Lake Oberon – Western Arthurs – a July trip being planned

It must be silly season as we have agreed to join a  mate of our’s Grant on a bit of a stroll into Lake Oberon (South West Tasmania) in July.  He has been into this area several times and is an experienced Tasmanian bushwalker.

We are (in reality) pretty pathetic adventurers and like flattish tracks and not too much effort when we head out on a trip. Mud, cold and isolation are all ok. In fact, the more isolated the better…….

What can pull us up are steep climbs, steep descents and drop offs. Sue is not really keen on them. She get a “bit worried” about falling.  This is creating some serious reservation in her mind, plus July is in the middle of winter….

The plan is very weather dependent but is loosely as follows:

Junction Creek for the first night.

Lake Cygnus – night two

Lake Oberon – night three

The trip back will be a basic retracing (6 days total), or do 2 days’ walking in 1 day, either Oberon to Junction or Cygnus to car park (5 days total)

The fall back position is to just stay at Lake Cygnus.

As part of her research Sue has been trolling YouTube to get a feel for the place as it is our first trip in there……..

Here are some of the video’s that have amused here (watch the swearing)

1. Highreed who spent a week in the fog:

2. Conrad interviewed in tent by Rob Zielinski after being stuck there for 2 days

3. Walking through the South West Tasmania. A three week walk starting from Farmhouse creak, through the Eastern and Western Arthurs, the Port Davey track and the South Coast track by blu112233 (a terrific, well produced series)

A few quick facts:
Lake Oberon is in the Arthur Range  in the South West Wilderness, Tasmania, Australia.

Access is via Scott’s Peak Road and the start of the Port Davey Track.

Conditions can be tough with where variable weather is often experienced. It should only be attempted by walkers experienced in Tasmanian conditions.

More reading?

Our hiking buddy Grant has written a couple of articles previously for Our Hiking Blog that may be of interest:

Wilmot – Frankland Range – Tasmania -Trip report

Spirituality of bushwalking – one man’s reflection

Grant writes interesting pieces and is a great bloke to have a chat with so we are looking forward to a bit of time together, hopefully not stuck in a tent due to ‘difficult” conditions……

Have you walked into Lake Oberon or the whole of the Western Arthurs?
Do you like hiking in cold weather?
Any advice?

Shoot us a comment below!


  1. says

    I’m looking forward to a report on this walk Frank! You’ve picked a good month to do it :) It sounds like a great challenge and I hope it goes well for you. I’ve toyed with the thought of the Ducane Traverse in August or early September. Still thinking about that one though…
    Winter walking? It’s hiking season for me at this time of the year. Hardly any people and hardly any sweating either :)

  2. says

    It’s going to be interesting in July, but really the only challenging section is between Cygnus and Oberon.
    If the weather is really bad your first night at Cygnus, do not proceed, and if unsure of the outlook make your daytrip to Oberon and base yourself at Cygnus.
    If you can familiarise yourself with the entry/exit via Moraine A, I can’t see any problem.

  3. Matt says

    Very interested to hear our you get on Frank and how you hold up to the rugged climbs of the Western Arthurs. Haven’t done it myself but hopefully one day.

  4. Frank says

    @Greg – yep agree, winter just means carrying an extra layer in the pack and allowing for the shorter days!

    @Brunski – Yae, the section between Cygnus and Oberon is the bit that will challenges us most I believe. Will just take our time….

    @Matt – started a bit of training (as per Georgies articles but not THAT hardcore) Yes, will be intersting how we go. Will be reported here in full colour! (hopefully not grey)

  5. says

    Sue, those first two videos don’t inspire a lot of confidence about a winter hike in that area, do they? Too funny…lol.

    The last one was amazing though! I never got to see that part of Tasmania while I lived there and now regret it for sure. Those two looked pretty fit and were well outfitted for the conditions. Do you know them or did you just browse into their video on Youtube?

    In any case, you two go hard! Sounds like a fun trip. Make sure you take and post plenty of pictures so I can feel like I was there with you!

    • Frank says

      Thanks , really pleased you enjoyed the video’s. They are a bit of fun. We should be right for gear, have walked a bit in winter before BUT not in this area….

      Looking forward to blue bird days!
      (Frank for Sue who is having coffee!)

  6. says

    I’ve never camped at Junction Creek, but it always looks like a rather miserable camp site to me, and isn’t really as far along the track as I’d like to get on a first day.

