Western Arthurs Traverse | Your Ultimate Guide

There are simply no words that can give the Western Arthurs Traverse the justice it deserves. The magic of the glacially formed range needs to be experienced to be believed. And for those that are geared for the challenge that the precipitous ridgeline demands, you’ll likely never forget your time spent in the Western Arthur Range.

We have been dreaming of completing the Western Arthurs Traverse ever since we stepped foot in Tasmania. And finally, at the end of 2022, we set off for the biggest and best adventure of the year.

The Western Arthurs Traverse will challenge you in more ways than you can imagine, but the reward for scaling the seemingly unpassable range far outweighs the effort. If you’re a capable hiker that’s ready to experience the most exhilarating multi-day hike in Tasmania, then read on to gain all the information you could possibly need for a successful trip into the imposing Western Arthur Range.

Sunset over the High Moor Campsite on the Western Arthurs Traverse in Tasmania

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Hiking The Western Arthurs Traverse Circuit From Alpha Moraine To Kappa Moraine

62.6 km circuit

5 – 7 days

Grade 5 – High level of experience required

Tent platforms, open drop toilets, Information sign at the car park

Elevation Gain
3,503 m

Highest Elevation
1,151 m

Entrance Fees
National Parks Pass


Where Is The Western Arthur Range

The 15 km long Arthur Range cuts a rugged line across the centre of the Southwest National Park in Tasmania’s wildly uninhabited southwest. The range is divided into two sections, the Western and the Eastern Arthurs, and consists of 22 major peaks and 30 alpine lakes filling steep glacially carved cirques.

The Western Arthurs Traverse is a circuit that begins and ends at Scotts Peak Dam, near Huon Campground, and is the most popular of the two ranges. The Scotts Peak Dam car park is located 2 hrs 30 minutes west of Hobart and 4 hours southwest of Launceston. The closest town with basic goods is Maydena, 1 hr 10 minutes east of the trailhead.

How To Get To The Western Arthurs Traverse

Western Arthurs Trailhead and hiker registration near Huon Campground

The start and end points of the Western Arthurs Traverse are located next to Huon Campground, at the end of the unsealed Scotts Peak Dam Rd. Most commonly, hikers will drive to Huon Campground where they’ll camp for the night before starting the hike the following day. However, due to its international popularity, there is also a shuttle option that departs from Hobart on request.

Shuttle Options

Tasmanian Wilderness Experience offers a shuttle service that will pick you up from the Hobart CBD or the airport and deliver you to the Western Arthurs trailhead. This option isn’t cheap, costing at least $110 per person for a one-way ticket, but it is cheaper than renting a car for the week you’ll be hiking.

The TWE shuttle bus requires a minimum of 4 passengers (or for 3 or fewer passengers to pay the fee for 4) and must be booked in advance. You can also rent hiking gear from this company for the duration of your hike.

Tour Options

If you’d rather not attempt the Western Arthurs Traverse alone, Tasmanian Expeditions offers a 9-day guided tour of the Western Arthurs for experienced hikers. The tour includes all your food and some of your hiking equipment, making it a great choice for travellers without their own gear.


Directions From Hobart To Scotts Peak Dam Car Park

The Scotts Peak Dam car park isn’t marked on Google maps so to reach the car park, search for Huon Campground on Google Maps. You’ll pass by the trailhead car park on the right, which will indicate you’ve arrived at the start of the Port Davey Track, just before the campground.

Note: The Western Arthurs Traverse isn’t listed on any of the signs found along Scotts Peak Dam Rd. Instead, you’ll be following directions to Huon Campground and the Port Davey Track.

To reach the Western Arthurs trailhead, head north out of Hobart on Brooker Hwy (1) towards New Norfolk. You’ll merge onto Lyell Hwy (A10) after 20 km which will take you the remaining 15 km to New Norfolk. Once in New Norfolk, continue west on Glenora Rd (B62) for 20 km. At Bushy Park, veer left (northwest) onto Gordon River Rd (B61) and continue for 60 km until you reach a left turn (south) that will take you onto Scotts Peak Dam Rd (C607). The unsealed dirt road will take you the remaining 37 km to the trailhead.

Scotts Peak Dam Rd is accessible for all vehicles, although it has been known to become corrugated and full of potholes at times. 

Quick Tips For Hiking The Western Arthurs Traverse

  • There is no reception at Lake Pedder and only patchy spots on some of the peaks on the Western Arthurs Traverse
  • A 4 km day can take between 4 to 7 hours to complete due to the steep and technical terrain found on the ridgeline
  • We recommend carrying a rope at least 5m in length for potential pack hauling – we didn’t need to use a rope (passing packs between us instead) but it felt good knowing we had the option
  • Bring a form of filtration for water – most often you’ll be filling up in lakes or stagnant streams
  • Extreme Weather conditions occur on average 6 out of 10 days in the Arthur Range so be prepared for any weather – no matter the forecast
  • Be prepared to change your itinerary on a dime at the mercy of the weather, even to the point of turning back, it is extremely unpredictable out there and dangerous weather conditions are common on the Western Arthurs Traverse
  • Tasmanian Wilderness Experience offers shuttle busses to and from Scotts Peak Dam
  • Bring at least 2 days of spare food in case you have to bunker down to avoid extreme weather
  • It is free to walk the Western Arthurs but you must register via the Tasmanian Parks website, a maximum of 12 walkers can leave per day
  • The ascents are relatively easy, albeit steep, compared to the descents which hold the majority of the technical hiking
  • If you’re referencing the John Chapman book, allow for an extra two hours to complete each day as his timings are very quick for the average hiker
  • Between Lake Oberon and Haven Lake, the trail is very technical, exposed and without reliable water sources. This section is generally completed over 2 days and it’s not wise to be caught anywhere in between these two lakes in extreme weather.
  • Mice are a huge nuisance at each campsite, they will chew through your tent if they smell food so be sure to double bag all your food and pack it deep inside your pack – or hang your food from a tree in a sealed bag.
Hiking the saddle towards Lake Sirona on the Western Arthurs Hike

Frequently Asked Questions

How Hard Is The Western Arthurs Hike?

The Western Arthurs Traverse isn’t for the faint of heart. There are plenty of exposed sections where you’re required to scramble up or down seriously steep terrain. However, if you’re an experienced hiker with a high level of fitness and adequate gear for all weather conditions (including potential blizzards in summer) then you’ll truly love the Western Arthurs hike.

Do I have To Have Rock Climbing Experience To Hike The Western Arthurs?

You don’t need rock climbing experience to hike the Western Arthurs Traverse, however, a good level of experience rock scrambling – using hands and feet to climb over steep boulders and trees – is a must. 

Rock Scrambling down a difficult section of the Western Arthurs Traverse

How Long Is The Western Arthurs Traverse?

