WALLS OF JERUSALEM
Duration: 4 days or 5 days to incorporate Central Plateau from Day 2
Grade: T2 – Narrower but distinct tracks, which can be muddy in some places, in pristine natural environments. Facilities are minimal and you will encounter few other walkers. These moderate tours require a reasonable level of fitness.
Walls of Jerusalem National Park
The Walls of Jerusalem National Park is a relatively compact park located between the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park to the west, and the Central Plateau Conservation Area to the east. It comprises a high alpine plateau above the Mersey River gorge, and features stunning examples of the Central Plateau’s ancient past with countless exquisite tarns and lakes, remnant glacial moraines, and glacier-scoured mountains. Thick stands of ancient pencil pines survive, as do several species of bolster (or cushion) plants, along with sphagnum moss rafts on boggy outlet streams. It also features many of Tasmania’s unique marsupials along with dolerite cliffs (the Walls) and vestiges of past fur-trapping activity evidenced by several trappers’ huts.
Itinerary and Tour Description
4 Day Tour
Day 1: Base Camp Tasmania to Solomons Jewels
We leave Tasmania Wilderness Expeditions’ own rural retreat, Base Camp Tasmania, for the long drive through the central highlands (with a brief stop at the delightful town of Deloraine) and then on to the spectacular Mersey Gorge below Lake Rowallan before arriving at our start point. From here we climb steadily up to the high plateau through an attractive dry sclerophyll forest, passing the first of several restored trappers’ huts, and reach the plateau at 1100m after several hours. We now follow a well-graded track to our evening’s campsite at a delightful group of small tarns – Solomons Jewels.
Day 2: Solomons Jewels to East Wall
Reluctantly leaving this beautiful site, we continue deeper into the Walls area by flanking the West Wall to our right with its prominent peaks of King Davids Peak and Solomons Throne. Climbing to the saddle between Solomons Throne (1410m) and the Temple (1446m) we can enjoy the view behind to the Pool of Bethesda and the northern area of the park. This is contrasted with the beauty of the Jaffa Vale ahead and below us with its stands of mature pencil pines. We can lunch at this saddle, the Damascus Gate, and scramble up either flanking peak, or just enjoy the view. We then descend into the valley to our evening’s campsite alongside another beautiful tarn amongst the pencil pines below the towering East Wall and Mt Jerusalem. Before dinner, we can also scale Mt Jerusalem (1459m) and catch the views to the south and west across to the peaks of the famous Overland Track.
Day 3: East Wall to Stretcher Lake via Lake Ball
We break camp early, retrace our steps to inspect the historic Dixons Kingdom hut (and wonder at its construction in this remote place), and follow the Jaffa Vale to pick up the track at Lake Ball, a beautiful glacier-gouged lake complete with remnant lateral moraines. We traverse the southern slopes of Mt Moriah above the lake, in a forest of deciduous beech, ancient pencil pines, snow- and yellow-gums and coniferous heath to our lunch stop by the lake at a restored trapper’s hut. This is an opportunity for a brief splash in the lake before continuing to our evening’s campsite at Stretcher Lake.
We first follow the outlet stream from Lake Ball and then pick up Lake Adelaide’s stream, complete with sphagnum moss rafts, braided channels, numerous bolster plants in the frost hollows, and views of the forbidding scree slopes below King Davids Peak to our right. Our campsite at Stretcher Lake provides stunning evening views of the distant Clumner Bluff to finish off the day.
Day 4: Stretcher Lake to Base Camp Tasmania
Another early start, a short walk to rejoin our inward track above the trapper’s hut, and a quick descent through the eucalypt forest to rejoin the bus for our journey home to Base Camp Tasmania. Again we stop at Deloraine for a quick snack, and if time permits, we will return via the Great Lake route (to vary the trip) to Base Camp Tasmania where a hot shower and warm welcome awaits us.
5 Day Tour
Day 1: Base Camp Tasmania to Solomons Jewels
As for Day 1 above.
Day 2: Solomons Jewels to Central Plateau
As an alternative to camping below the east wall, we climb to the saddle below Mt Jerusalem and camp among the pristine tarns and pencil pines on the plateau for a more remote wilderness experience. On route to our campsite, we can climb Mt Jerusalem or explore the dolerite escarpment to the south to catch the spectacular views of the park to the south and west below the east wall.
Day 3: Central Plateau to Lake Ball
This day is a more leisurely day’s walk, and our campsite this evening is on a tiny peninsula on Lake Ball near the restored trapper’s hut. Another memorable experience in this wonderful place!
Days 4 and 5: Lake Ball to Stretcher Lake to Base Camp Tasmania
As above: Lake Ball to Stretcher Lake and Stretcher Lake to Base Camp Tasmania.