Lake St Clair National Park
Directions - Located two and a half hours north west of Hobart, take the Brooker Hwy north and follow the signs for New Norfolk. Cross the River Derwent at New Norfolk and then follow the Lyall Highway north west all the way to Derwent Bridge. Turn onto Lake St Clair Road and follow this all the way to the car park for the Lake St Clair Lodge. The walk trails all start from the same location a short distance west of the lodge.
The Hike - With a nice arrival gift at Lake St Clair of snow and the subsequent winter wonderland, we rose on our second day there to find a lot of the snow now all but gone. It was still very cold as we made our way to breakfast at the lodge for our morning planning session and catch-up with Candy and Hal. With Lake St Clair home to a variety of walks that start at the lodge, we all agreed that the Larmairremener Tableti cultural walk would be a good morning activity before we broke off and did other things (Candy and Hal would be kayaking and I would be completing another hike).
This was a walk I was very interested in completing as I'm fascinated by how the first nations people lived and thrived in areas like this before they were forcibly removed from their lands. With everyone content after a warm breakfast and dressed in appropriate hiking gear, we made our way back to the lodge to begin the walk. Like all the other trails in the area, it utilises the vehicle track leading towards Watersmeet and the Hugel River. I would end up walking this this stretch of track a fair few times over the course of our stay and it was fun to see it in several different iterations thanks to the changing weather conditions. Today the bulk of the snow had melted and it was looking much more normal but still quite pretty. The forest along here is pretty varied with an open section with large trees at the start, slowly progressing into a thicker undergrowth and some nice looking Sassafras as you get nearer to Watersmeet. There are plenty of fallen logs that have been cut where they have fallen over the track and a few of them were still clinging to snow. Arriving at Watersmeet, instead of crossing the bridge, we would be following the orange signs for the walk and heading on the south side of the river.
From here until the track looped back and re-joined the main track would be a whole new experience and I was looking forward to seeing seeing some more terrain plus learning about what life was like for the Larmairremener People (there is different spelling for most indigenous words depending on the source, which is why the trail name differs from the Traditional Custodians I have listed at the top). Walking along the Hugel River, this section has some fantastic beech and myrtle trees that make it feel like a fairy-tale forest. Boardwalk through here helps protect the fragile forest floor and is a good platform for searching for different fungi, lichen and mosses that thrive in the damp conditions along here. After passing the bridge that takes you on the Shadow Lake Circuit, the track begins to climb into the dry sclerophyll forest and things feel very different. Feeling like some of the walking you get in WA, there was still a lot to enjoy through here as we all walked along at our own pace. We all gathered at the first interpretive sign and while providing some information about the native flora and its use, it was more tied up into the present day experiences of local artists visiting Lake St Clair.