Currently the Mount Anne Circuit track is closed due to recent Bushfires. For updates please see Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania.

If you’re seeking local peaks in Australia with epic views, a sense of mountain adventure, and weather that will put your gear to the test –  the walks in Tassie’s South-West region are not to be missed. Join Jackson as he explores the rugged terrain of the Mount Anne Circuit. A three day hike full of spectacular views, pristine lakes and mountain climbing, it is definitely a mountain adventure to add to the list!

Southwest National Park in Tasmania is famous for its jagged dolerite peaks, picturesque lakes and wild weather. It is also one of Australia’s most iconic hiking locations home to the South Coast Track, the Arthur Range, and Mt Anne.  

At 1423m, Mt Anne is the tallest mountain in Southwest Tasmania. Its namesake circuit provides a route to the summit and traverses several surrounding peaks over 3 days with spectacular views of the craggy peaks, Lake Pedder and Lake Judd.  

The Circuit begins at Condominium Creek carpark, located about 2.5 hours’ drive from Hobart. As with all of the tracks in this region it’s best done in summer as in winter there is snow and conditions can easily turn for the worse. 

Hiker infront of tent looking out into the sunset over a valley in the snow.

A snowy morning out on the Mount Anne Circuit. Photo by Jackson M.

 

Day 1

The first day is a hilly one with 1300m of elevation gain over 10km, so it’s uphill from the start. The well-formed track follows the ridge for about 4km until you reach High Camp Memorial Hut. This quaint stone hut provides water, a toilet and shelter from the weather if needed, as well as entertainment in the form of various anecdotes graffitied on the walls by past occupants.  

Once you leave the hut, you head into a steep boulder field where you follow the cairns to the summit of Mt Elijah. Scrambling through the boulders is hard work with a full pack, but you are rewarded with spectacular views in all directions. The formed track across the Elijah plains provides some respite from boulder hopping, until you cross another boulder field to reach the track junction that leads to the summit of Mt Anne.  

View of Elijah plains and Mount Anne

Looking out over Elijah plains and on to Mt Anne

At the junction you can stow your big pack and head toward the intimidating castle-like summit block of Mt Anne. More boulders lead you to the base of a steep gully, the start of the summit scramble. The scrambling is easy but a fall in some spots would be unpleasant, to say the least. You definitely want a head for heights and good weather if you want to attempt to summit. Once on top you’re greeted by expansive views of the South West including the ridge which makes up most of the next day’s walking. 

View looking out from the Summit of Mount Anne

View from the Summit of Mt Anne

Once you return to the junction, Shelf camp is a just short descent away. The camp is on a large rocky platform with a small tarn to collect water from. My hiking tent, the Wilderness Equipment Second Arrow UL Siliconised Tent is a tunnel style, which needs to be pegged out, so a few sections of cord made it easier to pitch it on the solid rock site. Once set up, it’s time to cook some dinner, sit back and enjoy one of the most spectacular campsites in Tassie. Remember you’re in a World Heritage area, so be sure to follow leave no trace hiking and camping principles. Learn more about “leave no trace” hiking on the blog, here! 

Tent pegged down with rocks at shelf camp in Tasmania

Set up for the night at Shelf camp

 

Hikers legs and boots next to his dinner of curry and couscous for dinner at Shelf Camp looking out over the Tasmanian wilderness.

Eating curry and couscous for dinner at Shelf Camp.

Day 2 

The second day of the circuit involves facing the infamous “Notch” on the way to the summit of Mt Lot before descending to camp by the Lonely Tarns. If you’re up early enough you’ll be treated to an epic sunrise at camp before you head off along the ridge. After 1.5km you’ll reach one of the most discussed elements of this circuit, the Notch. A steep scramble down leads you to a short vertical chimney which you then have to scale, with precipitous drop offs both sides of the ridge. Many people elect to haul their packs up this bit; it’s worth taking a short rope for this purpose.  

View of Lonely Tarns, Mount Sarah Jane and Lake Judd

View of Lonely Tarns, Mount Sarah Jane and Lake Judd

From the Notch, an exposed pad weaves its way to the top of Mt Lot and then down the ridge towards Lake Picton and the Lonely Tarns. A steep descent through an overgrown forest puts you on a boggy track which takes you to the camp. Gaiters will be lifesavers for this section! 

The campsite at Lonely Tarns is low lying, so it’s worth taking some time to find a site which avoids the worst of the boggy ground. This day, while still tough, is not that long. The Lonely Tarns camp is not very shady so I’d recommend having a relaxed start and hanging out at Shelf Camp in the morning and getting to Lonely Tarns later in the afternoon. Keep the sunrise and sunset times in mind when planning your walk times, and always ensure to have proper lighting and safety gear in the event that things don’t go according to plan. 

Day 3

A series of climbs and flat boggy sections take you up to the saddle of Mt Sarah Jane to begin your final day. From here you can take a side track up to the top for that final summit selfie or follow the main track towards the southern end of Lake Judd. This descent is overgrown and bit difficult to follow. Once you reach the plains the dense scrub eases a little but you get a taste of a SW Tassie hiking staple, mud. The final 6km involves walking across the plains. It’s straight forward but the occasional knee-to-waist deep bog ensures that you are still paying attention to where you step. Trekking poles testing the ground in front of you might just be the way to go, or better yet, a daring mate who loves a challenge! 

Muddy Plains with stepping stone trail next to a freshwater lake

The rock stepping stones provide a break from the mud and slush.

If you’re smart and had planned ahead you’d have parked your car at Red Tape Creek and ridden a bike or driven to the start in another car. If you’re lucky, some smart hikers with a car here might give you a lift back to the start. I unfortunately was neither smart nor lucky and had to stash my pack and walk the 8.5km along the road, back to my car. I can speak from experience: It’s definitely worth sorting something out so you can leave your car at this end of the walk. 

Overall the track is an excellent foray into hiking and camping in the more remote regions of Tasmania. It requires more wilderness skills than the popular tracks such as the Overland or Frenchman’s Cap but isn’t quite as tough or long as some of the other walks in the southwest, like the Arthur range. 


Have you hiked around Mount Anne Before? If not, what’s your favourite mountain adventure in Tassie? We’d love for you to share you experiences in the comments below!

#ExperienceIsEverything#PaddyPallin

 

About The Author

Jackson McCutchen

Jackson is a psyched outdoor adventurer based in Hobart. He is always scheming up plans to explore the island state's wilderness at any chance he gets whether it's running, climbing or hiking. As an ecology student he is also passionate about the preservation of our wild places.

One Response

  1. Jan

    Lovely description of a lovely place. Many people don’t summit Mt Anne due to bad weather.

    Be aware that due to recent bushfires over summer, the majority of walks in the Southwest National Park including this one are closed until further notice.

    If you plan to come to Tassie for a walk then check the parks and wildlife site for track closures.
    Also the name of your first mountain is Eliza.

    Happy walking!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.