The Western Arthurs Traverse is a challenging hike that takes between 10 – 12 days to complete the full traverse and 5 – 7 days to complete the more popular route where you’ll walk out via Kappa Moraine.

The entire traverse is approximately 80 km and the traverse from Alpha Moraine to Kappa Moraine is 62.6 km.

Do I Need To Bring Rope For The Western Arthurs Hike?

The Western Arthurs Traverse doesn’t require the use of climbing rope to complete, though it is highly recommended to bring at least 5 metres of rope suitable for potential rope hauling. We didn’t need to rope haul on the Western Arthurs Traverse, however, we did bring a rope with us just in case. 

And even though we didn’t need the rope in the end, the extra couple of grams was well worth it for peace of mind. There are sections that require pack hauling but they’re generally short enough to be able to pass your packs between the group.

Is There Water Along The Western Arthurs Traverse?

Each campsite, except High Moor, has continuous water year-round that you can fill up with. However, most often the water sources are lakes or stagnant streams so using a water filtration system is highly recommended.

The trail between Lake Oberon and Haven Lake can often be dry and when it’s not, the only places to fill your water bottles are from puddles or the mountain run-off. High Moor has a small stream running beside the camp, which also dries up at times. You can get an update on the water levels from the Mt Field Visitor Centre.

Filling water from small stream at High Moor Campsite

Is The Western Arthurs Traverse Worth It?

The Western Arthurs Traverse crosses the most magical mountain range in Tasmania, where you’ll pass by hanging valleys, drop into glacially carved cirques filled with fresh alpine lakes, and scramble over deformed quartzite boulders on a seemingly impossible track. But every ounce of effort is beyond worth it for the otherworldly experience you’ll receive in the Western Arthur Range.

Can I Hike The Western Arthurs Solo?

If you have extensive experience hiking solo and feel comfortable pack hauling on your own, it is possible to do the Western Arthurs solo. There are often other hikers around that will be happy to assist on trickier sections, but this shouldn’t be relied upon.

The Western Arthurs Traverse Trail Summary

Standing on the ride above Lake Oberon with Pandani's flourishing next to the track

The Western Arthurs Traverse is one of the most anticipated hikes in Tasmania for experienced adventurers. There are multiple ways you can complete the traverse, but the most popular route (and the one that we will be explaining) is to climb Alpha Moraine (Moraine A), cross the ridgeline and descend along Kappa Moraine (Moraine K). 

There is also a longer traverse that you can do that will continue southeast after Mount Scorpio towards the Western Portal before descending off the ridgeline into the Arthur Plains, returning to Scotts Peak Dam Rd. This option is approximately 80 km and takes an average of 10 – 12 days to complete. 

Alternatively, a great option for those that are a little nervous about completing the full traverse is to walk into Lake Oberon and return the way you came. This route allows you to get a taste of what to expect throughout the remainder of the traverse, which becomes increasingly difficult after Lake Oberon.

Western Arthurs Traverse Quick Stats

Scotts Peak Dam Car Park – Junction Creek Campsite
9.2 km | 2.5 – 3 hrs | 124 m elevation gain | 343 m highest elevation

Junction Creek Campsite – Lake Cygnus Campsite
8.5 km | 6 – 7 hrs | 910 m elevation gain | 1,088 m highest elevation

Lake Cygnus Campsite – Lake Oberon Campsite
6km | 7 – 9 hrs | 553 m elevation gain | 1,151 m highest elevation

Lake Oberon Campsite – High Moor Campsite
5 km | 6 – 9 hrs | 468 m elevation gain | 1,063 m highest elevation

High Moor Campsite – Haven Lake Campsite
4.7 km | 6 – 9 hrs | 254 m elevation gain | 986 m highest elevation

Haven Lake Campsite – Seven Mile Creek
8.2 km | 5- 6 hrs | 413 m elevation gain | 1,106 m highest elevation

Seven Mile Creek – Junction Creek Campsite
11.8 km | 5 – 6 hrs | 314 m elevation gain | 298 m highest elevation

Junction Creek Campsite – Scotts Peak Dam Car Park
9.2 km | 2.5 – 3hrs | 124 m elevation gain | 343 m highest elevation

Note: You may notice that these stats aren’t the same as the ones found in John Chapman’s book, instead I tracked our progress and these are the distances I received. Additionally, the durations listed in John Chapman’s book are very fast. None of the hikers we came across completed the days within his recommended walking times.

Western Arthurs Traverse winding treacheroursly over jagged mountain peaks

We completed the Western Arthurs Traverse in a total of 7 days, with two rest days due to the weather. This required us to end with two massive days that we would have happily avoided given the chance.

Below you’ll find the trail summary laid out in the way that we would have chosen to walk if we hadn’t been stuck for two days. Each campsite in this itinerary has dedicated tent sites and a drop toilet. This is the most common route, but ultimately, the number of days you spend and the campsites you choose are entirely up to you.

The statistics you’ll find on each day have been tracked from our AllTrails app. We generally take a little longer to complete a day as we spend a great deal of time taking photos and getting lost in the beauty of the mountains.

Day 1 – Scotts Peak Dam Car Park to Lake Cygnus

Distance: 17.7 km
Walking Time: 6.5 hrs
Total Time: 9.5 hrs

Elevation Gain: 1,034 m
Elevation Loss: 409 m
Highest Elevation: 1,088 m

Cleaning boots at the trailhead of Western Arthurs and Port Davey's Track

After completing one final check of your bulging hiking pack, you’ll pass the walkers registration booth on your right as you make your way to the trailhead on the left, which will lead you onto Port Davey Track (Alltrails and some other online maps refer to this trail as McKays Track). 

Note: While the Western Arthurs Traverse is relatively easy to navigate, there are no dedicated signs for the traverse or even Lake Oberon. Instead, you’ll need to follow signs for Port Davey Track and take note of the trail names that lead to the mountain range. 

Port Davey Track Trailhead To Junction Creek
Walking the double planking in the buttongrass plains of Mckay's Track

As soon as you dip into the treeline bordering the car park, you’re transported into a shady forest of myrtle beech, sassafras and eucalypts. Light green moss carpets the understory, a layer of brown leaf litter crunching underfoot as you follow the undulating path.

You’ll wander in and out of the fringing forest flanked by yellow buttongrass plains before leaving it behind after a kilometre, entering the vast moorlands that will accompany you to the base of Mt Hesperus.

Staring at the peaks of the Western Arthurs Traverse in Tasmania

The open plains, filled with stunted red and yellow banksia, waratah and pink swamp heath, allow you to gaze upon the razorblade ridgeline that you’ll be spending the next few days traversing – which from this vantage point, looks next to impossible. 

Wet and muddy trail near Junction Creek on the Port Davey Track

Mud begins to infiltrate the trail soon after you leave the boardwalks, staying consistent throughout the boggy buttongrass plains. But eventually, after hopping across small streams and deep muddy pools, the rutted trail will deliver you to Junction Creek, the first potential campsite 9.2 km from the trailhead.

