The Walls of Jerusalem – Tasmania’s ‘Other’ Alpine Walk

By Carly Dolan - June 2016

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From rugged dolerite peaks to ancient and fragile Pencil Pine forests, the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in Tasmania’s central highlands is isolated alpine wilderness at its finest.

The Walls of Jerusalem National Park is located on the eastern boundary of the Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park. The Walls’ bigger and more popular next-door neighbour is home to the famous Overland Track, a multi-day trek through Tasmania’s central highlands. While stunning, this trail’s reputation has resulted in crowded paths and busy campsites that need to be booked well in advance during peak season. The lesser known nature of the Walls of Jerusalem, as well as the park’s isolation (it is only accessible via hiking trails), provides a far more isolated and remote wilderness challenge and experience.

The ‘Walls’ forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, a region encompassing nearly 16,000 square kilometres in the central north of Tasmania.  The striking dolerite peaks throughout the park tower over a stunning combination of unique alpine vegetation, abundant lakes and tarns, and widespread conifer forests. With abundant trails and endless stunning scenery, the Walls of Jerusalem provides infinite possibilities to anyone with the desire to complete a gruelling but spectacular alpine trek…

How to Get There

The only way to access the Walls of Jerusalem National Park is via hiking trails, resulting in an enchantingly isolated experience. Entrance is near Lake Rowallen, 110 kilometres southwest of Launceston and 290 kilometres northwest of Hobart, near the town of Mole Creek. With up to 50 kilometres of trails and several peaks available to summit, the best way to experience the Walls of Jerusalem National Park is through a multi-day hike. The hiking trail into the park starts in a car park off of Mersey Forest Road. For those wanting to experience the park with a little more support, there are several operators, including Great Walks, Tasmanian Expeditions and Tasmanian Hikes, offering guided treks, most of which start and finish in Launceston.

What to Bring

As a result of the park’s isolation, hikers need to be completely self-sufficient. All groups must carry tents, as the few huts around the park are only suitable for emergency shelter. Camping areas are common and varied, with the most developed site, Wild Dog Creek, containing raised wooden platforms, toilets, and running water. Other camping zones throughout the park are less developed, but are an excellent option for hikers wanting a quieter or more secluded place to sleep. While camping is permitted at most locations throughout the park, it is discouraged in certain areas to lessen the environmental impact of overnight hikers. Wood fires are not permitted within the park, so fuel stoves are required.

Trails

The Walls of Jerusalem region is best experienced as a multi-day overnight trek, with seven main peaks available to summit across the park providing endless opportunities for rewarding ascents and short day hikes from base camp. The best scenery is experienced from Mount Jerusalem (1,440m/4,724ft), with panoramic views of crystal clear alpine lakes and lush valleys, and King David’s Peak (1,509m/4,951ft), with its sweeping views across the wild Tasmanian landscapes.

Circuits

Walls of J - Tourism Tasmania & Geoff Murray v1
Large green button plants dot the high areas in the National Park. Image: Geoff Murray

Any hike into the Walls of Jerusalem begins the same; starting at the park entrance, hikers ascend 500 metres over 2.5 kilometres to Trappers Hut, a remnant of the Tasmanian fur trade built in the early 20th century. A further 4 kilometres of gentle uphill, walking through changing vegetation, leads to the Wild Dog Creek campsite, with Dixons Kingdom campsite another 1 to 1.5-hour walk. These sites can be used as base camps for return day trips throughout a large part of the park. For many hiking groups take advantage of  camping next a picturesque lake with the rugged dolerite peaks towering in the distance.

Mount Jerusalem

The hike to the summit of Mount Jerusalem is 13 kilometres return from Wild Dog Creek. This stunning walk is largely completed through the Walls of Jerusalem’s central basin, a spectacular alpine area of endless lush valleys, picturesque highland tarns and magnificent pencil pine forests. The majority of this hike is on clearly marked tracks, culminating in a zig-zagging ascent up the rocky slope of ountt Jerusalem. The view from the top is one of the best in Tasmania, with thousands of alpine lakes and jaw-dropping mountain ranges visible on a clear day.

Solomon’s Throne/King David’s Peak

Walking in Walls of Jerusalem National Park
Walking in Walls of Jerusalem National Park. Image: O&M St John Photography

The highest point in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and Tasmania’s 10th highest mountain, King David’s Peak offers experienced hikers a very rewarding challenge. This peak can be summited as part of a larger circuit that includes Mount Jerusalem, or as an individual day trip. From Wild Dog Creek, hikers head towards Mount Jerusalem before turning towards Solomon’s Throne approximately 2 kilometres into the hike. From there, the trail begins ascending Solomon’s Throne, with breathtaking 360-degree views of the Central Plateau at the top. The summit of King David’s Peak can then be reached by some off-track scrambling along boulders for up to two hours, providing even greater views across the region.

When to Go

The best weather in the region occurs from December to April each year (summer to mid-autumn), with more frequent sunny days, longer daylight hours, and warmer average temperatures. Budding flowers make the spring months of October and November a beautiful alternative, while cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing can be enjoyed during the winter months. It is vital to remember that the weather in the Tasmanian highlands is always changeable. Sleet, snow, rain, and howling winds can form at short notice, and can all be experienced in one day – even within a few hours. You should always be prepared for all types of weather when setting out for a hike in the Tasmanian highlands.

The Walls of Jerusalem National Park is a stunning region of the Tasmanian highlands with endless hiking opportunities. The isolated nature of the park provides hikers with a wondrous and remote wilderness experience.

Main image: Tourism Tasmania, Geoff Murray

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