Western Arthur Range 2023

October 30, 2023
Extended Walks
Walk Date:
February 15, 2023
Walk Distance (km):
Total Ascent (metres):
Walk Time:
8 Days
Video of the walk at this link (or at the end of this post)

Gear List for this walk at this link


The Western Arthur Range beckoned once more, and this time, Woolza and I were determined to experience its rugged beauty under a different light. When our original plans to explore the Eldon Range this summer with Beaui and Crawf fell through due to scheduling conflicts, Woolza and I saw it as a sign—our return to the Western Arthur Range was long overdue. Last time, we endured relentless rain and snow; this time, we aimed to traverse these epic landscapes accompanied by the elusive, yet profoundly transformative, backdrop of favorable weather. This rugged and unforgiving land had tested us before, but never had we conquered it entirely on our own terms. Our last full traverse of both the Western and Eastern Arthur Range back in 2011 was marred by 13 days of relentless snow and rain. This time, we aimed for something different—a chance to experience these stunning vistas under the warmth of unclouded skies. We had one rule - if the weather leading up to the walk looked bad - we go somewhere else.

Day 1: An Arduous Ascent

Arrival and the Trek Begins

After school drop offs in Launceston, we headed south and we rolled into Huon campground, the inception point for our adventure, at approximately 12:45 PM. The drive from Launceston had been smooth, and we were greeted by a brilliant, sun-drenched afternoon, the weather seeming to align perfectly with our intentions. We took a short while to prep and have some lunch begining our trek at 1:20 PM, buoyed by the sunny warmth surrounding us.

While we started at a brisk pace, about 30 minutes in, a discomfort pulled us to a halt. The culprit? Rubbing on my heel. A few adjustments and some blister tape later, we were back on the trail, eager to recapture the momentum we'd initially built up. Blisters had become a nuisance to me over the last couple of years but hopefully I now had the remedies right that they wouldn’t be a bother.

Junction Creek and Casual Encounters

Our first significant landmark, Junction Creek, materialised two hours after we set out. We had set a cracking pace. I could remember the days when this same walk would take me 3 to 4 hours. Today it was dry and we flew along the track. Grateful for a spot to catch our breaths, we decided to halt. The area was busy with other hikers making their way out, providing us with a chance for some brief but hearty interaction. A few gulps of water later, we resumed our journey.

Arthur Plains and Alpha Moraine

Next up: a brief stint on the ever familiar Arthur Plains. Our legs carried us with an almost mechanical consistency, until about 45 minutes later, where we found ourselves at the base of Alpha Moraine, around 3 hours after setting out. We passed a small campsite where a couple of older gents had set up for the evening. They were heading south down the Port Davey Track. Having completed that same journey on our South West Epic walk many years ago, we were not envious. We stopped for a brief chat and continued on knowing what lay ahead for us.

The Uphill Battle

From this point onward, the true climb began. With an elevation gain of around 700 meters, we opted for a slow-and-steady approach. Having been here before, we were mindful of the toll this section exacts; the difference was that this time, dusk was not far away. The ascent became a solo endeavour for each of us as we started pacing ourselves differently, each absorbed in his own rhythmic climb. Woolza had surged ahead a bit while i climbed slowly, trapped in my pain cave. An hour into the climb it felt like good progress was being made but we were in fact only about half way up. We continued on as the sun began to lower towards the horizon. We touched the pinnacle of our climb just as the clock ticked towards 7 PM. However, there was no time for extended celebration; we had to locate the campsite before nightfall. A bit of scouting led us to an ideal spot, and with the tent pitched, our first day on the Western Arthur Range concluded. The walk had taken us five and a half hours but it felt more like ten.

As darkness enveloped our camp, we found ourselves physically spent. This had been a monumental first day, especially considering the hiatus from hiking that the summer and busy lives had enforced upon us. But, the exhaustion seemed like a small toll to pay for the luxury of being atop the range, surrounded by the wilderness and primed for the adventures that lay ahead. And this was only day one!