Junction Creek Campground To The Start Of Moraine A Track
Junction Creek Campsite 9km in to the Western Arthurs Traverse

Junction Creek offers a shady respite to refuel, use the toilet, and fill depleting water bottles. It’s also an ideal spot to camp if you happen to depart from Scotts Peak Dam car park later in the afternoon.

But assuming you’re continuing to Lake Cygnus, you’ll weave between the fallen trunks and climb out of the gully to reach the first track junction. Here, Port Davey Track collides with  Mckays Track, which you’ll return on after crossing Arthur Plains on your second last day.

Port Davey Track and Mckays Track junction

To continue on Port Davey Track towards Alpha Moraine (Moraine A), you’ll turn right at the track junction. The rugged Arthur Range grows larger as you cautiously navigate the muddy trail leading southwest. The open plains allow you to search the nearby mountain range for the trail that will guide you to the complex quartzite ridgeline.

Hiking towards Alpha Moraine on the Port Davey Track

After another 3 km of trudging through buttongrass moorland, you’ll finally reach a second track junction. This time, the trail to the right will continue onto Port Davey while the Moraine A Track ahead ascends Alpha Moraine to Mt Hesperus’ northwestern shoulder.

Moraine A Track To The Official Beginning Of The Western Arthurs Traverse

A small stream flanked by a sandy beach sits at the base of Alpha Moraine, allowing a final water refill before the giant ascent. The small beach also makes for an ideal makeshift campsite if you’re running low on energy or daylight hours, however, there are no toilets.

Note: If you choose to camp at an undesignated campsite with no toilet, make sure you move a minimum of 100 m away from a water source and dig a hole at least 20 cm deep to poop in. Drop your toilet paper inside the hole and cover it back up. Remember, these water sources are what you’re drinking from.

After crossing the small stream, your gaze will move skyward as you look at the enormous ascent looming in front. There’s no denying this is a killer, you’ll climb 811 m in 4 km after already completing 12 km!

Overlooking Lake Pedder from Alpha Moraine on the Western Arthurs Traverse

But of course, there’s a silver lining. As you continue to climb over white granite shale and through deep muddy ruts, the northern landscape unfolds magnificently behind you. The increasing elevation allows you to admire the mighty Mount Anne reaching for the sky, offering a breathtaking backdrop for Lake Pedder.

Eventually, after 15 km, you’ll find yourself at the peak of the lateral moraine and the official beginning of the Western Arthurs Traverse. No words can describe the feeling when you first step into the inner world of the Arthur Range. The landscape holds a formidable beauty that propels tired feet with new-found energy.

The Start Of The Western Arthurs Traverse To Lake Cygnus
Hiking across the plateau of Western Arthurs towards Lake Cygnus

Stepping stones cut a path beneath Mt Hesperus’ western face, allowing you to cover the last kilometre of climbing with ease. As you move deeper into the mountain range, you’re gifted with increasingly spectacular vistas of patterned quartzite peaks protruding from yellow slopes peppered with purple iris’ and bunches of white alpine flowers.

At the 17 km mark, you’ll have dropped into the saddle above Lake Fortuna, the first of many alpine lakes along the traverse, and begin your final climb of the day towards Capella Crag. Skirting around the eastern face of Capella Crag, you’ll catch your first glimpse of Lake Cygnus tucked into a 120 m deep glacial cirque. 

Descending into Lake Cygnus while hiking the Western Arthurs Tasmania

The descent into Lake Cygnus is steep but made easier with the odd addition of manmade stairs and tight switchbacks. And eventually, after 17.7km, you’ll finally find yourself standing beside the glistening blue water of Lake Cygnus on a coarse white beach.

If you’re lucky enough to receive unusually hot weather, Lake Cygnus provides a startlingly fresh plunge that will soothe sore muscles. But beware, it’s most certainly the coldest lake we swam in on the traverse.

Lake Cygnus Campsite
Lake Cygnus reflection at sunrise

Lake Cygnus is enclosed on three sides by a tall rugged ridgeline that shelters you from the weather. Only a southerly wreaks havoc on the cosy campsite but with each tent platform tucked into the stunted myrtle forests, you’ll receive enough protection from most weather conditions.

The campsite borders the western banks of Lake Cygnus, where you’ll find two wooden tent platforms and another opening covered in black mats stapled to the ground. You can fit two tents on each platform and if need be, at least 4 tents could squeeze onto the black mats. 

Campsites at Lake Cygnus on the Western Arthurs Traverse

In addition to the assigned tent sites, the beach is large enough to accommodate another few tents if a bottleneck occurred. Water can be sourced from the streams running into the lake or the lake itself if you have a water filtration system. An open toilet is tucked into the trees to the south of the tent platforms.

Note: The mice are quite a problem at this campsite, so be sure to either hang your sealed food bag in a tree or bury the bag deep within your pack to conceal the smell.

Day 2 – Lake Cygnus to Lake Oberon 

Distance: 6 km
Walking Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 7 hrs

Elevation Gain: 553 m
Elevation Loss: 482 m
Highest Elevation: 1,060 m

Sunrise over the saddle above Lake Cygnus with Mt Hayes in the distance

If you’re welcomed with clear skies in the morning, you’ll witness the brilliant show of soft yellow light slowly creeping down the precipitous slopes as you pack up and get ready for day 2 of the Western Arthurs Traverse.

You’ll find water courtesy of a creek below Square Lake (approximately halfway in duration) so there’s no need to carry a huge load of water as long as you remember to fill up. The last half of the trail is quite arduous and running out of water would be less than ideal – especially in the heat.

Lake Cygnus To Mount Hayes
Climbing and traversing around Mt Hayes on the Western Arthurs Traverse

The walk out of Lake Cygnus provides magical views over Bathurst Harbour and the southern mountain ranges, partially obscured by the deep blue lake. Soon after beginning the trek, you’ll find yourself leaving Cygnus Cirque on a perfectly manicured rock path that traverses beneath a collection of rocky spires towards Mt Hayes. 

While you’ll face a touch of exposure as you wander along the narrow trail carving a line beneath Mt Hayes, there are no surprises until you reach the southern shoulder and begin a steep descent. But chances are, you’ll hardly be giving the trail any thought as you stare out at the impossibly beautiful landscape that continues to unfold before you.

Side Trip To Mount Hayes

Distance: 600 m return
Time: 40 mins

Elevation Gain: 77 m
Highest Elevation: 1,119 m

Summit of Mt Hayes overlooking the distant mountains and lakes

As you hit what looks to be a saddle on Mt Hayes’ eastern shoulder, approximately 1.6 km past Lake Cygnus, you’ll notice a rock cairn signalling an optional side track that ascends northeast to reach the peak of your first Abel. Dropping your pack, you’ll feel as light as a feather as you bound up the bouldered peak, following the trail of rock cairns leading the way. 

