Tasmania’s South-west has some of Australia’s most remote, rugged, and wild places. Moreover, Arthur Range is perhaps the southwest’s wildest yet most beautiful region.
The range has 22 crests and 20 hanging lakes, which are 15 km long and take walkers an average of four-to-five days to cross, showing how rough the terrain is. The mountains are pointed quartzite and got walloped by the Roaring Forties. Only seasoned hikers should try to trek in this area.
But for those who take this challenge, it’s often a breathtaking experience. The content below describes a trip that gives you a taste of the range. The complete traverse may take from nine to twelve days.
First-Day: Huon Campground – Junction Creek (7km in 3 Hours)
Upon completing the check-in process, you can start by walking southwest along the track, which winds through the rainforest for about 2km before crossing the Arthur Plains, making walking to Junction Creek easy. The first part of the walk goes through button grass plains on wooden boards. At the same time, the last part crosses several streams and is sometimes messy and eroded.
Junction Creek is located on the opposite side of the creek. The day ends with knee-deep wade; be aware that the rain can increase the water level in the creeks. Follow the signs by the creek to learn how to wash your boots and gaiters to minimise the spread of diseases.
Second- Day: Junction Creek (Lake Cygnus- 7KM in 6 HOURS)
To get to Port Davey, continue southwest on track, then move right at the track junction out of the campsite. After 2 kilometres, you’ll reach another track junction. Take a left turn here to depart the Port Davey. The trail has been levelled and gentle to follow.
From this point on, the journey will become more complicated; the Arthur Range’s Western Crest is reached through the gruelling ascent of Moraine A. This rough path elevates by about 500 meters in 1 KM while scaling the ridge curled by the recent ice age.
On the left, a rough route goes up to Mount Hesperus’ western side, where you’ll find a stunning 360-degree viewpoint. The trail continues west before turning south when it reaches its highest point, levelling off once more for pleasant strolling.
Taking a short diversion to Lake Fortuna, which has a fantastic beach, before the track reaches a series of wooden steps that form the steep going to a wooden tent along Lake Cygnus is advised.
Third-Day: Journey To Square Lake (6km in 5 Hours)
With breathtaking views in every direction, exhilarating climbs, and descending through the bumpy ramparts in the Western Arthurs, this is one of the best walking occasions you’ll probably have in good weather.
After completing the strenuous ascent from Lake Cygnus, turn right to join the main route just as it begins to descend the mountain’s crest toward the southeast. The gravel path is simple to navigate as it gets closer to the massive portion of Mount Hayes, dominating the surrounding area.
On a clear day, the unique peak of Federation Peak can be seen on the horizon as a side trip that takes around 40 minutes round trip. A gully on the left of the summit tower can be followed to the top by heading straight up. Around the top, exercise extra caution due to the steep drop-off from the south and north a few meters away.
On the main track, travel southeast to a saddle, then climbs to an unnamed mountain before moving east to the points cairns indicate the path down to Square Lake’s coast. Before going back to Lake Cygnus campground, take a break here.
Fourth-Day: Lake Cygnus To Huon Campground (14km in 8 Hours)
To return to the summit of Moraine A and descend the ridge, find your way back to the campground, remember to take with your packs, and turn left. Return to Junction Creek and the trailhead by following the Port Davey Trackback to Junction Creek.
When photographing in the Western Arthurs, lighting and weather conditions aren’t as critical as they could be elsewhere. Seeing the peaks at sunrise or sunset during a clear sky is preferable, providing spectacular sights. Even though it rains most of the year, the scenery is stunning even on grey, rainy days.
While it’s best if the sky is clear, getting to a high point early and late in the day is still worthwhile; even when the sky is overcast, even a thin streak of sunshine can produce fascinating images for your camera.
A great vantage point for viewing Mount Hesperus at the western extremity of the range is the ridge above Lake Cygnus, which you may reach from the lake’s lower steps by looking back toward Mount Hesperus. Mount Hayes can be seen from a high position just past Lake Cygnus’ eastern shore (a good sunset spot).
What You Need To Know
In the southwest, where it rains at least 250 days a year, it is rare to accomplish an extensive journey in clear skies. At any time of year, even amid summer, you may witness snowfall due to rapidly changing weather.
The best months to go hiking are February and March but be prepared for rain by packing a raincoat and other rainy weather clothing. Consider the possibility of being stranded in camp sometime during the trip.
The Huon River camping site at the end of Scotts Peak Road serves as the starting point for this hike. You can reach the turnoff 31 kilometres past Maydena by taking the Strathgordon Road out of Hobart. This is where the registration book was signed in the little shelter, another 33 kilometres away.
No permits are required, but you will need an access pass to the national park before traversing the range, and you should inform someone responsible of your trip details, including the planned return date.
The entire walk is depicted on the TASMAP Old River 1:100,000 map. Detailed route notes and hand-drawn maps can be found in John Chapman’s book South West Tasmania, the classic walking guide to the area’s southwest.
Other Things to See
Exploration of Australia’s southwest, one of the most desolate locale areas in Australia, will be sped up by long-distance strolling. This region’s iconic long-distance wild hikes draw people in, even though the Lake Judd and Eliza Plateau can be visited in a single day.
Tourists from all over the country come to hike Federation Peak, Mount Anne, and Frenchman’s Cap. Boating and fishing are allowed on Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon for a more leisurely activity. Huon, Edgar, and Teds Beach campgrounds provide excellent car-based camping along the Scott River Road. An aerial tour of Melaleuca from Hobart will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Supplies and Accommodation
Maydena is the last store in the area, so ensure you adequately stock for your entire journey. It also provides the last gas station for travellers who wish to drive past this civilisation town.