Scrambling in Southwest National Park
The hike to Mt Anne in the Southwest National Park is described as one of the most challenging in southwest Tasmania. Even though it’s around 1423m high, the difficulty is in the boulder scrambling, free climbing, ascent angle, local weather famous for changing rapidly, and exposure at the top.
The entire Mt Anne Circuit is a 4-day hike with some pretty incredible mountain scenery to keep you company. As I didn’t have much time, basically half a day, I headed to Mt Anne with the intention of hiking up to Mt Eliza, which is the first hurdle on the circuit.
Mt Eliza lies at around 1289 m, and from the carpark it’s a 600+m vertical hike straight up for roughly 3.7 km to the emergency hut. From here, you can sit on the toilet and gape at Lake Pedder, the Western Arthur Ranges and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area for hours.
From the hut to Mt Eliza’s summit, the tricky part begins. This is where boulder scrambling and some free climbing skills are essential, as well as a head for heights and grippy shoes. It’s not that easy to find the markers (rock cairns) leading up, so you need time and patience.
I had to abort the hike some metres from the summit of Mt Eliza, as the boulder scrambling became a little too exciting with the prospect of hopping onto frosty boulders. Even though the weather was not too bad, it was still a winter’s day, and frost and ice were part of the trail experience.
As I wasn’t yet ready to fly off into the blue horizon, I sat up there and enjoyed the view instead. All in all it took about 3.5 hours to hike up and down, with some extra time for feeling delirious in the presence of awe-inspiring nature. Me and Mt Eliza/Mt Anne have a date next time I’m in Tasmania. 🙂