Lees Paddocks, Cathedral Plateau, Grail Falls, Mt Rogoona, Lake Steers, Lake McCoy & February Plains
LAKE ROWALLAN is a large hydro electric lake in Central Tasmania. There are a number of interesting bush walks from its western and southern sides that are illustrated on this page. On its eastern side is the famous WALLS of JERUSALEM National Park. On the other sides of Lake Rowallan are many other beautiful and mysterious sights. The LEES PADDOCKS, LAKE MYRTLE and GRAIL FALLS walks can be done as day walks, but the other walks are strictly only for groups of experienced bush walkers.
There are no facilities in the Lake Rowallan area. The nearest facilities and accommodation are at Mole Creek. The nearest town is Deloraine. The orientation distances are given for Mole Creek, as the Lake Rowallan area is way out in the wilderness.
From MOLE CREEK you are 30 minutes from the DEVILS GULLET, SHEFFIELD, WESTBURY and DELORAINE. You are one hour from LAUNCESTON and DEVONPORT. Nearby places are described in the CENTRAL MOUNTAINS REGION page.
View Region Central Mountains of Tasmania in a larger map
FACILITIES: There are no facilities in the Lake Rowallan area. For information on Lake Rowallan telephone (03) 6259 8148 There are shops, a cafe and a petrol pump at Mole Creek. There is a large shopping precinct at Deloraine. There is accommodation at MOLE CREEK and DELORAINE.
TOURIST information is located at 98 Emu Bay Rd, Deloraine. The telephone number is (03) 6362 3471 or the internet contact is www.greatwesterntiers.net.au
SIGHTS: The LAKE ROWALLAN area has some of the most interesting walks in central, northern Tasmania. These walks will show you a wide variety of beautiful mountain, alpine plateau and lake scenery. The walks to Lees Paddocks, Lake Myrtle and Grail Falls can be done as day walks by moderately fit and well equipped walkers, however the other walks are for groups of well equipped and experienced walkers only.
All walks are in areas that are subject to extreme weather at short notice, so you must check the weather forecast and never venture forth, if a bush walkers alert is given. These indicate the coming of freezing blizzards, which can quite quickly freeze you to death.
LEES PADDOCKS are an enchanting valley surrounded by towering mountains. To reach the paddocks you must drive down the eastern side of Lake Rowallan on the Mersey Forest Road to the Lees Paddocks Track. This walks is long, but the terrain is flat, so it is suitable for walkers of average fitness.
GRAIL FALLS is a medium difficult walk to a lovely water fall. To reach it, you drive south on the Mersey Forest Road. You continue pass the Mt Jerusalem Track and drive on to the end of the Mersey Forest Road to the Moses Creek Track. Grail Falls are just south of Chapter Lake. (PN The Moses Creek Track is also called the Chapter Lake Track on some maps.)
CATHEDRAL PLATEAU is an alpine wilderness of pines and tarns. It is an extension of the walk to Grail Falls. However, there is no track, so this walk is for groups of experienced walkers only. If you reach the western edge of the plateau, you will see awesome views of the Mersey Valley and the mountains beyond it. To reach the Cathedral Plateau, you must drive south on the Mersey Forest Road, until you come to the start of the Moses Creek Track. You follow it to Grail Falls and you then find your own way to the west.
HOREB FALLS is a lovely water fall on the eastern edge of Premier Peak. It is also accessed from the Mersey Forest Road. You follow this road to the Moses Creek Track, which also goes to Grail Falls. You follow the Moses Creek Track south to a point, known only to the club, where you can sidle your way west through the dense forest to reach Horeb Falls. Only groups of experienced trekkers familiar with this area and with bush bashing their way through dense forest should attempt to find their way to Horeb Falls.
LAKE MYRTLE is a beautiful lake at the foot of a stunning mountain. Reaching it is a medium difficult walk. To reach it you drive south on Mersey Forest Road to the Lake Myrtle Track. You follow this south past Lake Bill to Lake Myrtle.
Mt ROGOONA is a high mountain next to Lake Myrtle. From its summit there are awesome views of the lakes and mountains. It is accessed from the Mersey Forest Road, which you follow to the start of the Lake Myrtle Track. You follow it past Lake Myrtle towards Lake Heston. Here, at a point only known to the club, where you can scale Mt Rogoona. Since this walk involves the off track scaling of mountains, it is strictly for groups of experienced walkers only.
