One's an internationally renowned walking track in the famous Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the other is a favourite amongst locals. Whilst close in location, they offer different walking experiences through stunning landscapes. We've put together highlights on The Overland Track and the Walls of Jerusalem Circuit to showcase their individual characteristics.
The Overland Track (Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park)
Grading: Moderate (see clarification below)
Highlights: Walk the famous track with spectacular sub-alpine plateaus and highland landscapes, and summit Tasmania’s highest peak Mt Ossa.
Tasmanian Expeditions has been walking this track for more than 40 years. We are the experts on The Overland Track.
Australia’s premier bushwalk, this renowned track attracts walkers in from all over the world. Cradle Mountain is the drawcard with the overall trek experience and amenities on offer. The Overland Track is on many adventurers walking list.
The Overland Track is located in the northwest of the island and 60 kilometres from the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. It is less than two hours from Launceston.
"I can remember feeling like I’d walked into Willy Wonka’s factory, jaw dropping and astounded by everlasting gobstopping views. I couldn’t believe that a place as beautiful as this existed." —Caro Ryan from Lotsafreshair
Climb Tasmania’s tallest peak
There are many highlights on The Overland Track, though the popular one is the opportunity to summit Tasmania’s highest mountains such as iconic Cradle Mountain and the highest peak Mt Ossa at 1,617 metres (weather dependent). The views are magnificent and on a clear day you’ll see views of Barn Bluff, Pelion West and Pelion East on the horizon.
Flora and Fauna
Trekking through the beautiful landscapes full of unusual vegetation and watching the local wildlife is a delightful experience. Along the track you might encounter wombats, quolls, platypuses, echidnas, and possibly even a Tasmanian Devil. There are many species of birds—migratory and resident—in this part of Tasmania.
The rich and diverse flora includes grasslands, rainforests, and ancient plants such as the endemic King Billy pine. You'll also see the unusual native deciduous beech. Enjoy the wildflowers of orchids, banksias, waratahs, leatherwoods and hakeas. If opportunity permits, there is a little Gondwana-era rainforest and our guides lead trekkers one at a time into the dark forest where all you hear is the wind blowing.
The Overland Track starts at the Weindorfer’s Chalet, the former home of Gustav and Kate Weindorfer who built their home in the park in 1912. During their visits to the area and upon climbing Cradle Mountain Mr Weindoffer stated, “this must be a National Park for the people for all time. It is magnificent, and people must know about it and enjoy it.” The area became a national park in 1947.
Trekkers will enjoy stopping for a rest at historic Kitchen Hut, built in 1937 which is now used as an emergency shelter.
“The journey was filled with remarkable scenery, fascinating history, and extraordinary plants and animals (the wombats were my favourite!) Our guides were delightful, professional and dedicated to making the journey enjoyable for each trekker. We especially enjoyed the camaraderie, delicious prepared meals and the stunning natural beauty of the trek.” —B. Mills | Bellevue, WA, USA
Towards the end of the trek, a visit to Mersey River Waterfalls is a must, as is a walk to Fergusson Falls, D’Alton Falls and Harnett Falls—some of Tasmania’s largest. The waterfalls are set in some of the oldest, most beautiful rainforests in the park.
For more information, go here.
Walls of Jerusalem Circuit (Walls of Jerusalem National Park)
Grading: Moderate (see clarification below)
Highlights: Alpine wilderness walking experience, lakes and tarns galore, historic huts and climb Tasmania’s 10th highest peak.
Walls of Jerusalem National Park is located in the northwest of Tasmania, approximately 1.4 hours from Launceston. It can be reached only by foot with a steep ascent into the park, and it is Tasmania’s only true alpine national park.
It features endemic alpine flora with delicate rare cushion plants, wide open spaces, ancient pencil pine forests, dolerite peaks, native wildlife, and historic mountain huts. Its landmarks are uniquely biblically named. It is also known as the "Land of a Thousand Lakes" for its surplus of highland lakes and tarns.
All gear is to be taken in and out. This park is not suitable for a day visit, like Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, where the Overland Track starts.
Many trekkers say their favourite track in the northwest of Tasmania is in the Walls of Jerusalem as it is less crowded, and the landscape is magnificent in all seasons.
Why Biblical Names?
In 1849, surveyor James Scott named the park after the geological features which are thought to resemble the walls of the city of Jerusalem. In the 1920s solicitor Reg Hall a regular visitor continued the theme naming the landmarks: The Temple, Wailing Wall, Solomons Jewels, Pool of Bethesda, Lake Salome, Damascus Gate, Zions Gate and Herods Gate.
Throughout the park historic mountain huts feature along the trail and provide insight into the living conditions of those that once lived here. Solitary Man’s Hut was built by a man in 1983 without Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services permission and he lived here for 18 months seeking peace and solitude. He’d venture to the local town for supplies, but for the most part he lived a reclusive life. There’s Trappers Hut and Dixons Hut both postcard picturesque landmarks and a great spot for a picnic.
Those looking to summit mountains for the amazing views across the park will enjoy climbing Tasmania’s 10th highest peak: King David. Climbers must first summit Solomon’s Throne then traverse the ridgeline to reach the highest point at 1,499 metres. If it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see Cradle Mountain and right across the entire Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
Lakes, Tarns and Alpine Vegetation
There’s an abundance of water system lakes and tarns all sitting in stunning alpine landscapes including Solomon’s Jewels (a series of tarns), the Pool of Bethesda and Lake Salome, to name a few. Once you’ve been to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, you’ll truly understand why it’s known as the "Land of a Thousand Lakes".
The alpine vegetation is spectacular where endemic conifer forests, 1,000-year-old pencil pine forests and dense bush await you. The bright green mounds of cushion plants are very special and rare.
Now, you have read each walk’s highlights, which trail will you choose?
Moderate Grading: These adventures involve trekking for up to 6 or 7 hours a day at a steady pace. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. Treks may involve carrying a full pack around 15kg, which includes your camping gear, food and personal belongings. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions, including rain, hail, snow or strong winds.
Suggested preparation: 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise, three to four times a week. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions is also recommended.
For more information, go here.
“The Walls of Jerusalem was truly a bushwalkers bush walk in stages, similar in the intensity of physical and mental stamina as the South Coast Track, but with an equally spectacular but different scenery. An ability to pitch your tent in a forest of trees that would be a 1000 years old, fresh water crayfish in tarns on tops of the mountains, beautiful green mounds of cushion plants, (all these found nowhere else in the world) a Gondwana Land Australian native beech tree, (exclusive only to this region in Australia), crystal clear lakes and walking over spongey peaty ancient glacier fields whilst listening to underground streams gurgling. Too good to be real! Brilliant too were the guides, making the whole trip yet another one of “Life’s Highlights” and leaving me enthusiastic to attempt another in Tassie in the future.” R. Haensel | South Australia