Kunanyi/Mount Wellington: Devil’s Throne

Devil’s Throne, Satan’s Couch, Lucifer’s Lounger, Beelzebub’s Settee, Mephistophele’s Armchair, I have no idea how this place got its name and an exhaustive period of 3 minutes of researching it has turned up nothing 🙂 Devil’s Throne can be found “down the back” of Kunanyi/Mount Wellington, that big beautiful lump of rock that overlooks Hobart and can be seen from all around. I’ve done many walks on “The Mountain” as it’s affectionately known, and have always had an intrigue with what lies beyond the car park at the top, what’s it like to walk out there along the rolling rocky outcrops you see, stretching out into the distance towards the Southwest and its impressive peaks?

Yesterday, at the third time of asking we got to find the answers to that question. We tried this walk in the Winter but turned back due to a) me forgetting my gaiters and b) it was a bit of a risky one. The second time, dangerous fire weather shut us out from getting to the top. Yesterday we had almost perfect conditions, not too hot and with a gentle breeze to take the edge off. We met up at the car park just up from Big Bend and promptly set off after donning our gear and lathering on the sunscreen.

We were going to be doing the full loop around Thark Ridge and down towards Mount Mongatu before turning onto the lesser taken path around to Devil’s Throne. If you just want to see the Throne, take a right at the junction and it’s a much shorter in and out trip. We went left and enjoyed the 10km+ “full experience” which included a lovely little rock hop up to the top of Thark Ridge.

The track down to Mount Montagu is well marked with easily spotted pillars with yellow direction arrows. Once you turn away towards Devil’s Throne, you lose the markers and finding your way can be a little trickier. Our system involved someone taking the lead and once they missed a turn someone else took over. Me being the atrocious navigator I am barely made it 100m in front haha.

There’s a few boggy patches this time of year (Late Summer) but nothing to worry about if you’re wearing suitable shoes and gaiters. I’d recommend gaiters too as it’s pretty scrubby and tough in parts. The route down from Thark Ridge is quite fun with some steep sections and then you pass through some interesting forested sections with lots of pretty white gums littering the sides of the trail.

Eventually after glimpses of the edge of the trees, you reach Devil’s Throne and can take in the epic views out to Collins Bonnet and beyond. A short scramble gets you out onto the rocky outcrops and the view opens up to include much of the Southwest. We had great views of peaks like Precipitous Bluff, Mount Picton and of course Federation Peak and enjoyed a nice rest taking it all in and figuring out the other peaks with the PeakFinder App (highly recommend). The walk back around to the carpark was hot and slow going as the 5+ hours in the heat began to take its toll. There’s not a great deal of shelter on this walk so definitely bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat. Off all the walks on the mountain, this one’s probably the most adventurous and makes you feel you’re far more remote than just a few kilometers from a capital city.

Despite the haze you could see out to Maria Island on the East Coast from the mountain.
Lots of remnants of the 1967 fires visible with countless dead gums dotting the landscape.
Spotted a couple of shy Green Rosellas fluttering about in the small pockets of taller trees.
Looks like a secret entrance, just need to find the button that opens it.
A cute little memento on the summit of Thark Ridge.
I remember seeing this circular patch of green on satellite views so it was cool to see it in the flesh.
Obligatory group photo on the high point of Thark Ridge.
Those distinctive little pillars that epitomise the mountain summit.
Making our way gingerly down a steep section a little over halfway round the loop.
The view opens up on occasion as you clear the forested sections.
Devil’s Throne in all its devilish glory.
Skeletons of the 67 fires are all around the mountain; front, back and sides.
Lunch with lucifer.
The massive scree field on the slopes of Collins Bonnet.
A wider shot of Bonnet giving a sense of scale to that scree field.
Loved these bastions of rock jutting out above the trees.
The Dream Team photo atop Devil’s Throne. Felt so good to be able to get another group photo. Been a while.
Making our way back through gnarled trees and pretty rusted undergrowth.
The view off the northern edge of the mountain was pretty cool.

7 thoughts on “Kunanyi/Mount Wellington: Devil’s Throne

  1. The last line, the adventures available so close to a capital city, makes a profound point at a time like this. Restricted as we are by Covid 19 it is a largely a matter of developing a traveller’s mindset so as to extract layers of meaning from places that we have taken for granted.
    Thank you James

    1. Definitely well beyond the 5km limit if we were to be in lockdown too, the drive to the top from the bottom is 10km itself. Can never take the mountain for granted, it’s too much of a gift and a playground to think any less of it. A very special place with lots of happy memories and important life moments for me

  2. Lovely photos! This walk has been on my bucket list since I was a kid. I live on the mountains foothills now and yet still haven’t done it! Is the Thark Ridge Hut still there? It was on a map I used to look at.

        1. I understand, life’s for living and WordPress can be time consuming, both creating and consuming content. I tell the tourist Tasmanians only go on holiday elsewhere occasionally just to remind us how good it is here! True for me, I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

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