DAY 1: 15.43km, 1007m ascent, 5hrs 33mins (inc breaks)

View from near Mt Hesperus, Western Arthur Range
Our view to the west as we arrived at the top of the big climb on day one

Day 2: The Climb to the Clouds and a Milestone on Mt. Orion

A Cloudy Dawn

Our second day on the Western Arthur Range began under a veil of cloud cover. The absence of wind, however, left the air still, almost contemplative. After fuelling up with breakfast, we broke camp and commenced walking at precisely 8:12 AM. Though clouds hinted at impending rain, the panoramic views around us were simply awe-inspiring. We made a good pace and stopped for a brief chat with some other walkers we had seen on the previous day. It was then off to stop on the summit of Mt Hesperus before focusing on the walk to the next peak.

From Lake Cygnus we followed the well formed track along the range and had good views of the entire South West despite the cloud cover, then one and a half hours after Lake Cygnus, we arrived at what appeared to be the turn off for Mt Hayes. Just prior to beginning our ascent of Mt. Hayes, we took a short respite. Sustenance and water intake taken care of, we embarked on the climb. Following a straightforward route, we reached the summit within about 25 minutes. After spending a short while on the summit, the serenity at the peak was briefly disturbed by the onset of a light drizzle, compelling us to descend hastily, don our raincoats, and proceed onwards.

A Rain-Soaked Journey

Our path forward was no longer dry; rain cascaded down as we trudged a further kilometer. Finally, we sought shelter under a rock overhang for lunch hoping that the rain would pass. It did not. We had stopped at this same spot on our previous walk for the same reason. Now fully ensconced in wet-weather gear, our journey resumed after a wet lunch.

Arrival at Square Lake and More Mountains

We reached Square Lake 5.5 hours post-departure, the rain momentarily halting its incessant downpour. After another short break and a water refill while sharing some quick exchanges with fellow hikers, we ascended our next climb which would lead us to two more peaks. A misty 50-minute walk later, we ditched our packs and surged up the first of these to the peak of Mt. Sirius. Though visibility was limited, the mist did not translate to rain this time. We were careful to navigate the open slope through the mist and found the summit after 25 minutes. We didn’t hang around long and on the descent bumped into another walker who was also enjoying the solitude of the trail today. Back at the packs 20 minutes later, we continued on, and it took us just 15 minutes to arrive at a vantage point overlooking Lake Oberon and the fork leading up Mt. Orion.

Leaving our packs once again, we trekked up Mt. Orion, marking Woolza's 100th Abel—a significant milestone celebrated briefly as the clouds cleared to reveal the landscape below. Spectacular.

Downward to Lake Oberon

As we navigated back to our original path, 40 minutes after departing the same point, we encountered another walker coming in from the carpark. Visibly drained, he told us he was staying just one night before heading back. He didn’t appear to be enjoying it and his gear indicated that perhaps this was an educational experience for him. We wished him luck and a steep descent of another hour brought us to Lake Oberon, a famous piece of Tasmanian Landscape and our home for the night.

Day's End: A Return to Familiar Grounds

Today’s journey had been gruelling—9 hours and 45 minutes of rigorous hiking, inclusive of breaks. As we prepared our evening meal, the clouds dissipated, allowing the day to culminate in a breathtaking sunset over Lake Oberon. We had been lucky to have a similar sight on our 2011 traverse. The satisfaction ran deep: the familiarity of the lake, the challenges surmounted, and a milestone reached. All set the stage for restful slumber as we retired for the night. We slept well knowing that ‘one of the most exciting parts of the range’ beckoned tomorrow.

DAY 2: 13.73 km, 1108m ascent, 9 hrs 45 mins (inc breaks)

Views along the Western Arthur Range from near Mt Hesperus, South West Tasmanian
On the way again. In the distance, Precipitous Bluff can be seen and to its left, Mt Sirius which we would summit in a few hours
View from Mt Hayes, Western Arthur Range
The view towards the rest of the range and Federation Peak. This, from the summit of Mt Hayes
Views from Mt Orion, Western Arthur Range
View down to Square Lake and over to Mt Sirius from the summit of Mt Orion. Lake Oberon is below the cloud on the left.
Lake Oberon, Western Arthur Range
Descending to Lake Oberon. This is where the track becomes a little more technical.

