HARTZ- A WALK INTO WILDERNESS
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JANUARY 7 2010
From Dover to Hartz Mountain is about 80 kms and you pass through the small town of Geeveston, described as "a redneck logging town" by Lonely Planet. The town was founded around 1820 by the Geeves family who came to cut down timber.In the 1980s Geeveston was the centre of the fierce battle with conservationists to save nearby forest around Farmhouse Creek and in 1989 this forest was declared part of the World Heritage area.
We did a quick walk around Geeveston and visited the Forest and Heritage Centre which promotes forestry rather than National Parks and wilderness areas and sells tickets to the Tahune Forest air Walk; well we had already done that so we made a hasty retreat back on to the road.
Hartz Mountains national park has to be one of the most fascinating areas we have explored!! Wild and wonderful because the journey is as stunning as the destination!
It is called a small alpine park and this seems inappropriate as the experience is far from small.
You reach the park on forestry roads which as always are well maintained and then you reach the national park road into the park and this road is full of huge pot holes and bumpy ridges.
The entrance toilet at Waratah Lookout suited the environment!
There are warnings everywhere that the weather here is changeable and dangerous; that a fine sunny still day quickly changes into a freezing, blustery and challenging experience.
We met some walkers at Cockle Creek that had that experience and that the wind was so cold and forceful they were unable to access the higher areas of the Hartz Peak walk. There is snow and frozen creeks in winter and an environment suitable for cross country skiing.
None of this was apparent on the day we chose to tackle the walks in this special place. We had packed raincoats, jackets and food and water.The sky was azure blue, there was no wind and the temperature was about 24 degrees. This is great because it rains 250 days of the year and is windy most days! We consider ourselves lucky to have a day like this.
The area around Hartz Mountains was settled by Europeans in the 1820s for its timber which I guess would have been the famous Huon Pine. In 1896 the Geeves, as mentioned a founding family in the area cut a track to Hartz Mountain and by 1920 this became one of Tasmania's first popular bushwalking destinations.
In 1989 the park was included in Tasmania’s World Heritage areas and it borders the wilderness of the huge Southwest NP and the logged regrowth Tasmanian Forests.
A new visitor’s structure is unmanned but has shelter and information about the Park as well as a “Walkers Registration Logbook” to complete your details and purpose.
I don’t know that anyone checks the Log but I expect if someone reports you missing that the ranger would inspect it!!??
Most of the walk is on boardwalk to protect the delicate alpine plants.
Apparently one bush walker’s footstep can destroy a plant that may take 30 years to regenerate- that’s the information that National Park signage advises visitors to this special place.
We are surprised that there are at least 12 vehicles at the car park where the walks begin.
The altitudes in the park vary from 200 to 1200 metres and the flora and vegetation varies greatly as you climb higher.
We were surprised to learn that the emblem for the park is the waratah but its flower lacks the long stem of the more familiar waratah of NSW but makes a gorgeous contribution to the colourful landscape.
The heath and moorlands, button grass plains and really special alpine plants that we had never seen before kept us walking at a slow pace; so much to see.
Cushion plants (donatia novae-zelandiae), endemic to Tasmania and we think NZ are “seeing is believing” stuff!.
We spent some time at the glacial lakes: Lake Esperance and Ladies Tarn where the cold water had a green tint reflecting the forest fringing them.
Climbing higher we reach black dolerite ridges and then up high above our starting point, the scenery of the distant mountain ranges was breathtaking!
An amazing panorama of ranges and peaks!!!!
Oh dear! Words are not really effective at presenting the 4 hours we spent on this track so we’ll let the pictures talk.
We will definitely return because time ran short and we were unable to explore some of the other walks in Hartz Mountain NP.