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Pine Valley & The Labyrinth Tasmania

The Labyrinth Tasmania is a maze of tarns, lakes and fantastically named mountains in the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness. Access is via Lake St Clair and Pine Valley. In order to save 6 hours of walking time it is not a bad idea to catch the Lake St Clair ferry service which will run you across the lake to Narcissus. From here you walk an hour or so on the famous Overland Track until you reach a signposted turnoff to Pine Valley. The track to Pine Valley passes through buttongrass, then eucalypt forest, before heading into some beautiful Tasmanian rainforest for the last 30 minutes or so before reaching a very good hut at Pine Valley.

Pandani and myrtle forest at Pine Valley

Pandani forest surrounds the hut at Pine Valley.

The Labyrinth Tasmania: Walking notes from Pine Valley

From here the track starts to climb. Firstly through rainforest (and at one point you walk right up a creek!). Eventually the forest thins and views towards Mt Olympus and Mt Gould appear. Once you reach the top, the track flattens out somewhat as you make your way through the much drier and open forest of snow gums and pencil pines. The track leads to either a Lookout on a hill, or to Lake Elysia (and beyond). Lake Elysia is a magnificent place to view Mt Geryon and The Acropolis, as the lake is quite small, and will provide stunning reflections given half a chance. All up it is approx 2.5 hours from the Pine Valley hut to Lake Elysia.

The Labyrinth Tasmania: Mt Geryon and Lake Elysia

Mt Geryon and Lake Elysia. Nice even light at the end of the day.

Tasmanian Wilderness Photography

The region has been a photographers delight for years – Mt Geryon and the Acropolis offer a  fantastic skyline, and the region is infamous for the extremes of weather, including freezing temperatures, snowfall, and wonderful autumn colours, as Tasmania’s deciduous beech changes colour each autumn. I planned my night in the region to take advantage of some perfect autumn weather – clear skies and virtually no wind, and wasn’t dissapointed. The morning was clear, and rather than sunrise colours, I was looking to photograph a pre-dawn silhouette of the mountains, reflecting in Lake Elysia.

The Labyrinth Tasmania: Mt Geryon, The Acropolis and Lake Elysia

Pre dawn silhouette and reflections in Tasmania’s Labyrinth

Fagus 2011: My visit was early April, and too early for any real colour in the fagus. Some leaves were yellow, but overall the landscape was still very much green. Anyone planning a fagus photo trip this month should wait a couple of weeks. In general, a week or so either side of ANZAC day is regarded as the best time to get out and view fagus, and this will be pretty accurate this year, based on the leaves in the Labyrinth last week.

Back at Pine Valley Hut is a great place to rest up. Cephissus Creek runs right by the hut, and contains some truly beautiful rainforest full of pines, myrtles and pandanis. There is a series of cascades on the creek (Cephissus Falls) which is a great spot to rest your weary bones, and as something of a nice surprise, there weren’t even any leeches!

Cephissus Falls, Pine Valley

Cephissus Falls in Pine Valley

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About Luke

Luke O'Brien runs a stall at Hobart's popular Salamanca Market every Saturday where his prints and cards are available for purchase. Follow Luke's photographic adventures on Twitter at @lukeobrienphoto, at his Facebook page or by subscribing to his email newsletter.