Day 3: A Symphony of Peaks and Pleasurable Pauses

A Radiant Morning and First Ascent

We awoke to a radiant Tasmanian day. Stepping out from the shelter of our tent platform the warmth hit us instantly. Conscious of the escalating heat, we hit the trail by 8 AM. A stark contrast to our prior outing, today greeted us with stunning vistas and dry paths instead of wet, slippery tracks and snow. It was a delight to be here in shorts and t-shirt! A brief 15-minute trek landed us at the base of Mt. Pegasus.

Conquering Mt. Pegasus

Scaling Mt. Pegasus proved straightforward. We had never had too much trouble with the ups and downs of this range and after clambering over the only really questionable steep rock for this peak (which others may need to pack haul), the infamous cave was navigated with ease, and we relayed our packs through. The ascent was swift; one hour after setting out, we found ourselves standing atop the pass, awed by the sweeping views. Luxuriating in the beauty around us, we took an extended break before pushing on. We found a nice rock, perched ourselves and took it all in for a good half an hour. Today was already special.

Sidestepping Lake Uranus and Summiting Mt. Capricorn

As we moved towards Lake Uranus, we sidestepped its boundaries, in the shade of the peaks high above the water. Our path led us to the sunshine in the saddle at the foot of Mt. Capricorn, the next summit of the day. We wove our way upwards and reached the top 3 hours and 50 minutes after our initial departure. Again stopping for the views we spent a little while on the exposed rocky blade of a summit and laughed at how good the weather was on such a spectacular section of the range. Locating a shaded alcove, not far from the summit, we then took the opportunity for an extended lunch break knowing that time was on our side.

A Perfect Lunch and Pleasant Descent

Unlacing our boots, we lounged in our Helinox chairs and relished what was possibly the finest on-track lunch we'd ever had. Rejuvenated, the descent off Capricorn was next. Contrary to our recollections, the descent was far less treacherous, despite the mud/dirt ladder descents through the scrub along the way.

A Stroll to High Moor and Anticipating Tomorrow

Upon reaching the saddle between Capricorn and Dorado Peak, we trekked towards High Moor. A mixture open terrain and scrubby sidling, the well formed track was familiar and we arrived at the start of the grassy moor in good time. The journey took a little under 2 hours from our lunch spot. It was now 2:30 PM and the day had taken us 6.5 hours all up. Not bad. We settled into the sunny tent platforms at High Moor, quenching our thirst from a nearby soak.

Reflecting and Preparing

The remaining afternoon was spent in a relaxed manner, absorbing the panoramic views. An optional ascent up Mt. Columba was the cherry on top. As evening approached, so did a cooling wind. Recognising the challenges of the Beggary Bumps awaiting us, along with the weather forecast we had obtained, we opted for an early night.

In many ways, Day 3 was a day of unexpected luxuries—a sublime lunch, less arduous ascents and descents than what we remembered, and ample time for reflection. As we settled down for the night, the anticipation of the day to follow mixed with a sense of gratification. It was another exemplary day on the trail, but tomorrow promised an entirely different, albeit thrilling, challenge.

DAY 3: 7.27km, 695m ascent, 6 hrs 31 mins (inc breaks)

Lake Oberon from Mt Pegasus
Lake Oberon in all its glory from Mt Pegasus

Views from Mt Pegasus, Western Arthur Range
Just below the summit of Mt Pegasus. Amazing walking with views as far as the eye can see. Federation Peak stands tall.
Mt Capricorn summit
Woolza on the summit of Mt Capricorn. WHAT. A. DAY.
Mt Capricorn
Looking back at Mt Capricorn. A steep descent.
High Moor, Western Arthur Range
High Moor
Mt Columba, Western Arthur Range
Views from Mt Columba back along the range with Mt Hayes in the distance framed by Mt Sirius and Mt Orion.

Day 4: Weathering the Storms and Conquering Mt. Aldebaran

An Early Start to a Long Day

Anticipating the strenuous trek ahead, we awoke at the crack of dawn and prepared. A quick breakfast later, we were on the trail by 7:06 AM. Today was earmarked for the Beggary Bumps, a segment we had prior experience with and had found challenging. We had also set a goal of climbing Mt Aldebaran so were a little apprehensive that perhaps we were being too ambitious.