You’ll encounter a couple of scramble sections requiring hands and feet but without a pack, it’s easily doable. And after approximately 20 minutes, you’ll be standing between two outcrops wondering which is the legitimate peak…

Climbing up to Mt Hayes on the steep technical trail

After a quick debate, we decided that the southernmost peak looked like the highest point. But to be sure, we summited both and each offered a fun final scramble to reach the top.

Mount Hayes offers uninterrupted vistas of the Arthur Plains providing a stark contrast to the many mountains flowing into Lake Pedder. If you have plenty of time and feel like moving without a pack, Mt Hayes is worth the extra 40 minutes. However, if you only want to summit one Abel for the day, we recommend waiting for Mt Sirius.

Mount Hayes To Square Lake
Hiking through incredible rock formations on the Western Arthurs Track in Tasmania

After reaching the southern slopes of Mt Hayes, the track steps up a notch. It will feel as if you should continue south but in fact, the track takes a left turn and dips beneath a jumble of disjointed cliffs into a shaded chute.

The trail will guide you beneath a slanted rock spire onto a loose track that steeply descends the eastern side of Mt Hayes. Unstable rocks move underneath your feet as you slowly make your way towards another saddle.

Hiking down the steep eastern side of Mt Hayes on the Western Arthurs Traverse

Looking worse than it is, you’ll drop onto the saddle with ease and find yourself staring back in awe towards Mt Hayes at the white shale line snaking between green vegetation and grey rocks.

My Hayes from the east, a tremendous piece of trail work

Setting your sights forward, you’ll see the tiny white line you’re to follow leading onto a smaller summit south of the dominating Procyon Peak. Climbing along an uneven track that requires a touch more attention than the previous manicured trail, you may need to stop regularly to truly soak in the rough and rugged landscape. 

Hiking the technical trail of Western Arthurs

Once you reach the 4.5km mark, after traversing the western face of Procyon Peak and gently descending towards Square Lake, you’ll find yourself crossing a boggy section right before entering a small forest concealing a stream funnelling from the lake above.

The stream beneath Square Lake is the only fresh and consistent water source for the day and after filling depleted water bottles, a collection of boulders beside the lake offers the perfect location for a snack break and a sneaky swim if the weather allows. 

Square Lake To The Saddle Between Mt Orion And Mt Sirius
Climbing out of Square Lake up towards Mt Sirius

Climbing out from the basin where Square Lake lies is nothing short of a slog, especially if the unrelenting sun is beating down on you. In just under 1 km, you’ll climb 220 m over a rough trail littered with roots and rocks. 

But as you continue to gain elevation, the scene behind will take any remaining breath away as the continuously evolving view reveals sharp quartzite spires piercing the sky and steep green slopes plummeting dramatically into deep blue alpine lakes. 

Finally, you’ll find yourself cresting the saddle connecting Mt Orion and Mt Sirius and receive your first glimpse of Lake Oberon glistening below. What a sight. Still to this day, I can’t bring to mind any other lake that comes close to matching its magnificence.

Standing on the ride above Lake Oberon with Pandani's flourishing next to the track

Before beginning the hairiest descent of the day, you have the choice of summiting the two remaining Abels along today’s route, Mt Orion and Mt Sirius.

Side Trip To Mount Orion

Distance: 1 km return
Time: 45 hrs

Elevation Gain: 56 m
Highest Elevation: 1,151 m

Climbing up to the summit of Mt Orion, the second Abel on the western Arthurs

The track leading to Mt Orion begins on the crest just above Lake Oberon’s descent. The 500m long track wanders across alpine herbfields, clambering over random outcrops, before leading you to a final scramble to reach the peak. 

The scramble requires a few awkward moves but continues to be relatively easy in the grand scheme of things, especially without a pack. Mt Orion’s bouldered summit offers similar views to Mt Hayes, with Lake Oberon almost completely obstructed by nearby spires.

Plenty of rock cairns and a well-worn track through the herbfield make Mt Orion easy to navigate. The peak didn’t provide our favourite view but the scramble was fun and worth the effort if you have energy left in the bank.

Side Trip To Mount Sirius

Distance: 1.2 km return
Time: 45 hr

Elevation Gain: 140 m
Highest Elevation: 1,151 m

Hiking up to Mt Sirius

The trail leading to Mt Sirius’ summit was a little more difficult to locate. Approximately 200 m before the turn-off to Mt Orion, where the main track begins to flatten, you’ll see a faint trail ascending the northern spur of Mt Sirius, accompanied by a few rock cairns scattered about the ridge. 

While the trail isn’t so obvious, your destination sticks out like a sore thumb and the random rock cairns will keep you pointed in the right direction. The final ascent requires a mellow scramble over precariously balanced boulders to reach Mt Sirius’ summit, where you’ll be blown away by the sensational view waiting for you.

Lake Oberon from Mt Sirius, the 3rd Abel on the Western Arthurs

From the prominent peak, Lake Oberon sprawls out below, stealing the show. But rising beyond the lake is the remaining Arthur Range, the razorblade ridgelines carving up the horizon and the tiny trail you’re to follow tomorrow just visible. 

If you have the energy for just one side trip on your second day traversing the Western Arthurs, we strongly suggest choosing Mt Sirius.

Mt Orion And Mt Sirius Saddle To Lake Oberon
Climbing down the difficult technical descent in to Lake Oberon on the Western Arthurs

The final descent to Lake Oberon offers a taste of what you can expect for the remaining Western Arthurs Traverse. The trail dips beneath a giant grey cliff and after less than 100 m you’ll find yourself staring down a rutted chute littered with white broken boulders.

Some exposed scrambling is required to descend the steep trail, where some hikers may feel more comfortable pack hauling. We chose to keep our packs on and felt comfortable slowly creeping down towards the lake.

After approximately 200 m, you’ll leave the technical climbing behind and continue into a wonderland filled with tall pandani, myrtle and spiky scoparia. An easy trail of boardwalk and stepping stones delivers you the final few hundred metres to Lake Oberon.

Standing at the top of Lake Oberon lost in Beauty from the magnificent landscape

Warning: If you find the descent into Lake Oberon beyond your comfort zone, you may want to consider ending the traverse here and retracing your steps back to Scotts Peak Dam car park. From this point, the traverse becomes consistently more technical and exposed for the remainder of the three days crossing the Western Arthurs Traverse.

Lake Oberon Campsite
Standing at the banks of Lake Oberon looking over sunset
Aurora Australis painting the sky over Lake Oberon in South West Tasmania
Aurora Australis Painting the sky over Lake Oberon
Comet entering atmosphere While Aurora Australis lit the sky above Lake Oberon on the Western Arthurs traverse
Incredible Comet entering atmosphere above Lake Oberon

Standing in the deep glacial cirque, where braided streams cut across the yellow valley toward Lake Oberon, you’ll understand why this is our all-time favourite campsite. It’s an otherworldly experience staring up at the towering grey quartzite spires protruding from the dense slopes plummeting into the azure blue water.

