Ben Lomond National Park
Ben Lomond National Park, enclosing the largest alpine plateau in the state, is a mountain environment with extensive and dramatic dolerite cliffs and columns. Its scree slopes, swirling mists and frost-stunted forests are reminiscent of a Tolkien landscape.
From Launceston via C401 to White Hills then C432; from Hobart via Midland Hwy then Evandale, C413 to Blessington, then C420, C401, and C432
230 km north of Hobart; 60 km east of Launceston
- PWS 1300 135 513
- PWS Tamar Field Centre (03) 6226 5397
- Snow cover www.ski.com.au
Park entry fee payable by self-registration at park entrance
18 190 ha
Evandale (03) 6391 8128
Launceston 1800 651 827
Featured Activities in the National Park
Marvel at the breathtaking view from the platform at the top of Jacobs Ladder
Hike to Legges Tor from Carr Villa, retracing the steps of early skiers
Enjoy skiing on northern Tasmania’s only downhill ski ﬁeld
A look at the past
Ben Lomond was named in 1804 after a mountain in Scotland, and a year later Colonel W.V. Legge explored and named the various peaks that surround it. Skiing became popular in the 1930s and the ﬁrst hut at Carr Villa was built in 1932 by enthusiastic skiers who carried their skis to the plateau (the ﬁrst ski tow was not built until 1964). The alarmingly steep zigzag Jacobs Ladder road, completed in 1966, rises some 150 metres between sheer cliffs in a series of hairpin bends, or switchbacks, that are so memorable they have individual names.
The park was part of the traditional lands of the Ben Lomond tribe, whose clans occupied the foothills of the mountain and the plains around it. One tribal member, Walter George Arthur, was an activist who petitioned Queen Victoria for Aboriginal rights from his place of exile on Flinders Island.
The park encloses the foothills and peaks of the Ben Lomond plateau, a massive block of dolerite uplifted from the surrounding country about 55 million years ago, and rising to 1574 metres at its highest point – Legges Tor, Tasmania’s second-highest peak.
There are 222 species of plants in the park. The foothills support extensive eucalypt forests of gum-topped stringybark (alpine ash or Eucalyptus delegatensis), messmate stringybark and white gum, while celery-top pine is found at the low to middle elevations. In protected areas sassafras, myrtle and the state’s famous deciduous beech, Nothofagus gunnii, are found at the treeline, along with the very hardy alpine cider gum (E. archeri). Other high-altitude species are cheeseberry, mountain pepper and mountain currant bush. The alpine moors support snow daisies, mountain berry and the rock cushion plant, a very rare species only found in one small area of this park.
Common wombats are numerous and their telltale scats (cube-shaped so that they do not roll away) are used to mark out their territories. Also present are ringtail and brushtail possums, Bennett’s wallabies, Tasmanian pademelons, forester (eastern grey) kangaroos, Tasmanian bettongs, sugar gliders, long-nosed potoroos and eastern quolls. Endemic to the alpine areas of northern Tasmania, the northern snow skink favours rocky, water-edged habitats. There are many berry and nectar-feeding birds such as green rosellas, clinking currawongs (grey currawongs) and yellow wattlebirds.
This is a popular, snow-covered winter destination, set up for skiers. Wheel chains and antifreeze must be carried between June and September. In summer the park is beautiful but seldom visited, and at this time bushwalkers and sightseers often have the magniﬁcent alpine scenery to themselves. Weather conditions can deteriorate rapidly and walkers must be equipped for all conditions. At the top of the Jacobs Ladder road, a spectacular platform lookout has views over sheer dolerite cliffs to the switchback road below. The Creek Inn has a licensed restaurant on the mountain.
Two walks follow cross-country ski routes and are marked by snow poles. Carr Villa to Alpine Village walk (1.5 hours one way, medium difficulty) heads up to the plateau and crosses the Land of Little Sticks before climbing to the Plains of Heaven where, at hut The Kremlin, the track divides, one branch heading down to the ski village and the other up to the runs just beneath Legges Tor. Alpine Village to Little Hell circuit (5 km, 1.5 hours return) leads to Little Hell and back, with great views across to Stacks Bluff. A sidetrack to Surprise Vale offers a shorter walk. Walkers should register at the village before departure and deregister on return.
Bike riders can tackle the switchback Jacobs Ladder road on a thrilling mountain–bike descent from the ski village and then via old 4WD tracks through the eucalypt forests at the base of the mountain – a vertical descent of over 1000 metres.
Rock-climbing and abseiling
This is one of Tasmania’s favourite climbing areas. Winter is out of the question, but in summer Ben Lomond’s dolerite columns have world-class climbs to tackle.
The mountain has three T-bars and three poma tows. Snow cover is unpredictable but there is snow-making in the snow play and beginners areas. Ski, snowboard and toboggan hire is available, along with instruction. At peak visitor times a shuttle bus runs from the snowline or ranger station (whichever is lower) to the ski field. Cross-country skiers can take the Little Hell circuit or head to Surprise Vale (2.2 km). All skiers heading out on trails should register at the Creek Inn.
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