Southwest National Park
Directions - Located just over two hours west of Hobart, take the Brooker Hwy north and follow the signs for New Norfolk. Pass through the town and follow the signs for Westerway and then Mount Field National Park. Pass through Maydena and continue on Gordon River Road all the way to Strathgordon. Mount Sprent is located further west from Strathgordon at Serpentine Dam. Take the gravel road signed for Serpentine Dam and follow it all the way to the end.
The Hike - Mount Sprent was a hike that I had on my list of potential options for Lake Pedder and with the patchy to miserable weather we had experienced on this leg of our trip so far, it wasn't looking likely that I would get the opportunity to summit it (and get views that were worth the effort). On our final full day at Lake Pedder I received a bit of good news with the predicted rain easing off to present a possible window for me to enjoy a hike. As Candy and Hal had not visited Gordon Dam yet, we headed there after breakfast where we made it all the way down to the dam wall before it started to bucket down. It did produce a nice rainbow over the downstream valley and it was a fun experience to see the dam wall up close.
On the way back to the lodge we stopped off at the lookout near Strathgordon and were treated to more rainbows and what looked like a water spout off in the distance. With the showers rolling through I was beginning to think Mount Sprent would never happen and it gave me a bit of FOMO that Lake Pedder wasn't panning out like I'd hoped. Being autumn and in the highlands, this wasn't entirely unexpected so Caris and I made plans to hang around the lodge, drink hot chocolate and play board games all day. Watching through the long glass windows overlooking Lake Pedder, I kept an eye on conditions and the weather app on my phone. I think you know where this is headed as just after lunch it cleared enough for me to bite the bullet and head out there for a summit attempt. Caris was happy to read her book and have a nap so I quickly gathered my things together and made for Serpentine Dam. Happy to have this small window of opportunity, I would have about four hours of sunlight to get up and back a track that was not described as easy in my research.
Arriving at the car park, Serpentine Dam has a very cold Soviet style vibe to it with the small concrete dam wall leading towards a hole in the side of the mountain. I was half expecting some guards patrolling the wall with AK-47s and cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, as the hole looks to be a secret entrance to a facility within the mountain. It certainly looked guarded when I arrived but they were just tourists having a look around. The dam itself does not contain any hydro capacity but instead forms a barrier along with two other dams to create Lake Pedder, which then feeds Lake Gordon and the hydro generators there. Reaching the entrance to the secret facility, it is not very deep but provides shelter from the rain as I discovered the previous day when I came for a nosy around. The hike begins by climbing up the concrete steps to the left of the dam wall and pretty soon you are right in the thick of the damp forest where you will find a walkers registration box (please fill it out for safety purposes). This isn't a well advertised walk as it's steep and not on a marked track so be aware of your abilities and the weather conditions before deciding to undertake this hike.