Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps



More ‘helicopter tourism’ in Tasmania?

The long running attempt by developers to establish a helicopter accessed ‘eco lodge’ on Halls Island in Lake Malbena in Tasmania’s Central Plateau is part of a larger agenda to open up areas of wilderness and World Heritage to new commercial tourism operations.

The proposal is disturbing on it’s own – it would allow the developer to have exclusive use of the island. But according to Fishers and Walkers Against Helicopter Access Tasmania, there are plans underway to allow larger areas that could be opened up to ‘helicopter tourism’. They say:

“This (map) is the world heritage zoning for the Western Lakes. All the orange and yellow is fair game for helicopter tourism. The zones were amended to suit development proposals”.

The map comes from the World Heritage Area management plan.

This is incredibly disturbing.

Please follow FAWAHAT to find out more and get involved in the campaign against private tourism developments in wild places in Tasmania.


Reclaim Malbena

As the long campaign to protect World Heritage Areas from commercial development continues (and in the aftermath of the Federal Court case against the planned ‘helicopter tourism’ development proposed for Lake Malbena on Tasmania’s Central Plateau), a trip has now been planned to visit the site threatened by this proposal.

The Fishers and Walkers Against Helicopter Access Tasmania and the Wilderness Society have organised the camp, which will happen over the weekend of December 7 and 8.

Continue reading “Reclaim Malbena”

Approval of Lake Malbena ‘helicopter tourism’ project overturned in the Federal Court

The Wilderness Society (TWS) and Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) have had a win in the ongoing battle over the development of a tourism venture at Lake Malbena in Tasmania’s Central Plateau. The Federal Court has set aside the decision by the federal environment minister Melissa Price that the Wild Drake heli-fishing camp in the World Heritage listed Walls of Jerusalem national park is not a ‘controlled action’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. (A controlled action can avoid full environmental assessment).

The federal government’s controversial decision in August 2018 to allow helicopter flights and huts on Lake Malbena had been challenged in the Federal Court. Earlier this year, TWS sought a judicial review of the Federal Environment Minister’s decision that the Halls Island, Lake Malbena development is “not a controlled action” under the [federal] Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

This is a great outcome.

This decision does not stop the proposal.  It means that the Parks and Wildlife Service cannot grant proper approval of the proposal.  It will now be sent back for proper approvals process under the EPBC Act. Wilderness Society spokesman Tom Allen says the decision had effectively put a stop to the plans that included huts, a communal building, walkways and helicopter flights.

Continue reading “Approval of Lake Malbena ‘helicopter tourism’ project overturned in the Federal Court”

From Targangal (Kosciuszko) to Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach). Mapping the Bundian Way.

There has long been discussion about the trail that once linked the south eastern coast of NSW to the Snowy Mountains. It is called the Bundian Way. Prior to the invasion, Indigenous people moved between the coast, the Monaro Tablelands and the higher mountains. Nowdays called the Bundian Way, this route is a historical pathway between Targangal (Kosciuszko) and Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach) that connects the highest part of the Australian continent and the coast.

There is a book that explores the Bundian Way, called On Track: searching out the Bundian Way written by John Blay. Now the route has been mapped and can be found online.

Continue reading “From Targangal (Kosciuszko) to Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach). Mapping the Bundian Way.”

Tasmanian Wilderness Guides step up to protect wild places

It is always heartening to see outdoor groups and businesses getting active to protect the places they love and rely on. From the many groups who campaign for the creation of new parks in order to protect wild places, to the efforts of Protect Our Winters, who are mobilising the winter sports community, there are many great groups and initiatives out there.

With ongoing attempts by the Tasmanian government to open up national parks and World Heritage areas to further commercial tourist operations, it has been great to see the organised campaigning by the group that represents outdoor guides in that state.

Continue reading “Tasmanian Wilderness Guides step up to protect wild places”

TAS planning tribunal approves helicopter tourism on the Central Plateau

In February this year, the Central Highlands Council in Tasmania rejected the Lake Malbena tourism development.

The controversial ‘helicopter tourism’ development planned for Halls Island in Lake Malbena on Tasmania’s central plateau had previously been approved by state and federal governments. The local Council was the last government authority which needed to sign off on the project. It rejected it and it had been hoped that the decision by Council would be the end of the proposal.

However, the developer lodged an appeal against this decision. And now the state’s planning tribunal has overturned Central Highlands Councils attempt to have it blocked.

Continue reading “TAS planning tribunal approves helicopter tourism on the Central Plateau”

Investigation into commercial development in Tasmanian parks

There has been a limited number of private commercial tourism operations developed in wild places in Tasmania’s reserve system. There has also been a long campaign by some in the Tasmanian government and business to open up more of the state’s World Heritage and other protected areas to commercial development.

In 2018, plans were revealed to build a fly-in, fly-out luxury camp at Lake Malbena in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) on the Central Plateau. It is a remote location, to the south east of the famed Walls of Jerusalem area. The plan includes a helipad, accommodation, kitchen and toilet facilities.

More recently, the Tasmanian government promised $20 million to develop Tasmania’s “Next Iconic Walk”, which was intended to be another hut-based multi-day ‘Three Capes Track’-style development. After a public call for ideas last year, some 20 odd submissions were apparently received, but the full list has never been made public. Then, after another internal process without public scrutiny or clearly detailed selection criteria, the chosen option was announced on 26 July. Based on a proposal from the West Coast Tourism Association, it focuses on the Tyndall Range in the west of the state. The process by which prospective developments are assessed has been questioned over its transparency.

All these plans have been controversial and generated substantial opposition. Now they have attracted the attention of the auditor-general who has announced an investigation into the Expression of Interest (EOI) process for these developments.

