The Tyndall Range in the wild west of Tasmania is a stunning collection of jagged peaks. Expecting harsh weather, tricky navigation and bulk solitude, Christine and Lauren set off on an overnight peak-bagging mission.
Exploring the Tyndall Ranges
It’s not overly common to see the ocean creating a horizon from the Tasmanian bush, until you get to the Tyndalls. Just north of historic Queenstown, awaits an up and coming trekking heartland for the next bold adventurer. With the ocean to the west and the rugged overland mountains to the east, the raw landscape of the Tyndall Ranges is calling and inviting you to take a glimpse into the Wild West.
This two-day peak-bagging trek covers unmarked territory across vast open plains of lush nothofagus gunnii and scoparia bush. Navigate around alpine tarns and glacial deposits, and scramble up to 1191 metres above sea level to take in the region’s best 360-degree views.
Note: All trail statistics were measured using a Suunto9 GPS watch, which may vary from route information published by Tasmania Parks.
Day 1 – Lake Tyndall & Mount Tyndall
Time taken: 4 hours
Elevation change: 855m ↑ / 243m ↓
From the carpark, the trail meanders and slowly ascends through thick scrub before the track turns into a better-defined rocky path, marked by cairns. The steep uphill efforts are soon matched with grandiose alpine views and tarns dotting the landscape. Once these layered mountains come into view, the path eases into a descent to the edge of Lake Tyndall. From here, the eye stretches as far as Frencham’s Cap, Eldon Peak, Mount Geikie, Mount Sedgwick, and the distant Cradle ranges.
From Tyndall Lake, we backtracked our route as the summit was 500m north of where we turned off for the lake. With the excitement of ‘seeing’ a cairn, we followed what we thought we saw, rather than take our bearings and follow what we were meant to see. So we ended up having a little mishap and found out we climbed a peak adjacent to Mount Tyndall. After we set camp, I synced my watch to my phone, analysed our route before pointing and exclaiming to Lauren, ‘that’s Mount Tyndall!’.
So much for off-track navigating! As there’s no track leading to the summit, it’s an honest and common mistake. I later learned from a local Tasmanian, that there is no trig station to mark the Abel* at the top. Instead there is a pile of rocks with a log jutting out of it. With equally spectacular views however, our mishap was rewarded with a one of a kind camp spot.
*There are 158 mountains in Tasmania higher than 1,100 metres and separated by a 150-metre drop on all sides. They are known as ‘Abels’ after explorer Abel Tasman.
Day 2 – Base Mount Tyndall to Mount Geikie
Time taken: 7 hours 15 minutes
Elevation gain: 465m ↑ / 1075m ↓
We woke to a fresh sunny autumn day, watching the sun illuminate the layers upon layers of mountains. We had a slow start to soak it all in before beginning our next mission in clear blue skies: Mount Geikie. We headed directly south and saw the trig station almost the whole way. Day two of off-track navigation was off to a great start!
We navigated around sensitive flora like cushion plants, avoided prickly scoparia bush, and maneuvered around many rocky ledges. The final ascent to the summit of Mount Geikie was conveniently marked with stone cairns, including a trig station at the top. Reaching the summit, we proudly ticked off another Abel!
After we descended the summit, we veered northwest to cross new territory, visit new tarns, and practice more route finding. It was fun and mentally exhausting to dodge ‘this and that’ but it made for an incredible off-track experience. Upon reaching Lake Tyndall again, I took a cold plunge, while Lauren enjoyed my theatric reactions from the sidelines. What a way to end an adventure!
The solitude and luxury of playing in vast open plains was an experience that will have us returning to the Tyndall Ranges. It is a true photography heartland and a peaceful place to unwind (weather permitting). Whether you indulge here over a weekend or take a week to explore, the opportunities are endless!
- Tasmania Parks pass
- Map and compass
- Guy rope – a good item to have for shelter set up in various environments
- Peak Design capture camera clip (for the photography buffs!)
- Camper’s Pantry – local Tasmanian freeze-dried food!
- 1-2 extra days worth of emergency food
- Long pants – protection from off-track scrub, bush, and especially scoparia bush
- Trekking poles
- Sun hat, sunscreen, windbreaker
How To Get There
You’ll need a personal or hired vehicle.
Parking coordinates: 41°56’03.4″S 145°33’46.3″E
4.5 hours northwest of Hobart, off Anthony Road. Upon passing through Queenstown, follow the main road (A10) towards Burnie, past the Strahan turnoff. 13km past Queenstown, you’ll turn right following signs for Lake Plimsol (B28), 11km later turn right on a gravel road. Park before the gate.
Trailhead Start: 41°56’01.2″S 145°34’09.9″E
Walk past the gravel gate and over the bridge. Continue for another 600m before turning left to follow the power lines. After 200m you’ll see a Tasmania Parks walking registration box on the right and the track.
Intermediate/Expert – the walking terrain is intermediate but the navigation is expert level. Due to Tasmania’s rapidly changing alpine weather conditions, it’s possible to get easily disoriented across the exposed plains and succumb to harsh conditions. This off-track expedition is best completed during an ideal weather window.
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
19.42 / 1320 m / 2 days