Walls of Jerusalem National Park
The Walls of Jerusalem is located on the western side of the Central Plateau and this is roughly in the centre of Tasmania, to the east of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park.
The Walls are accessed from the Mersey Forest Road, that runs from Mole Creek or Sheffield south following the Mersey River past Lake Rowallan. It is a dead end road and has little traffic apart from walkers.
A Days Walk to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park
Because we were catching the ferry to the mainland the next day, we were hoping that we could do a day walk to the Central Plateau of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
A few days before we had decided to take on the challenge of doing the walk, we visited the Tourist Information Centre to get all the low-down and purchase a map. We had heard the day before that several school children had been lost whilst hiking in the Walls of Jerusalem NP and there had been an extensive search and rescue for them. Luckily they were found the next day! There had also been some snow on the mountains the day we arrived at Mole Creek.
We had intended at some point in our travels to do an overnight hike, so we were well prepared with our backpacks laden with tent, food, thermal blankets, sleeping bags, small gas stove and everything that we might need for an overnight stay, just in case! (Highly recommended)
We stayed at the Mole Creek Holiday Chalets in one of their lovely cabins. From here it’s about an hours drive to the car park from where you start the walk.
After a very foggy start to the morning, it turned into a beautiful crystal clear day with blue skies. We were very lucky!
Hubby’s backpack weighed approx 13 kilos and mine about 5 kilos.
Now 8:30am – The park boundary is reached after 30 minutes walking following the track uphill through forest, this is where you sign the log book before setting off.
We set off on our very steep 2.3km climb (4 hours walk – with an elevation of 1250 metres), knowing that we would not make it any further than the Central Plateau. Climbing all the time whilst dodging rocks and stopping many times to take a breather, we finally made it to Trappers Hut.
The first Europeans to the Walls were shepherds who grazed stock on the high grassy valleys for over 100 years from the 1820s to the 1920s. Following this, came trappers, who hunted native animals for their furs. With the often harsh weather, they spent minimal time there, and despite leaving some huts as passage of settlement, they made minimal impact on the area. In the 1920s Reg Hall is credited with being the first to visit the Walls of Jerusalem for recreation by following the shepherd’s tracks to the Walls across the Central Plateau. He introduced others to the area and slowly the Walls became more popular with hikers.
As with all natural areas, it is important that bushwalkers follow the “Leave no Trace” guidelines!
From Trappers Hut we climbed further, asking each other wearily and more than once “are we there yet?”, and thinking that we might have taken on more than we had anticipated!
Finally we reached the first signs of the plateau with a clearing dotted with tiny pools of water, hidden amongst a field of alpine grasses. (Now at an altitude of 1250 metres)
The Central Plateau is called the “Land of Three Thousand Lakes”, a collage of glittering lakes and tarns, forged from the remnants of an ice cap that covered the area during the last ice age.
Further on we trekked, until we stopped at a tranquil spot beside a lake to have our lunch. Small multi-coloured lily pads adorned the surface of the dark blue lake, like confetti, and the mirrored reflections of the dead trees and living pines gave the place a feeling of surrealism. It was not 12:30pm (4 hours of continuous uphill rugged walking to this magic spot!)
Our sandwiches never tasted so good! We boiled the billy on our little gas stove, which worked really well and had a cuppa! Ahhhhh!!!
We met a lovely couple heading back along the track, also heavily laden with backpacks. They mentioned we should continue for another 10 minutes along the track to where there was a larger blue lake with stunning reflections – not to be missed!
Continuing on, we crossing a planked boardwalk to a beautiful spot where Conifers and Pines grew all around the lake, mirrored in the glassy water. Some trees were showing the first signs of the changing of Autumn colours.
We stayed for a while and soaked in the peace and tranquility of this magical place.
The time was about 2:30pm, so we knew that we would have to start heading back.
The walk back down the steep rocky track was not an easy one for me as my toes were hitting up against the tip of my shoes, which after a while became very sore and painful, so my pace became a little slower. Hubby’s backpack was rubbing into his shoulders, so he was constantly stopping to take the weight off his shoulders. Down, down, down we went, finally returning to the car park, very sore and tired, but so very elated on our achievement! Now 5:30pm – It had taken us 8 hours of solid slogging, with an hour for lunch.
On our next trip to Tassie, we plan to do another walk into the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, but camp for several days to really appreciate the magical scenery and beauty of this ancient place.
Key Attractions of Walls of Jerusalem National Park
The names of the park’s natural features say it all: Herods Gate, Lake Salome, Solomons Jewels, Damascus Gate, the Pool of Bathesda…Beside them, Dixons Kingdom – the name of a ramshackle hut built by a grazier and his son in the 1950s – seems both a quaint anomaly and a homage.
The most impressive feature is the huge chamber created by the West Wall, Mount Ophel, Zion Hill and the Temple. Dixon’s Kingdom, just beyond, is near a pencil pine forest dotted with glades that are popular with campers.
I hope that I have given you a small insight into what it could be like if you ever get the chance to do this walk.