Surprising Ease and Tilted Chasm

Contrary to our reservations, the early part of the route proved less arduous than we remembered. With overcast skies again above us, we moved quickly and passed through the enigmatic tilted chasm and the alternating elevations of the track, pausing to marvel at the vistas. The high exposed sections we remembered were still there but we seemed to be managing these much better this time around - 12 more years of experience in such environments paying off. Three hours in, we took a snack break at the foot of Mt. Taurus, prepping for the climb ahead. The sky appeared more ominous so we didn’t stop for too long, wanting to have the bumps behind us if the rain were to set in.

Rain at the Peak of Taurus

Our ascent up Mt. Taurus was met with rain just as we summited, 4 hours after starting our day. Quick to adapt, we donned rain gear and started our descent towards Haven Lake. Memories of one particular sizeable drop surfaced, but we navigated it swiftly. Under relentless rain, we reached Haven Lake nearly 5 hours post-departure from High Moor.

A Wet Haven

The campsite was a solitary place as we had it entirely to ourselves. Hastily, we erected the tent in the downpour and took refuge, eating lunch in our wet-weather outfits, not yet venturing to unpack. As we ate, we discussed our plans for the afternoon. The way we saw it, we had 2 options; 1) wait for the rain to clear OR 2) head up Mt Aldebaran now and then rest for the afternoon.

The Decision for Mt. Aldebaran

With worsening weather conditions looming, we chose option 2 and decided to seize the moment and ascend Mt. Aldebaran immediately. I was already looking forward to the comfort of my sleeping bag in a few hours. By 12:45 PM, we had swapped to day packs and were en route. Torrential rain from the outset, along with thick mist complicated navigation, making our pre-plotted routes on our watches indispensable. On the initial climb we bumped into a solo walker we had seen a few times over the previous few days and they described to us their navigation woes over the last hour and a half on the peak, having taken some time to regain the route. They didn’t appear to have anything other than the map and we knew that in this white out environment that would make things fairly challenging. We wished them luck and continued on our way up the open slopes.

Summit and Return

We reached the peak of Mt. Aldebaran with the rain conveniently ceasing, one hour from when we left Haven Lake. We were happy with our progress and even took time to make a phone call home. The stay was brief, with our focus shifting to a return and drying off. Completing the round trip in 1 hour and 50 minutes, we were back at our now sunlit campsite for a pleasant afternoon. The skies had finally cleared, allowing us a much-needed drying period.

The Perfect End

The rest of the day was one of relaxation. As if preordained, the skies held off any more rain. Woolza surprised me with birthday cakes, making it a doubly special day—my birthday spent amidst one of the most fulfilling treks.

To say the day was merely successful would be an understatement; it was nothing short of awesome. From conquering the infamous Beggary Bumps much quicker than we had anticipated, to ascending Mt. Aldebaran under less-than-ideal conditions, Day 4 exemplified the grit and perseverance that make hiking such an indomitable experience. We fuelled up and ate well, ready for heading off the main route to wilder conditions tomorrow.

DAY 4:

6.38km, 639m ascent, 4hrs 55 mins (inc breaks) Mt Aldebaran Sidetrip: 3.07km, 441m ascent, 1hr 52mins (inc breaks)

High Moor, Western Arthur Range
Departing High Moor. Things get crazy pretty quick after this.
The Tilted Chasm
The Tilted Chasm
Mt Aldebaran Western Arthur Range
Approaching Mt. Aldebaran Summit
Mt Aldebaran
The weather begins to clear on Mt Aldebaran
Haven Lake Western Arthur Range
Haven Lake

Day 5: Overcoming Familiar Challenges and Finding New Thrills

A Reluctant Start to Another Day

Given our previous experience with today's route last time, which had left us struggling through harsh conditions, our enthusiasm this morning was somewhat tempered. Regardless, we shouldered our packs and left the cold, misty surroundings of Haven Lake by 7:30am. Where we would finish today, we weren’t certain. We had entertained the idea of going as far as West Portal but more likely was the campsite we had visited previously - Promontory Lake. We set out with open minds.

The Unfamiliar Familiar Route

After an hour of navigating a wet, undulating section, we were greeted by some memorable vistas that offered a welcome contrast to the gloom. The steep descent that followed brought us to Lake Sirona after one hours walking, another reminder that today's route, although familiar, still held some surprises.

