Whilst they are in close location from each other, these two top Tasmanian hiking trails offer different walking experiences and stunning landscapes. One's an internationally renowned walking track in the famous Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and the other a favourite amongst locals, but each track provides a unique and unparalleled nature experience.
Compare the different highlights between the Walls of Jerusalem walk and the Overland Track.
Walls of Jerusalem Circuit
Walls of Jerusalem National Park
Highlights: Alpine wilderness walking experience, lakes and tarns galore, historic huts and climb Tasmania’s 10th highest peak.
"I can remember feeling like I’d walked into Willy Wonka’s factory, jaw-dropping and astounded by everlasting gob stopping views. I couldn’t believe that a place as beautiful as this existed." – Caro Ryan from Lotsafreshair
Walls of Jerusalem National Park Trips:
Positioned in the northwest of Tasmania, approximately 1.4 hours from Launceston and can only be reached by foot with a steep ascent into the park, the Walls of Jerusalem National Park is Tasmania’s only true alpine national park.
It features endemic alpine flora with delicate rare cushion plants, wide-open spaces, ancient pencil pine forests, dolerite peaks, native wildlife, historic mountain huts and its landmarks are uniquely biblically named. It is also known as the ‘Land of a Thousand Lakes’ for its surplus of highland lakes and tarns.
All gear is to be taken in and out. This park is not suitable for a day visit, like Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, where The Overland Track commences.
Many trekkers say their favourite track within the northwest of Tasmania is in the Walls of Jerusalem as it is less crowded, and the landscape is magnificent in all seasons.
Why Biblical Names?
In 1849, surveyor James Scott named the park after the geological features which are thought to resemble the walls of the city of Jerusalem. In the 1920’s solicitor Reg Hall a regular visitor continued the theme naming the landmarks: The Temple, Wailing Wall, Solomons Jewels, Pool of Bethesda, Lake Salome, Damascus Gate, Zions Gate and Herods Gate.
Throughout the park, historic mountain huts feature along the trail and provide insight into the living conditions of those that once lived here. Solitary Man’s Hut was built by a man in 1983 without Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services permission and lived here for 18 months seeking peace and solitude. He’d venture to the local town for supplies, though lived a reclusive life. There’s Trappers Hut and Dixons Hut both postcard picturesque landmarks and a great spot for a picnic.
Those looking to summit mountains for the amazing views across the park will enjoy climbing Tasmania’s 10th highest peak: King David. First climbers must summit Solomon’s Throne traversing the ridgeline to reach the highest point of 1,499 metres. If it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see Cradle Mountain and right across the entire Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
Lakes, Tarns and Alpine Vegetation
There’s an abundance of water system lakes and tarns all sitting in stunning alpine landscapes including Solomon’s Jewels a series of pools (tarns), the Pool of Bethesda and Lake Salome to name a few. Once you’ve been to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, you’ll truly understand why it’s known as the ‘Land of a Thousand Lakes’.
The alpine vegetation is spectacular where endemic conifer forests, 1000-year-old pencil pine forests and dense bush awaits you. The bright green mounds of cushion plants are very special and rare.
“The Walls of Jerusalem was truly a bushwalkers bushwalk in stages, similar in the intensity of physical and mental stamina as the South Coast Track, but with an equally spectacular but different scenery. An ability to pitch your tent in a forest of trees that would be 1000 years old, freshwater crayfish in tarns on tops of the mountains, beautiful green mounds of cushion plants, (all these found nowhere else in the world) a Gondwana Land Australian native beech tree, (exclusive only to this region in Australia), crystal clear lakes and walking over spongey peaty ancient glacier fields whilst listening to underground streams gurgling. Too good to be real! Brilliant too were the guides, making the whole trip yet another one of “Life’s Highlights” and leaving me enthusiastic to attempt another in Tassie in the future.” – R. Haensel | South Australia
Suitability – Graded moderate to challenging
The full circuit adventure involves trekking for up to 7 or 8 hours a day at a steady pace, carrying a full trekking backpack. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions. Walks within the Walls of Jerusalem National Park are challenging and can be steep in sections.
