tasmania - Southern Reserve Walk - Jan 2006

David Noble dnoble at ozemail.com.au
Sun Feb 5 16:47:39 EST 2006

Trip Report - Tasmania - Southern Reserve Walk - Jan 2006

Party - Lisa Foster, Dave Noble

The "Reserve" is the old name favoured by bushwalkers for the Cradle  
Mtn - Lake St Clair National Park

Photos are on-line via this menu page -


Day 1 (Jan 4)

I met up with Lisa in Hobart and we caught the bus to Lake St Clair,  
arriving in the late morning. We took advantage of the cafe being  
open to order some hot food and drink and to observe the other  
walkers huddled around the fireplace. Apparently it had been raining  
for most of the past month or so - and a lot of people had been  
having wet trips.

We caught the ferry up the Lake, and had another snack outside  
Narcissus Hut. Another walker saw us getting our sun hats out of our  
packs and laughed at us. But fine weather was forecast - so we  
shouldered our packs and set off for Pine Valley. We arrived to find  
a full hut, but that did not worry is as we had other plans. We  
continued on and camped on the Acropolis Plateau - in the middle of a  
very sheltered little thicket of pencil pines.

Day 2

Up early, there was a frost outside our thicket, and all the small  
pools were frozen over - providing nice ice patterns. We set off with  
day packs for the Acropolis. On the way up we were both stunned by  
the beautiful flowers - an awesome display! On the summit plateau -  
we both climbed the pinnacle which is the true summit and many photos  
were taken. Then it was back down to the tent for breakfast. On the  
way down we met a large party of catholic bushwalkers (from  
Melbourne) - one member seamed very concerned and warned us that our  
volleys might get "sucked off" by the bog on the track.

Then it was back down to Pine Valley for elevenses and up to the   
saddle near the Parthenon for lunch. The weather was beautiful - but  
that means the ants of the Labyrinth, our campsite would be busy.  
True. When we arrived at Lake Elysia in the Labyrinth, we found  
millions of black ants were up and about and ready to crawl over  
everything. Someone needs to import some echidnas into the area.

After dinner, we enjoyed a truly magnificent sunset - with all the  
peaks glowing orange and then red.

Day 3

Another fine day

We walked through the rest of the Labyrinth and up onto the high  
plateau of the Du Cane Range, leaving packs to venture out to the  
North Peak of the Geryon. On top - we met up with seasonal ranger  
Darren Emmet, out on patrol. And we briefly chatted to two girls out  
on a daywalk from the Labyrinth. Views were outstanding, particularly  
from that part of the summit near to to the middle peak - the foresight.

Then it was back to our big packs and we walked to just above Big Gun  
Pass for lunch. That afternoon we crossed the pass and camped on Mt  

And after dinner, we could again enjoy a great sunset from the higher  
part of the peak.

Day 4

Another fine and very hot day.

We got up early (5:30am) to watch the  sunrise.  Back to the tent for  
breakfast and to pack up. Then we set off  along the range. As it was  
going to be a very hot day - we didn't fancy being out on big  
dolerite boulders for most of the day so elected to leave the range  
early. So we descended down through boulders, then light scrub, then  
slightly worse scrub, noting a couple of tiger snakes on the way  
down. At last, we broke out onto open button grass plains and then we  
had to remember the route we could see from above that seemed the  
easiest way to the Overland Track. Yes - it  was something like cross  
the creek, turn right, then left till you get to a large pool, turn  
right, then left through a scrubby section, then out onto another  
open section and follow that to the right until you hit the track. Ot  
at least that was how we thought we remembered it. Now - I had even  
taken a digital photo of how the open sections connected together -  
so we could always look at that on the LCD display couldn't we? Well  
no - it was too bright to see the detail needed on the LCD screen.  
But the going was quite easy as just as we seemed to be running out  
of open leads we came across the track. It was a short distance to  
Kia Ora hut where we had a swim in the creek and lunch outside on a  
shady platform.

After lunch we then pressed on to Mt Ossa and camped near the summit.  
A beautiful sunset followed.

Day 5

A majestic morning heralded another fine day. It was going to be hot  
again so we worked out an easy itinerary. We descended off Mt Ossa  
and then left our big packs on the main track and quickly climbed  
Pelion East. Then back down for lunch futher down the track and then  
off to Kia Ora Hut. When we got there we enjoyed a cool swim and  
several cups of tea until it cooled down a bit. It wasn't till around  
6pm that we left and walked to Du Cane Hut where we camped outside.  
Another party of walkers were camping nearby and they had come all  
the way from Meander Falls via the Walls of Jerusalem - and were  
heading to Cradle Mtn and then to Penguin on the coast. A long walk -  
and particularly so for the member in their party with an artificial  

Day 6

Rain! Well light rain - it actually made a pleasant change. We  
cancelled plans to go up onto Cathedral Mtn and instead went the low  
route to Junction Lake following the Mersey River. The route known as  
the "Never Never". I had been that way once before many years earlier  
and could not remember much of a track - as we had a lot of rain and  
any track would have been underwater. This time the going was quite  
easy and fast and the only bad part was the number of leaches that  
had come out.

We arrived at Junction Lake, and had lunch in the hut out of the rain  
- but elected to camp outside.

Day 7

The weather was improving, so we set off up a track to Lake Artemas  
in the Traveller Range. We continued past it through generally open  
country to set up camp in a sheltered campsite fairly close to Du  
Cane Gap.

During the evening we heard voices outside - some distance away. I  
got out of the tent and had a chat to the other walkers - who had  
camped not too far away. They had planned to walk all the way down  
the Traveller Range to the far end of Lake St Clair. When I got back  
Lisa enquired about them. I said I thought they were locals (ie  
Tasmanian walkers). She asked how did I know. "Did you ask them?" I  
replied "No, but that they 'seemed' Tasmanian." Lisa was not  
satisfied with my answer.

Day 8

We slowly packed up and headed off towards Du Cane Gap. On the way,  
we ran into the couple I had talked to the day before. After saying  
goodbye, Lisa had to admit - that they did indeed "look Tasmanian".

After admiring the views from the top of Du Cane Gap we picked up the  
rough track back down to the Overland Track and then walked down to  
Windy Ridge Hut where Lisa had been hoping to resume her discussion  
of Tasmanian flora and other matters with seasonal ranger Emmet.  
Unfortunately he was not in his space capsule (true - the rangers  
stay in things that look like space capsules) - and the new seasonal  
ranger was more interested in sweeping out the hut.

So we set off for Narcissis - on the way stopping to admire and  
photograph a rather friendly echidna. I had earlier told Lisa that  
for every visit to the Reserve, you should have at least one bad  
weather day (we had had ours on the Never Never) and one night spent  
in a hut. So this was the night we would spend in a hut. Narcissus  
when we arrived was empty but a few other walkers joined us later in  
the evening. We had a nice swim in the river and spent the afternoon  
lazing around looking for platypus and quolls (I saw one nice quoll  
outside the hut, but it was too quick for the camera)

Day 9

A nice easy day - we caught the boat back down the lake and then had  
quite a few hours to kill before the bus arrived late that afternoon.  
Luckily, the the cafe served alcohol......

A very pleasant walk in some of the best mountain scenery in Tasmania.

David Noble
dnoble at ozemail.com.au


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