Right after returning from the noisy crowded streets of New York, Jason Dundas went to Tasmania's Walls of Jerusalem National Park. It could not have been more of a contrast, with rugged mountains, crisp air and silence.
The park in the centre of Tasmania takes its name from geographical features thought to resemble the walls of the city of Jerusalem. Many places and features within the park have biblical-inspired names. There's Herod's Gate, Lake Salome, a chain of golden lakes known as Solomon's Jewels, Damascus Gate, Pool of Bethesda and its most prominent feature, King David's Peak. Proudly sitting beside them is Dixon's Kingdom, a ramshackle grazier's hut built it the 1950s. It's near a pencil pine forest popular with campers.
The most impressive feature is a huge chamber created by the West Wall, Mount Ophel, Zion Hill and the Temple. A walk from there to the summit of Mt Jerusalem will reward you will wonderful views of Tasmania's Central Plateau. Called Land of Three Thousand Lakes, it's a blend of glittering lakes and tarns.
The 51,000 hectare park abuts Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area. It may have been created for bushwalkers as to enjoy the park you need to take a four hour walk in.
Jason joined a Tasmanian Expeditions four-day trek and found he was mesmerised by the contrasts facing him. His guide, Holger Strie, has been trekking the area since he was a boy and points out anything you may miss. Jurassic peaks, conifer forests, delicate plants and tarns and lakes.
It's quite humbling to stand in an area 120 million years old, in existence since the super continent of Gondwana and see alpine flora that has been there the entire time.
At the height of the ice age, there would have been 100m of snow and ice covering the area. When the enormous glacier melted, it left giant lakes and huge rocks, creating a place of magnificent beauty.
There are mossy cushion plants that are found nowhere else on earth, colourful fungi growing on logs and shrubs covered with colourful berries. You'll see frogs, wallabies and the odd tiger snake. Walkers are advised to wear gators to protect their legs!
You'll see a traditional wood plank trappers hut. It was built to honour the men who spent long and lonely times during the Great Depression trapping possums for their pelts, which they sold for a few shillings.
Jason found the 6.5km trek to Wild Dog Creek camp under Herod's Gate very welcome. Everyone tucked into lamb curry, Tasmanian salmon and some excellent local cheeses. Tents are set up on platforms and have mattresses. There are composting toilets and it's perfectly safe to drink water straight from the lakes.
After breakfast and with everything packed up, it was time to head deeper into the park and hike to the top of King Solomon's Throne. On the way you walk through a native pine forest with trees more than a thousand years old.
Jason rated his Walls of Jerusalem experience as one to recommend. A word of advice from him: make sure your walking boots are broken in before you hit the track.
Tasmania's Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
Tasmanian Expeditions Walls of Jerusalem four-day trek out of Launceston is $1095 per person twin-share. It includes transport from Launceston, park fees, three nights' camping, all meals, tents, backpack, sleeping bag, inner sheet, sleeping mat, overpants and gaiters.
Prices correct at July 22, 2010.
For further information
Ph: 1300 666 856