6 days. 4 boys that call themselves the “Trail Smashing Mega Blokes” and a girl. Approximately 90km. Four waterfalls. One mountain summit. Voted one of the top ten walks in the world. Welcome to the Overland Track, deep in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness!
It had been on the bucket list for years and this time I decided that while spending some time at home I was going to do it! So I put out the call for others to come along on Facebook and found some friends from high school I hadn’t seen in years who were keen. That is it! We’re going! It’s on!
And so I set off in the 4WD through the amazing Central Highlands from Launceston to Lake St. Clair to meet up with the others coming up from Hobart. After meeting we drove the winding roads up through to the small mining town of Queenstown for lunch before continuing on to Cradle Mountain National Park.
Post checking into our accommodation and organizing all of our packs and who was carrying what, came the last supper. Dinner consisted of a giant BBQ plate of meat, a luxury food not afforded to us for the next 6 days followed by the most ridiculous game of ‘spoons’ you have ever seen (spoons literally flying around the kitchen) and the last nights’ sleep in a real bed.
I started the morning off with a Redbull poured into a glass and handed to me while I was still in bed. It was freezing and motivation at that point to get out of bed was low. Add the caffeine kickstart and we are up and at ’em!
We started at the Ronny Creek Car Park at 7:30am. Spirits were high, there was excitement in the air. We hiked through the grasslands up into the rain forest and then up around to the stunning views over Crater Lake. The packs were heavy and foreign on the backs but not too bad at that stage. We persisted climbing up the side of a steep hill, hauling ourselves up with the chains supports to Marion’s Lookout with the incredible view of Dove Lake and the amazing Cradle Mountain, renowned for it’s cradle-like shape in the middle.
The steepest ascent and toughest part of the day was done. From here was a flat stroll through low level grasslands with some of the most breathtaking valley views I have ever seen in my life. To the left you hiked along the side of Cradle Mountain and to the right, there were the valleys and the amazing Barn Bluff, a mountain of jagged and sheer rock sticking up out of a curved hill like a pile of sticks.
We followed the trail down until we reached the Waterfall Valley Hut. This is technically the end of the first leg of the Overland Track and we were here by noon and decided we would stay on for lunch. We were joined by a crew of three from France who had just summitted the Barn Bluff and we sat and ate together. At one point, we saw a random guy who was wearing nothing but a singlet, a tiny pair of shorts and a headband running around outside being all Rambo. For the rest of the trip, he became known as the ghost of the Overland Track from the 80’s. Nobody saw him again after that. Nobody knew where he went.
Given how early it was, we continued to proceed on the next leg of the Overland Track to Windermere Hut. It was a struggle and a hard push towards the end. The feet were starting to hurt. The pack was wearing through on the back. But 8km later we made it. It was around an 18km day of hiking, and putting the pack down had never felt better. With some herb and cheese gnocchi for dinner smashed down, it was early to bed with the thirteen of us in the hut and a pretty restless sleep.
The longest single leg of the Overland Track from the Windermere Hut to the Pelion Hut was today. The weather unlike the day before was average with little to no visibility. So it was a long, hard and incredibly muddy slog, through the Pine Forest Moor, through the Frog Flats and down to the Pelion Hut. At one point I started freaking out that I was not going to make it there before it got dark considering that my feet had gotten so sore that they were slowing me down quite a lot. We eventually arrived though and I had never been happier.
The views from the balcony overlooking the mountains from Pelion Hut were incredibly calming and beautiful. I chose to sit out here and pop the many blisters I had acquired that day in an attempt to dry them out for the next day. There were around thirty people staying at the hut including quite a few families which surprised me given that it is quite perilous hiking the Overland Track in winter. The boys and I sat, ate an amazing dehydrated Laksa for dinner and I taught them how to play Yaniv, a game we became well acquainted with during the trip. Sleep was easier on the second night, but still fairly restless.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the Overland Track……