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Hartz Peak and Lake

A relatively easy walk, which allows magnificent views of much of the south-west, from Adamsons Peak to Mt Anne and beyond. On a clear day you can see Frenchmans. Probably has the highest view/effort ratio of any walk in Southern Tasmania.

Images - click to enlarge

Features

Mountains, glacial lakes, alpine moor, views of much of south-eastern Tasmania, excellent views of south-west wilderness - including Federation Peak, Precipitous Bluff, Eastern Arthurs, Mt Weld, Snowy South.

Difficulty

Easy

Distance

Altitude

Climb/Fall

Time

Gear Code

8km(Peak), 10km (Lake)

850m-1254m

400m/400m

2+ - 5 hrs

C

Access from

Geeveston

Distance from
Geeveston/Hobart/Huonville

26/90/47 km

Road Directions

See the Google Map also.

Travel to Geeveston, and upon entering the township (travelling from Hobart) immediately turn right (West) into Arve Road, heading for the Tahune Airwalk. Shortly after passing the Arve River picnic area, turn left uphill on a dirt road, Hartz Mts Rd, clearly signed as the route to the Hartz Mts National Park. Drive to the end of this road, avoiding turnoffs and spur roads (all signed properly). Park in the circular parking area at the road-end. A visitor/registration shelter is here, and has water, toilets, visitor information, tables and chairs, and walker registration facilities.

Road Types

Sealed to bottom of Hartz Mts Rd, then moderate dirt roads for bulk of remainder. Some rough/soft patches, care required. Some narrow sections, and sharp, unexpected corners. Look out for other vehicles, especially log trucks. There is new forestry activity up Hartz Mountains Road, so large vehicles may be encountered. Sharp dolerite pebbles can cause punctures on these roads.

Description

See the Google Map also.

The track is clearly signposted and winds roughly southwards through low alpine trees. Cordwood and duckboarding have been used on the lower sections of this walk to reduce erosion and wet feet.

Within a few minutes you pass the Geeves memorial, mounted on a rock to the left of the track. After a while, the way becomes more open, and views of Hartz Peak and Mt Snowy can be had ahead. The track curves westwards towards Lake Esperance, and a very short side trip can be made to this glacial lake nestled below the Devil's Backbone.

The main track then continues southwards to Ladies Tarn, before rising and turning westwards once more to climb towards Hartz Pass. A steep climb gains about 80m in height to bring walkers to Hartz Pass and a track junction.

If walking to the peak, the signposted left hand cairned track heads off a little west of south to take walkers in a series of steps onto the hidden western slopes of the mountain. From here magnificent views of Federation Peak can be had. The final climb is across some boulders and scree which require care. The trig point marks the summit.

The right-hand track at Hartz Pass leads to Hartz Lake, and is marked with cairns. It heads roughly west across the Pass and then downhill. The lake shores can be quite wet underfoot, and the track is quite overgrown, especially close to the lake. It is suggested that walkers move off-track onto the ridge running along the north of the lake for better views and a more comfortable site for a break.

Safety

As for the whole of South-West Tasmania, the Hartz Mountains are subject to sudden changes of weather - even in summer a sunny day can change to fog, rain, icy wind and even snow. In winter, if the peak is shrouded in cloud, it would be best to do another lower walk or not walk at all. Sometimes good views can be had from below the peak if it is in the cloud. Navigation is little problem in general, but would be tricky for those unfamiliar with the area in snow. However, I have seen walkers who were not familiar with the walk become bemused as to the correct route in a couple of places on clear days.

Walkers must always carry warm and waterproof clothing, especially ensuring children can be kept warm and dry in case of rain, wind or snow. At no point in the walk are walkers ever more than about 4km from the road, however the whole walk can be subject to wet, icy wind and rain. Some of the walk is across rock scree, and care will be necessary, particularly if the rock is wet and/or icy, or when tired.

Maps

Google Map. 1:25,000 Waterloo (4821) sheet; Hartz Mt National Park Map 1;50,000; 1:100,000 Huon (8211) sheet

Facilities

Large visitor shelter with composting toilets, water, seats etc, spacious barbecue shelter hut with free gas barbecue, fireplace, composting toilet, seats and tables (Waratah shelter).

Nearby items of interest

In the park: Arve Falls, Lake Esperance, Lakes Perry and Osborne, Waratah Lookout, Mt Snowy, Arthur and Emily Tarns, Ladies Tarn.

History

The Hartz mountains was one of the first popular bushwalking areas in Tasmania, already attracting people from Hobart in the 1920s.

In the 1820s however, it was valued for timber by carpenters and ship-builders. Timber-getters cut tracks westward from the Huon valley into the mountains in search of both timber and minerals. Others reached the Hartz Mountains from Macquarie Harbour on the west coast, cutting tracks along the Huon River.

The Geeves family, who founded Geeveston, cut the first track to the Hartz Mountains from that town, and then extended it westward to the base of Federation Peak. On November 27, 1897, Osborne Geeves, his three sons and his nephew were returning from a prospecting expedition, and were overtaken by a severe snow storm while crossing the Hartz range. One son and his nephew died of exposure, the nephew doing so minutes after reaching Hartz Hut. A memorial is located near where they perished, and can be seen by walkers.

In the early 1900s, an industry sprang up around the extraction of eucalyptus oil from the varnished gum (Eucalyptus vernicosa), the smallest eucalypt in Australia.

The Hartz mountains were set aside as a scenic reserve in 1939, however some parts have been revoked for logging. In 1989, the 7226ha of the Hartz Mountains National Park was included in the Tasmanian World Heritage Area.

(ref. Hartz Mountains National Park Day Walk Map. TASMAP. 1992)

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