Western Arthur Range

Day 1 - Scott’s Peak Dam – Junction Creek
Day 2 - Junction Creek - Lake Cygnus
Day 3 - Lake Cygnus – Lake Oberon
Day 4 - Lake Oberon – High Moor
Day 6 - High Moor – Haven Lake
Day 7 - Haven Lake – Promontory Lake
Day 9 - Promontory Lake – Lake Rosanne
Day 10 - Lake Rosanne – Wullyawa Creek
Day 11 - Back To Scott’s Peak Dam

Western Arthurs' Campsites

The Western Arthur Range

The Western Arthur Range lies in South-West National park, in south-west Tasmania, and is one of the most dramatic mountain ridges in the whole of Australia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its glaciated landscapes, jagged quartzite crags, spectacular lakes (approximately 30 of them, and along with the peaks and ridges, were named after celestial objects), unpredictable and violent weather, and of course the magnificent views! This of course makes it a wonderful location for not just hiking, but for other activities as well (as seen below).

Hovering your cursor over the image above will show you the names of the prominent peaks of the range as seen from across Edgar Pond

Paragliding the Western Arthurs


The traverse of the range is a circuit that begins and ends near the Huon Campsite at Scott's Peak Dam that is located at the southern end of Lake Pedder, which is 3-4 hours (by car) south-west of Hobart. The trail head for the Western Arthur Range is also shared with the Port Davey Track, which leads down to Melaleuca and the start of the South Coast Track.

To drive to Huon Campsite from Hobart, take the main road north-west up to New Norfolk, then carry on heading west along the B61 road towards and past Maydena. There will be a junction where the road branches off to the left to continue circling around to the southern end of Lake Pedder and past several apiary sites. The road that leads off to the Huon Campsite (and the trailhead) branches off to the left at Scott's Peak Dam.

Getting There

Location of the trailhead (-43.038795, 146.298950)


The traverse of the Western Arthur Range takes approximately 9-11 days, including the time taken to access and depart the range from Scott's Peak Dam. There are shorter options however if you have limited time. Walking to Lake Oberon and back will take approximately 4-5 days, and the half traverse up Alpha Moraine and back down to the plains via Kappa Moraine will take you between 7-9 days.

Difficulty Rating : 5.6 / 10.0 (Class 8 - Very Challenging)

*Click here to learn more about the difficulty rating.

**This route can also be done in 7-9 days instead of 9-11 days by exiting the range via Kappa Moraine. This drops the rating to 5.0 (Class 7 - Challenging) due to a decrease in the total duration, the average daily distance, as well as the average daily ascent.

The Western Arthur Range report from the Bushwalking and Track Review (BATR) Panel to the Parks and Wildlife Service divided the range into three areas and ranked them by difficulty : from Alpha Moraine to Lake Cygnus (including the Lake Cygnus Campsite), designated a class 3 (class 5 with my grading); from the junction down to Lake Cygnus to Kappa Moraine (including the moraine descent), designated a class 4 (class 6 with my grading); and from junction of Kappa Moraine on the range to Strike Creek, designated a class 5 (class 7 with my grading). The report also recommends that party sizes should not exceed 8 people for Lake Cygnus to Kappa Moraine, and should not exceed 6 people for Kappa Moraine to Strike Creek. The reason for this is to minimise erosion and to limit track widening.


"The Western Arthur's - that's where bad weather lives!"

The best months to hike the Western Arthur Range tend to be between November to March. The weather in this region is very unpredictable however and violent storms and complete whiteouts are very common any time of the year. I would recommend checking the climate data of the weeks prior to the start of the hike, and to keep an eye on the weather forecast for the region. The climate data can be checked with the Bureau of Meteorology by inputting '097083' as the station number for Scott's Peak Dam.

