A few weekends ago me and a couple of mates made the drive over the the southern end of the Ben Lomond Plateau to have a go at Stacks Bluff – the sixth highest peak in Tasmania (1527m) and a striking geological feature that dominates the eastern skyline from much of the northern midlands. All up the walk should take about 5.5hrs for fit walkers taking a few breaks.
The walk is quite well marked with cairns and tape (although the start is notoriously difficult to find), but it has it’s fair share of hazards – notably, the first section crosses a very large and unstable dolerite scree slope (probably the sketchiest I’ve been on in Tassie), and the second half traverses a high (1400m+) and open plateau, that is extremely exposed to poor weather. Come prepared!
The walk starts from a forestry road just outside of Storys Creek, an old mining town in the Fingal Valley. Take the first left once you get into the town (there used to be a sign saying ‘Stacks Bluff’ but I don’t think it’s there any more…) and head down a gravel road past an old cricket pitch and obstacle course. After about five minutes turn right up the hill and keep going until you reach a small clearing – there should be a big boulder with a cairn on it. Park here as the rest of the road is severely eroded. Walk for about 20mins up the 4×4 track until you reach a pole/cairn on the left with marks the start of the track proper (pretty easy to spot).
It’s then about another 20mins uphill following a fairly well worn track through open and rocky dry sclerophyll until you reach the start of the scree-field. From here you have to keep an eye out as cairns and orange markers are the only indication of the track location – if you happen to lose it then aim for the gully immediately to the right (east) of the large bluff straight up the slope.
About an hour of rock-hopping will get you to the aforementioned gully, which ascends steeply onto the Ben Lomond Plateau itself. While you’re heading up this section remember to look around! There’s some stunning views east along the outcrop, and then from east, through south to the west is the magnificent Fingal Valley. You’ll also spot the very peculiar looking Tranquil Tarn, which appears to be cradled by nothing but boulders.
Once up on the Plateau head west following a faint track and cairns until you reach a narrow gully which will take you up onto the summit mound. From here it’s west to the summit proper, and then south-west to the dramatic cliffs which give the Bluff it’s name. Take the time to explore the summit as there’s a fair bit to see!