Walls of Jerusalem Hike, Tasmania, Australia, February 2021

Views from Mt Jerusalem

Travel in the time of the Covid world pandemic has been a rare and precious thing. While Australia’s borders remain closed to international travel I’ve turned to my own arguably magnificent backyard for inspiration. This week I rejoined a gang of girls I met last August whilst hiking the Larapinta Trail and we found ourselves on the southern isle of Tasmania for another adventure on foot. This is my third trip to Tasmania which probably  boasts the premier hiking trails in Australia (unless of course you count New Zealand as an overseas province).

Damascus Gate

With a guide we traveled south from Launceston to the central highlands. A steady climb through eucalypt forest and fern groves leads to alpine country. A couple of old fur trappers’ huts are preserved in what is now National Park. Majestic grey cliffs of dolerite rock tower either side of a glacial valley that is now filled with highland tarns, trickling streams, cushion grasses and marshlands. After a strenuous trek up into the ‘Walls’ we felt spoiled to be treading on easy boardwalks that carry hikers over the fragile grasses and mosses.
After fording a saddle (the Damascus Gate) the trail drops down into another valley dotted with ancient Pencil pine forest with many trees up to 1000 years old. A second trappers hut completes an idyllic alpine scene with the name of Dixon’s Kingdom.
The towering cliffs were imagined by early colonialists to remind them of the Walls of Jerusalem so the peaks and landmarks are named in this manner- Mt Jerusalem, Solomon’s Throne, King David’s peak, the Damascus and Herrod’s gates, Bethesda Lake.  For three days we were transported into a world of panoramic alpine scenery.

Alpine lakes

The experience was made all the more Tasmanian by the Tasmanian devil that repeatedly tried to break into our tents at night for an attempted easy meal and by the subzero overnight temperatures and snow flurries while hiking- not quite what we had been expecting for our late summer hike! A short adventure Tasmanian style..
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