The water temperature of Lake Oberon was the warmest we swam in along the Western Arthurs Traverse and an afternoon spent frolicking in the shallow waters by the pebbled beach is the perfect end to an epic day in the mountains.

All 4 tent platforms are hidden within a small forest, shaded by moss-covered myrtle and oversized scoparia trees. Each platform can fit two tents, although the second platform is a very tight squeeze as a boulder takes up much of the right side.

Tent Platform at Lake Oberon on the Western Arthurs in the Southwest National Park

In addition to the tent platforms, a sandy little cove next to the lake can accommodate two tents if the need arises for more than 8.

The open toilet is located in the forest before the tent platforms and water can reliably be sourced from the river (filtering the water is highly recommended) and unreliably from the streams.

Camping on the banks at Lake Oberon in Southwest Tasmania

Note: The mice are quite a problem at this campsite, so be sure to either hang your sealed food bag in a tree or bury them deep within your pack to conceal the smell.

Day 3 – Lake Oberon To High Moor

Distance: 5 km
Walking Time: 3.5 hrs
Total Time: 8.5 hrs

Elevation Gain: 468 m
Elevation Loss: 444 m
Highest Elevation: 1,063 m

Looking back over Lake Oberon and Mt Orion on a moody misty morning

It isn’t easy leaving paradise, but after enjoying a magical sunrise and saying your final goodbyes to Lake Oberon, you’ll leave the valley and begin trudging towards Mt Pegasus in anticipation of your first full technical day.

There are no reliable water sources between Lake Oberon and High Moor, meaning you’ll need to carry a day’s worth of water from the beginning. Sometimes after a chunk of rain, there will be some mountain run-offs and rock puddles that you can fill from but these shouldn’t be relied upon.

Warning: Lake Oberon is the last protected campsite until you reach Haven Lake two days later, which is still more exposed. Make sure to check the weather before moving from Lake Oberon and consider staying put if heavy rain, snow or high winds are predicted. The majority of the trail after Lake Oberon is exposed on a thin ridgeline that’s not safe to traverse in extreme weather.

You can find tiny bits of Telstra reception atop Mt Sirius and on the nearby high points above Lake Oberon.

Lake Oberon To Mt Pegasus
Walking out of Lake Oberon on a misty morning

Climbing out of the cirque surrounding Lake Oberon, you’ll veer off yesterday’s trail after 200 m and begin to move southeast towards Mt Pegasus. Passing a tiny tarn and entering a saddle beneath the peak, you’re afforded a new perspective of the lake on one side and the sprawling Arthur Plains on the other.

As you walk out of the saddle, you’re met with your first technical ascent. Rock cairns lead the way up a stark boulder wall where you’ll need to perform some basic climbing manoeuvres. You can pass packs here in order to feel more comfortable scaling the rock face. 

Steep climb out of Lake Oberon towards Mt Pegasus

Back on relatively flat ground, you’ll continue winding through rocks and thick scrub before arriving at a sheer cliff. The trail looks as if it wants you to climb the cliff on the left but don’t! To your right, you’ll notice a rock cairn sitting atop a boulder at about shoulder height. Hop up onto the boulder and the continuing trail will reveal itself, veering right around the imposing cliff.

Warning: If you find yourself staring at an exposed 5 m cliff that plummets almost to the valley floor, don’t climb it. Retrace your steps to find the actual trail veering right around the mass of boulders. There are no sections on the trail that require you to rock climb a vertical exposed cliff face.

After the potential trail confusion, the track mellows out for a short while, allowing you to once again lose yourself in the incomprehensible landscape as you make your way to the summit of Mt Pegasus. 

Just before you reach the peak, you’ll find yourself funnelled into a cave of precarious boulders with a hole just large enough to squeeze through. It’s quite easy and entertaining, but pack hauling is a must to get you and your gear through the hole. 

Passing packs through a rock cave on the Western Arthurs Traverse
Climbing towards the ridge of Mt Pegasus on the western Arthurs

Another little rock tunnel appears after the first, but this one isn’t necessary to pass through and will cause you to encounter an unwanted challenge. Instead, you’ll follow the trail as it veers right and begins to descend the eastern face of Mt Pegasus.

Mount Pegasus To Mount Capricorn
Western Arthurs trail flanking up the jaggered ridgeline on an imposing mountain

All hands are on deck as you navigate down white quartzite rock and through dense shrubs filled with mountain pepperberry, pandani and scoparia, using their thick limbs to lower yourself down the increasingly steep descent.

Climbing down the steep descent towards the Saddle above Lake Uranus

Lake Uranus now fills the southern vista, backed by the bony peak of Mt Capricorn in the distance. A few random trails might try to trip you up as you finish the descent and begin to traverse towards Mt Capricorn, but as long as you look for the next cairn before moving forward, you’ll easily stay on track. 

Walking under a massive overhang above Lake Uranus on the Western Arthurs
Navigating the exposed rocky trail above Lake Uranus

As you reach the saddle before the final summit scramble of the day, you’ll receive a small break from swinging under and over gnarled tree roots and branches. The flatter expanse provides an ideal spot for a snack before tackling Mt Capricorn.

Looking back to Mt Pegasus on a moody Tasmanian day on the Western Arthurs

After a well-deserved break, a fun scramble over grey boulders will deliver you to the summit of Mt Capricorn. From the high vantage point, you’re able to look back at the white trail precariously snaking across the imposing ridgeline. It’s a wild experience looking back at the peaks you’ve just clambered up and down, which look almost impenetrable from a distance!

Mount Capricorn To High Moor
Climbing down an awkward rock feature on the Western Arthurs Traverse

The descent from Mt Capricorn will test your stomach for heights, as you basically scale the side of a precipitous shrub-covered cliff. Dropping over deformed boulders and down spongy dirt steps, clinging to overhanging branches for balance, you’ll slowly lower yourself down the eastern spine of Mt Capricorn.

Climbing down the steep rooty trail down from Mt Capricorn
Climbing down the steep rooty trail down from Mt Capricorn

But once you plant your feet on flat ground found in the saddle below, you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when you look back at the partially hidden trail cut into the steep mountainside.

Hiking in the sunshine after completeing the technical trail between Lake Oberon and High Moor Campsite

The final 2 km will pass by quickly in comparison to the previous three, as you return to a partly manicured trail. However, don’t get complacent, you’ve still got at least 200 m in elevation to conquer before you reach the boardwalks that will lead you into High Moor camp.