    If you still have a bit of energy when you get there, I’d recommend pushing on about 1km further to where the track passes through a band of trees (about half way between the Junction Creek junction and the Port Davey / Morraine A junction). There used to be an old two sided shelter here, but there’s very little trace of it left. However, there is still a very nice camp site here, so long as you don’t mind dirt/mud instead of grass (we had two large tents, and there was room to spare). There is a creek with good water nearby, either by scrambling through the bush behind the tents, or a bit longer but easier by following the track a bit further along.

    If you wanted to go even further, there is also camping available near the first set of huge boulders just after you start the ascent up Morraine A. Most of the sites here are a bit muddy and could be exposed to some wind, but on one stop here I left the tent in the pack, and slept on the ground in a hollow under the largest boulder – was dry and comfy, my father pitched his tent in the gap between that boulder and the next one.

    Watch out for the final descent into Oberon. The two ladies in our group last time both cried through this section (one on the way down, and the other on the way back up), and that was in summer. If there’s ice or snow on the rocks, that spot would be rather gnarly.

    • Frank says

      Thanks for this great information Nik!

      Very handy for the planning. Grant has been in there a few times before but I will certainly get him to read this.

      Not sure Sue was so happy about your crying lady comment…………

      Love the idea of sleeping under the lee of a rock!

  7. says

    Great post… would LOVE to visit and hike Australia… the rawness and vastness really appeals….one day eh folks?!?! :)

    • Frank says

      Hey Rob,
      That makes three of us! We are keeping a close eye on the fronts heading in from the west of Oz!

  8. says

    Well, by now Frank will be buried knee deep in snow somewhere. And it’s only going to get worse. Today (Tuesday 5th July) the forecast is for snow to the 400 metre level with tomorrow down to 300 metre level, and Thursday also to 300 metres.
    A low of 970 metres is currently only 400km south of the Western Arthurs. Cape grim has already had wind gusts of 146km/hr, and things are heating up at Scotts Peak, well, as far as the wind goes anyhow.

    Now, let’s just immortalize this on the blog for Frank to reflect on (like, as if he’s going to need a reminder!) From the BOM…

    Weather Situation

    A deep low passes to the south bringing a cold to very cold, strong and gusty southwest stream over Tasmania during today. A cold front then crosses the state on Wednesday, embedded in the southwesterly stream, before the stream tends a little more westerly, and stabilises during Thursday under the influence of a relative ridge. The next cold front crosses on Friday with a strong, cold southwesterly stream to persist over the state during Saturday.

    The rest of Tuesday
    Scattered showers in the west, south and about Bass Strait, possibly thundery at times with small hail in the west and far south during the morning. Isolated showers elsewhere clearing later in the day. A cold to very cold day with snowfalls to 400 metres during the morning retreating to 800 metres later in the day. Fresh to locally strong and gusty west to southwest winds.

    Wednesday 6 July
    Showers, more isolated about the northeast, with the chance of thunderstorms about the northwest and Bass Strait islands. Cool to cold, locally very cold at first. Snowfalls gradually lowering to near 300 metres grading to 600 metres in the northeast. Moderate to fresh northwest to westerly winds, tending west to southwest during the day.

    Thursday 7 July
    Scattered showers about the west and south, contracting to the west and far south during the morning and easing during the afternoon. Fine elsewhere. Cool to cold, locally very cold at first. Snowfalls to 300m about the south at first, rising to the highlands during the day. Moderate to fresh west to southwest winds, tending west to northwest during the afternoon.

    Friday 8 July
    Scattered showers about the west and far south, increasing late in the morning and extending statewide during the afternoon then easing to showers during the evening. Cool to cold with moderate to fresh westerly winds, locally strong about the south.

    Things aren’t so bad though, there are only 6 weather warnings current. If things are really bad there can be more than 10!

    One of the warnings –
    Bush Walkers Weather Alert for the Western and Central Plateau forecast districts
    Issued at 4:47 am EST on Tuesday 5 July 2011.
    Bush walkers are advised that strong westerly winds, cold temperatures and snow as low as 400 metres are expected during Tuesday. These hazardous conditions are expected to occur in the Western and Central Plateau forecast districts.

    Not the time for a Western Arthurs trip.
    My forecast – Frank found something else to do in Tassie this week. We shall see, it will make for an interesting bit of reading.

    My thoughts are with you Frank. Hang on to your hat!

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