FEBRUARY PLAINS is an enchanting wilderness of forests, rivers and tarns with great views of the nearby mountains. Many groups make their way to the hut on Lake Steers. To reach it you drive south on Maggs Road on the western side of Lake Rowallan to the start of the Arm River Pelion Track. You follow this to Lake Price and you then find you way north from there. Since the February Plains is an off track wilderness, this walk is for groups of experienced walkers only.
LAKE McCOY is a lovely lake south west of Lake Rowallan. There is no track, so it can only be reached by experience groups.
WARNING: The Central Plateau area can be very cold and very wet in any season, so check the weather and come prepared. Caution advises you to cancel a trip, when bad weather is predicted.
ROUTES: From LAUNCESTON you drive west on the A1 Bass Highway towards DEVONPORT. You then turn off to the south to DELORAINE, where you join the B12 road to MOLE CREEK. Past Mole Creek you turn south onto C171 to Lake Rowallan.
From DEVONPORT you drive south on B14 to SHEFFIELD, where you then drive south down C136 past Mt Roland, until it reaches C138. You drive south down C138, until it reaches C171, which takes you to Lake Rowallan.
- LEES PADDOCKS
- Lake McCoy
1/ Lees Paddocks are south west of Lake Rowallan in Central Tasmania. The paddocks are an enchanting valley surrounded by towering mountains. This gallery shows photos made on separate trips to Lees Paddocks in 2014 and 2015.
2/ To reach the paddocks you must drive down the eastern side of Lake Rowallan on the Mersey Forest Road to a point south west of Lake Rowallan, where the Lees Paddocks Track begins. The paddocks are private property and are still used for grazing cattle. You are asked to respect this fact.
3/ The Lees Paddocks Track is graded at moderate. This is because it is relatively long, but it is not a steep climb. This image shows the Mersey River bridge near the start of the walk.
4/ The first part of the journey goes through Pine Valley, where you can see these enchanting trees.
5/ A short diversion to the south of the track takes you to Lewis Falls.
6/ A short distance down stream takes you to Oxley Falls. You need to climb down into a ravine to see it, but it is quite impressive.
7/ This is Oxley Falls during the cold winter of 2014, when the flow of water was very great.
8/ You meet many interesting creatures in the ancient Tasmanian forest, like this spider and its ominous web.
9/ There is a large variety of exotic types of fungi in Lees Paddocks. This specimen is about the size of a human head.
10/ This specimen of fungus was a lovely orange colour.
11/ This snake is ready to strike. It was photographed from about 15 metres away. Snakes can, at lightning speed, uncoil and strike targets many metres away. I have had personal experience of this, so I will definitely confirm the advice that you should never approach a snake.
12/ As you trek westwards the forest zone suddenly ends and you find yourself in Lees Paddocks. This image looks back to the east to the forest that we had just traversed. Premier Peak is on the right.
13/ When you look to the north, you see the towering heights of Mt Pillinger.
14/ You may well also encounter cattle as the paddocks are still a commercial enterprise.
15/ This is the view to the south east. The peaks that you can see from left to right are: Vicars Bluff, Curate Bluff, Bishops Peak and Cathedral Mountain. The vast grassy plains make Lees Paddocks an ideal place for grazing cattle. The Mersey River wends its way through these plains and the plains are criss crossed by belts of forest.
16/This image was taken further south. It looks south south east at Curate Bluff and Bishops Peak.
17/ This is the panoramic view from Vicars Bluff looking north west into Lees Paddocks. The paddocks are part of the Mersey River Valley. Premier Peak is on the extreme right.
18/ This image look back from the edge of the forest to the north east at Premier Peak.
19/ Near Lees Hut is a rock overhang, where you can find fossils.
20/ This is the fossil of a shell that we were lucky enough to find.
21/ This image shows the path through a small belt of forest. These forest belts criss cross Lees Paddocks.
22/ This image shows Lees Hut, which is located at the northern end of Lees Paddocks. The image is looking north east. Premier Peak is on the right.
23/ Lees Paddocks has been grazed since 1888, but this hut was built in 1940. It is maintained by volunteers and is used as an emergency shelter by bush walkers.
24/ This is a weed covered tarn at the northern end of Lees Paddocks. Premier Peak is on the horizon.
