Tasmania’s Overland Track is one of Australia’s most renowned hiking trails. It spans over 65 kilometres, from Cradle Mountain in Tasmania’s north to Lake St Claire in the South. The hike is an adventure that takes you through stunning landscapes, and the reward of finishing the journey is an odd feeling of accomplishment. We embarked on this hike during the hiking season, from October to May (when you need to book the track). The weather is cold to mild during this time, and it is necessary to be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions, such as snow and sleet. We packed our backpacks with essentials, including a first aid kit, warm sleeping bags (to minus 5 celsius), dehydrated food, and plenty of water and snacks to fuel the journey.
Day 1: Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley (4-6 hours 10.7 kms)
After checking in at the Visitors Centre and getting a track briefing from a stern Ranger, we set off on the track. The first few kilometres were tough, with a steep climb up the Central Plateau. As we walked, we saw spectacular views of Cradle Mountain, an enduring symbol of Tasmania’s wilderness. Hiking up Cradle Mountain was an optional side trip. Still, we decided to save our energy for the days ahead (plus, it started to rain). The trail kept its incline, and the real challenge of the hike began. The terrain became rocky and rugged, and we had to be mindful of every step. After several hours of hiking, we reached the Waterfall Valley hut, our resting place for the night. It was a fancy eco-new hut with all the necessary amenities, including a kitchen area, toilets, and bunk beds. We set up our tent, prepared a dehydrated meal, and sat outside to view the surrounding mountains.
Day 2: Waterfall Valley to Windermere (2.5-3.5 hours, 7.8 kms)
The second day was a shorter hike, but we had to cross the highest point on the Overland Track, the Du Cane Range. The walk was steep, and the terrain was rough, but the views from the top were worth it. We could see Lake Will, Barn Bluff, and Cradle Mountain in the distance. There was an optional side trip to visit Lake Will and Barn Bluff, but we decided to rest at the top and take in the beauty of the surroundings. As we descended from the range, the path became more comfortable, and we made our way to Windermere. The hike was through the forest, and we saw several creeks and waterfalls. We reached Windermere hut in the afternoon, and I took the opportunity to rest and explore the area. It was a peaceful and serene place, and we felt re-energised for the next day’s hike.
Day 3: Windermere to Pelion (5-7 hours, 16.8 Kms)
On the third day of the hike, we had to hike through diverse landscapes, including plains, rainforests, and alpine regions. It was a long hike, and we encountered several steep inclines. However, the views from the top were breathtaking, and it made every step worthwhile. We could take a side trip to the Old Pelion Hut, an important historical site, as we approached Pelion. It was a chance to learn about the history of the area and the early pioneers who lived there. We finally reached the ‘new’ Pelion Hut, one of the older huts but still better than nothing!
Day 4: Pelion to Kia Ora (3-4 hours, 8.6 kms)
The fourth day of the hike was shorter, covering a distance of 8.6 km. Though there was an option for a side trip to Mount Oakleigh, Mount Ossa, or Mount Pelion East, we decided to skip it and enjoy the scenery. The hike took us through some spectacular rainforests with towering trees and lush vegetation. We crossed several creeks and waterfalls, making for a scenic and peaceful journey. We arrived at Kia Ora hut in the afternoon, ready for a well-deserved rest.
Day 5: Kia Ora to Narciuss Ferry (8-9 hours, 18.9 kms)
On the fifth and final day of the hike, we covered a distance of 18.6 km as the ferry left early the next morning, and we didn’t want to miss it. We started at Kia Ora and hiked to the Bert Nichols Hut, where we had a disgusting cheese and noodle lunch (food was running low, and the Possums were starting to look good). We then continued our hike to Narcissus Ferry Jetty, which took us 5 hours on the hottest day of the journey. The scenery along the way was mostly bushland, but it widened to grassy plans right at the end (and the rocky, rooted path was hell. I never want to see a tree root again). We arrived at the ferry jetty in the afternoon, feeling tired but exhilarated after completing the challenging and rewarding Overland Track hike. We caught the ferry the next morning to go and get the chips.
As I reflect on my journey on the Overland Track, I’m reminded of the beauty and fragility of our fabulous blue planet. It’s up to us to preserve the natural world for future generations to enjoy. Hiking through this pristine wilderness, I felt a sense of peace and connection to nature that’s often missing in our fast-paced modern world. Let us all strive to live in harmony with the environment and seek out way-cool experiences that allow us to connect with the natural world before it is too late.