Great Pine Tier: 3-6 April 2018

We’re going on a bushwalk!! It’s going to be a good one… after a few days of lamenting what looked like horribly wet weather across the north, west and south of the state, and reluctantly settling on a brief car camping trip to the north east, the mood took a turn for the better. The latest forecast had us excitedly considering a few days wandering around the Walls of Jerusalem region, with only a tiny bit of hesitancy (we never trust the weather man entirely!).

And so we muddled our way through packing – it had been a long time and was no longer something I could with my eyes closed. But we got there (and didn’t forget anything too crucial), and were good to go only an hour late on Tuesday morning.

We’d chosen to head in via the Lake Augusta/Ada route, for something different. It made for a shorter drive, but we still managed to spot three wedgies (turns out this was only a taster for what we would see)! Pulling up at the cleared dirt carpark we couldn’t believe the blue skies around, and set off happily, but tentatively – each nursing pre-existing sporting injuries.

The track is a very decent 4WD road for some time, and the walking less exciting as a result. There are, however, plenty of lakes and the odd hut to check out. And the wildlife was something else indeed. Two platypus, a giant wild spider, a dragon (the lizard kind) and a funny fat insect with super skinny legs made up the ‘before lunch’ count for us.  A cormorant who’s flown inland came shortly after. This was, of course, on top of the usual grasshoppers, skinks, ducks and green rosellas. The funny insect thing turned out to be a mountain katydid, I was informed by a friend, which have a cool little trick where they camouflage in nicely, unless a predator gets too close, whereby they lift their wings up to reveal super bright apparently scary colours on their bums!

By this stage we were on the foot track, walking through landscape that is so typical of the region. While not arduous – incredibly flat and no scrub to contend with – both of us were weary by the time we arrived at Lake Fanny, and paused for a snack while we contemplated our plan of attack up what looked like a rather green Great Pine Tier.

We took our time crossing the outlet from Fanny to keep our feet as dry as possible, then wound our way between the scrub around the southern end of the lake. So far so good. With some excellent decisions and the odd guess we continued in the same fashion up a green but not scrubby chute onto the spine of the tier, where the going continued to be just as easy, winding through eucalypts, over rock and low heath.

The true summit was a tad evasive (not clearly marked on the map), so we did a bit of a tour of some of the higher points to ensure we actually had claimed our first peakbaggers point for 2018! Though it was 5-5:30 hrs after having set out, we were knackered and decided to set up camp near the largest lake on the plateau. Though the views west to the Overland Track mountains were a tad obscured, and the site wasn’t beautiful, it was a pretty place to be nonetheless. We watched an orange moon rise in the cloud free sky, then fell asleep without a problem at all!

Near Ada lagoon – lots of fishermen huts to explore here
Ada Lagoon – we saw 2 platypus here!
Typical walking in this area
Reflections in a tarn on Great Pine Tier
Think we’ll camp near here, on Great Pine Tier
From the summit of Great Pine Tier, looking towards Mersey and Turrana in the distance
Graham claims his first peak and point for 2018
The colour was pretty as the sun set
Very different colour on the trees the next morning

We awoke to another lovely day, explored the campsite a little before cooking breakfast, doing some physio, and packing to leave. We continued to wander our way along the tier’s ridge, then dropped down and headed to intersect the track coming off Jerusalem, ultimately headed towards Dixon’s Kingdom. Graham had yet to climb King David’s Peak, so that was our next stop.

It was a beautiful sunny day, almost felt like summer, and it was a bit of an effort climbing up the last hill to the track. There, we dumped our packs in the scrub, took water and snacks, and bounded down the track, feeling very much lighter without packs. There were heaps of people out and about, and Dixon’s Kingdom was full of Wilderness Equipment tents (I was pleased to see!). We greeted everyone we passed, and they all seemed pretty happy!