Into the Mist of Mt. Scorpio

Engulfed again by a thick mist, we began our ascent toward Mt. Scorpio. Walking amongst the rocky landscape it wasn’t long before we felt we were nearing the peak. As we deliberated on where to turn off for the summit, we realised we were already there at the turn off—sometimes you're exactly where you need to be even when you don't know it. Packs dumped, a brief 5-minute jaunt led us to the peak and our 5th Abel for the trip, an hour and forty minutes after departing camp. While still misty, it was pleasant on the summit and we took some time for happy snaps before returning to the packs.

From Mist to Sunlight

Descending down Kappa Moraine, the mist started lifting, revealing Promontory Lake to the east. The transition from thick mist to sunlight was like flipping a switch—nature's own mood lighting. We passed some German walkers who were on their way out giving us the sense that we were again heading into the isolation of the less visited part of the range.

The Not-So Beloved Detour

Watching out for the unmarked turnoff 40 minutes past Mt. Scorpio, we made our way into the more rugged route off the main track towards Promontory. Although we didn't relish this overgrown section during our previous visit, the sunlight this time around made it tolerable, if not enjoyable. By now, we had decided that we would stop at Promontory tonight to allow ourselves a break. It would mean a bigger day tomorrow but the surety of a campsite here basically made the decision for us. The route was noticeably rougher and overgrown with Bauera and scrub. Sodden foliage always makes the walk along such track less enjoyable and one can’t help but become saturated - a mix of sweat and rain remnants.

Final Stretch to Promontory

Descending to pass Lake Vesta and then Lake Juno, we then climbed and skirted around the base of Carina Peak, reaching the northern end of Promontory Lake in 3 hours and 45 minutes after departure. Another 40 minutes led us to our selected campsite on the southern shore, the same spot we had stayed at for two nights in 2011 — with significant growth in the surrounding scrub and trees very evident, sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Finding Solace in Solitude

While Woolza took a much-needed rest, possibly feeling the toll of the past five days, I went on a recon walk, exploring tomorrow's route and the plateau's rim for panoramic views of the Arthur Plains. The solo time provided some time for quiet reflection and contemplation of the next few days. I took time to make a phone call home to check in on the family before returning to camp.

A Quiet End to an Eventful Day

As the day closed, Woolza woke up rejuvenated and we both looked forward to the next day, anticipating what new adventures awaited us. Tonight, we rested easier, a solid ending to a day that had started with reluctance but ended with renewed energy.

DAY 5: 6.20 km, 654m ascent, 4hrs 20mins (inc breaks)

Lake Sirona Western Arthur Range
Lake Sirona
Mt Scorpio Western Arthur Range
Mt Scorpio with Lake Juno below
Promontory Lake Western Arthur Range
Arriving at the northern end of Promontory Lake
Promontory Lake Western Arthur Range
Mt. Aldebaran (left), Mt Scorpio (left of centre) and Promontory Lake from near The Sculptor

Day 6: A Mix of Rain, Mist, and Triumphs

A Rain-Soaked Morning Dilemma

As rain frequently drummed on our tent throughout the night, we awoke with mixed feelings. Our initial plan to camp at West Portal tonight became increasingly unlikely due to the weather. By 8am, we put the debate to rest and set our sights on either Lake Roseanne or more optimistically, Pass Creek, as potential campsites. The latter would set us up for an ascent of the Needles in the Eastern Arthur Range tomorrow.

Into the Misty Wilderness

By 9:14am, we decided to wait no longer and brave the rain. We began a slow ascent initially following a rough pad through some reasonable scrub (which didn’t exist in 2011) and then up the open slopes past the Sculptor. An hour later, we reached the summit of the Phoenix. Despite the thick mist and sporadic rain, our spirits were high, partially fuelled by the memory of foolishly bypassing West Portal 12 years earlier. Something we wanted to fix today.

Rolling Through the Landscape

We then started a slight descent to the base of Centaurus ridge passing the interesting rock formations to our north. The walking was gratifying, to say the least. Despite the continuing mist and drizzle we made good progress and approximately three hours after departing camp, the climb towards the Crags of Andromeda, and West Portal, commenced. Amidst a blend of rock and alpine grass, we decided to drop our main packs and proceed with just daypacks for the remaining journey to the peak.

