It was my second time in Tasmania. I was excited to experience the beautiful sceneries and breathe taking treks Tassie has to offer. Most of the hikes we planned were long and strenuous so we were looking for something to do in our ‘rest day’. After much research I stumbled upon ‘The Needles’, the series of jagged face ridgeline located on the northern side of the South West National Park. The hike provides one of the most rewarding short walks in Tasmania, yet seemingly unknown to most. The Needles is a short 2-3 return walk that offer an uninterrupted 360 degrees panoramic views cross the mountainous terrains, rugged ridgeline and Lake Pedder. Moderate physical fitness is required as the hike involves some steep climbs. Not recommended for inexperienced hikers as there are series of overgrown and unmarked sections, but if you don’t mind getting a little lost then give it a go. It is pretty easy to find your way back.
To get there, set your GPS for the town of Maydena, the last small town inside Mt. Field and Northern South West National Parks. From Maydena, keep driving along the Gordon River road for approximately 17 km where you will see the ‘Highest Point on Road’ sign. Park your car at the car park near the sign.
The track starts on the opposite side of the road on a very old unused off-road track. Look for the pile of rocks and pink ribbons. Follow the ribbons which will guide you along the first section of the trail through dense tree line.
The earlier morning rain had turned the track into mud. It was obvious that not many people hiked this track as most of it has been overgrow by the button grass. As I do not yet own a gaiter, my socks and pants were pretty messed up by the end of the hike. So bring along your gaiters if you have one.
After twenty minutes or so of bush scuffing and mud dodging we emerged out of the tree line. The first sight of the summit lies in front of us, blurred by the cloud. Fifteen minutes later that summit turned out of be the first rock formation of the track. So don’t be alarmed if on a cloudy day the summit appears to be so close because you will have to pass four more of these fake summits (some striking outcrops).
By now we were hiking among the clouds. A short opening revealed the Gordon River road beneath where we started our hike. From the initial start the track was a steady and manageable climb, up until hilltop of the lower section where the track spans out on even ground.
As I reached the hillside, I was mesmerised by the impressive outcrops and nature of the Needles. Being spring, the wildflowers were at their best; adding a welcome burst of colours to ominous mountains in the background. But be warned! From this point onwards the track is extremely exposed so bring along your wind/rain jacket.
The shadow of the Needle Summit was showing through the thick cloud. We set off after our short break for the last section of the trail. These last few hundred metres were probably the steepest part of the trail, a 30 minutes climb up series of natural steps.
Finally, we reached the summit, a 1020 metres peak posing 360 degrees uninterrupted views, overlooking Mt Field, Mt Anne and Lake Pedder (and other mountain range that I don’t really know the names). The stunning view of the outcrops, wildflowers, and 360 degree view, all just under two hours, made this the best value hike ever.
The walk down is just as stunning, overlooking the outcrops from different angle from our way up.
With the sky clearing as we made our way down, we can see the entire mountain with all the outcrops spiking out of the ground. The summit is that crest on the right.
Descended to the carpark I felt like I had discovered a gem. Wow, was it an awesome walk.