25/ This is the Mersey River, which wends its way through Lees Paddocks. This view is looking south at Castle Crag on the left and Mount Massif on the right. These are part of the Du Cane Range.
26/ This is another view of Castle Crag and Mount Massif. They are part of the Du Cane Range, which is north of Lake St Clair.
27/ This view looks to the south east at Vicars Bluff and Curate Bluff. You can see the view from the top of Vicars Bluff in the following Cathedral Plateau gallery.
28/ Not all of Lees Paddocks is grassy. Some area areas replete with tarns and alpine vegetation.
29/ This image shows a closer view of the alpine vegetation and tarns in parts of Lees Paddocks.
30/ Lees Paddocks was the scene of recent plane crash.
31/ South east of Lees Paddocks is Ladder Creek, which has Ladder Falls. Its many small tiers do really resemble a ladder.
32/ This image shows a small ravine on Ladder Creek.
33/ This is a rapid on Ladder Creek.
34/ This image shows a sunset, mist layer descending on Lees Paddocks.
35/ The next images were taken on a winter trip in 2014. This image looks north at a snow covered Premier Peak. In winter you get to see a really enchanting combination of snow and clouds.
36/ On this trip our intrepid bush walkers camped out in the snow near Lees Hut. This image looks north at a cloud covered Mt Pillinger.
37/ This image looks east at a snow covered Deans Bluff. Behind it is Premier Peak, but it is now obscured by cloud.
38/ To show you the contrast, this is an image of Deans Bluff taken in the summer. On the horizon you can now see Premier Peak on the left.
39/ This image looks south east at Vicars Bluff. It shows the same peaks that you can see in photo number 16. Lees Paddocks is now a very cold and mysterious place.
40/ Shortly after the above photo was taken, the sun broke through and changed the colours of Vicars Bluff to this enchanting scene.
41/ This image looks past the frozen Mersey River towards the many peaks of the south east.
41/ This image looks past the frozen Mersey River towards the many peaks of the south east.
41/ This image looks past the frozen Mersey River towards the many peaks of the south east.
44/ Two of our trekkers had fun throwing snow balls.
45/ This is the famous Dancing Tree. It is in the southern part of Lees Paddocks and it is one of its more exotic attractions.
1/ Grail Falls are in Central Tasmania south west of Lake Rowallan. This area is close to the Lees Paddocks Track. This gallery shows photos taken on a trip to Grail Falls and Cathedral Plateau in 2015. To access this area you must first drive south on the Mersey Forest Road, until you come to the start of the Moses Creek Track.
2/ You then follow the rough, Moses Creek Track 4 kilometres to the south. It rises and then falls as it approaches Chapter Lake. Through part of the journey it passes through an area recently devastated by loggers. This image shows saplings regrowing in the logged area.
3/ You are then greeted by the enchanting sight of Chapter Lake. Grail Falls are on the southern end of this very long lake.
4/ Chapter Lake has a mysterious ambience about it.
5/ There were many groves of native pines on the shore line of Chapter Lake.
6/ We then followed Chapter Lake to the south to reach Moses Creek. This image is looking north and shows the extreme southern section of Chapter Lake near Grail Falls. The Moses Creek Track passes Grail Falls and wends its way to the south to ultimately reach Junction Lake.
7/ This is lovely, Grail Falls. It is a massive 50 metre, multi tiered drop and is a very impressive sight.
8/ This images shows the many tiers and the full profile of Grail Falls.
9/ This is a closer view of the middle tiers of Grail Falls. It required some scrambling to reach this point. The author has captured the mysterious atmosphere of the falls.
10/ This image shows a closer view of the lower tiers of Grail Falls. I love the way the author has captured the light in the fall.
11/ Our group now left the Moses Creek Track and trekked to the north west towards Curate Bluff over the Cathedral Plateau. We were now off track, but following a route known by our club. The Plateau is fairly flat and has many examples of exotic vegetation, like these strange, red trees.
12/ The Cathedral Plateau has many groves of lovely, native pines. They have a very ancient look about them.
13/ This image shows the pines and alpine vegetation that we saw on the Cathedral Plateau.
14/ This image was taken a few hundred metres north west of the image above. It shows how abruptly the vegetation can change. This area was now littered with rocks and small tarns. The edge of the plateau is on the horizon.
15/ This is a large tarn on the western edge of the Cathedral Plateau.
