Lake Pedder, one and a half hour drive from Mt. Field National Park, is Australia’s largest freshwater lake. Having decided to spend a few nights in Maydena, I searched for hiking routes around Mt. Field area where I stumbled on a photo of the lake taken from Mt. Eliza summit. It was an immediate must go track for me. A little more research and I found a few posts on the track and the challenge it has to offer.
The route, better known as Mt. Anna Track, is located about 15 km into the gravel Scott Peak Road from the Gordon River Road in the South-West National Park. It was a long drive without adequate signage, to the point that we doubted if we had the right map. The car park is located on the left side of the Scott Peak Road with a proper side road leading in. It was raining but I was determined to see Lake Pedder from the top with my own eyes.
The track set off with immediate constant climbs.
Soon, we were walking on top of a hill leading to the mountains ahead of us. Less than an hour into the hike and we could already see Lake Pedder.
Our destination was up ahead – Mt. Eliza – to the right of the picture. Further to the left, passing Mt. Eliza summit and Eliza Plateau, is Mt. Anna.
Moving along the track were hills after hills, constantly climbing up the well maintained path.
The view of the Lake was gradually changing as we move up Mt. Eliza.
The clouds were flooding down the mountain ridge, engulfing Mt. Eliza and Mt. Anna.
After four hours of strenuous hike, we reached the base of Mt. Eliza Summit. We could see a hut not far from where we were. A short while later we met three other hikers who were staying in the hut. A quick chat and we learned that most people would hike up, spend a night at the hut, before summiting to Mt. Eliza and Mt. Anne the next morning.
The view of the Lake is stunning, even from this point. I was hoping for better photos but the clouds and the light just wouldn’t let me.
We continued on and the hike suddenly become boulder climbing. The only signs we could follow were the piles of stacked rocks put together by those who were before us. We were lost a few times, climbing to the impassable tracks.
The weather suddenly turned on us and Mt. Eliza was covered in the clouds and rain. The track was as challenging as the Cradle Mountain Summit, but the rain just made it much more dangerous to move from one boulder to another. Soon we could not see anything around us and leaving our backpack didn’t help to ease the climb. Unfortunately, we had to turn back.
Reflecting back on that moment, I still think we have made the right decision. It was raining and the rocks were slippery. This view is probably good enough for now, even though we were less than 100 metres to the top. Checking my watch I just realised that we climbed over 900 metres in elevation from the car park.
The descent journey was even better, as we had the panoramic view of the lake the whole way down. Although my feet were blistered by the impact from all the strides, I will definitely be back to conquer the summit.
If you are planning Mt. Eliza Track as a day hike, do allow for 7-8 hours to reach the summit. Mt. Anna is another hour walk along the Eliza Plateau and an hour climb to the summit.
Looking for shorter route in the area? Check out The Needles track which offers fantastic views of the outcrops.