Walls of Jerusalem Circuit (TAS)

View of the King Davids Peak and the Inner Walls from Solomons Throne

Overview

One of Tasmania's Great Multi-Day Bushwalks, Walls of Jerusalem National Park is home to some of the finest alpine scenery in Australia, and is a core reserve within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The West Wall looming overhead within the Inner Walls

Lying across the Mersey River Valley from the famous Overland Track in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the Walls of Jerusalem can only be reached on foot and does not feature the tourist-friendly developments of Cradle Mountain. As a result, the park offers a similar wealth of stunning glacier-carved alpine scenery but with a fraction of the traffic seen on its more famous neighbour. The result is a greater sense of wilderness and solitude at the expense of the creature comforts of the Overland's world class facilities. 


Lake Salome and Zion Hill

Unlike the linear 'Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair' nature of the Overland Track, the more open-ended form of the Walls of Jerusalem allows for a variety of itineraries, ranging from a long day walk to the summit of Mt Jerusalem and back, or a eight day adventure exploring some of the more remote areas of the park. The most popular itinerary is the classic three day circuit from the car park near Lake Rowallan that follows the main Walls of Jerusalem Track through the Inner Walls area with a return leg via Lake Ball and Lake Adelaide, and a middle day exploring the many mountain peak side trips. This is the itinerary that we followed. 


Approaching Solomons Throne - one of the mountain peak side trips

In contrast to the more challenging mountains of the Overland Track, none of the tracked peaks within the Walls of Jerusalem are particularly difficult, and provide ample reward for the effort of climbing them. 


Reflection on the tarns heading towards Mt Jerusalem

While the peaks provide a wealth of side trip options, the multitudinous glacier-carved lakes and tarns of the Walls are just as stunning, with some of the most beautiful seen along the ascent of Mt Jerusalem. 


Dixons Kingdom Hut and the ancient Pencil Pine forest


The stunning Pencil Pine forests and the rustic vernacular huts of the region are also key parts of the walk, with a dense stand of Pencil Pines in Dixons Kingdom featuring specimens that are over 1000 years old. While it is not encouraged by the Parks and Wildlife Service to stay in the huts, their historic nature provides a glimpse into the history of life in the high country in days gone by. 

The turning of the fagus at Lake Ball - one of the joys of hiking the Walls of Jerusalem in Autumn

Our Autumn Walls of Jerusalem Circuit Adventure (2018)

Alissa and I walked the Walls of Jerusalem Circuit in April 2018, starting on 18th April and finishing on the 20th. As with the Overland Track, our itinerary and route was based on John Chapman's Recommendations in his book Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair and Wall of Jerusalem National Parks, written with Monica Chapman and John Siseman. This is the best written guide to undertake the walk with. The Tasmap Walls of Jerusalem map is also recommended for more detailed topographical information. 

While Alissa and I didn't find the Overland Track to be overcrowded, the Walls of Jerusalem is a lot more quiet, which gives the area a greater feel of remote wilderness that is in some ways even more special and rare. Unlike the Overland Track, the three designated campsites in the Walls of Jerusalem (Wild Dog Creek, Dixons Kingdom and Lake Adelaide) do not feature modern huts. Wild Dog Creek is the most developed campsite, with tent platforms, water tanks and a toilet, while Lake Adelaide is merely a tent site with no facilities whatsoever. Dixons Kingdom features an old vernacular hut, a toilet and water is available from the stream nearby. 

The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service encourage hikers to use Wild Dog Creek as a base for exploration, however Alissa and I agreed that Dixons Kingdom is a better campsite in almost every way. Located immediately at the start of the Mt Jerusalem Track and one kilometre from the Damascus Gate junction where the Temple and Solomons Throne side trips commence, Dixons Kingdom provides easy access to the side trips on Day Two. While the toilet facilities are described as 'temporary' at time of writing, they are enclosed western-style toilets that are comfortable to use, and the nearby stream provides clean, crystal clear water. Combined with the stunning scenery of the old Dixons Kingdom Hut and the Pencil Pine forest, this is our recommended place to stay in the Walls, but please note that the Pencil Pines are highly susceptible to fire damage and no fires are to be lit anywhere in the park

While the weather can be most unstable in April, Alissa and I agreed that doing the walk at this times of year gifted us with the park's scenery at its very best as we got to hike in manageable levels of snow and see the Autumnal delight of the turning of the fagus along Lake Ball. This is our recommended time to visit the area, however it should be noted that we were very lucky to have fine weather and walkers should be prepared for snow storms and torrential rain at any time of the year. 

Unfortunately, the Walls of Jerusalem Circuit is not the easiest walk to get to as it does not have any regular public transport to the trailhead. Walkers will need to either hire a car or arrange for a charter. Alissa and I used Cradle Mountain Coaches to take us to the Walls and back from Launceston. While a bit pricey for two, we could not fault the friendly and punctual service and would recommend it to those who would prefer not to drive. 

Having loved the Overland Track, Alissa and I had high hopes for the Walls of Jerusalem Circuit given that it shared many of the characteristics of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. The Walls definitely did not disappoint; the alpine scenery was just as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the Overland Track but in a more compact three day package with easier walking (once within the Walls) and some of the most rewarding and achievable mountain side trips. For those who don't have the time for the longer Overland Track or have tried to book too late, the Walls of Jerusalem Circuit makes a great, permit free alternative. For those who have already done the Overland Track, this is a superb reprise of a similar theme, and as a bonus being able to see the mountains of the Overland Track from the Walls is the perfect way to reminisce about the Overland without actually walking it again. 


The Sections


Walls of Jerusalem Circuit (TAS) - Lake Rowallan to Dixons Kingdom

The first day of the classic three day Walls of Jerusalem Circuit, this first section of the track leads walkers from the car park near Lake Rowallan to Dixons Kingdom. Featuring a steep climb up to the plateau followed by mellow gradients within the Inner Walls, this spectacular day of walking is dominated by beautiful alpine landscapes of lakes, tarns, mountains and forests of Pencil Pine. A superb start to one of Tasmania's finest bushwalks...

Walls of Jerusalem Circuit (TAS) - Mt Jerusalem & Solomons Throne 

Day Two of the classic Walls of Jerusalem Circuit, this day explores two of the mountain peak side trips from Dixons Kingdom. Heading up Jaffa Vale, the  first side trip takes hikers past beautiful tarns to excellent views from the summit of Mt Jerusalem. Returning to Damascus Gate, the second side trip takes the short but steep climb up Solomons Throne. A short but spectacular day - especially if you're lucky enough to have snow...

Walls of Jerusalem Circuit (TAS) - Dixons Kingdom to Lake Rowallan

The final day of the classic Walls of Jerusalem Circuit, this section of the walk takes hikers off-track through Jaffa Vale to Lake Ball Hut. Following the lake shore, the track descends to Lake Adelaide before following the Junction Lake Track back to Trappers Hut past a series of smaller lakes and tarns. Featuring stunning displays of the turning of the fagus in Autumn, this is a great way to complete a visit to this spectacular park...

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