Exploring the Largest Glacial Lake of the Southwest

Amidst the mighty peaks of the Southwest:

It is not difficult to imagine the Lake Judd Glacier descending from the heights of Mount Anne during the Pleistocene, carving a sinuous trough as it went. The result is one of Tasmania’s best examples of a glacial landscape.

Lake Judd is just over three kilometres long and with a dogleg shape such that the increasingly dramatic cliffs and arêtes are gradually revealed as one paddles up the lake into the shadow of the cirque. To the west and north are five hundred metre high cliffs of ragged dolerite columns on Mount Eliza and Frances Bluff.

Native conifers including king billy pine are prominent features of the forest here, indicating a cool wet climate with long-term absence of fire. Eucalyptus forest is confined to the terminal moraine. Small beaches of quartzite sand occur in a few places, with aquatic plants in the shallows.

The only easy approach to Judd is from the south where the Anne River drains the lake, spilling over the terminal moraine of accumulated glacial material. But you can always make it more difficult by carrying an inflatable boat on a 30ºC day! It seemed like a good idea for an unusual weekend trip and so after 2.5 hours slogging though scrub and buttongrass and mud we clambered over the moraine and wasted no time cooling off in the lake.

Lake Judd