Hiking the Walls of Jerusalem: Tasmania

For a long time before visiting Tasmania we'd eyed up this area as a place that had the potential to be very special.

We'd heard it was one of the most beautiful places in Tassie. Hiking in the wilderness and camping on the plateau sounded like the kind of adventure that had to be on our hiking bucket list. If you love Cradle Mountain you should definitely try and make the trip out to the Walls. 

Unfortunately we weren't able to predict that the date we chose, despite being the height of summer, would have high winds and very cold temperatures (5C in the day, 2C at night). I guess you could say it all adds to the adventure! 

Don't let that put you off though, the Walls of Jerusalem is one of the best hikes we've done in Australia and has a great balance of a challenging but manageable climb and stunning landscapes as a reward.

We've broken the walk into three sections: the climb up to Wild Dog Creek, the return hike to the Walls and the descent back down to the car park.

 

Apple Watch Says:

Total: 20.9km return, 835 metres elevation, moderate, steep track, path in reasonably good condition. 

Preparation

Here's a few things to expect before you go and how to prepare.

The camping facilities are good: Wild Dog Creek has a toilet, running drinking water and camping platforms, not too mention some pretty spectacular views. You don't need to book. There are also a couple of other places you can camp past Wild Dog Creek close to the walls and at Dixon Kingdom hut but we didn't explore these options as we were happy to dump the packs at the first opportunity! Bush toilets are avaliable at Wild Dog and Dixon Kingdom. 

Pick the second tier: If you camp at Wild Dog Creek, we'd recommend camping on the second tier of the site as this had the best shelter from the wind which can be relentless.

Check the weather: The weather in the Central Plateau can be incredibly cold at any time of year. We hiked in the middle of summer and were faced with 2C temperatures. Always pack thermals, waterproofs and appropriate gear for very cold and wet conditions.

Be ready for a climb: The trail to the Walls of Jerusalem is steep, so be prepared. The hike to Wild Dog is 612m elevation over 7km and a further 223m to the Walls. We took walking poles which helped to mitigate the climb with the weight of our packs.

Nearest towns: The best place to stay before or after your trip would be either in Mole Creek or Deloraine. We chose Mole Creek and were very happy with our decision. There's only one street with a pretty mountain backdrop and you might even spot a platypus in the creek for which the town is named. 

Road condition: The road is in great condition and sealed up until 13km before the car pack. At this point, it becomes gravel and potholed but still easily doable in a 2wd. 

Start/finish point: Mersey Forest Road car park. 

 

The hike up

7.14km, 623m elevation, approximately 2 hr 30.

The hike up to the Walls starts directly from the carpark and is steep almost immediately. The first section was pretty uninspiring as we arrived when it was gloomy, raining and 5C outside. It's a start with a jolt as the majority of the 600m elevation is in these first 3kms. 

There are parts which are beautiful with ferns and small gullies, but in freezing cold, wet and gusty weather we were simply focused on getting up to the plateau!

The path at this point is in relatively good condition, but has quite a few sections where it was slippery on the descent back to the car park but fine on the way up. 

After 2km you reach a dilapidated trappers hut at the very edge of the plateau. There's a bit of information inside on the grisly history of trapping if you are keen to know about its past use. 

After leaving the hut, it's not long before you get a few glimpses of the stunning Central Plateau and several beautiful tarns and lakes.

It's fair to say that after a 600m climb in such a short distance your legs are feeling it, especially carrying camping gear and everything needed for two days!

 

The Central Plateau

The Central Plateau, Walls of Jerusalem

The Central Plateau is unlike anywhere else in Australia. The closest comparison would be to Cradle Mountain and everyone we spoke to agreed that you need to see both as each is unique.

There are also far, far fewer people visiting the Walls of Jerusalem than there are Cradle Mountain. 

Traversing the Central Plateau feels like a real walk in the wilderness. It's a very special area that has been largely unaffected by human development, with only a select few campsites and boardwalks to show that people have been here.

The trail undulates all the way until Wild Dog Creek (the most popular campsite) but it's an easy gradient and the views are staggering! 

