If your holiday plans include bushwalking, the Overland Track in Tasmania is number on Australia’s must do list for bushwalkers seeking a long trek. The track is located inside the Cradle Mountain – St. Clair National Park and runs through multiple climates and terrains. The Overland Track and the national park are both run through the Tasman Wilderness World Heritage Area. The entire Overland Track is a 6 day hike spanning 65 km, although you can add on to it by taking additional trails. The terrain changes include mountains, valleys, plains, forest, and river, so you can expect y r experience to include diversity, to say the least. The climate is also likely to change with temps reaching above 35°C in the summers and below freezing in the winters. It can snow at any time, and rain is also very common. Ice makes the trail more difficult in the winter, so less experienced bushwalkers or hikers are advised to walk the track in the summertime, which is more temperate. Over 8,000 people complete the track annually.

Overland Track

Photo Credit: TasmanianExpeditions.com.au

Getting to the Cradle Mountain – St. Clair National Park

Overland - Budget Map

Budget has several car hire locations throughout Tasmania. The closest ones to hire a car to get to the Overland Track or Cradle Mountain Lake – Saint Clair National Park are in Davenport  or Launceston. Both cities have airports so if you have flown into Tasmania or taken the ferry over from the Australia mainland, you still can have a means of getting around on your own while on the island state of Tasmania. Check with your car rental agent about safety guidelines for driving in Tasmania’s rugged wilderness, most of the island is not developed so maps and guidelines can help keep you in the right direction.

Overland Track Day by Day

Overland_track_map

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Overland Track should be walked from north to south. In fact, in the winter, it is required that hikers go in that direction. The entire 6 day trek should be something that you prepare for ahead of time and make sure to pack what you need, but pack efficiently.  You must register ahead of time with Tasmania’s Park and Wildlife Service. There are huts along the way where you can spend the night. However, they are not reserved ahead of time and operate on a first come, first served basis, so you should have your own sleeping bag and tent ready just in case they are full. If you are not up for the whole 6 days, shorter day walks are available. If you are ready for a week long bushwalking adventure, Australia.com has laid out a day by day outline of the track that we will highlight for you here. Are you ready for a long and beautiful walking adventure? Here we go!

Overland Track - Hiker Tips

Photo Credit: Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania

 

Day 1 Ronny Creek Carpark to Waterfall Valley

Crater Falls

Photo Credit: Australia.com

Your first day is a 10km hike that begins at Ronny Creek and climbs past Crater Falls and Crater Lake to Marions Lookout. An alternate and less steep incline trail is Horse Track to Crater Peak. Here you can see the still and tranquil waters of Dove Lake. Cradle Mountain’s 1500 metre summit is where you will start to descend through the highlands until you reach mossy Waterfall Valley. Look out for wallabies and possums you might spot along the way and all of the vegetation in the grassy plains and herbaceous meadows. The Barn Bluff Hut is located there in Waterfall Valley along with many campsites.

Cradle Mountain

Trail passing by Kitchen Hut west of Cradle Mountain Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Day 2: Waterfall Valley to Lake Windermere

Waterfall Valley

Photo Credit: Australia.com

Day two can be a more leisurely day strolling through Waterfall Valley and enjoying the scenery, the birds, and the wonderful scents of the forest that features eucalyptus trees and the green Lemonthyme Forests. Lake Will is a scenic picnic lunch location and a great place for a refreshing swim. Windermere Hut is at the end of day two.

Waterfall Hut - Camp Site

Waterfall Hut Campsite Photo Credit: GoBackpacking.com

Day 3: Lake Windermere to Pelion Plains

Lake Windemere

Photo Credit: Australia.com

Day three covers the most ground, 17 km that crosses the moorlands and the mountains as you follow the Forth River’s waters down to the Lemonthyme Valley to Pelion Hut. Along the way, some of the day three sites include:

  • Forth River Lookout over the river’s glacial valley and eucalypt forest.
  • Moss-covered forests
  • Views of Mt. Pelion West
  • Frog Flat is a great lunch spot under Mt. Pelion’s dolerite peaks
  • Multiple terrains including rainforest, grasslands, and plains
  • Mount Oakleigh
  • Look for wombats grazing in the grass

 

Day 4: Pelion Plains to Kia Ora

Pelion Hut

Photo Credit: Australia.com

Day four is a 9 km stretch of the track from Pelion Gap to the Kia Ora Hut which is alongside the base of Cathedral Mountain. Along the way, day four’s sites include vast and varied forestland. Experienced climbers might want to take the 3 hour excursion to climb Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest peak.

Day 5: Kia Ora Hut to Windy Ridge

Kia Ora Hut

Photo Credit: Australia.com

Day four takes about four hours over 10 km and leaves you time for some scenic detours off of the main path as you travel from Kia Ora to Windy Ridger. This is another day with many sites to see:

  • Leatherwood Garden
  • Du Cane hut, the former home of bushman trapper Paddy Hartnett
  • Mersey River
  • Fergusson, D’Alton, and Hartnett Waterfalls
  • Du Cane Gap
  • Myrtle forests
  • Windy Ridge

Day 6: Windy Ridge to Lake St. Clair

Windy Ridge

Photo Credit: Australia.com

Day six is your final 18 km of the track. There are also side trips and excursions throughout this stretch if you want to extend your bushwalk any further. Pass through grassy Bowling Green and marvel at Mount Acropolis’ summit above. The walk continues south to Pine Valley which is very picturesque especially with the Du Cane Range covered in the mist above you. The next part of this trek crosses Cephissus Creek and into more rainforest terrain. If you choose to scale Mount Acropolis, the view from the top overlooks Labyrinth’s pristine lakes. The trek ends after passing through dry sclerophyll forest and grass plains at the Narcissus Hut on Lake St. Clair. Then it is time to relax with a celebratory boat cruise on Lake St. Clair.