Wilderness Photography in Tasmania, Grail Falls to Ducane Range – Part 1

TREKKING THE CENTRAL PLATEAU IN TASMANIA – ACROSS THE TRAVELLER RANGE AND THE DUCANE RANGE

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WORLD HERITAGE

I love the Tasmanian World Heritage area and find myself being drawn back again and again. On this one week adventure, we took a route that found us in The Walls of Jerusalem area, across The Traveller Range and scaling the Acropolis in the Ducane Range. All very, wild, remote and spectacular.

GRAIL FALLS

We set off on the Moses Track in the late afternoon on the relatively short route through old growth rainforest to Grail Falls.

Grail Falls, Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania, Moses Track, cascade, waterfall

CASCADES ABOVE GRAIL FALLS

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Fed from Chalice Lake in The Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Grail Falls is a series of cascades that twist and turn on its path to Chapter Lake about 100 metres below. It is surrounded by heavily lichened and sculptured rocks, and lined with Australia’s only native deciduous tree (Fagus).

Grail Falls, Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania, Moses Track, cascade, waterfall

A SECTION OF GRAIL FALLS

JUNCTION LAKE

The next morning, we set off for Junction Lake. This small lake fed by Junction Creek is a magnet for wildlife and is bursting with Trout. My three mates spend the afternoon fishing and I hunt for photo opportunities whilst admiring up close the obviously well fed wombats foraging in the button grass.

In the late afternoon of our first stop we explore the area and listen to the cascading water as we settle down for the evening.

Junction Lake, Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania, lake, Junction River

JUNCTION CREEK

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FRESH TROUT

Thanks to the boy’s fishing prowess, we have so much Trout for dinner, we can’t finish it – so we save one last big one for a delicious breakfast to share, wrapping it safely in foil and weighing it down by a rock before settling down for bed.

…I wake in the middle of the night to the vicious sounds of animals fighting and think nothing of it dropping back into a sound sleep. When we wake in the morning, the fish is nowhere to be seen, just foil. Looks like the Possums got the better of us!

THE TRAVELLER RANGE

From Junction Lake we ascend The Traveller Range, a highly exposed plateau adjacent to The Walls of Jerusalem National Park. The first night is spent on the shores of Lake Artemis, the first good camping spot on the range. After a heart stopping swim, we relax by the lake, explore the cascades at the lake outlet and in the evening, we marvel at the expansive view of the stars, constellations and galaxies.

The Traveller Range, Traveller Range, Tasmania, tarn, Lake Artemis, logs

LOG JAM, LAKE ARTEMIS

The Traveller Range is one of the least frequented areas in the Central Plateau due to its unpredictable weather, absence of tracks and the difficulty in finding the entry/exit points. At around 1200 metres elevation and sitting on top of high Dolomite cliff faces, it is very exposed to the elements and consequently the landscape is gnarled, stunted, and dotted with a myriad of tarns (mountain lakes or pools).

The Traveller Range, Traveller Range, Tasmania, tarn, Lake Artemis, cascade

LAKE ARTEMIS CASCADES

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The next day is spent navigating the range and fortunately visibility is good. The going is still very tricky, as there are hundreds of tarns with no straight path that can be taken. This maze would be extremely difficult in poor visibility, which is often the case up here. Next we must pinpoint the only exit route, as this part of the range is perched on a several hundred metre sheer cliff.

The Traveller Range, Traveller Range, Tasmania, tarn

TARN, THE TRAVELLER RANGE

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DUCANE GAP

After a few wrong turns, we finally find the exit spot marked by a small cairn on a higher part of the edge (which seems counter intuitive to us).

I stand on the edge of the massive cliffs admiring the spectacular vista of the Ducane Range and Mount Ossa across the Ducane gap way below (refer the main photo above). At the same time asking myself, how are we possibly going to get down here?

If the cairn wasn’t there I wouldn’t believe it.

The Traveller Range, Traveller Range, Tasmania, tarn

TARN, THE TRAVELLER RANGE

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We descend the steep, tricky and sometimes vertical route climbing down tree roots and using ropes for pack hauling where necessary – eventually coming out safely onto the Overland Track at Ducane Gap.

We lodge at Bert Nichols Hut, which is more like a five-star hotel compared to camping. We swap tales and enjoy the company of other very friendly travellers whilst gazing up at the formidable peaks of Mt Geryon and the Acropolis – our final destination.

part 2

Part 2 of this blog covers the Ducane Range stage of this trek.

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