It didn’t take long till we were turning left off the track up to Solomon’s Throne, and after a very short sharp ascent, were on top, looking over to King David’s, which had a tiny figure standing on top. That was our true destination so we kept on moving, tracing our way along the edge, attempting to stay on one of the multiple branching pads.

It’s a decent way between the two peaks, but the figure that we’d spotted from Solomon’s Throne was still on the summit, lying on the rocks out of the wind, enjoying the sun and listening to something through headphones. We ducked out of the wind as well and had a snack, before deciding we should return and take our packs over the far side of Jerusalem. And so we did, enjoying the easy walking and being grateful we didn’t have to camp with everyone else. As we walked we passed numerous middle aged people, most with Wilderness Equipment packs and gaiters. Just as I was telling Graham I thought they must be a group, who should come along but Zane, otherwise known as Abel Zane, or one of the three we had had an impromptu meeting with at Lake Curley when we were doing the Spires! It was great to see him happy and out on the track again.

We eventually made it back to our packs, feeling pretty tired by this stage. We were due for a late lunch, however, which temporarily boosted the energy levels. It was still a slog with full packs up Jerusalem, and we sidled round the right hand side of the summit to avoid unnecessary effort.

Picking our way down the far side, we popped out just south of Zion Gate and wandered across soft green heath and moss. We weren’t in a huge rush, knowing the further we walked, the further we’d have to walk out in two days time. We also knew we’d be camping close to five, to avoid walking in the dark. As it was, we picked our way up the hill in front of us, and found a lake a short distance over the far side, with some lovely and flat sites to camp. We barely had to voice the question, before packs were off and we went about the usual end of day routine.

From the end of Great Pine Tier looking towards the Walls over the country we’d walk
Great Pine Tier would have been fabulous before all the pines were burnt out
Graham takes in the route ahead as we approach the Walls
On King David’s Peak looking towards the Overland Track
The chute on Solomon’s Throne
The pines were a big feature of this walk
How about we camp here?
Pretty colours again that night, followed by stars and moon

We woke to another lovely day, though we were expecting some rain later in the afternoon. We also had a long day ahead with unknown terrain, so we were up and breakfasted fairly early. Graham started us off on a route that changed with every new view – such was the nature of the terrain. But we chose well, and avoided and serious scrub, ducking and weaving so much at times we felt we were going round in circles! The route we finally took followed the high points to the west of Daisy Lake.

Just over 2.5 hrs after setting out we were sending the odd message from the top of Mersey Crag, happy with our progress. We still had Turrana to go, but it looked feasible. It did, however, take a lot longer than we expected to get off Mersey, and the walk up Turrana was longer than I had remembered. Three wedgies were playing in the wind and stole our attention momentarily.

We were both stumbling over the smallest of obstacles as we walked the last few hundred metres, and I knew I was glad we’d be having a slightly longer break given we had lunch to eat. It was windy on top, so we took the view in quickly before sheltering off the summit out of the wind. As we ate we decided on the route back to the tents. We opted bravely not to retrace steps (the ‘known’ route) and instead follow the continuation of the Little Fisher track south along the edge of Long Tarns, until a point closer to camp, where we’d head up and over a series of smaller rises (the ‘unknown’ but less up and down option).

Conscious of the time, distance and of the rather cloudy turn in the weather, we were keen to get going. We made excellent time back down to the track, and had an enjoyable half hour wandering along it. It made for very easy going, and there were a number of stunning spots that would be worth camping at.

Where Long Tarns juts out to the west we headed up and over Richea Ridge, managing to avoid all the scoparia! Two more knobs and we could see our little orange tent. A most welcome sight! We’d got back safely with time to change into warm clothes and cook some soup before the rain set in.