16/ Finally we reached the edge of the Cathedral Plateau near Curate Bluff. This tarn was on the very edge of the precipice.
17/ We were now presented with a magnificent, panoramic view of the Mersey River Valley to our west. This image looks past Curate Bluff to the south west.
18/ This image looks west across the Mersey River Valley. We were luck enough to be greeted by a beautiful rainbow.
19/ This view looks north at Lees Paddocks and a distant Premier Peak. You can visit Lees Paddocks in the preceding gallery.
1/ Horeb Falls is in Central Tasmania, south of Lake Rowallan. It is accessed from the same Mersey Forest Road, which you follow to the Moses Creek Track. This is also the same road that leads to tracks to Lees Paddocks and Grail Falls. We follow the Moses Creek Track south to a point, known only to the club, where we could sidle our way west through the dense forest to reach Horeb Falls. Only experienced trekkers familiar with this area should attempt to find their way through the dense forest to Horeb Falls.
2/ After we left the Moses Creek Track, we had to bash our way through the dense forest to reach Horeb Falls. This image shows Moses Creek near Horeb Falls. You can see how dense is the forest that we had traversed.
3/ Horeb Falls is in a ravine on the eastern side of Premier Peak. This image looks down the ravine to the rushing waters of Horeb Falls.
4/ We now descended the ravine to see the falls up close. This image shows the higher and lower tiers.
5/ I had to scramble out onto the rocks to capture this photo of the lower tiers.
6/ This photo shows the massive rush of water across the tiers.
7/ It is quite exhilarating to be close to the sound and sight of rushing waters.
8/ This image shows the peaceful waters south of Horeb Falls.
1/ Mt Rogoona is in Central Tasmania south east of Lake Rowallan. It is accessed from the Mersey Forest Road, which you follow to the start of the Lake Myrtle Track. The track starts in the south eastern corner of Lake Rowallan. This image shows Mt Rogoona and Lake Myrtle.
2/ The Lake Myrtle Track is a rough and poorly defined track. It wends its way to the south though hilly terrain. The first landmark you reach is Lake Bill. Here you can see a distant Mt Rogoona beyond Lake Bill.
3/ These are the rushing waters of Jacksons Creek, which the track passes close by.
4/ This was the bridge across Jacksons Creek. Most trekkers used the branches to aid their balance.
5/ Finally we reached Lake Myrtle. This it the final destination for most travellers, but we were going further south towards Lake Meston. We would be ascending to the summit that you can see in this image. The overcast sky made me pessimistic about taking good photos, but, fortunately, the weather later improved.
6/ This image shows the steep climb up the south eastern side of Mt Rogoona. This trekker has stopped to take a photo. What is interesting is that you can still get mobile telephone reception on some peaks in Tasmania.
7/ We then crossed the plateau on top of Mt Rogoona to reach the summit. From here we were given a vast panoramic view. In this image you are looking to the north. On the left you can see Lake Myrtle, while on the far left is Lake Bill, which we earlier passed by.
8/ This view is looking west across Lake Myrtle towards Lake Chalice. Mt Rogoona is 300 metres higher than the Lake Myrtle that you can see below.
9/ This view looks west across Lake Myrtle. Hidden behind the first long hill is Cloister Lagoon, while to the right is Chalice Lake.
10/ You get quite a sense of achievement when you reach a summit. We have a saying that most people can look up at mountains, but only the intrepid can look down from mountains.
11/ The summit is a very rocky place, where you have to be cautious, about where you should go.
12/ The summit of Mt Rogoona is so wet that there are tarns even on the summit. The trekker on the lower left should give you some idea of the size of these tarns.
13/ After a long rest and a great view from the summit, we returned the way we had come.
1/ The February Plains are in Central Tasmania, west of Lake Rowallan. This gallery shows photos taken on a trip our club made to the February Plains and Lake Steers in 2012. The trips were made in winter and the photos show you the colours and sights of Tasmania in the cold. Note that snow is not an insurmountable problem, if you are properly equipped and know where you are going. However, if we were likely to encounter freezing winds, we would have cancelled the walk.
2/ Lake Rowallan is a huge hydro electric lake. It is about 10 kilometres long and one kilometre wide. On the eastern side of Lake Rowallan are the sights of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. This image looks east across Lake Rowallan towards Clumner Bluff on the left and Howells Bluff on the right. Wafs of clouds give the peaks an ethereal glow.
