From Hobart you head south through Huonville and Franklin, Port Huon to Geeveston. Head to the Tahune Air Walk and about 5km down that road you will come to the turn off to the Hartz National Park. Head down this road for about 20m – sections of the road were in poor condition so it was a slow drive – AOK with 2WD – just a bit bumpy in places! You enter the National Park – so, you will need a Tasmanian Parks Pass and I suggest you get one before leave as there is no facility to get one at the Park. Hobart to the start of the Hartz Peak walk was about 2 hours.
You get to a interpretation shelters, toilets, etc. Remember to write your intended trip in the log book. The first hour is over swampy button grass and cushion plant plains using duckboards.
The first hour of the walk is an easy mainly level walk. Hartz Peak is a long ridge of summits and it is Southern end summit that qualifies for SOTA.
You are walking into the Eastern edge of the South West Wilderness Heritage Area and there is shoe cleaning station at the start to ensure you are not carrying nasty biological agents into the area!
The landscape is Permian in age and there are many Ice Age features like tarns and moraines. Ladies Tarn is a short walk off the duckboards. This trip we were intending to tryout the new Linked-Dipole and compare it against the VK7JJ vertical I usually use. This meant we carried in two squid poles which made for some interesting comments from the other bushwalkers!!
About an hour into the walk you start rising and the walk becomes harder, we saw some very bright patches above us on the hill and couldn’t work out what they were until we came to them and they were patches of snow in depressions that had not melted. This reminded us that Hartz Mountain is usually covered in snow during many months of the year!
You get to Hartz Pass which is the saddle between the ridge of summits that provides the >150metres to make this summit qualify. We stopped for a snack here before the final ascent through the block fields.
The final ascent is a block field boulder jumping exercise up to the top. The views are spectacular into the South West, Huon Valley and Mt Wellington can just be seen on Northern horizon. The Hartz Lake becomes visible as you get higher up the summit.
It was windy, however the operating position was a wonderful rock walled enclosure at the top. We setup the vertical and started making contacts to the amusement of the other bushwalkers who were fascinated with the concept of SOTA. The wind meant we could not setup both antennas as we were watching closely the one we had up at the time. One person operated and one person watched the squid pole!
We stayed on summit about two hours carefully watching the weather roll in from the South West. I made eleven contacts 2x2m, 8x20m and 1x40m and Reuben made 14 contacts on HF. We made the decision to pack and head back as the grey clouds rolled in.
Another great activation in SOTA paradise – thanks to all who contacted us.
73, Justin, VK7TW