2 TREK: Mt Anne Cir­cuit

Best time: Novem­ber-April More info: www.tas­ma­ni­an­ex­pe­di­tions.com.au

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Adventure | Tasmania -

THE GREAT THING ABOUT Tas­ma­nia’s best walks is more than a few of them fit nicely into a week­long es­cape for those liv­ing on the main­land. The Mt Anne Cir­cuit is an ex­am­ple of this, but it is also a chal­leng­ing walk that earns its bucket-list nom­i­na­tion for far more than just con­ve­nience: it is an ab­so­lute cracker of a four-day trek through Tassie’s rugged south­west.

You can fit a lot of ad­ven­ture into four days if you re­ally try – and the Mt Anne Cir­cuit ad­heres to that ethos; the cir­cuit throws walk­ers straight into it on day one, with a long but steady 750m as­cent to the first camp­site, aptly dubbed High Camp. The views back across Lake Ped­der from here are amaz­ing, and only topped by those who are keen enough for an af­ter­noon scram­ble up higher to the top of Mt El­iza (1189m). We’d thor­oughly rec­om­mend do­ing this, though, if you have the time; with­out your heavy packs on, it is a rel­a­tively short (around one hour), steep as­cent up and over nu­mer­ous boul­ders to the sum­mit. From this lofty view­point, the views are in­cred­i­ble, rang­ing across Lake Ped­der and then south to­ward more of the wild and moun­tain­ous ter­rain that Tassie’s south­west is fa­mous for.

The Mt Anne Cir­cuit’s other claim to fame is, fun­nily enough, the peaks you tra­verse dur­ing it. It is day two when walk­ers reach the cir­cuit’s name­sake peak; af­ter leav­ing High Camp in the morn­ing and – again – as­cend­ing Mt El­iza, you spend a cou­ple of hours walk­ing across the Mt El­iza Plateau before tack­ling some boul­der scree and then you reach the junc­tion of the track to Mt Anne it­self.

The climb up Mt Anne won’t suit those with an aver­sion to high ex­posed ar­eas, but for those who are up for it, the climb/scram­ble up the cliffs at the base of the peak leads to more bal­anced walk­ing along ex­posed parts of the moun­tain to the sum­mit and an­other epic view.

Once back on the main track it is only an­other 30 min­utes to what this writer rates as one of Tassie’s best camp­sites: Shelf Camp. Perched up on a mas­sive rock shelf, the camp­site looks back across a deep val­ley to Mt Anne to the north, and the equally ma­jes­tic Mt Lot and The Notch to the south. The camp­site lo­ca­tion is gob­s­mack­ing and also of­fers walk­ers a view of the next day’s epic: travers­ing Mt Lot and The Notch on the way to the lower-down Judd’s Charm camp.

If there’s one day that can pos­si­bly stand out from the oth­ers on the Mt Anne Cir­cuit, it is day three and the tra­verse of The Notch. From Shelf Camp walk­ers have to tra­verse a mas­sive scree field (it can take 2.5 hours to cover 1km), which also in­cludes a few pack hauls and short ab­seils/rope-as­sisted de­scents before an even more epic sec­tion where you have a 15m ex­posed climb up the other side of The Notch, onto the do­lerite walls of Mt Lot. The ter­rain is ex­tremely rocky and scree-filled, but once you reach the sum­mit of Mt Lot, the land­scape changes once again. De­scend­ing Mt Lot, along Light­ning Ridge, in­volves plenty of rock-hop­ping ini­tially, before walk­ers are plunged into a land­scape of dense rain­for­est, filled with giant pan­danus and ferns, and muddy track sec­tions to keep you on your toes before you reach rel­a­tively open ground and an­other hour of walk­ing to the pretty Judd’s Charm camp­site, nes­tled along­side a huge lake.

As with all Tassie treks, the last day on the Mt Anne Cir­cuit is no stroll, with a lengthy tra­verse of a low plateau (keep your eye out for fresh­wa­ter crayfish in the small creeks) before you de­scend rugged, rocky ter­rain to the Anne River plains and the ubiq­ui­tous but­ton grass and mud-filled track (this writer wit­nessed a trek guide, who shall re­main name­less, dis­ap­pear nearly to his waist in one boggy sec­tion) that takes you to track’s end at Red Tape Creek.

The Mt Anne Cir­cuit, like all mul­ti­day jaunts in Tassie, re­quires you to be fit and carry gear for all con­di­tions, but if there’s ever a walk that fits the bill of “best walk­ing bang for your bucks”, this is it folks. You’ll do it once, and then you’ll want to do it again, and again… – JW

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