The Overland Track: Getting Started

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  • #119
    jibs
    Keymaster

      There is a LOT of information on the Overland out there so I thought I’d kick this group off by trying to condense some of it into one place for people starting out their research.

      I completed this walk in Feb 2023 and really enjoyed it. We were lucky enough to have perfect weather for most of it, meaning we could complete several side tracks including Cradle Mountain, Mt Ossa, and Pine Valley.

      Ok, let’s get into it.

      Timing and Booking
      Booking Season: Runs from 1st October to 31st May. Bookings are essential, and the fee is A$285. Bookings fill up very quickly, especially for Dec – Feb, so plan ahead and be ready to go when bookings open (usually early July).
      Parks Pass: On top of the booking fee, you’ll also need a parks pass.
      Off-Season: From June to September, registration is required but free of charge. Attempting the Overland in winter is recommended for very experienced hikers only.

      Basic Info
      Length: The main track is 65-80 km, depending on whether you extend it to Lake St Clair.
      Duration: Typically takes 6-7 days, but side trips can extend this.
      Direction: Southbound during the booking season.

      Itinerary
      Here’s a typical 7-day plan:

      Day 1: Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley – 10.7 km
      Day 2: Waterfall Valley to Lake Windermere – 7.8 km
      Day 3: Lake Windermere to Pelion – 16.8 km
      Day 4: Pelion to Kia Ora – 8.6 km
      Day 5: Kia Ora to Windy Ridge – 9.6 km
      Day 6: Windy Ridge to Narcissus – 9 km
      Day 7: Narcissus to Cynthia Bay – 17.5 km
      Note that many people skip the Narcissus to Cynthia Bay leg and take the ferry (must be booked in advance).

      Side Trips: There are many options including Cradle Mountain, Barn Bluff, Lake Will, Hartnett Falls, Mt Ossa, Mt Oakleigh, Mt Pelion East, and Pine Valley (including The Acropolis and the Labyrinth). Whether you attempt any of these will depend on your personal interests, time available, ability, and the weather.

      Getting In and Out
      Getting There: Most people take a shuttle bus to Cradle Mountain town, then a bus to Ronny Creek (included with your track pass).
      Getting Back: Options include leaving a car at Cynthia Bay or arranging a shuttle pick-up in advance.
      Note: The closest cities to the track are Devonport and Launceston.

      Gear
      Essentials: High-quality footwear, rain gear, warm clothing, sun protection, backpack, sleeping gear, and tent. Note the huts have sleeping platforms but no matresses.
      Side Trips: For many of the side trips, hikers leave their main pack at the track junction and take a day pack with essentials.
      Cooking: If you plan to cook, you’ll need to bring a stove to use in the huts.
      Rubbish: You’ll need to carry all rubbish out with you, so consider repacking food to minimise waste.
      Safety: Always carry a comprehensive first-aid kit along with navigation tools you know how to use. A PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is also recommended for emergencies.

      Other Tips
      Water: Rainwater tanks are at each hut, but it’s advisable to treat the water before drinking.
      Weather: Tasmania’s weather can change rapidly, so always check the forecast and be prepared for sudden changes.
      Birds: Protect your packs from birds like currawongs, who are known unzip packs left on the track to access food. Consider using pack covers and/or zip ties to store food securely.

      Here’s the Parks Tasmania page: https://parks.tas.gov.au/explore-our-parks/cradle-mountain/overland-track/

      What did I miss? Feel free to chime in with your own tips, experiences, or questions. Let’s make this a valuable resource for everyone.

      • This topic was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by jibs.
      #124
      Jasmine
      Participant

        Great info!

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