At 1423 meters Mt. Anne is the highest mountain in Tasmania’s Southwest National Park, part of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area. The height of Mt. Anne however is not what attracts hikers to it. Considered Tasmania’s premier day hike climbing Mt. Anne requires not only a long approach, 11k one way, but also 1100 meters of vertical gain and loss and some slightly technical and highly exposed climbing in the final hundred meters to obtain the actual summit. This, combined with countless stunning views, a number of rare plants that can't be found anywhere else, and plenty of tangly wet rainforest, makes this peak not only a challenging undertaking but also photographers paradise. This peak is by no means a walk in the park though and it is strongly recommended that only experienced hikers attempt it in good weather conditions.
The hike itself starts innocently enough with a half-kilometer of flat walking before heading straight up the ridge towards Mt. Eliza. Although the area is usually wet the trail is mainly board walked and therefore does not get nearly as muddy as one would expect. Once you start heading up the ridge don’t expect the angle to relent as you more or less stay on the steeply ascending ridge until you reach the summit of Mt. Eliza. After 3.6 kilometers of huffing and puffing you come to the tiny High Camp Hut. The toilet of this hut has a window facing Lake Pedder and the beautiful Southwest National Park. It has become affectionately known as "the loo with the view".
From the hut the trail becomes less evident and a series of cairns mark the way. Some fun boulder hopping and scrambling is required to navigate your way from here with the climbing angle nearing 45 degrees is some places. After about a kilometer and 300 meters of gain you reach Mt. Eliza with the vast, flat Mt. Eliza plateau ahead of you and superb unobstructed views of Tasmanian wilderness behind you. Many mark this as their turnaround point as reaching this point is no small feat and the aesthetic rewards are plenty.
For those looking to summit Mt. Anne you continue on a now more defined track along the plateau for a kilometer or so. Soon though the trail disappears into a scree field and cairns mark the way once more. The scree slogging and boulder hopping here is not all that difficult but is a good indicator on the likelihood of you summiting Mt. Anne. If you are having a tough time with this, you are very unlikely to summit Mt. Anne today.
After heading around a small rise you come to a trail junction with one trail heading towards Mt. Anne itself and the other heading towards the 3-day Mt. Anne circuit. A few hardy hikers travel the circuit every year but it is a technically difficult hike with a lot of tricky scrambling down steep terrain. Many parties take ropes with them on this track to lower packs over difficult areas. That being said it is a gorgeous hike and worth the effort should you choose to exert it.
After the junction the hike gets interesting. Cairns mark the way through a labyrinth of rocks, boulders and other debris towards the steep cliffs of Mt. Anne itself. After negotiating your way to the headwall the climbing gets difficult. Although there are only two short sections that require any technical climbing ability, they should not be taken lightly. The placement of cairns here may seem crazy, but they do in fact mark the easiest way to the summit. The first section of climbing is about 5 meters in length and there is little exposure, making this a nice warm up for the second section. The second section is also about 5 meters in length but it is very exposed and has thwarted climbers in the past. The climb itself begins on a narrowing ledge with 20 meters of exposure below it. A fall here would certainly be disastrous, which is why some parties take a rope with them to protect this section. That being said though, the climbing is not that difficult and anyone confident in their climbing abilities that aren’t put off by a bit of exposure would have little trouble with it. Once you finish this short climbing section simply follow the cairns over some fun climbing to the summit. On a clear day you have an awe-inspiring view of Tasmania’s wild Southeast with jagged peaks, beautiful hanging lakes and glacially sculpted valleys all around you.
Once you have had your fill of the summit of Mt. Anne carefully make your way down and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.
Tasmania weather is notoriously foul and the weather in this area is probably the worst in all of Tassie. It rains over 200 days a year and snow falls atop Mt. Anne during every season. Clear warm days can turn into cold, windy and miserable days literally in a matter of minutes so carrying ample clothing is essential. It's always better to be over prepared than to be under prepared. It is especially unwise to attempt Mt. Anne is poor weather though as difficult terrain on this track turns dangerous and deadly. Many hikers have died in this area so caution should be taken no matter what the weather.
The start of the track is located along Scotts Peak Road (C607) near Lake Pedder. The start of the track is marked on the road and there is a relatively large parking area. Scotts Peak Road (C607) is a dirt road which breaks off from B61 about 35k short of Strathgordon. The trailhead is about 175k from Hobart.
Because the track is located in a National Park, there are fees that apply. Currently, it costs $56.00 for a two month National Parks Pass for your vehicle and $90.00 for an annual pass.
If you plan on cooking anything you will be required to use a fuel stove as the entire track is within a Fuel Stove Only Area. Heavy fines can be imposed for lighting fires anywhere along the track.
There is one hut along the track as well as a few designated campsites. There is an official campsite located at the trailhead with a pit toilet. There is also the High Camp Hut, located about two thirds of the way up the ridge, which can sleep a maximum of 6 people. This hut is extremely tiny but does provide shelter from the weather, has a water supply and a composting toilet. Around the hut there are also a few camping spots which may be more comfortable than squeezing into the tiny hut. There is also a camping area located near Mt. Anne known as Shelf Camp. To reach this camping area follow the Mt. Anne circuit a few hundred meters past the trail junction to some flat areas near some pristine alpine lakes known as the Lonely Tarns.