High Moor Campsite
High Moor Campsite nestled under Mt Columba on the Westewrn Arthurs Traverse

High Moor campsite sits just beneath Mount Columba in a slightly protected pocket, overlooking the infamous Beggary Bumps. While you may miss the luxury of a lake, the sweeping views over the Arthur Range will not disappoint. 

Not to mention, walking the short distance back to the saddle above High Moor and summiting Mt Columba for sunset will reward you with one of the best sunsets you’ve seen. The sun dips beyond the southwest mountains into the southern ocean, casting a brilliant yellow glow on the rambling Arthur Range.

Standing at the summit of Mt Columba at sunset overlooking the Western Arthurs Traverse and Southwest National Park

You’ll find another open toilet at High Moor camp and a small stream right beside the tent platforms for water. There are two tent platforms connected by boardwalks to protect the fragile vegetation surrounding the camp. You can squeeze a total of 9 tents onto the platforms, but remember your earplugs as it can get quite cosy!

The mice are quite a problem at this campsite, so be sure to either hang your sealed food bag in a tree or bury them deep within your pack to conceal the smell.

Filling water from small stream at High Moor Campsite
High Moor Campsite nestled under Mt Columba on the Westewrn Arthurs Traverse

Note: Unfortunately, this water source isn’t always reliable so it’s a good idea to check its levels with the visitor centre at Mt Field or ask the question in a Facebook Tasmanian hiking group. Additionally, the water here is often stagnant so it’s best to filter and boil the water you collect.

Day 4 – High Moor To Haven Lake

Distance: 4.7 km
Walking Time: 3.5 hrs
Total Time: 7.5 hrs

Elevation Gain: 254 m
Elevation Loss: 468 m
Highest Elevation: 986 m

Climbing down the overgrown trail of the Beggary Bumps on the Western Arthurs, Tasmania

If you’re passionate about catching sunrises, set your alarm to check the skies for your morning at High Moor. The rocky peak east of High Moor camp provides a sensational seat to watch the sun creep over the Eastern Arthur Range, silhouetting Federation Peak’s iconic summit as it illuminates the folded mountains.

Similar to the day before, there are no reliable water sources between High Moor and Haven Lake, requiring you to once again carry a day’s worth of water for your trek.

High Moor To The Tilted Chasm

Your day starts with a bang as you leave High Moor behind and climb onto the infamous Beggary Bumps. The Beggary Bumps are a line of precipitous peaks with plunging slopes and cool damp chasms. 

The casual trail lasts for a mere 300 m before you arrive at your first steep descent through a shaded chute. White shale and eroding rock form the path, with nearby woolly tea trees and pandani providing handholds as you descend. 

Climbing down the first steep rock chute of the Beggary Bumps Western Arthurs

Emerging from the chasm, you’ll begin to traverse the impossibly beautiful southern mountainside above Lake Ganymede. Horizontal trees cross the path, creating foot and hand holds as you navigate the sheer slope. 

Walking on trees on the overgrown trail at the beginning of the Beggary Bumps

Note: Again, navigation through these descents and traverses was relatively easy. Most often, it was obvious when a descent ended and a traverse began and where it wasn’t, you’d find rope blocking the wrong path.

After approximately 400 m of climbing in-between gnarled trees along the sharply undulating traverse, you’ll finally arrive at the Tilted Chasm. This section is perhaps the most anticipated of the entire Western Arthurs Traverse and requires you to descend between two slanted slabs of damp granite.

The Tilted Chasm To The Dragon
Scrambling down the Tilted Chasm on the Western Arthurs Traverse
The Tilted Chasm

Moss clings to the damp walls of the Tilted Chasm, causing some rocks to feel slimy as you carefully navigate down the steep chute. Without the aid of branches and roots, you’ll rely on finding good hand and foot holds on the coarse rock before making your next move.

You can opt to haul packs at the beginning and the end of the Tilted Chasm, where a short climb is necessary. However, we felt comfortable keeping ours on through the entire descent – Dylan even kept his camera clipped to his chest via the peak designs clip.

Once you reach the bottom of the Tilted Chasm, you’ll once again resume a traverse towards The Dragon. A slightly muddy trail infiltrated by overgrown shrubs will deliver you to a fun scramble ascent that nears the summit of The Dragon.

Traversing the thick vegetation after the Begary Bumps on the Western Arthurs Traverse
The Dragon To Mount Taurus

Right before the peak, the trail turns east and after a few metres, drops over the southern shoulder. Another plunging descent awaits, where you’ll often find yourself scratching your head wondering how on earth you can navigate the gnarled trees and boulders inhibiting the path.

Walking down the shaley trail on the Beggary Bumps

But even though this section requires quite a few technical moves, there are plenty of surrounding trees to cling onto and shield you from the precipitous slope. We thoroughly enjoyed this part of the Western Arthurs Traverse, not only was it breathtakingly beautiful through the stunted forest, but the descents required a good dose of brainstorming and some fun teamwork.

Climbing down the rock face through Pandani Forests on the final descent of the Beggary Bumps
Awkwardly descending through large boulders on the Beggary Bumps in the Western Arthurs Range
Using solid roots to climb down steep sections of the Western Arthurs Traverse

Note: Some moves are quite tricky for shorter people, where the next foothold is often just out of reach. Pack hauling is a great option and easily doable through these descents as the technical sections are all short.

Eventually, after 1.5 km, you’ll find yourself on another saddle beneath The Dragon, looking back at the jagged Beggary Bumps with a grand sense of accomplishment. The quartzite peaks and hanging valleys look impossible to navigate from this vantage point, emphasising why it took about 1.5 hrs to walk 1.5 km!

But the technical nature of the traverse is far from over. Continuing along the ridgeline towards Mt Taurus, you’re met with an exposed slanted boulder to traverse and plenty more rutted slopes to drop down. 

Western Arthurs Traverse near Haven Lake

Once you reach the final unnamed peak before Mt Taurus, look back to witness the symmetry of two lakes glistening on either side of the Beggary Bumps. This is a great spot for lunch, or just a little past the peak you’ll find a shaded overhang if the sun is fierce.

Walking up the final ascent to Mt Taurus
Symmetry of Lakes either side of the Beggary bumps

On the final descent, before you begin to climb Mt Taurus, you’ll come across an awkward boulder drop which is best attacked by sitting on the rock closest to you and placing your feet on the opposite boulder, using the tree limbs above to hold onto as you shimmy down between the two rocks. 

Awkwardly descending through large boulders on the Beggary Bumps in the Western Arthurs Range

Finally, you’ll begin the climb onto Mt Taurus where you can drop your pack to summit the final peak before Haven Lake. 

Mt Taurus To Haven lake
Overlooking Haven Lake on the Western Arthurs Traverse

Recovering your packs for the remaining kilometre, you’ll dip back into the alpine shrub to descend the eastern shoulder of Mt Taurus. Emerging onto a flat boulder, you’ll receive your first glimpse of Haven Lake tucked between two grey pointed peaks. 