Due to the extreme weather, the remoteness of the area, and the limited escape routes off the range, EPIRBs/PLBs should be carried with each hiking party. I personally used the SPOT Connect Satellite Communicator and sent check-in messages to my contact list at the beginning and at the end of each day's hike. I also enabled the SPOT tracking option which allowed those at home to keep track of my movements on the range in real time.


A decent, tough tent is absolutely essential on this range. A lot of sites say that 4-season tents are mandatory, but 3-season tents that can hold up to the heavy rain and the strong winds of the Western Arthur's should be fine. A decent waterproof and windproof jacket is essential, and so is a warm sleeping bag. Take care to keep your sleeping bag dry at all times as a wet sleeping bag could drastically shorten your trip. Here is a list of some of the gear that I brought with me:

01.85 l One Planet Strezlecki (Gridlock Waterproof Canvas)
02.Camelbak StoAway
03.OEM Sleeping Bag
04.Nemo Galaxi 2P Backpacking Tent (Birch Leaf Green)
05.First Aid Kit
06.Exped Downmat 7m
07.550 Paracord
08.360 Degrees Bottle
09.Karrimor Orkney 5 Walking Boots
10.Vibram Fivefingers TrekSport
11.Leatherman Freestyle
12.Suunto Ambit
13.Headlamp(s) Pouch
14.Nikon EN-EL15 Battery
15.Nikon EN-EL3e Battery
16.Nikon EN-EL3e Battery
17.Nikon D7000
18.Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S VR
19.Lens Pouch
20.Jetboil Zip
21.M-07 Adjustable Mini Tripod
22.Foldable Trowel
23.GoPro Headmount
24.GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition
25.Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8G AF-S
26.Suunto Dual Comfort Belt
27.GoalZero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit
28.LED Lenser P7.2
29.Battery Pouch
30.HTC One SV (4G LTE)
31.Bobster GXR Sunglasses
32.GoalZero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit
33.Jetboil Fuel Cannister
34.SPOT Connect Satellite Communicator
35.Utility Belt
36.Sawyer Mini Water Filter
37.Adventurer Opti Water Purifier
38.Kindle Paperwhite
39.Deuter Raincover

Please note though, that the image does not include the food and clothes that I brought with me, as well as the camera that was used to take the photo (Nikon D700 with the Nikkor 17-35 mm f/2.8D IF-ED AF-S). The full list of all the equipment that I own and use can be found on my '100 item list'.


Water is fairly abundant along the range. There are however certain sections of the trail that lack sources of water so be sure to bring at least a day's supply of water with you each time you set out. Try and collect your water from streams or from the inlets of the lakes, rather than the lakes themselves. I would also recommend treating the water prior to consumption - I personally use a combination of the Sawyer Mini Water Filter and the Adventurer Opti Water Purifier.

Open fires are also banned on the range, so fuel stoves are the only way to boil water and cook food. I personally do not like open fires because of the impact that they leave (Leave No Trace), and urge you to try and avoid them elsewhere even if they are allowed.

The Full Traverse

The map below has sections of the path that I followed hyperlinked and clicking on each section of the route will bring you to its respective page (if the map does not work for any reason, you may also find the links at the top of this page). The GPS routes for each leg of the journey can also be found at the end of the post for each of the respective days.

Interactive Location Map

WA Map

Western Arthur Range Day 01
Western Arthur Range Day 02
Western Arthur Range Day 03
Western Arthur Range Day 04
Western Arthur Range Day 06
Western Arthur Range Day 07
Western Arthur Range Day 09
Western Arthur Range Day 10
Western Arthur Range Day 10b
Western Arthur Range Day 11

Elevation profile for the entire route (hovering your cursor over the image below will reveal highpoints )

..and the lakes (hovering your cursor over the image below will reveal the names )

For those who also have a Suunto GPS device, the GPX file for each
segment can be found at the end of each day's entry. The entire
route can also be downloaded here (right click and save link as).

Next : Western Arthurs Day 01 - Scott’s Peak Dam – Junction Creek (Part 1)

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