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Home » Adventures » Australia » Walls of Jerusalem

Walls of Jerusalem National Park

January 23 – 24, 2015
Route I Walked25 km (approx)

Route I Walked
25 km (approx)

With about fifteen minutes of planning, I squeezed an overnight visit to Walls of Jerusalem National Park before the ferry took me back to mainland Australia. Walls of Jerusalem is unique in that no roads lead into the park, with its only access via walking tracks. Although the remoteness deters the casual tourist, it draws a large number of walkers (especially on Australia Day weekend), and I shared the track with many other people. I never felt crowded, but the normal break spots always had people at them when I passed by.

After leaving the carpark the track climbed steadily through the forest and boggy areas. A couple hours later it reached the hardened campsite at Wild Dog Creek that included tent platforms and a toilet. Shortly past there I crested a pass grandly named Herods Gate and emerged into the heart of The Walls. This area was beautiful with many small lakes and towering mountains on all sides. They were named after locations in Jerusalem, from the West Wall, to the Pools of Bethesda, to Jaffa Gate, along with many other spots. Having been to Jerusalem myself I can attest they looked nothing like their namesake counterparts, but were laid out in a manner roughly corresponding to their real life locations in the city. I assume these names were given by a pious Christian in honor of the Holy City or else an unscrupulous marketer trying to attract attention.

The West Wall from Solomons Throne to King Davids Peak as seen from the Temple

West Wall

From Damascus Gate I climbed to the top of The Temple, which provided an even nicer commanding view into the central area of The Walls. I skipped ascending nearby Solomons Throne and instead pushed on to Mt. Jerusalem. Its top provided expansive views of the whole region and surrounding mountain ranges. This peak was too far away for a good perspective of The Walls, but instead gave a clear view east across a plateau covered entirely by small lakes and marshes almost as far as I could see.

To not have to completely retrace all my steps returning from Mt. Jerusalem, I took a detour cross country from Dixons Kingdom Hut down Jaffa Vale to Lake Ball. The area was fairly open and navigation was easy, especially with rough foot-pad most of the way. I was not the first person to make this circuit.

Lake Ball Hut (along with Dixons Kingdom Hut) were historical structures, primarily meant to preserve old architecture rather than provide shelter for walkers. A ex-serviceman built this hut after WWII. He spent much of his life in the bush after the horrors of war and extensive time in a POW camp. A bushman in the classic sense, he mostly lived off the land and used only what it provided. Although he was quite famous among his contemporaries for his far ranging skills in the wilderness, it occurred to me that this exceptional bushman would have lived his life in a way unremarkable to a normal Aborigine before the arrival of Europeans. They had no way of life other than to “go bush” — that was their permanent and only home.

Lake Loane

As for European descendents, I can barely imagine someone living in the bush today like that serviceman did. Many of those skills have been lost, and the government would probably force him into a bureaucratic social program anyway. Almost all land is private or highly regulated public land nowadays, so finding a spot to even attempt such a life would be nearly impossible. The compartmentalization of land is almost inevitable and unavoidable with population, economic and government growth, but it made me wonder at how vastly changed the world is today from even just 50 years ago. How different and unrecognizable will the world be in another 50 years? I cannot even begin to fathom, although I probably will not live long enough to see it anyway. Will the “progress” be for the better? Of course I hope so, but often despair it will be otherwise.

After leaving Lake Ball Hut, I had a pleasant walk along Lake Ball and Junction Track. A mostly easy stroll passed lakes, meadows, and forests on the way back to my car. Almost no one was in this section of the park either, unlike The Walls.