Navigating Challenges and Claiming Victory

The misty environment again made navigation a bit challenging, but we managed to manoeuvre swiftly through the ankle high grass and large boulders. Finally, we arrived at a large rocky section.  A small climb at a final and slightly precarious climb led us to the peak marked by a large stone stacked cairn. Our happiness at reaching the summit we had talked about for years was immeasurable. After a 15-minute stay in the thick mist, we returned to our packs buoyed with this latest summit - one of my all time favourites despite the lack of views.

Lunch and Resurgence

We took a well-deserved break in the mist and had lunch. As we resumed walking, we were graced with a cessation of mist and rain, allowing us to remove our raincoats. The subsequent walk along the Crags of Andromeda was an exhilarating experience, coupled with views that evoked a tinge of melancholy as we began our descent away from the Western Arthur Range.

The Final Leg: Lake Roseanne to Pass Creek

About 6.5 hours from our starting point, we turned east and began the first part of our descent. Our arrival at Lake Roseanne prompted a quick hydration break. Due to our prior knowledge of the alternative route over Lucifer Ridge being closed, we opted for the northern track to the Arthur plains and onward to Pass Creek. We progressed swiftly, encountering a newly minted boardwalk that carried us for the last few kilometres. About 1km from the creek crossing we spotted a new campsite and a large white structure. We hurried our pace.

A Welcome Surprise at Pass Creek

Just over 9.5 hours after leaving Promontory Lake, we crossed the creek and found an upgraded new campsite amongst the buttongrass featuring tent platforms—a luxury we were more than delighted to discover. A nearby marquee signalled the presence of track workers, with whom we had a brief chat before setting up our tent, all the while taking in a spectacular sunset over West Portal which now stood to our west above us.

A Night of Contentment

Our day came to a close under the hues of the setting sun. There was a palpable sense of triumph and gratification as we reminisced about the day's journey, particularly the long-awaited ascent of West Portal. We went to sleep highly satisfied, eagerly anticipating another day of adventures.

And so concluded one of the most fulfilling days of our hike, a true blend of rain, mist, and unanticipated delights.

DAY 6: 19.41km, 1170m Ascent, 9hrs 36mins inc breaks

The Phoenix Western Arthur Range
On the way up The Phoenix
The Phoenix and Centaurus ridge
Rock formations on The Phoenix (left) as we head on to Centaurus Ridge (right)
West Portal Summit Western Arthur Range
On the summit of West Portal. Glad to be here after giving it a miss 12 years prior
Crags of Andromeda Western Arthur Range
Nearing the end of the Crags of Andromeda .......... and the Western Arthur Range
Arthur Plains from near Lake Roseanne
Descending to the Arthur Plains
Nearing Pass Creek and the Eastern Arthur Range
Nearing Pass Creek and the Eastern Arthur Range
Pass Creek and West Portal
Sunset from our tent platform with the West Portal in clouds above. Bliss.

Day 7: The Ascent to 'The Needles' - A Journey of Completion and Connection

A Gentle Start to an Awaited Adventure

The day broke with a grey veil of clouds, casting a calm yet overcast ambiance as we stirred from our slumber. While I struggled to wake, Woolza was already up recording a morning video diary. Today was about revisiting the familiar, yet venturing into the untouched – ‘The Needles’, now colloquially known as the ‘Namaste Needles’, a peak that always beckoned from a distance in our previous treks. Today, we intended to make the acquaintance.

With the comfort of familiarity easing our minds, we had allowed ourselves a bit of a sleep-in. But, by 8:50 AM, with daypacks shouldered, we were on our way, the boardwalk under our boots leading us towards Luckman’s Lead.

The Initial Ascent: Faces Old and New

As we trod along, we passed the old campsite where we had stayed on our last few visits. We noticed it was now long incapcitated by fires. We came to a brief halt for a casual chat with the track workers, a slight yet sweet detour in our routine. Resuming the journey, the first ascent, though small, signalled the beginning of our day’s quest. The walk up Luckman’s Lead has always been a blend of challenge and charm, every step bringing us closer to the sky, the views widening, and our spirits soaring.

Through Camps and Canopies

About an hour into our journey, a track worker high camp emerged amidst the wilderness, a temporary helipad standing as a testimony to a human touch here at the upper reaches of the climb. The trek continued through varying landscapes, from the open to the denser, scrubbier forested section of the trail, the rain making a gentle appearance.

