The walk to the top of Mount Eliza is a slog and a half. It’s a 12km return from Condominium Creek, which is terribly named as there’s no high rise apartments to be seen. Where it is apt is the stairs….the endless stairs to the base of the summit. You gain over 900m in altitude on this one, so that’s like walking to the tippy top of the Burj Khalifa and then continuing for another few floors. For some strange reason, I had it in my head that this was something more akin to a nice Sunday afternoon stroll. Nope. When you look up at Mount Eliza from the carpark, you know right away you’re in for a slog.
Regular readers of this blog will know my hiking exploits have been few and far between the past few years. I’ve had a wonderful substitute in raising a funny loving little boy and renovating a 100 year old cottage and its garden with my partner Gemma. That doesn’t mean the hiking itch isn’t still tapping me on the shoulder asking “What ya doing? Why you no hike? Pls come hike, hiiiiiike maaaan” and so on and so forth.
When Gemma suggested I take the opportunity to get my boots back on and hit the trails I was rather excited. Alas, she wasn’t able to come with due to a niggling ankle injury 😦 Being the Southwest she wasn’t keen on me going by myself either. A quick shout out on a bushwalking group on Facebook and Michael from Taiwan was to be my walking buddy for the day. We met at the car park around 9:30am and got straight into the walk.
The steps started fairly soon into the walk, first some nice shiny new boardwalks, a gentle introduction to the never-ending stairway ahead. In 2018-2019 Tasmania was ravaged by a series of horrendous bushfires that destroyed homes and burned through 278,000 hectares. We live on a 1 acre property, that to me is freaking huge. These fires burned the equivalent of 686,951 of those….
The Mount Anne (and Mount Eliza) area was significantly affected and the track was off limits for a long time afterwards, hence the shiny new stairs. They’ve really done an incredible job rebuilding everything, the craftsmanship and sheer skill of the trackwork is a sight to behold. Now, back to the slog.
I wasn’t sure how seasoned a walker Michael was and had terrible visions of him being an absolute machine laughing at me as he casually strolled to the top without breaking a sweat. Thankfully we were both at a similar level and the shared pace was pretty good.
The Mount Eliza track is exposed, there is zero shelter and on a hot day (which this was), it can be pretty brutal. It’s also quite possibly the best “no peaking” challenge in Tasmania. The epic views of Lake Pedder are there from the get go, every time you stop for a rest, you can’t help but turn around and take them in. I dare you to do this walk and not look behind you on the way up, it’s impossible.
The seemingly never-ending stairs do eventually blend into that most wonderful part of bushwalking in Tasmania, the fun bit. The rocks, the boulders, the thrill of the climb. I….again showing my thorough research and preparedness, was surprised by this. I thought it was going to be boardwalk all the way from the few pics I’d seen haha. It was a freaking awesome surprise and so much fun doing the scramble to the top. There’s a couple of sketchy…ish bits but nothing too taxing or scary.
Before you know it, you’re there, up on the summit where you can turn around and take in the views….that are slightly higher than the ones you totally peaked at on the way up. We sat for a quick rest and a bit of lunch before taking a wander further down the track towards Mount Anne. The vegetation is really quite beautiful just down from Eliza’s summit with cushion plants a go go and lots of gorgeous alpine flowers and plants providing a carpet of subtle hues leading towards the towering peak of Mount Anne. That one will have to wait for another blog post as it’s an overnighter or two. Looking forward to doing the full circuit some day.