A final tricky manoeuvre is required to drop down between another set of steep boulders before you’ll finish the trek on a shrub-filled slope. The shores of Haven Lake are a welcomed sight after a long day and once you cross to the eastern shores and locate one of the hidden campsites, a fresh dip in the lake provides the perfect ending to your day. 

Climbing down the large boulders before Haven Lake in South West Tasmania
Haven Lake Campsite

Protected in all directions except the south, Haven Lake lives up to its name and provides a little oasis within the wild mountain range. 

The campsite consists of 4 platforms that can hold two tents each and an open drop toilet hidden in the thick shrub. Again, the mice are quite a problem at this campsite, so be sure to either hang your sealed food bag in a tree or bury them deep within your pack to conceal the smell.

Tent pitched on the platforms available at Haven Lake

Water can be sourced from the lake but as with Lake Oberon and Lake Cygnus, it’s best to use a filtration system when you’re drinking water from a non-flowing source.

Day 5 – Haven Lake To Junction Creek

Distance: 20 km
Walking Time: 6 hrs
Total Time: 10 hrs

Elevation Gain: 727 m
Elevation Loss: 1,298 m
Highest Elevation: 1,106 m

Sunset Traverse from Haven Lake to Lake Sirona

Waking to your final morning on the Western Arthurs Traverse, you can walk a short way up today’s trail to watch the sun methodically drape the rugged mountain range in shades of yellow and gold. 

Today has the longest distance to cover, but you’ll find plenty of streams to re-fill water once you descend off Kappa Moraine (Moraine K) and enter the vast Arthur Plains.

Haven Lake To Lake Sirona

Climbing out of Haven Lake’s glacial cirque, you’re gifted with evolving views over the imposing peaks you traversed the day before. A mix of steps and grippy rock assist the ascent to the eastern saddle overlooking the remaining Arthur Range.

If you thought the technical hiking was over once you reached Haven Lake, you were wrong. Continuing on from the saddle above the lake, you’ll step onto a rutted and tree-laden track clinging to the edge of another precarious slope.

Climbing up yet another steep exposed trails on the Western Arthurs Traverse

The trail guides you between gnarled trees and over white marble boulders as you begin to ascend the ridgeline towards Lake Sirona. A loose shale descent meets you on the other side of a small peak, leading you towards a vast sloping meadow covered in small boulders and yellow low-lying alpine shrubs.

The golden slanted slopes and precipitous peaks plunging to azure blue lakes will take your breath away, making you stop on the wide open field and gaze out to the southeast onto the Eastern Arthurs and the few remaining peaks of the full Western Arthurs Traverse.

Hiking the saddle towards Lake Sirona on the Western Arthurs Hike

Dragging your eyes from the mystifying scene, you’ll follow the white rock trail north to a collection of boulders forming a peak above Lake Sirona. Awaiting you on the other side is the final technical descent before you leave the Western Arthur Range. 

A steep exposed clamber down broken boulders will lead you closer to Lake Sirona, but carefully placing hands and feet will enable you to keep your pack on until the final drop before you reach the water’s edge. 

Climbing down to Lake Sirona on the final descent
Pack hauling the descent into Lake Sirona

The final technical section requires you to shimmy between two boulders before dropping onto a slanted rock beneath. While it would be doable with a pack, removing them made our lives much easier as we stretched out to find the footholds.

Lake Sirona To Mount Scorpio
Hiking across the final traverse on the Western Arthurs

Fed by braided streams flowing from Mt Scorpio in the northeast, Lake Sirona sits in a saddle, tucked into the creases of the western slopes. After filling any depleted water bottles, you’ll cross the southeastern banks of Lake Sirona and continue along a gradual ascent towards Mt Scorpio’s summit.

An easy ramble along the vast golden meadows allows you to imprint the magnificent mountain range to memory as you gently climb the partially manicured track leading to the bare rocky peak.

With only a small stint of exposed slab climbing that looks worse than it is, you’ll stand beside the peak of Mt Scorpio after 2.2 km. Mt Scorpio is the final Abel along the shortened Western Arthurs Traverse and requires little effort to climb the final 20 m to summit the peak.

Mount Scorpio To Seven Mile Creek
Beginning the final descent down Kappa Moraine on the Western Arthurs Traverse

After admiring the boundless mountain range from atop Mt Scorpio, you’ll begin the 3 km gruelling descent down Kappa Moraine (Moraine K) to Arthur Plains. With 400 of the 850 m elevation lost in the first kilometre, you can expect to find a few steep surprises but nothing that compares to the previous technical descents.

As you continue to rapidly lose elevation, Lake Vesta, Lake Juno and Promontory Lake begin to reveal themselves below Carina Peak. The magical view helps to distract from sore joints as you methodically move one foot in front of the other.

Sunset over the Western Arthurs Traverse

Once the gradient begins to ease slightly, approximately 600 m from Mt Scorpio, you’ll come across a track junction and a walkers registration. The track leading to the south will take you across the final section of the Western Arthurs Traverse, passing Lake Promontory, the Western Portal and the Razorback before colliding with McKays Track near Cracroft Crossing.

Note: You’ll come across a track closure sign just before reaching the junction for the remaining Western Arthurs Traverse. This is potentially an old track and can be disregarded if you’re planning to pursue the full traverse or the Eastern Arthurs.

To complete the 5 – 7 day traverse, you’ll continue moving northeast down Kappa Moraine and eventually onto Arthur Plains after another 2.4 km. A sigh of relief can be had once you finally reach flat ground again and begin crossing the plains towards Seven Mile Creek. But don’t forget to look back and admire the colossal descent you’ve just accomplished!

Often after a good dose of rain, you’ll find the plains filled with mud. But if you’ve scored a dry week, only a few remaining mud puddles will appear.

Walking through Button Grass Plains in the dark on the Western Arthurs Traverse
We walked to Seven Mile Creek in the dark so unfortunately this is where our images end for the day

Rusted stakes assist in keeping you on track as you move across the endless buttongrass plains and after 3 km, you’ll find yourself pushing through the thick dry scrub bordering Seven Mile Creek.

Note: We found the trail difficult to follow once we neared the creek and reverted to Alltrails to keep us on track in the heavily overgrown vegetation. However, we did cross this section at night and it may be easier to navigate in daylight.

After crossing a shallow creek (taking shoes and socks off is recommended to avoid blisters), you’ll step into a small clearing that can be used as a campsite for weary travellers. However, there are no toilets at this undesignated campsite so if you do choose to spend the night by the creek, please walk at least 100 m away from the water source to dig your toilet.

Seven Mile Creek To Junction Creek
Sunrise at Seven Mile Creek Campsite
Seven Mile Creek Campsite

Whether you’ve decided to make camp or simply stop to fill water bottles and rest tired feet, you’ll follow the orange arrows away from the creek bed and begin the long traverse northwest along the barren Arthur Plains.