3/ We camped on the western shore of Lake Rowallan opposite Howells Bluff. The water level was quite low, revealing this small island. It was a cold day, but fortunately there was little wind.
4/ We were now bussed down Maggs Road on the western side of Lake Rowallan to the start of the Arm River Pelion Track. This image shows the view back to a snow covered Howells Bluff.
5/ The Arm River Pelion Track heads west and passes lakes Price and Ayr to connect with the Overland Track at the New Pelion Hut. It allows trekkers to visit Mt Oakleigh and Mt Pelion without doing the long Overland Track.
6/ The Arm River Pelion Track heads west and passes lakes Price and Ayr to connect with the Overland Track at the New Pelion Hut. There was a thin blanket of snow in many areas leading to water run off onto the track. Note that our boots can stay water proof in shallow water.
7/ We now trekked west through a regrowth forest, as the Lake Rowallan area has been extensively logged. Fortunately, some areas were covered by lovely cushion plants. These only grow in very wet terrain. They are a lovely contrast to the saplings.
8/ At Lake Price we were greeted by the impressive sight of Mt Pillinger. It towers over Lees Paddocks on the southern side. It is the major landmark of this area, because it is a massive 1260 metres high.
9/ Some distance past Lake Price we trekked north on a route known only to the club that would take us to Lake Steers. When I looked back to the south, I could see this view of a distant Mt Pillinger.
10/ The route to Lake Steers went through a variety of terrains. In this area button grass is punctuated by groves of native pines.
11/ In another part of the journey we passed though a light forest zone. Here the dull winter sun created these strange green hues in the many plant textures. It looked almost like a painting.
12/ We were glad to discover that there were still some of the old forest giants. These were rejected for some reason by the loggers, when they devastated this forest in the past. This giant is about 70 metres tall. Note how it towers over the nearby saplings.
13/ We also had to traverse a fast flowing stream, as we wended our way north to Lake Steers. Note how dense the forest is in this section.
14/ Finally we reached Lake Steers. It is a large alpine lake named after a local trapper.
15/ This image shows the peaceful ambience of Lake Steers on a winter's day.
16/ This is the Basil Steers Hut. It was built by a local trapper and is today maintained by volunteers, as an emergency shelter. It is located on the south west corner of Lake Steers. Near the door you can see a Tasmanian Tiger sign. I do not know what the significance of this sign is, but I do know that Tasmanian Tigers were once common on the February Plains.
17/ This was the view to the south west, as we trekked south towards the Arm River Pelion Track. On the left is the silhouette of a distant Mt Pelion East, while to the right is the long range of Mt Oakleigh. Both are major attractions of the Overland Track.
18/ Our group now returned to the bus at Lake Rowallan. These next photos show a separate trip made in 2012 on the Arm River Pelion Track. This time we trekked all the way west to the New Pelion Hut. This image shows a regrowth forest near Lake Ayr.
19/ Our journey to the west was in the shadow of the Mt Oakleigh Range.
20/ This is Lake Ayr. It is about 2 kilometres long and lies in the shadow of the Mt Oakleigh Range. The Lees Paddock Track connects with this track east of Lake Ayr.
21/ To our south west we could see the massive dome of Mt Pelion East. It is one of the landmarks seen by intrepid trekkers on the Overland Track.
22/ This is the western edge of Mt Oakleigh seen across the Pelion Plains. It is a very impressive sight. The photo was taken near the New Pelion Hut, at a point where the Arm River Pelion Track meets the famous Overland Track.
1/ Lake McCoy is located in bushland south west of Lake Rowallan. In March 2021 our club visited it. There is no track to Lake McCoy. Rather our guides showed us a very hard to follow wombat trail used by other clubs. Our group twice lost the trail, so this hike should only be done by very experienced groups.
2/ The first two kilometres were through thick bushland. We then entered a large area of meadow covered by a thick sponge plant. The wombat trail we followed can be seen on the right.
3/ We passed through an area replete with the skeletons of pencil pines. These were probably destroyed in ancient bush fires.The dead pines are flanked by living pines.
4/ The next six kilometres were mostly through spongy meadows interspersed with groves of trees. This image shows us approaching the thick bush surronding Lake McCoy.
5/ Finally we reached and had lunch at the Lake McCoy.
6/ This image tries to capture the deep ambiance of peace that you experience when you visit these ancient lakes.