Mt Anne, Southwest NP Tasmania

Probably the most spectacular Australian walk I’ve done to date, there are knock your hiking socks off views all the way along the track to the summit of Mt Anne (1423m) in Tasmania’s remote Southwest National Park. Huge lakes, rugged cliffs, mountain peaks, alpine plants, and more boulders than you can shake your walking poles at.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Climbing Mt Anne is a long day walk, and a long drive to get there from pretty much anywhere, but totally worth the effort. The scenery is just fantastic: there are vistas taking in much of Tasmania’s Southwest Wilderness, excellent views of the enormous Lake Pedder, and you get up close and personal with dramatic cliffs, countless boulders, and delicate spongy alpine plants. And with 1420m change in elevation it’s a good work out too. The final climb to the summit is up through shear cliffs and not for those afraid of heights, but even if you don’t do this bit it’s well worth walking to their base.  (I stopped just short of the summit myself.)

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Me taking one of about 90 photos on this walk. Lake Pedder in the background.

Track Notes

I used track notes from Day Walks Tasmania, and online you can refer to Trail Hiking Australia. There’s a steep ascent to the summit of Mt Eliza (1289m), then an undulating bit to the base of Mt Anne’s summit cliffs. At some spots past Mt Eliza you can deviate off track to the right for excellent views of Lake Judd – I didn’t do this and only realised a few minutes ago that the small lake I saw was not the tip of Lake Judd after all – spewing! (as we say in Australia). Next time…

It’s not entirely straightforward finding a way through the cliffs at the end, but look for arrows and cairns. Below is the standard route to the top, but there is apparently another way around the back of the cliffs (to the north west) and up a gully, that isn’t so exposed.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
The summit of Mt Anne is scarily exposed, and although I made it within maybe 10 vertical metres of the summit, I eventually capitulated to my own fear and strong sense of being very alone and vulnerable, (Sophia (my wife) had decided to stay back at the base of the cliffs). The red line charts my route up through the summit cliffs, and in blue the bit I couldn’t bring myself to do. The dotted lines indicate climbing behind the cliffs. The way is marked by cairns and a couple of arrows marked on rock.

The Scenery

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Mt Anne viewed on the drive in.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Sophia looking nonplussed at all of the boulder hopping we had to do.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
I liked these colours and shapes.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
View of Lake Pedder from the summit of Mt Eliza (1289m). This is dammed, but there was a much smaller and picturesque natural lake in place before that. Still pretty.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Mt Anne.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
The alpine plateau between Mt Eliza and Mt Anne.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Colourful and delicate alpine plants. (Oops, camera in shot).
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
More colours.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Even more colours!
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
A tarn between Mt Eliza and Mt Anne.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Lake Pedder.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Big cliffs!

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Lake Timk (I think) just visible. Lot’s Wife is the obelisk to the centre-right.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Approaching the summit.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Looking back at Lake Pedder.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Interesting patterned rock.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Sophia contemplating the ascent up the summit cliffs of Mt Anne. She eventually decided to let me go alone. You can see an arrow which marks the beginning of the ascent centre-bottom.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Panorama from near the summit of Mt Anne.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Panorama from near the top of Mt Anne.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
View from near the summit. This bit was getting pretty exposed.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
From near the summit of Mt Anne.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Taken at the highest point I got to on the north-east side of the mountain. The summit is to the upper left. Close, but no bragging rights
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Me descending through the summit cliffs of Mt Anne. This bit required care but was not as scary as the exposed sections on the eastern and northern side.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Leaving the summit cliffs of Mt Anne.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Lots of rock.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
My favourite panorama of the walk, perhaps because it packs in the most rock.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Lot’s Wife centre-right.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Extensive boulder fields to cross.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Lake Pedder and small pandani in the foreground.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Alpine plants I’ve not seen before.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
The flower of those alpine plants.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
A lot of boulder hopping on this walk. It will slow you down if you are not confident at it. For some reason boulders like this fill me with energy and I bound around like a mountain goat. One day I’ll probably come a cropper, but for a usually risk averse person I seem oblivious to the possibility of breaking a leg or knocking myself out at the top of a mountain, many hours away from help. Hey ho.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Mt Anne, Southwest NP
I think the peak distant centre is Federation Peak, one of Australia’s most difficult mountains to climb. Sir Edmund Hilary was reputed to have said that this is Australia’s only real mountain.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Mt Eliza and Lake Pedder. A change of lighting in the late afternoon.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Mt Anne in the early evening taken on the way down.
Mt Anne, Southwest NP
Mt Anne (and Mt Eliza far right) in the early evening, taken on the drive out.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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