Ben Nevis is a mountain in Tasmania, Australia, north of the higher and larger Ben Lomond. A rough walking track leads up the mountain.
The Ben Nevis in Tasmania should not be confused with the other mountains named Ben Nevis in Victoria, New Zealand and the United States. All are named after the Ben Nevis in Scotland, the highest mountain in the British Isles.
The Tasmanian Ben Nevis, at 1,368 metres above sea level, is slightly higher than its Scottish namesake (1,344 metres), but shorter than its New Zealand sibling (1,619 metres).
Ben Nevis was not easy to drive to, despite being only 42 kilometres east of Launceston. The walking track began off Telopea Road, which ran north-south. From the south, Telopea Road turned off Upper Blessington Road. To the north, it led to Ben Ridge Road and Diddleum Road. All of these roads were unsealed, although still wide and solid enough for two-wheel-drive vehicles. Both routes were about 1.5 hours from Launceston, and correspondingly longer from anywhere farther south or west.
The walk described here started from Telopea Road. The first kilometre of the track was along Schulhofs Road, which four-wheel-drive vehicles could travel with care.
Schulhofs Road was an easy walk. Beyond that point, a junction led straight uphill, about as steep as a walk could get without turning into a climb. The track was marked by intermittent cairns, ribbons (pink or yellow) and bailing twine (blue). All were hard to see through the dense scrub.
Once above the scree, the track crossed a plateau to reach the summit of Ben Nevis at the southern edge. The scrub was lower, but the cairns and ribbons were even farther apart.
The steep track passed through many ecosystems as it climbed Ben Nevis, showing many plant varieties in a short distance.
We walked in April 2015 (mid-autumn), when many of the trees and shrubs were covered in berries. Some looked tasty, but never experiment with Australian bush food without a thorough understanding of the plants and their produce.
Lichen on Ben Nevis grew in many shapes, but few colours.
Mushrooms in many colours grew on the lower reaches of Ben Nevis. The dead wood also supported a few bracket fungi.
A surprising number of leeches lived on the dry slopes of Ben Nevis. They outnumbered all other creatures seen on this walk put together – a few grasshoppers and a skink on the plateau.
The sloping plateau of Ben Nevis permitted views in all directions from the summit, a feature that is rare among Tasmanian mountains. Thanks to relatively clear air, we could see features up to 130 kilometres away, including:
- Bass Strait to the north
- Flinders Island to the northeast
- Mount Victoria and Mount Albert to the east
- Little Heathy Plain to the southeast
- Ben Lomond to the south
- The Great Western Tiers to the southwest
- Mount Barrow to the west
- Mount Arthur to the northwest
|3rd April 2015
|No (nearest public toilets are about an hour away at Myrtle Park)
The one kilometre walk along Schulhofs Road was easy and pleasant. Managed to walk uphill to the start of the first scree slope, but that was not far and saw no views as it was still in the dense scrub.
People with limitations may prefer to continue west along Schulhofs Road rather than tackle the very steep Ben Nevis Track.
Walked 6.7 kilometres in 4:55. Reached the summit and returned, without any time for side trips. Slipped several times descending the scree slopes, and views them as unsafe.
Does not recommend this walk.
The first climb after after Schulhofs Road was steep and overgrown, and the next was steeper and rockier. The plateau was relatively flat and easy to walk despite the braided and poorly marked tracks. However, the trig point on the summit was easy to see. The views were among the best in northeast Tasmania.
Recommended for fit walkers, but only on a clear day.
Should I visit?
Ben Nevis is only for experienced walkers, who do not mind the steep climb and sparse directions. Do not rely on anyone finding you in the event of injury – despite walking on Good Friday (a public holiday when many Tasmanians travel around the state), we saw no other people on the track.
If you still decide to undertake this walk, go in summer when the Richea scoparia is flowering.
Ben Nevis (3910′) Alone – 1934 report by Keith Lancaster