Unanticipated Recognitions

As we neared the top of our climb, a jovial interaction with a group of walkers marked a light-hearted moment. A surprising recognition as 'Mowser' brought smiles, as we met a follower of my YouTube Channel. This team of walkers were also off to the Namaste Needles, one of them about to complete every Abel. A brief, cheerful chat ensued, before we continued our ascent.

Views, Breaks, and Unexpected Calls

A break at 2 hours 40 minutes revealed panoramas that refreshed our spirits. The solitude was broken by a call from our mate, Lewi Taylor, bringing in last-minute tips for the pending ascent to 'The Needles'. He actually rang  and proposed another walk, albeit our current quest prevented us on joining him for a trek to the Southern Ranges.

The Final Push to 'The Needles'

As we ventured further, the familiar trails led us to Stuart Saddle, a well known rest point for us having spent many nights here on previous trips. Not far from there, the journey led us off the beaten path, through scrubs and rocks, to a steep descent before the final climb to ‘The Needles’. Every step, though challenging, was a step towards fulfilment. And then, the summit was ours! The views from the top were a feast to our eyes, the sun breaking through the clouds, casting a golden glow on the Western Arthurs, Federation Peak, and the Eastern Arthurs. The euphoria of the accomplishment, blended with the tranquil beauty, was a soul-filling experience. Two days ago we had thought that completing both West Portal and Namaste Needles on this trip was a bit of a pipe dream but here we were! We spent some time to take in the views, have some lunch and also wave to the walkers we had met earlier who were off in the distance perched on a saddle. Feeling content, it was now time to depart.

The Reluctant Descent and Reflective Return

The descent, though carried out with a heavy heart, was a journey back to reality. The return trek was filled with reflections, a casual chat again with fellow hikers, and the sight of a Parks and Wildlife helicopter crisscrossing the valley adding to the day’s narrative.

A Quiet Evening Under The Open Sky

As we reached back to our campsite at Pass Creek, the serenity of the place, now devoid of the earlier hustle, wrapped around us. We had the entire site to ourselves, with the track workers now departed. The evening was about relaxation, reminiscence, and the quiet joy of a peak conquered. As we settled down for an early night, the plains stretching 36km to our car seemed less daunting, a challenge for the morrow perhaps.

The day was about completion, unexpected connections, and the unadulterated joy of reaching ‘The Namaste Needles’. As the evening sky cast long shadows on the wilderness, we knew, this day was a beautiful chapter in our Arthur Ranges narrative and one we’d remember for a long time.

DAY 7: 13.23km, 1424m ascent, 8hrs 44mins (inc breaks)

Nearing Stuart Saddle, a track VERY familiar to us, it was great to be back.
The Needles - Eastern Arthur Range
Woolza atop The Namaste Needles
West Portal and Western Arthur Range from the Eastern Arthur Range
On the way back we were rewarded with this amazing view from near the top of Luckman's Lead. West Portal and the Western Arthurs can be seen on the left extending into the distance.
Luckman's Lead Eastern Arthur Range
Woolza nearing Pass Creek at the bottom of Luckman's Lead

Day 8: From Junction Creek to Jubilation - A Trek of Tenacity and Triumph

The Dawn of Determination

The day ushered in with a clear sky, a gentle reminder of the terrain we had traversed and the journey that lay ahead. While the initial plan hinted at reaching Junction Creek tonight, a part of me envisioned us at the car, marking the end of today’s trek. Though Woolza seemed less convinced about this ambitious stretch, the silent anticipation hung in the cool morning air.

The First Steps on Familiar Ground

By 7:50 AM, with the calm morning breeze brushing against our faces, we set forth along the new boardwalk towards the Razorback and the Arthur Plains. Despite my earlier ventures on this track, the plains' monotonous stretch wasn’t something I looked forward to. However, the brisk pace we set in the early hours seemed to make the path less tedious.

Embracing the Sun and Sweating It Out

As the sun climbed higher, casting its warm, golden rays, the serenity was replaced by a sweat-breaking pace. Our first significant checkpoint came after 1 hour and 45 minutes at the familiar juncture of Cracroft Crossing. Turning west, a straight 20km beeline towards Junction Creek lay ahead.