Suggested preparation: We recommend one hour of strenuous exercise 4 times per week (this can be cycling, jogging or walking) interspersed with relatively demanding bushwalks carrying a full pack weight (up to 20kgs). Hillwalking with a pack involving relatively steep ascents and descents in variable weather conditions is also recommended. At least once a week, you should walk with a weighted day pack (5–7kg) for several hours for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness.
The Overland Track
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Highlights: Walk the famous track with spectacular sub-alpine plateaus, highland landscapes and summit Tasmania’s highest peak Mt Ossa.
“Be prepared for stunning scenery, nature seeping into your soul, breathing deep and expanding your lungs on breathtaking trails that take you on ever-changing landscapes.” – D. Burns | NSW, Australia
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park Trips:
The Overland Track is on many adventurers walking list with Cradle Mountain as the big drawcard for the overall trek experience. Located in the northwest of the island and 60 kilometres from the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and under 2 hours from Launceston, this internationally renowned track brings walkers in from all over the world and is Australia’s premier bushwalk.
Climb Tasmania’s Tallest Peak
There are many highlights on The Overland Track, though the popular one is the opportunity to summit Tasmania’s highest mountains such as iconic Cradle Mountain and the highest peak Mt Ossa at 1,617 metres (weather dependant). The views are magnificent and on a clear day, you’ll see views of Barn Bluff, Pelion West and Pelion East on the horizon.
Flora and Fauna
Trekking through the beautiful landscapes full of unusual vegetation and spotting the local wildlife is a delightful experience. Along the track you may pass wombats, see quolls, platypuses dipping into the streams, echidnas, maybe sight a Tasmanian Devil and view birds soaring through the sky.
The rich and diverse flora includes grasslands, rainforests and ancient plants such as the endemic King Billy pine and the unusual native deciduous beech. Enjoy the wildflowers of orchids, banksias, waratahs, leatherwoods and hakeas. If opportunity permits, there is a little Gondwana era rainforest and our guides lead trekkers one at a time into the dark forest where all you hear is the wind blowing through, it’s so quiet, not a birdsong and this a highlight for many of our trekkers.
The Overland Track starts at the Weindorfer's Chalet, the former home of Gustav and Kate Weindorfer who built their home in the park in 1912. During their visits to the area and upon climbing Cradle Mountain Mr Weindoffer stated “This must be a National Park for the people for all time. It is magnificent, and people must know about it and enjoy it.” The area became a national park in 1947.
Trekkers will enjoy stopping for a rest at the historic Kitchen Hut, built in 1937 which is now used as an emergency shelter.
Towards the end of the trek, a visit to Mersey River Waterfalls is a must, as is a walk to Fergusson Falls, D’Alton Falls and Harnett Falls some of Tasmania’s largest. The waterfalls are set in some of the oldest beautiful rainforests in the park.
“The journey was filled with remarkable scenery, fascinating history, and extraordinary plants and animals (the wombats were my favourite!) Our guides were delightful, professional and dedicated to making the journey enjoyable for each trekker. We especially enjoyed the camaraderie, delicious prepared meals and the stunning natural beauty of the trek.” – B. Mills | Bellevue, USA
Suitability – Graded moderate
This 6-day Overland Track involves trekking for up to 6 or 7 hours a day. The terrain is rugged and remote. Tracks may be long, rough and steep. Over the trip, you will walk along boardwalks, up and down steps, through overgrown forests and through muddy sections. This trek should not be underestimated as it can be tough and challenging. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health.
Suggested preparation: We recommend one hour of strenuous exercise 3-4 times per week (this can be cycling, jogging or walking) interspersed with relatively demanding bushwalks carrying a full pack weight (up to 20kg). Hillwalking with a pack in variable weather conditions is also recommended.
Now that you have read each walk’s highlights, which trail will you choose?