There’s no denying that this section of the trail is bleak. The only silver lining is the majestic Western Arthur Range filling the southwestern horizon. To avoid falling into a dreary slump, you can let your eyes rove over the mountain peaks and try to remember exactly where you traversed.

Hiking through the Button Grass Plains between Seven Mile Creek and Junction Creek Campsite

Boggy mud marshes are a common occurrence throughout the buttongrass moorlands, especially in the small depressions and near streams. We strongly suggest wearing long pants and gaiters to avoid a sock full of unwanted muck.

Approximately 6 km past Seven Mile Creek, you’ll come across the first shaded section of the slightly undulating traverse that conceals Wullyawa Creek. This little haven has a small clearing just large enough to pitch a few tents if you simply cannot go any further.

Crossing fallen tree between Seven Mile Creek and Junction Creek Campsite

Logs assist in crossing the creek and a pretty forest carpeted in light green moss prevails for a short while. But too soon you’ll find yourself back in the open moorland setting your sights on the next band of trees that will offer a short respite from the elements.

Eventually, after another 5.7km, you’ll make it back to Junction Creek and if you don’t literally drop to the ground, I applaud you for being much fitter than us!

Junction Creek Campsite
Junction Creek Campsite

Junction Creek flows through a dry forest of eucalypts, with multiple open spaces to pitch your tent and an open drop toilet amongst the trees. It’s the least exciting campsite of the designated 5 but for tired legs, it’s perfect. 

Note: This campsite could become quite sketchy in high winds as when we visited, there were many trees down. Remember to camp a good distance from any decaying trees and avoid pitching right beneath an extended limb.

Day 6 – Junction Creek To Scotts Peak Dam Car Park

Distance: 9.2 km
Walking Time: 2.5 hrs
Total Time: 3 hrs

Elevation Gain: 124 m
Elevation Loss: 116 m
Highest Elevation: 343 m

After a good night’s rest, the final 9.2 km of the Western Arthurs Traverse will fly by as you retrace your steps from the first day. And let me tell you, the feeling when you eventually spot the boot cleaning station at the fridge of the myrtle forest is not likely to be forgotten any time soon.

Best Time To Hike The Western Arthurs Traverse

Western Arthurs Range standing tall over the Button Grass Fields

The Western Arthur Range is notorious for wild weather that can cause some unsavoury walking conditions. The best time to complete the traverse is from December to April when the weather is generally the most co-operable.

However, even during the summer and early autumn months, it’s common to run into bad weather. High winds, heavy rain and dense fog are not ideal conditions to hike in and will often force you to spend a day hiding in your tent. Ensure you check the weather before you go and avoid any big systems forecasted. But even if you’ve found a good weather window, pack at least two extra days of food in case you need to extend your trip.

Leave No Trace

Part of the Wilderness World Heritage Area, the Western Arthur Range is home to countless endemic flora and fauna species that need our help to survive. We are extremely lucky in Tasmania to have so many protected wilderness areas and it’s each and every one of our responsibilities to keep these wild places wild.

When you’re out on the Western Arthurs Traverse, or anywhere for that matter, please follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. Here is a little recap of the principles to re-familiarise yourself with them.

  1. Plan ahead and prepare – ensure you know what to expect and pack accordingly
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces – there are designated campsites throughout the range 
  3. Dispose of waste properly – there are toilets at every campsite but if you have to go on the trail, make sure to move away from the track and dig a hole at least 20 cm deep
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts – Fires are prohibited in the Western Arthur Range
  6. Respect wildlife – Please don’t feed any of the wildlife, this is detrimental to their behaviour and health
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

Western Arthurs Traverse Gear List

The Western Arthurs Traverse is a remote expedition that requires careful planning and consideration of any and all weather conditions. We highly suggest carrying an emergency beacon with you and packing for every extreme.

Below is a detailed list of the gear that we packed for the Western Arthurs Traverse. Please feel free to get in contact with us if you have any additional questions on what to pack for the Western Arthurs.

Essential Hiking Packing List

  • Topographic Map and Compass – It’s best to avoid relying solely on your phone, which can run out of battery. 
  • Digital Map – In addition to a paper map, you can use AllTrails to download the route and follow along with the inbuilt GPS.
  • First Aid Kit – You can visit this post if you’re unsure what should go into a first aid kit for hiking.
  • Emergency Beacon – Our emergency beacon lives in our hiking packs permanently.
  • Reusable Water Bottles Avoid taking plastic water bottles that can break easily and add to the overwhelming amount of plastic pollution. We also suggest bringing a water filtration system to treat river water.
  • Head Torch Don’t forget the spare batteries! Look for a headtorch with a minimum of 100 lumens. 
  • Sturdy Hiking Shoes We recommend hiking boots over trail runners for longer hikes, where the trail is unstable and can become very muddy. 
  • Long pants or gaiters Tasmania has a thriving population of leeches.
  • Down Jacket and Thermals Staying warm while hiking is extremely important and these items play a key role, the mountains are unpredictable, best be prepared.
  • Rain Jacket and Rain Pants Rain pants are optional but can provide an extra layer of warmth in miserable conditions. 
  • Sun Protection – The UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes.
  • Sleeping Gear – Make sure to pack a tent, a warm sleeping bag and an inflatable mat for overnight hikes. The mountains can get very cold at night, even in summer.
  • Cooking Stove Nothing beats a warm, satisfying meal after a big day of hiking.
  • Emergency Snacks – You can never have too much food and who doesn’t love snacks!
  • Camera Gear – We never travel anywhere without our camera, tripod or drone!

Here is a downloadable Western Arthurs Packing List to help you plan your trip. In addition to what’s on the list, we had a total of 7 days worth of food (including the emergency meals) which included dehydrated lunches and dinners, an oat bar for breakfast and plenty of salty, sugary and fatty snacks.

Where To Stay Near The Western Arthur Range, Tasmania

Edgar Dam Campground at Lake Pedder

The Western Arthur Range is found deep within the wild and rugged Southwest National Park. The closest places with accommodation options are Maydena and Strathgordon, however, there are also plenty of camping options closer to the range.

Camping Near The Western Arthur Range



Final Thoughts

The Western Arthurs Traverse was without a doubt the best hike we have ever completed, the unfathomable beauty and the challenging trail kept us captivated for the entire duration. If you’re an advanced hiker and looking to challenge yourself, then this is the hike for you. But be prepared to encounter wild weather and spend long days traversing open buttongrass plains full of mud.

If you’re unsure whether you have the ability to walk the Western Arthurs Traverse, please feel free to get in contact with us and we will try our best to offer as much information as we can so that you can comfortably make your decision.

And as always, we’d love to hear about your experiences on the Western Arthurs in the comments below. 

Happy Hiking 🙂