The Overland Track is perhaps the most famous multi-day hike in Australia. It’s walked by more than 8000 people every year and runs approximately 80km through the Cradle Mountain Lake Saint Clair National Park in mid-west Tasmania.
The Overland Track is set up as a 5-7 day hike, but has plentiful options and can be walked quicker or slower as you please. 34 people are allowed to start the hike every day from the Cradle Mountain Information Centre to balance out the numbers each night at the hut and camping areas.
Each day on the track is different, and each ends in a hut with surrounding camping sites. The huts can sleep 24 although New Pelion Hut can sleep up to 60. Untreated water and toilets at each hut (bring your own toilet paper).
The Overland Track itself is a fairly easy hike and is a perfect introductory multi-day hike for those interested in getting into the sport. Day one is considered the hardest, but for seasoned hikers it’s not that challenging.
What adds challenges each day are the side tracks, which you can choose to do or skip. Many of the side trips will have you climbing one of the many iconic mountains in the park. Most days on the trail have you walking approximately 10km not including side trips, so you’re not actually walking a lot.
But while the hiking and the views are awesome, there’s more to the Overland Track experience. Because the track is booked out most days in summer, and you move from camp to camp, if you’re the sociable type most afternoons/evenings will be spent with the same groups of people. Groups can change when they skips a hut, but it evens itself out when a group that started after you skips your previous hut and spends the next days hiking to the same places as you. As I said, this was part of the experience and it truly added to mine. So, I’d like to thank the Brits, Greg and Kim and the Asian group from Sydney, the Victorian students, Annie from NT, the North Queenslanders, the Swiss couple, the Americans and everyone else who made this hike an experience for me.
The next few posts then will describe my day to day journey across the Overland Track…