hiking trail in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
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The Overland Track is a long-distance hiking trail in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. It is one of Tasmania's most scenic hiking trails, within Tasmania's most iconic national park. The trail is 65 km (40 mi), and takes about five to six days to complete.

For environmental reasons, you will have to hike north to south from Cradle Mountain and terminate at Lake St. Clair.

Understand edit

Prepare edit

Map of the Overland Track

The path extends for 65 km: most hikers travel approximately 12 km per day and stay overnight in or near the main shelters. The public huts can accommodate 16 to 36 people and there are numerous tent pitches on platforms in the areas. There are also private shelters for guided tours.

The track is mostly well defined and adequately signposted: conditions, however, vary considerably. While on the one hand there are long sections where it is possible to walk on wooden duckboards made up of split logs embedded in the ground and held together with wires and nails, the trail is covered in terrain that tends to get muddy when it rains for a few kilometres. In winter, the surface is frozen in the early morning, which prompts visitors to pay extra attention to avoid slipping. Such a risk is not very common in the southwest, mainly due to the presence of footbridges.

Inexperienced hikers are advised to take the walk in the summer when the days are longer and the weather is milder. During this period the number of visitors is controlled thanks to the Overland pass, a card that prevents the presence of more than a certain number of tourists at a time. Extraordinary accesses are allowed only to those responsible for the maintenance of the route and visitors must walk from north to south. The walk is not binding provided that those who walk are adequately prepared and have the appropriate equipment with them.

Fees and permits edit

You will need a general parks pass to enter Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. On top of that, fees apply to do the Overland Track, which as of 2021, costs $200 per adult, and $160 per child 17 and under as well as concession card holders. Bookings can be made here on the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service website.

Get in edit

Same way as you'd get into Cradle Mountain.

Walk edit

The main path begins at 1 Ronny Creek (near Lake Dove) and crosses the plateau of Mount Cradle to then reach the Valley of the Falls. It then proceeds downhill towards the moors to Lake Windermere and through the Rino Rainforests to the passage over the River Forth at Frog Flats, before returning to climb towards the Pelion plain. The trail reaches the pass between Mount Ossa and East Pelion, thus descending towards the Kia Ora refuge. The next section crosses the Du Cane Range, formed by glacial cirques and surrounded by numerous waterfalls: then descend in order to cross the Narcissus River and reach the north side of Lake St Clair. From here, hikers take the ferry across the lake or hike the 17 km to Cynthia bay.

There's a seven-day note planner by the Tasmanian government which can be found on the PWS website, but you should still consult the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre for up-to-date information.

Stay safe edit

The climate of the Tasmanian Wilderness can turn out to be unpredictable and change suddenly making the conditions of the track less safe. However, most of the injuries and deaths that have occurred since 1990 can be attributed to slips that have occurred along the escarpments. People have died on the trail before due to inclement weather, inappropriate clothing or attempting it while inexperienced.

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