The next morning the sun turned the pines orange
It was a nice camp site
Looking towards the Walls as we start climbing up the ridge towards Mersey Crag
Graham on Mersey Crag
Climbing up Turrana and loving the pines
Mersey Crag from the walk up Turrana
Graham and one of the multiple cairns on Turrana

True to our excellent luck this trip, the rain stopped over night and we woke to a damp but clear morning. Just as well, we figured we had a long walk out. After packing the very wet tent into Graham’s pack (thanks!!) we set off with a few extra layers on. Encouraged by our success the day before, we once again chose to be creative with our route, scrapping the ‘retrace our footsteps’ for a more direct route straight down to Lake Fanny and round the edge. Why would you want to go over Jerusalem and Great Pine Tier if you didn’t have to??

As it turned out, the walking was very open, very flat and very easy. We made record time to the top of the lake and my suspicion that there might even be a pad round the side was confirmed with a few cairns and the odd stick. It was a different matter trying to stay on it, however, as the wombat pads were often more distinct than the track itself. It also clearly wasn’t a bushwalkers track, and usual unwritten ‘rules’ didn’t seem to apply. To be honest I found the off track walking we’d just done much easier – there at least you could go wherever you wanted!

We celebrated our speedy return to the track head at the southern end of Fanny with a super early lunch, then plodded the very long way back out, seeing more mountain katydids than you could have imagined (and being rather shocked that we’d never seen them before this trip!). A surprise encounter with an older couple on their way in to spend a few days at Fanny was as delightful as it always is, and momentarily diverted attention from our sore feet.

We arrived back at the cars in perfect time, with enough daylight to drive home and keep the wildlife safe.

All up: 70.8km, 2221m ascent

Day 1: 16.6km, 5:44 hrs, 391m ascent

Day 2: 15.7km, 8:04 hrs, 821m ascent

Day 3: 20.0km, 9:18 hrs, 788m ascent

Day 4: 18.6km, 6:48 hrs, 263m ascent

Walking out, it wouldn’t be the Walls area without at least one photo of cushion plants!
Pines and reflections, what a beautiful area
The long road out.. love the colours though
Mountain katydid in all its camouflage
Mountain katydid showing it’s colour under threat
Wolf spider blending in well

Walls of Jerusalem – Mt Jerusalem, The Temple, Solomon’s Throne, King David’s Peak: 17-19 March 2013

Walls of Jerusalem GPS route
Walls of Jerusalem GPS route

This was another special walk, but for different reasons. Well, some of the same reasons, but some others two. It was 3 weeks since I’d been on a walk, unusual yes, seeing I’d been out every weekend and some week days after work prior to that. And the reason for it was the most important person in my life, whom I wouldn’t be here without: my mother. It was two and a bit weeks since she’d had a very large subarachnoid haematoma, on the one night of the week I’d happened to be visiting her. It’s been 4.5 months now, and I’ve always wondered if I did the right thing calling for help, but the truth of the matter was I didn’t really have time to think about or know what was happening. Now, as mum’s nearly ready to come home, despite everything she’s been through since, I think it might have been ok..


King David from a distance
King David from a distance

Anyway, this trip was special, and necessary. It was long enough after the initial shock for me to know nothing was going to change fast, and it was ok not to be by her side every day. But at the same time I was at the stage I needed to escape, to be alone with my thoughts… I needed somewhere to go where I could stand in the wind (and maybe some sun) and look out across the world, pondering whatever I needed to… our miniscule existence in something much bigger maybe? But I also needed somewhere that wouldn’t require too much planning or thinking about where to go or how to get there. It wasn’t really a choice actually, and I didn’t have to think long or hard.



The Walls had been on my list of places to go ever since an attempt to go snow-shoeing in mid-2012 saw us walk in with no snow, snow-shoes left in cars, only to be snowed on overnight and not have good enough weather to explore the summits of any of the mountains. I also knew it was one of the places in Tasmania that mum wanted to go to most. So I went for her, camera in hand to bring back some memories to share. And I went with her, there wasn’t room for much else in my head or my heart.


