“Its wild and remote yet gentle and incredibly peaceful. A high exposed plateau with jagged walls of rock that shelter an alpine valley. A myriad of tarns that glisten like jewels, mounds of button grass, alpine wild flowers, king billy pines, the occasional trickle of tiny streams and then total silence. Its another world where human civilisation ceases to exist. To give us such visual beauty though, nature asks a price. It was cold. So cold. We froze at night, especially Kevin in his wafer thin sleeping bag. Our tent was wet, our sleeping mats insufficient and our bodies had so many aches and pains from hauling heavy packs up wickedly steep inclines, over long distances. However, beyond any doubt the stunning scenery more than compensated us for the discomfort. This is Tasmania in all her glory. We climbed Mt Jerusalem, The Temple and Solomons Throne and the views were sublime. It was quite surreal and I feel incredibly blessed. Sometimes the natural world just blows you away and yes, I had a tear in the eye as we departed through Herods Gate. Special moments are like that.”
These were my words straight after completing the three day overnight hike into Tasmania’s Walls of Jerusalem National Park. So what is this place and what made it stir my soul to tears and more specifically why would I include it in a blog about 4WDing in Australia?
The following excerpt is from the Parks and Wildlife website and is bound to get you a little intrigued.
“The Walls of Jerusalem are located in a remote area of the Tasmanian highlands and are part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The area is a spectacular labyrinth of alpine lakes and tarns, dolerite peaks, ancient but fragile forests of Pencil Pines and unique alpine vegetation.
On this Tasmanian 4WD odyssey, although our space was limited, we squeezed in backpacks, the hiking tent, sleeping bags and self inflating mats. It was always our intention to fit this hike into our itinerary, subject to February weather. As luck would have it the weather was forecast to be quite good. Not perfect but overcast is better than sleet, rain and snow. That was how we experienced the famous Overland Track on a previous visit. Now that was an adventure.
I won’t deny it – the trail up to the Walls is steep. Puffing, wheezing steep for a good couple of hours until we reached Trappers Hut and then another hour beyond that. Kevin had a big pack complete with most of our gear while I managed with a day pack. Yes, that was fair and I really can’t understand why we nearly broke Kevin coming back down. Chuckle. Then finally once up on the thankfully flat plateau we pass a myriad of mesmerising tarns called Solomon’s Jewels, Wild Dog campsite and pass through Herods Gate and into the Walls of Jerusalem. We camp one night inside the Walls at Dixons Kingdom and one night at Wild Dog Campsite.
The pictures below show our time exploring within the Walls. There are various options and we tried to do as much as we could. The cold mist kept sweeping in and out, sometimes obscuring our views but it was such an incredible experience that we didn’t care.
So the Walls of Jerusalem were just wonderful. However, we had to get down again and Kevin felt every bit of that steep trail on his titanium knee. He nearly didn’t make it and literally hobbled the last few steps back to our car. That car park was the most beautiful sight in the world at that point.
I must mention that on the way down we passed quite a few people going up. The weather forecast for the weekend was perfect so the locals take advantage of the opportunity. Two of these people were hippies. Bare feet and no packs. No shoes, no tent, no jacket, no food, no nothing. The mind boggles. Surprised we didn’t hear on the news about two frozen hippy corpses the next day.
So is it worth going out of your way to explore The Walls of Jerusalem? Absolutely. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world.