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Western Arthur Range Part I: Onward and Upward!

The Western Arthur Range has long been at the top of my must see locations in Tasmania and with a small group of friends recently I visited the first part of the range over three days, camping two nights at Lake Cygnus.

The hike is a real doozy. The first few kilometres start out innocently enough, with a nice and firm track alternating between boardwalk and rocky gravel allowing you to take in the mountain scenery from the Arthur Plains.

If doesn’t take long, however, before the famed south west mud pits appear and you find yourself slogging through the bogs. At first you make tentative efforts not to get yourself too wet or dirty but before long, resigned to your fate of days and days of stinking feet and boots, you just plow right on through, knowing with grim certainty that there is plenty more to come…

The first major landmark is Junction Creek, around 8kms in. This is also a camp site, so adding a night here on your way in or out would allow for an easier pace.

An hour or so after Junction Creek you reach the track junction to Port Davey, and the climb up Moraine A begins. This is where things start to get serious. The climb up is very steep and you ascend around 600 metres in 2kms of hiking. My right knee started having a serious whinge from around 3/4’s of the way up too 🙁

It was quite cold and misty when we reached the top and we enjoyed a rest in very atmospheric conditions. There wasn’t too much to see as we hiked on through the mist to our camp at Lake Cygnus, which took us another hour or two.

The next day was magnificent. Having not taken a photo on the first day, we set out early – aiming for Lake Oberon as a return day walk without our heavy packs. The mist and the soft morning light above Lake Cygnus was stunning and it took us a very long time to pull ourselves away from the views over Lake Cygnus.

The mist persisted, and unhappily so did the complaints from my knee, and we passed Mt Hayes at a slower and slower pace. It became clear I wasn’t going to make it all the way to Lake Oberon and I stopped among the stunning rocks of Mt Hayes and spent some quality time in the mountains soaking in the atmosphere and really enjoying just being there.

By this point the sun had started to break through, and I enjoyed shooting the mist in brilliant sunlight behind me with the views to the track ahead also opening up from time to time.

I’ll leave it here now for Part I – thanks for reading along. Part II – the Return journey is coming soon 🙂

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Western Arthur Range Part II: Lake Cygnus
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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.