87.2km down. The longest hike I’ve ever done. I did it!
It’s been a while since I finished now. Almost so long that I’ve forgotten those tough parts… I’m basically ready for another overnighter now!
I recall thinking along that final stretch around Lake St Clair how this week-long hike was both more difficult, and yet also easier in ways, than I had expected.
I was able to complete it, and without much complaint too (although Stefan – my hiking buddy – might feel differently). This alone made the Overland Track seem easier.
I’d been building it up as our start date was getting closer and closer. It was this big adventure. Something that seemed impossible to do. Walking over 80km in six days carrying everything you need, right down to the toilet paper? A part of me questioned whether I was a little crazy to think I could do it.
“It was this big adventure.”
But we did it. We survived, each with just a pair of sore legs and a wonder at just what a body can do when you least expect it. I’d like to think we’re not actually crazy for it.
So what is it we achieved? The Overland Track of course – an iconic week-long hike in Tasmania, Australia.
Here’s the lowdown in numbers from my Garmin:
Distance: 87.2km (including the side trips to Ferguson and D’Alton Falls)
Time: 5 days, 4 hours, 15 minutes
Lowest Elevation: 724m
Highest Elevation: 1,275m
Total ascent / descent: 4,115m
Over six days we trekked across the rocky paths, manoeuvred our way around the scrambling tree roots, avoided the mud that seemed impossible to evade.
We rock climbed (briefly), scrambled and hiked across those 87km.
Now I can say I did it. I achieved a dream. I saw some stunning parts of Australia. And I want to go back and do it again.
So what’s the hike?
The Overland Track is one of those “must-do” hikes in Tasmania.
Although I may have taken six days (and I can’t possibly imagine going faster), it can be done in just a long weekend! At least this is what I’m told…
Unless you’re wanting to show off (or maybe you’re just short on time), I’d highly recommend sticking with the week. While you may not be able to shower, and you’ll get sick of those easy hiking meals, the scenery in Tasmania is spectacular.
Besides, you have to pay up to $200 (for most of the year) to do the hike. The logical part of my brain tells me it’s best to get the most out of this and go for the week – or longer!
I settled on April as my month for tackling the Overland Track – I’d read it’s supposed to be beautiful, although cold, there in Autumn.
And so plans started being made while I did my best not to worry about the cold weather. I think the fear of walking through the snow was greater than the fear of walking 80km on many occasions…
We set out a little later than planned – a likely result of savouring the last “real” food at the cafe – and didn’t get started until after one!
This first day was, by far, the toughest individual day that we had out there. All up, including our various breaks, we took just over 5 hours to walk the nearly 11km to Waterfall Valley Hut.
The views on day one were some of my favourite over the entire week, especially the stunning scenery at Marion’s Lookout – the highest point of the hike! It definitely warranted the long “photo break”.
Now you’d have thought that after tackling the hardest day, we’d have enjoyed the short walk to Lake Windermere on day two (about eight km), however we decided instead to push ourselves (we knew bad weather was coming), and so went on to Pelion Hut – a huge 25km away!
Naturally, upon waking up on day three, I was exhausted!
It got off to quite the slow day because of it.
Luckily our last few days were all short! The track crossed a diverse range of scenery as we descended through rainforest, buttongrass plains and across wide, open plateaus.
As we neared the end, there was debate on whether to get the ferry across Lake St Clair, or walk the extra 17.5km around. As budget travellers, we opted for the full walk!
After all those days of walking, I’d expected that final descent would be super easy on the legs. I was fooled though. There was a surprising level of undulation to the track, so I was exhausted and desperate for a rest when we finally arrived!
So… Final opinions on the hike? It was tough work, but I’m already thinking about when I might just go back again for round two.
Important Information for those Planning the Hike
This is a popular hike, with limited spots.
From October to May each year, there’s a limit of 34 people who can commence the walk each day. If you’re planning on going during any peak period (summer, school holidays), you better book in advance!!
During this time, you must also walk from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre towards Lake St Clair. The better direction if you ask me. Who would want to finish on that climb at Cradle Mountain anyway?
The track itself is extremely easy to follow, and is relatively well maintained.
You’ll see rangers at various huts along the way, and you should report your trip intentions at each hut so the rangers can keep track of who’s still out and about, and where you might be on any day.
While I don’t feel the hike provides you with a true authentic experience of being “out bush,” I consider it ideal for a first introduction to those longer hiking adventures. It’s even slightly glamorous (if I can use the word) with great facilities at the huts, including some of the best drop dunnies I have EVER seen!
For information on the track and bookings, head to the Parks Tas website.
For transport options, head on over to Tassie Link.
After some more inspiration through photos? Check out my gallery.
Or if you’d just like to ask me anything more about my experience or how to get there (it’s tough to work out the transport), comment below and I’ll be happy to help!
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