The Razorback Revelations

Our ascent to the Razorback was a sweat-soaked endeavor. Yet, standing atop the Razorback saddle, with a panorama of the Western Arthurs and the path ahead, was a surreal moment. The reflection on the solitude and surreal vistas we had experienced over the past week was a reward in itself, igniting a desire to return someday.

Traversing the Plains, Mile by Mile

The journey resumed, now on Arthur Plains proper. Our next halt was at Nine Mile Creek, beside the serene Huon river, marking a well-deserved break and hydration stop. My strategy was simple: a snack bar every 5km to keep fatigue at bay. The path ahead, though long, now seemed less daunting with a warm dinner and cold beer waiting at Strathgordon Lodge now booked, thanks to our mate Beaui whom we had satellite messaged from the track.

Through Heat, Shade, and Silent Celebrations

Continuing under the scorching sun, our steps led us to Wullyawa Creek, a shady refuge where lunch awaited. The decision was firm; we were marching all the way out. Post a rejuvenating 45-minute break, the solitary trek resumed, each in our thoughts, fuelled by podcasts that resonated from our phones in the shoulder pockets of our packs.

A Major Milestone: Junction Creek

Nearly 8 hours into the trek, the sight of Junction Creek was a morale booster. The milestone marked a significant 28km covered for the day, yet the final 8km stretch to the carpark awaited. Despite the exhausting journey, a newfound appreciation for this last leg of the trail enveloped me, the comedic podcasts adding a light-hearted touch to the strenuous steps.

The Final Stretch: Emotions and Exhaustion

The last stretch saw us passing a small group of walkers, the solitary journey now nearing its end. As we reached the carpark, 10 hours and 36km later, the feelings were mixed. While jubilation surged through me, Woolza was overwhelmed to the brink of speechlessness. The change of shoes felt like shedding the old and embracing the comfort of completion.

A Serene Sunset at Strathgordon Chalet

The drive to Strathgordon Chalet was a journey from the wild to the warm. Post a refreshing shower, as we sat there, watching the sun dip below the horizon, the large pints of beer felt like a toast to the wild, unpredictable, yet utterly rewarding Western Arthur adventure. The hearty dinner was not just a feast for our starved stomachs, but a celebration of the endurance, the breathtaking vistas, and the unbreakable camaraderie - Woolza and I had calculated that we had now spent over 100 nights together on extended walks.

The Promise of Return

As the day concluded, the Western Arthurs stood there, a silent yet grand memoir of the past days. Despite the gruelling trails, the lure of the wilderness was undeniable. I knew, this wasn’t a goodbye, but a promise of return. Until then, the memories would fuel the days ahead. Stay tuned...

DAY 8: 36.53km, 920m ascent, 10hrs 8mins (inc breaks)

Arthur Plains
Morning on the Arthur Plains
Mowser on the Razorback with the Western Arthur Range behind. Eastern Arthurs and Federation peak to the left.
Mowser on the Razorback with the Western Arthur Range behind. Eastern Arthurs and Federation peak to the left.
Arthur Plains and Western Arthur Range
Nearing Junction Creek and coming full circle. Alpha Moraine can be seen on the left. What a way to finish an amazing walk!

The Days by Numbers:

DAY 1: 15.43km, 1007m ascent, 5hrs 33mins (inc breaks)

DAY 2: 13.73 km, 1108m ascent, 9 hrs 45 mins (inc breaks)

DAY 3: 7.27km, 695m ascent, 6 hrs 31 mins (inc breaks)

DAY 4: 6.38km, 639m ascent, 4hrs 55 mins (inc breaks) Mt Aldebaran Sidetrip: 3.07km, 441m ascent, 1hr 52mins (inc breaks)

DAY 5: 6.20 km, 654m ascent, 4hrs 20mins (inc breaks)

DAY 6: 19.41km, 1170m Ascent, 9hrs 36mins inc breaks

DAY 7: 13.23km, 1424m ascent, 8hrs 44mins (inc breaks)

DAY 8: 36.53km, 920m ascent, 10hrs 8mins (inc breaks)

Total distance: 122.75 kilometres

Total Ascent: 8163 metres

Total Time walking: 62 hrs 33 mins

Peaks Climbed

Phoenix, The
West Portal
Needles, The (E.Arthurs)

A few photos from the Walk

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