My creation on the Temple summit
My creation on the Temple summit

I drove up after work on the Sunday, as per usual, and started walking at 2.20. I didn’t take too many stops, except to put on a rain jacket and the occasional comfort stop, mostly because the rain was supposed to start and I would have preferred to set up tent in as little of that as possible. 2.20 hrs and 8.5 km later I arrived at a beautiful little spot just before the Pools of Bethesda, nestled in some pines just off the left of the track, under the watch of King David, and knew that it was where I’d spend my two nights. I didn’t want the company of the school children camped at Wild Dog Creek, and I could see some tents already set up near the Pools of Bethesda so I wanted to keep some distance from them too.


View towards King David from the Temple
View towards King David from the Temple

I set up, and 25 minutes later I was out again. I wasn’t quite ready for bed, and realising that the rain was mostly holding off, and worried that that might mean it’d settle in tomorrow, I wanted to sit on the top of something with at least a hint of view. So I headed out to Mount Jerusalem. As I walked it progressively got misty, and the light slowly faded, but it matched my mood and it was nice to walk amongst the walls of rock, standing tall and strong. There were misty views from Jerusalem, and I sat there a little bit, then thought I better head back down. I was back in my tent, now ready for some sleep, another hour later.


View of Solomon's Throne from the Temple
View of Solomon’s Throne from the Temple

The next morning, I awoke, stuck my head out the tent, took one look at the mist, and for perhaps the first time ever, pulled it back in, deciding that I wasn’t going anywhere because I had all day and wanted some views. So it was as late as 8.40 by the time I actually got out, and decided I should pay my respects to the Temple first. My campsite meant I was at the ‘alter’ within half an hour, and seeing that there was no summit cairn I decided that wasn’t going to do. But a cross wasn’t appropriate, so I got a little creative.. I wonder if it’s still there?


The West Wall: Solomon's and King David
The West Wall: Solomon’s and King David

15 minutes back to the main track, and another surprisingly short 15 up to Solomon’s Throne! It looks like it’d be a bit of a climb from the track, but it’s not at all! I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was to be the 100th mountain I’d climbed. The summit rock is rather pointy for a seat, and none too comfortable!


King David from Solomon's Throne
King David from Solomon’s Throne

So it wasn’t too long before I decided to continue along the rim, taking my choice of a number of pads to get to King David’s peak. After just over half an hour of easy walking, with hints that the sun might actually peak through the clouds, I was on King David’s peak! It’s funny, their mighty names belie the ease with which they can be reached. I sat there, looking at the world, happy in the moment.


Kind David Summit and Clumner Bluff
Kind David Summit and Clumner Bluff

Before leaving I took a bit of a look at Howell’s Bluff, which had also been on the list of things to visit, and decided the trip was one for relaxing, not for undeserving, unimpressive and slightly scrubby peaks. Content, I started to wander back.. no rush at all.. just wandering. I detoured via the Pool of Bethesda, took even more photos, and was back at my tent by 12.30.


King David at sundown
King David at sundown

It was the middle of the day, but I felt like a little lie down… little turned into big, as I woke at 3, looked at the maps of Clumner bluff for a bit, dozed again till 5, and decided I’d better go for a wander, sort out some water and dinner… Then after some more lying down just ‘being’, the tent started to glow orange, so I popped my head outside to find that not only had the cloud disappeared from the west, and there was a nice glow of colour in the sky, but the moon and even a star or two were out!! So some more fun taking photos until my fingers were rather a little cold and it was time for even more sleep!


Reflections on the way home..
Reflections on the way home..

After a full night’s sleep, don’t ask me how, I woke, packed and walked out. Back at the car by 10.30, with plenty of time to visit mum in the afternoon!


Oh, there was one more stop on the way out.. shortly after leaving the car park I caught a glimpse of this through the trees, and being my mother’s daughter just had to stop the car, run down the embankment, and take a few photos :p.


This place will always be special 🙂


All up: 33.3km, 1863m ascent.