Mt Rufus Circuit, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
This longish walk to the summit of Mt Rufus (1416m) takes in a variety of vegetation types and provides 360 degree views of the Tasmanian Central Highlands, mostly from a distance.
Summiting Mt Rufus (1416m) provides extensive views of the surrounding area, including many other high peaks, although the summit itself is not much to write home about, and the distant mountains were difficult to capture with my camera phone. I probably enjoyed the walk as much for the variety of vegetation we passed through, which included myrtle beech, tall eucalypt woodlands, snow gums, alpine heath and grasslands.
The walk starts at the Lake St Clair Visitors Centre, the usual end of the multi-day Overland Track. The area is pretty remote, but we did it as a day trip from Hobart, involving a windy 2.5 hour drive each way. It’s a fairly long hike at 18.5km and 740m of change in elevation, but straightforward enough, and there are a few alternative tracks along the way. More on track notes at the end.
Mt Rufus Circuit: The Scenery
We used Days Walks Tasmania for track notes, and they describe a few alternatives including the shorter Shadow Lake Circuit, and a side trip to Little Hugel (1275m), which I might try next time. For online options Trail Hiking Australia describes the walk, and Tas Trails covers the shorter Shadow Lake Circuit option.
The track is always obvious and there are signs along the way at track junctions. We walked anti-clockwise, which needs you to follow the signage to Shadow Lake rather than Mt Rufus; we returned via the more direct route to the summit. The walk starts at the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre, at the end of the famous Overland Track.