Overland Track
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Overland Track
Australia

The Overland Track is an alpine trail that takes you through some of Australia’s most scenic wilderness.

This Tasmanian Wilderness Heritage Area is a protected national park, and is somewhere where you can truly escape into nature.

Beginning at Cradle Mountain, this path runs for 65 kilometres to Lake St. Clair, the deepest lake in the country.

This is not a hike for beginners. It is for those who like to test physical and mental strength on some challenging terrain.

You won’t find shops or places to eat along the trail. You have to get from the start to the finish on your own steam, and for some that’s what makes the Overland Track more appealing.

If you like adventure and relish a challenge, the Overland Track is a great place to step up your trekking skills.

Highlights
  • Experience the true Australian wilderness
  • Stunning scenery and geology
  • Glacial Valleys
  • Alpine meadows
  • Eucalyptus forests
Walk Map
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About the route
  • Travel

The northern part of the Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park is where Cradle Mountain rises, and also the start of the trail.

To get to Cradle Mountain from Devonport takes 1 hour 30 minutes if driving, whereas if you are coming from Launceston, it is around 2 hours 30 minutes.

To protect the park, private vehicle access is strictly limited. There is a shuttle bus that operates free of charge, provided you present your national park pass.

To get to the Overland Track, transportation needs to be booked in advance. It can add a day either side of your trip, so make sure you factor that in when planning your trek.

Buses run from Hobart, Devonport and Launceston that will take you to and from the Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair Visitor Centre.

There are airports at Hobart and Launceston of you are looking to fly to Tasmania.

You can also reach Devonport by sea, if you catch a ferry from Sydney or Melbourne. This is a journey of around 10 hours, and sleeper cabins are available.

  • Length

The Overland Track is a 65 kilometre trail that runs from Cradle Mountain to Narcissus Hut at Lake St Clair. However there is the option to extend the hike further.

There are also some side trips that are worth exploring as an addition, such as climbing Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest mountain.

There are many side trips you can do, and each will add to the length of your hike.

Due to the remoteness of the area, this hike cannot be split into stages. However, you can have a rest day at one of the camping sites or huts along the route.

  • Grade and difficulty of the walk

This trail is graded 4/5, meaning it is moderate to tough.

Some of the path is clear and easy to walk, such as the boardwalk areas. Other terrain includes mud paths and rocks. There are some steep climbs in places.

Side trips along the trail can include some dangerous terrain, so be prepared to turn back if weather is not favourable.

  • Experience

You need to be a fairly experienced, fit hiker to enjoy the Overland Track.

The terrain includes steep climbs, and you will need to carry equipment, including all your food and a tent. Carry enough water with your at the start of the trail to get you through the day.

There are places you can replenish supplies, using a water filter is recommended.

The weather can be changeable, even in summer, so it is important to be well equipped for rain, wind and cold temperatures.

Navigational skills are helpful, as the path may not be obviously marked at times.

The Overland Track is not recommended for children under the age of eight. Even older children should not use the trail unless they are used to overnight hikes and have a good level of fitness.

  • Permits

You are required to purchase a National Parks Pass in order to enter any of Tasmania’s parks. The fees for this varies depending on how long you want the pass to be valid.

To walk the Overland Track, you first need a valid National Park Pass. Then you need to book your hike on the trail. Do this online at least 24 hours before you want to begin.

Once you have your booking information, you can the purchase your Overland Track Pass from the Visitors’ Centre. Fees for the pass are $200 for adults, $160 or under 17s and concessions.

  • Guided or Self-Guided

Most hikers choose to do this trail as a self-guided walk.

There are some guided walks available. These are through Tasmanian walking and touring companies. You may also benefit from private use of huts if you book a guided hike.

best time to walk

The best time to walk the Overland Track depends on your preferences.

Much of the track is on high ground, above 1000 metres. This means that hikers are exposed to some extreme weather conditions, even during the summer months.

The springtime is often the windiest time on the trail, yet you get to see some spring flowers. You are also free to walk the trail from any direction.

For the best weather, choose to hike during the summer. The days are long, temperatures warmer and much of the flora is out in bloom.

During peak season, you are only permitted to walk from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair.

While summer offers the best of the weather, it is also the most popular time for hikers. This means that huts and campsites are always occupied.

Autumn is also a great time to hike the Overland Track. While the weather is a little cooler and wetter, you get to see some stunning autumn scenery in the forests.

During winter, only experienced hikers should attempt the trek. With snow on the ground, it makes a tough, yet magical trail. One benefit is that you are likely to have the huts to yourself, and can enjoy the warmth of coal or gas heaters.

A typical itinerary would be:

Day 1:
Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley. 11 Kilometres. Optional side trips to Cradle Mountain summit and Barn Bluff.

Day 2:
Waterfall Valley to Lake Windemere. 8 kilomteres. Optional side trip to Lake Will.

Day 3:
Lake Windemere to Pelion. 17 kilometres. Side trips include Old Pelion Hut and Mount Oakleigh.

Day 4:
Pelion to Kia Ora. 9 kilometres. Optional side trips to Mount Ossa and Mount Pelion East.

Day 5:
Kia Ora to Windy Ridge. 10 kilometres. Side trips to D’Alton and Fergusson Falls, and Hartnett Falls add extra to your hike.

Day 6:
Windy Ridge to Narcissus. 9 kilometres. A side trip to Pine Hut Valley is available.

Accommodation

There are a few huts dotted along the length of the trail, however it is not guaranteed that there is enough room to accommodate all walkers.

Bringing a tent is essential, as you are likely to be camping.

What to do

The Overland Track is an exciting path with plenty to see along the way.

There are also many side trips you can do to lengthen your experience and soak up of this unique landscape.

From waterfalls and lakes to rocky buffs and historic huts, there is plenty to plan into your excursions.

Climbing some of the mountains in the area, such as Mount Ossa, will add to your sense of achievement, and create great memories of your trek.

This trek combines the best of both being an organised route, yet you do have to fend for yourself. Finding and boiling drinking water will be a daily job.

Rainwater tanks are used throughout, yet the water still needs to be boiled before drinking.

The huts are great places to meet other hikers, and many have communal sleeping and dining areas.

The Overland Track is a great introduction to more extreme hiking. While you are not completely on your own, there is enough wilderness for it to present a challenge to seasoned hikers.

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At a glance
Difficulty 4/5
Starts at Cradle Mountain TAS 7306, Australia
Finishes at Lake St Clair TAS 7140, Australia
Length of route 65 Km
Average time to complete 6 - 8 Days
Possible to complete sub-sectionsNo
Highest point 1250 metres
Permit requiredNo
Equipment neededCamping equipment, food supplies, Poles if preferred, Trekking gear, walking boots, Water Supplies
Countries visited Australia

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