Overland Track, Tasmania

Tasmanian Wilderness - 73 km, 7 days

Walking Tasmania's Overland TrackTHE OVERLAND TRACK is the best known walk in Tasmania. This walk takes you from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, through a World Heritage Wilderness area.

The 73 km walk takes six to seven days along a track which is well maintained and clearly marked. Some sections are quite steep.

JOHN AND MONICA CHAPMAN have written a guidebook ‘The Overland track’, which is a useful illustrated book, with images, detailed maps and route directions.

THE OVERLAND TRACK ROUTE is 73 km long and for those contemplating this trail for their walking holiday in Tasmania, a certain amount of planning is required. The path is well marked, but we recommend to take a map and compass. The Tasmanian weather is unpredictable and snow on the Track has been reported in summer.

Looking down at Dove Lake from Cradle Mountain In 1910 Gustav & Kate Weindorfer pushed for recognition of the area. In 1931 Bert Nichols blazed the Track and by 1935 it was in use by early European walkers. Aside from the main track there are also several alternative side tracks, including to the summits of Cradle Mountain and Mount Ossa, the tallest mountain in Tasmania. Also within reach are a group of tarns called The Labyrinth and Lake St Clair (the deepest lake in Australia). World-renowned for its pristine environment and beauty, the walk has been compared to New Zealand's Milford Track.

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE WALK: Overland Track Route: Starting from historic Waldheim Lodge, the 73 km trail passes through spectacular dolerite mountains, near beautiful waterfalls, through a variety of fascinating ecosystems and close to Tasmania's highest mountain (Mt. Ossa), before finishing at Australia's deepest lake, Lake St Clair. The scenery and the physical challenges of this walk make this one of the great wilderness bushwalks.

General walking route of the Overland TrackSOME HIGHLIGHTS: Cradle Mountain, Dove Lake & Marion’s Lookout, Barn Bluff, Unique alpine vegetation, alpine plateaus, Lake Windermere, ancient myrtle rainforest, views of Mt Ossa, Pelion West and Mount Oakleigh, Forth Valley lookout, Pelion Gap, Climbing Mt Ossa, historic Du Cane Hut, Lake St Clair.

WALKING ROUTE PLANNER: The number of days required depends on how fit and how quickly or leisurely you want your walking holiday to be. Work out the average number of kilometres you are prepared to do in a day, taking into account the landscape and the hut in which you will end your day. We did the walk in 7 days. The weather may slow you down, especially if it snows.

LUGGAGE TRANSFER: This service is available for guided walkers and can be organized through a number of tour operators on the ‘guided’ itineraries. Independent walkers need to carry their own gear.

YOUR OVERLAND TRACK ACCOMMODATION:For escorted walkers this is in comfortably appointed private huts. For independent walkers, you get to stay in more spartan huts which should be booked in advance. There is the option for camping as well. Bring your own tents.

FOOD: Escorted walkers are taken care of. Independents must bring their own supplies.

WHEN TO GO: December to March is the most popular time. Route direction North to South only.

WALKING GEAR: Good walking boots and socks are critical. Your shoes should have been broken in. Also important is what rain gear to take. Make sure it’s made from a breathable material.

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ITINERARY for the Overland track - 73 km

The following is an outline of the 7-day walk itinerary that we chose. We decided to walk the track as independent walkers. You can also go on guided groups.

  • Where to Start: Cradle Mountain Lodge in the Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania
  • How to get there: Take a bus the 120 km from Launceston.
Walk Itinerary: 7 days
  • Day 1. To Waterfall Hut (11km) 5hrs. We climb onto the alpine plateau with views of Dove and Crater Lakes. Then walk below the spires of Cradle Mountain. Afternoon we walk the rim of the glacial cirque before passing through Waterfall Valley.
  • Day 2. Windermere Hut (7km) 2.5hrs. We cross the sedgeland moors, and pass many glacial tarns on the way to Lake Windermere. Windermere Hut is just a little further along.
  • Day 3. Pelion Hut (14km) 6hrs. In the afternoon we see great views of the Lemonthyme Forests from the Forth Valley lookout. Mainly through rainforest. Then to Frog Flats at the headwaters to the Forth River. The final section of the day's walk is on to the Pelion Plains where Pelion Hut is located.
  • Day 4. Kia Ora Hut (8km) 3hrs. The South-West wilderness area is seen from Pelion Gap, and from here we can climb Mt. Ossa (Tasmania's highest peak). Afternoon walk to Kia Ora Hut located below Cathedral Mountain.
  • Day 5. Windy Ridge Hut (9km) 3.5hrs. We visit the historic Du Cane Hut. Then we meander along the Mersey River and visit a series of waterfalls including the D'Alton, Fergusson and Hartnett Falls. We walk through amazing myrtle forests to Windy Ridge Hut.
  • Day 6. Narcissus Hut (10km) 3hrs. We walk through superb eucalyptus forest to arrive at Narcissus Hut.
  • Day 7. Cynthia Bay (16km) 5.5hrs - your destination! On this last day we can either walk along the lakeshore or take the ferry – a pleasant option.
  • How to get back from Cynthia Bay: At Cynthia Bay, transfer to Derwent Bridge and return by bus the 160 km to Launceston.
Our Take:
This is a great walk which will occasionally test your stamina. Take care with the leeches - carry a small salt dispenser to pour on them. The views are superb, and you’ll meet some interesting fellow walkers. The Overland Track is an iconic Australian walk. You get to journey through a pristine wilderness region, which has been suitably managed to support walkers. Make sure you take appropriate cold and wet weather gear. And if you have the time and energy, there are some mountains to summit as well.
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