A Guide to Climbing Stacks Bluff

A few weekends ago Madeleine and I met up with our friends Jack and Lauren to climb Stacks Bluff at the southern end of Ben Lomond National Park. This is one of the more impressive walks we've done in the eastern half of Tasmania, so I am sharing a few photos and tips about the walk.

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Ben Lomond National Park is located in northeastern Tasmania, around one hour drive from Launceston, or two and a half hours from Hobart. It's home to Tasmania's premier ski field, but outside of the winter months it offers a number of interesting bushwalking routes, including Stacks Bluff, Tasmania's ninth-highest summit at 1527 metres.

The Stacks Bluff walk commences near the old tin mining village of Story's Creek, which we were told is home to just one resident these days. The trailhead is rather difficult to find, around 3km out of town on a very rough, rocky single lane track. While it is manageable in a 2WD vehicle, it is not for the faint-hearted!

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The first section of the walk climbs steadily through open dry forests typical of Tasmania's north east. The track is not as well defined as more popular trails in Tasmania, so it pays to keep an eye out for markers on trees. After around an hour of walking, the trail enters a large and impressive scree field before climbing sharply to reach the Ben Lomond Plateau.

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I quite enjoy navigating these boulder fields, as they require complete concentration and single-mindedness to avoid stumbling. After around an hour of scrambling, the track levels out at the plateau, and offers a wonderful view looking back over the boulder field and Tranquil Tarn. The plateau is a welcome respite, and walking is relatively easy for another 30 minutes to the summit.

Tranquil Tarn

From the summit of Stacks Bluff, the views are nothing short of spectacular and a huge portion of Tasmania is visible on a clear day. We were able to see as far as the Freycinet Peninsula and Maria Island to the east, and kunanyi/Mount Wellington to the south.

Most impressive of all though were some local Wedge-Tailed Eagles taking advantage of the updrafts around the towering dolerite cliffs. The Tasmanian subspecies is endangered with only around 350 breeding pairs remaining in the wild, so it is unusual to see four in the same area at once. We felt extremely lucky to see so many up close like this and stayed watching them at the summit for over an hour before heading home via the same trail.

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Need to know:

Stacks Bluff Summit
Time: 6-8 hours return
Distance: 13 km
Climb: 700m
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard
Tips: Bring extra water, as there are no large creeks or waterholes along the trail. Allow for extra time at the summit to enjoy the breathtaking views.

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