Western Arthurs Traverse, Tasmania

By Justin Walker and Lauren Smith 28 January 2015
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Remote, unspoilt wilderness, extremely challenging, spectacular views over alpine lakes and nearby peaks

SPOKEN ABOUT IN reverential tones by hardcore Aussie bushwalkers, the Western Arthurs Traverse (WAT) is an epic that more than holds its own on the global top-trek scale, and a no-brainer for inclusion on any bucket-list.

The mix of unforgiving, unpredictable weather (the trek is deep in Tassie’s wild southwest) that can (quickly) hit any time of year – combined with the crazy-tough terrain (steep, slippery, muddy tracks, time-sapping scree fields, scramble-only rock sections and dense vegetation) make this one for the experienced trekker. For all that effort you will experience one of the world’s last remaining wilderness areas.

Owing to the overall difficulty and its end-of-the-earth location, the WAT is only attempted by a small number of independent hikers each season. You will find that lusted-for sense of isolation, and be rewarded with views of some of Australia’s most rugged country – especially once you get up high on the ridges and peaks. 

To attempt the Traverse, you must be fully prepared, very fit (able to carry a pack of at least 30kg) and experienced at remote-area trekking. Expect every type of challenge you can think of – weather, terrain, fitness – and prepare accordingly. It sounds grim, but it’s not.

Build up to this adventure with some of Tassie’s other treks – the South Coast Track; Port Davey Track; Walls of Jerusalem Circuit – and then set your sights on this big bopper. The Western Arthurs Traverse crosses one of the world’s last remaining wilderness areas, and if you’re prepared, experiencing it on foot will firmly qualify this trek as the trip of a lifetime.