An understandably popular day walk from Hanmer Springs, Mt Isobel is a 1,319m alpine summit behind the town offering spectacular views. I walked it two weeks before Christmas 2022 and other than one pair behind me, had the whole mountain to myself for the day. I suspect this wouldn’t be the case a few weeks later, though the 800m climb may lead many to think that a day at the Hanmer Spring Thermal Pools would be a better option. Instead I saved the pools for after the hike, a perfect way to finish the day.
From the car park on Clarence Valley Road, five minutes drive from town, and 530m above sea level, the track starts surprisingly open, and scenic walking through fields of foxgloves and yellow gorse.
The car park is only 20m lower than the summit of Conical Hill, so it doesn’t take much walking before you’re looking down on the summit and lookout.
Given the strength of the sun already at 9am it was a relief to escape into the shade of the bush for a while.
Emerging above the bush line the views had already improved.
There are some wonderful views heading onto the tops.
At the saddle were big views in both directions.
The summit could nearly be seen, the trig was just out of sight.
There was more uphill toward it but plenty of views to distract.
The summit is marked with a classic black and white trig.
It was the ideal spot for lunch, enjoying the views of Hanmer Springs below and the company of this New Zealand pipit / Pīhoihoi.
The mix of sun and clouds cast photogenic shadows across the landscape.
It was worth a short walk along the track toward the Jollies Pass Road to the east for different landscape views.
A few photos to finish with from the faster descent back to Clarence Valley Road.