A hidden lake in the mountains of Tasmania
Intro: Hidden away in the southwest of Tasmania is one of the most beautiful places, Lake Rhona. This is a little lake (~ 300 m2) in the mountains surrounded by some neat rocks, in a pretty interesting geological area. It takes a bit of a bushwalking (i.e., hiking) effort to get to, but is well worth it if you predict the weather and choose your days wisely!
The hike to Lake Rhona starts well in the temperate rainforest setting of the Florentine Valley. I won’t describe how to do the trek to Rhona in detail (lots of other websites do this already!), but some highlights include:
(1) A substantial crossing of the Gordon River (with a conveniently placed fallen down tree that allows a dry-sock crossing).
(2) A never-ending marsh (that will ensure your dry socks now are wet and muddy).
(3) A breathtaking (literally) ascent up a never-ending moraine.
(4) A breaktaking (not-so-literally) glimpse of Lake Rhona at the very end right before you descend to the white-sand beach for camp.
Lake Rhona sits in a pretty neat geological place. From an aerial view (i.e., check out Google) it is contained within a large folded structure. These structures are from the Tyennan Orogeny, which was a complex, multistage deformation event that affected most of western Tasmania (Crawford and Berry, 1992; Crawford et al., 2003; Crawford, 2005). The underlying rocks of Lake Rhona are Pre-Cambrian quartzites, like that exposed at Frenchman’s Cap (check out my post “A Tasmanian “bushwalk” to a sturdy Frenchman’s Cap” for more info on them). They belong to the Tyennan block, equivalent to the Rocky Cape Group in the northwest (which has seen less degrees of metamorphism). The quartzites aren’t seen at the lake, but the beautiful white quartz sand is derived from these rocks.
Reflections of Reeds Peak (1290 m) on Lake Rhona – Tasmania, Australia
The lake itself is a tärn (or corrie loch), which is a small bowl-shaped pool formed in a cirque (i.e., an amphitheatre formed by erosion via glaciers). The surrounding mountains of Lake Rhona are eastward-dipping conglomerates. In particular, they belong to the Owen Group and are mostly a fluvial to shallow marine succession that was derived from uplifted Precambrain quartzites in the Ordovician. The conglomerates make up the peaks that surround the lake, such as Reeds Peak (1290 m) and Bonds Craig (1260 m). This peak make a fun day walk to do at Lake Rhona, and since they are over 1100 m high they are classified as Abels (i.e., a classification of the highest mountains in Tasmania (i.e. over 1100 m), named after the discovered of Tasmania, Abel Tasman; check out “The Abel mountains of Tasmania” for more info).
While it may be a long, tough and muddy walk to get there, the destination is definitely worth the effort. It’s pretty neat to be able to camp on a beautiful white quartz sand beach in the middle of the mountains with basically no one else there! Waking up in the morning and seeing the striking conglomerate mountains reflecting off the glass lake is truly breathtaking, and swimming in the lake after a long hike is quite the reward seldom given by mountain hikes. Lake Rhona is a neat and unique place in Tassie, and I had it on my list for a while. I snuck it in on my last days in Tassie, and it didn’t disappoint and was worth the effort and wait.
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