For this overnight trip in the south of the state I was accompanied by 2 others who I met on an outdoor enthusiast page on Facebook; Peter, and Ben. I picked up Peter from his house in Launceston at 7am and we drove to Huonville to meet up with Ben, who lives in Hobart. Ben took a separate car as he would be leaving earlier to get to Hobart the next day. We then took our little convoy up Arve Road towards the Tahune Airwalk, then down West Picton Road, up a few side-roads and eventually reached the start of the walk up Mt Picton. It can be done as a 7 hour day walk, but we wanted to camp just beneath the summit.
The walk starts in thick cutting grass, but a large group looks to have recently been through and had trampled it nicely. After 10 minutes the rainforest is reached and the climb up begins. The walk starts at about 330m in elevation, so it is almost 1km of incline to the top (Mt Picton is 1327m high). There are a few small creeks crossed as the track gets steeper, being aided at times with permanent ropes on some sections. The track had been recently cut back with someone wielding a chainsaw, so we found it to be fair walking, but there would have been a lot more ducking under and jumping over fallen trees without the track-work. After an hour and a half we poked out of the rainforest onto a ridge sitting above Glasswork Tarn, a fine place for lunch. The vegetation was mostly snow-gum and progressively turned into alpine scrub as we got higher. Soon we were in the shade of Mt Picton, walking on icy rocks and surrounded by frozen vegetation. Only an hour from our lunch stop and we reached the small, sloped campsite near Steanes Tarn. We set up camp and by 3pm we were zig-zagging our way to the final 250m to the summit of Mt Picton. There was no obvious track and only a few scattered cairns, so we just picked out way through the boulders and cliffs. After 45 minutes we were atop, sitting on the trig-point and signing the log book (placed in 1997 and still only half filled out!) The view was spectacular, views to the Southern Ranges, Hartz Peak and the Wellington Range were all great, but the view of the Eastern and Western Arthurs stole the show. After 40 minutes or so on top, we made our way to camp for an early dinner, some star gazing, and then a long night in the tents.
|My valiant companions; Peter and Ben.|
|Peter crossing the mighty Cook Creek.|
|Classic South-West Tasmania bushwalking.|
|Hard Water Fern.|
|The ridge above Glassworm Tarn offers great views of the Picton Range.|
|High camp at Steanes Tarn.|
|Moss covered wallaby bones.|
|Walking up Picton with views to Federation.|
|Atop Mt Picton|
We woke up a bit after 7am, had a quick breakfast, packed up and were walking back to the car by 8am. The view from camp in the morning was amazing, fog settled in the valley above the Picton River was very photogenic. The walk down took us only a little over 2 hours to do. When we reached the cars, Ben jumped in his and headed back to Hobart, and Peter and I headed for The Hartz Mountains National Park. We arrived at the day centre, repacked our gear into day packs and were walking by 11:30am. The walk states a 3-4 hour return, but the mostly boardwalked track made for a swift journey. The weather was beautiful, a bit warmer than the previous day, and crystal clear weather. The track meanders past many small tarns, all frozen over. We took some time to skim rocks on the ice and soak in the atmosphere. Just over an hour of walking we reached the summit, where there was a trio from Hobart. We had fun naming all the surrounding peaks from the amazing view point. The Southern Ranges looked very tantalising, and Precipitous Bluff really was the stand out feature (even thought there was an fantastic view of Federation!) After 40 minutes enjoying the stillness on top, we made our way down with the call of baked delights from Huonville in our ears. A really enjoyable 2 days, 2 very nice mountains, and 2 new bushwalking buddies. Trip well done!
|Early morning light on the Eastern Arthurs.|
|Fog in the Picton Valley.|
|The day shelter at Hartz.|
|Beautiful boardwalk and stunning Snow Gums.|
|Hartz Peak and Mt Snowy to the left.|
|View to Mt Bobs and Federation - Bringing back memories.|
|The summit of Hartz Peak is amazing!|