Walls of Jerusalem, Tasmania's alpine National Park
It's only a three-hour drive from Launceston but once you have entered the natural fortress that is the Walls of Jerusalem it seems like you are in another world.
Only accessible by foot, the Walls of Jerusalem is Tasmania's only true alpine National Park. Despite being right next door to the Cradle Mountain National Park, the Walls, as it is often referred to, sees much fewer visitors. We're talking a few thousand visitors each season in the Walls compared to few hundred thousand that visit Cradle Mountain. For this reason alone those seeking a real wilderness experience are drawn to the park like flies to honey.
Before you even set foot in the Walls, the biblical themed names of the many highlights in the region start to play with your imagination in a magical way. Gain spectacular views of the Overland Track highlights from Solomon's Throne, climb Mt. Jerusalem for views across a once ice strewn landscape that has flattened mountains and created mosaics of a thousand lakes. You can also admire Tasmania's 10th highest mountain, King David's Peak, pass through Herod's Gate, stop to ponder at the tranquil Pool of Bethesda or hike to the remote reaches to areas known as Golden Gate and Zion Vale.
Most of the Walls of Jerusalem is situated over 1000 m in the Central Plateau. With this height comes a change in scenery, a sublime alpine landscape that was covered by an ice sheet at least 100 metres thick in the last ice age. Expect to see alpine herb fields, thousand year old Pencil Pines, highland lakes, glacial moraines and always be prepared for the chance of extreme changes in weather. Heavy rain, hail, snow or harsh sun can occur in any month of the year.
Given its remote setting, walkers hoping to properly explore the park need to be prepared to carry full packs filled with their supplies for the trip such as food, fuel, appropriate clothing and tents. For an introduction to the Walls, 'base camp' opportunities exist where walkers can just head out for the day with a small daypack, returning to your gear and the creature comforts of their camp each evening.
Base camp walks can take advantage of the Wild Dog camping site, conveniently located in the shadow of King David's peak. Like so many Tasmanian parks, these camp sites are designed to protect the environment and make your stay more comfortable. The camp is equipped with raised tent platforms, a composting toilet and an outdoor communal dining/kitchen.
The ideal time for walking in the Walls of Jerusalem is from October to May although hardier souls may consider grabbing some snowshoes and heading out for a winter walk during August and September.
If you're heading to Tasmania and wanting to enjoy a real wilderness experience, consider the Walls of Jerusalem.