Continue reading “Investigation into commercial development in Tasmanian parks”

What’s happening with the Tyndall Ranges ‘Iconic Walk’?

The Tasmanian government promised $20 million at the last election to develop Tasmania’s “Next Iconic Walk”, which was intended to be another hut-based multi-day ‘Three Capes Track’-style development. After a public call for ideas last year, some 20 odd submissions were apparently received, but the full list has never been made public. Then, after another internal process without public scrutiny or clearly detailed selection criteria, the chosen option was announced on 26 July.

Based on a proposal from the West Coast Tourism Association, it focuses on the Tyndall Range. This is unfortunate as the original proposal didn’t do this, instead mentioning it only as a possible final-stage option. But it is not clear how this proposal will be moved forward, beyond the recent announcement that there will be ‘consultation with the public’.

Continue reading “What’s happening with the Tyndall Ranges ‘Iconic Walk’?”

Support the #climatestrike – wherever you are

On September 20 people around the world will be standing up to confront the climate crisis because our politicians won’t.

Australia is already on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Prolonged drought. Flash flooding. Erratic winters. Catastrophic bushfires, severe cyclones and heatwaves. But just at the time when we need to ramp up climate solutions, our government wants to open the floodgates to new coal, oil and gas projects that put all of us at risk.

So, on September 20, three days before the UN Emergency Climate Summit, school students are inviting everyone to join them for the biggest ever global #ClimateStrike. There are more than 100 events planned around Australia (check here to find your closest event).

Members of the Mt Hotham community will be supporting the strike (check here for details).

If you can’t join the strike, why not post your support from wherever you are.

Outdoor adventure relies on healthy natural environments. Whether you walk, climb, ride, paddle, ski, trail run, snowboard – or anything else – the environment you love is at risk from climate change.

And if you work in the outdoor industry, your livelihood is at risk from out of control climate change. For instance, the Australian ski industry alone generates more than $1.8 billion a year and employs more than 18,000 people. Yet under current greenhouse scenarios, climate change could cut Australia’s ski season by more than two months.

It’s easy to support the strike without showing up >

  • Take or post a photo of you in a favourite place.
  • Post on whatever platform you prefer, using #climatestrike and #PlacesWorthProtecting and say that you support the strike and want governments to act on climate change. Tag in the PM: @ScottMorrisonMP

And why not sign our petition to the PM while you’re at it?

Protect Our Winters is mobilising the outdoor community to take action on climate change. You can find out more and sign up for their newsletter here.

Other ideas on taking action are available here.


Below: The Hotham community is supporting #ClimateStrike. Images: Karl Gray

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Hotham strike poster

Image below: Kelly van den Berg


Image below: Climate strike in Jindabyne. Photo: Shawn Marlene Joynt-Davies


Image below: Bright, NE VIC. Photo from Sustainable Upper Ovens.



Image below: Josh Fletcher, Protect Our Winters Australia. Mt Buller.



Image below: Bright Brewery.

‘CLIMATE ACTION // We’re made for the mountains – we live, play, and brew here. Climate change is already impacting our mountain home and the future threats to the places we love are terrifying. Massive kudos to the students of Bright P-12 College for organising today’s local #climatestrike Our mountains are definitely #placesworthprotecting

Bright brewery

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Look at this beauty. It’s seriously #worthprotecting Change needs to happen. #placesworthprotecting #climatestrike


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#placesworthprotecting . Supporting the #climatestrike because #weallneedwinter . @scottmorrisonmp we need climate action to protect these places

Image below: Brett Webb.
Brett Webb


The @globalclimatestrike is happening TOMORROW (Friday 20th) There are over 100 events across Australia happening but if you can’t be there, why not post a photo of your favourite place. Even better, one of yourself in your favourite place. Tag yourself in to #ClimateStrike. Add your voice.

wilderness sports

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Mining was a big part of my earlier life. Paid for my way of life for a long time. Whether its coal, iron ore or limestone, these industries are still needed but there are now options to reduce our carbon footprint. I now work in renewables for a large wind farm generating zero emissions and with no need to fuel the turbines with anything other than free wind it’s a win – win scenario for the generation market.
Dont let the government tell you it’s fake news.

Adam W

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Let’s go absolutely huge tomorrow. for a march near you
pics by @jamesqmartin


Image below: Mountain Kitchen, Dinner Plain.

Students from the Alpine School heading to the climate event.

Mtn Kitchen


Let’s protect all of are favourite places#climatestrike #placesworthprotecting


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Todays #climatestrike in Sydney was incredible. We’re inspired by the next generation that lead the march.
Our leaders can’t ignore their push for action.
There’s no room in government for climate deniers.
#answerwithaction 📷 @jarrahlynch


Image below: From Respect The Mountain (Hobart).

Protecting our winters. The people’s mountain – dogs are welcome too!
Thankyou to all the climate action strikers who were out there in force yesterday.

Image Credit: Gary Tew, kunanyi/Mt Wellington 2018.


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A number of our stores will be closing today to support Global Climate Marches across Australia and New Zealand.


“I support action on climate change not just because I want to protect the beautiful places in which I play, but because it is basic common sense to care for the one planet we have. Climbing and Paragliding, my two favorite sports owe many of their evolutions to advancements in efficiency and technology – the same innovations that are helping with the climate crisis. I’m proud to be on The North Face Team that shares these values and is making meaningful action to reduce their impact and inspire others to do the same.” Words by @cedarwright

Image below: Paddy Pallin

Paddy Pallin is proud to support the Global Climate Strike.
Join us, we are striking for the future of our planet!⠀⠀⠀

Paddy Pallin

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