It's a lot cooler up here than the rest of Tasmania, standing at an elevation of 1,500m and it's very exposed to the wind. For the majority of the day we watched as waves of clouds were interspersed by pockets of clear skies and sunshine.

The only thing that didn't let up was the wind. That was pretty relentless for the whole trip! At points it felt like you could be blown right over. 

The final kilometre to Wild Dog Creek was the most spectacular of all. After a small hike down, the trail turns into narrow boardwalk straight across an open plain with the forest and distant bluff providing the perfect backdrop.

It's one of the iconic views of this area and in the brief moment of sunshine it looked amazing.

 

Wild Dog Creek to the Walls

6km return, 223m elevation, trail in very good condition.

After setting up our tent and having a bit of lunch, we set off once more to check out the reason we came here in the first place: the actual Walls of Jerusalem.

After managing to walk around the tiger snake in our camp (yes, this is a snake that can kill you within half an hour of receiving a bite!) we made our way to the saddle.

The wind had calmed down and we were lucky to have a good patch of weather whilst hiking across to the walls. The views here just get better and better and you pass by lakes and sheer cliffs: wow moment after wow moment.

The trail is also very easy and board walked almost the entire way. 

Once you reach the Walls themselves, there were a number of trails that weren't signposted, you could go straight on, left or right.

Straight leads to Dixon Kingdom hut and Mount Jerusalem - a walk we'd love to do but too far for us that day. 

The turning on the left led up to the Temple for a panoramic view. We chose the path on the right towards Solomans Throne and followed it until we got to some scree that that felt a bit precarious in the strong wind, which had returned by this point.

I think you could probably climb up fairly high on the scree and no doubt the view gets better and better but we were very satisfied with what we had seen already. 

As well as spectacular views we also came across the occasional kangaroo who was willing to take on the 5C temperature and bitter wind!

From the Walls you can see right back over the route you have just hiked and it is definitely one of the best views we have seen in all of Australia. 

If you're looking for a camp with a view, this spot takes the biscuit. It was exposed to the howling wind, but on a still day I can't imagine having a better spot.

One lucky soul was camping there when we passed by and seemed very happy with his choice! 

After spending some time exploring the walls we returned and settled into Wild Dog Creek camp for some dinner and to watch the sun set over the nearby bluff.

 

The hike down

7.7km, steep climb down which needs some care in the last two kilometres. 

The night was bitterly cold, but luckily we'd packed sleeping bags that were able to keep us warm down to -2C. A few possums stopped by to see if we'd left some tasty crumbs, we hadn't and they soon made off to explore other options.

In the morning, we zipped open the tent to see that it'd been pretty wet overnight, soaking the whole campsite and making us very grateful for the camping platforms, thanks, Tasmanian Parks Service!

After a warming cuppa and some breakfast we set off for the return journey, motivated by the thought of a comfortable room and a hot shower! The trail down wasn't much quicker than the track up. 

After crossing the plateau, we started to descend to the car park. On the way we passed many other hikers who were also taking care with the descent.

One of the things we love about these multi-day hikes is the diversity of people you meet. Tasmanian hikers were a pretty diverse bunch, just as we found last year when hiking the Humpridge track in New Zealand. I loved seeing how whole families would take on a fiddly hike like this, even those who had young children (some of whom were lucky enough to be carried in backpacks).

We also saw older hikers, young couples, tourists and locals all climb up to the Walls to camp for the night and explore.


Although the hike to the Walls can technically be accomplished in a day, we wouldn't recommend it. You could hike 835m up and complete 20km in a day, but you'd be missing out on the time to really take in the beauty of the area.

The Walls have pretty good camping facilities including running water, camping platforms and a toilet, so it's a reasonably comfortable experience.  

We'd highly recommend hiking to the Walls and it's one of our favourite hikes in the whole of Australia. Just make sure you keep an eye on the weather and prepare appropriately!


Where we stayed

The best place to base yourself before and after the hike is the Mole Creek Guesthouse. Rooms here are traditionally furnished and although not the most luxurious of places, is pretty comfortable for a short stay. It also has a restaurant downstairs which serves large portions of pub-grub.


 
 

Would you brave 2C and high winds to do this hike? What's your favourite trail in Australia? Let us know in the comments below.


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