The Overland Track is world renowned for its spectacular vistas, testing & exhilarating mountain ranges, unpredictable weather and its incredible flora and fauna. Once you are here there is no questioning why people travel from all over the world to experience this breathtaking trek. To assist you with preparing yourself for your journey we have prepared a detailed personal account to accompany your Overland Track Visitor Guide. Please be advised that times are based on our experiences only and are subject to fitness, health, weather and any other unforeseen circumstances.
Day 1 Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley
Depart 10:30 🕥 Arrive at Waterfall Valley 3:15
Diary of the Overland Track~ Day 1 Like most multi day hikes the first day is always the hardest as your body adjusts to carrying your pack weight and the idea of walking for days. However, with views like these and the perfect travel companion it makes it so much easier to embrace every moment and create long lasting memories.
The first day is the most difficult due to your body being shocked by the weight of your pack and it is the steepest day. The trek began along a boardwalk and with the sighting of a wombat grazing by the path.
The first few k’s is an undulating path composing of boardwalk and rocky/sandy terrain slowly ascending to the base of the Marion Lookout climb. Take your time and allow your body to get used to trekking with your pack as you begin your ascent here.
The climb to Marion Lookout is steep and towards the top there is a chain to assist you get up. Take your time summiting here and know that a well earned rest is just above the crest. The lookout provides uninterrupted glorious views of Cradle Mountain, unless it’s covered in clouds.
If there is thick cloud coverage at the top of Cradle Mountain we were advised not to summit. This is due to the track being quite dangerous in wet and foggy conditions and also based on the fact that there would be no views from the summit. The track to Cradle Mountain Summit is steep, rocky and will require some careful rock hopping and negotiations over boulders.
There is also another side trip option to Barn Bluff. This is another steep climb with some bouldering required at the top of the mountain. Views from here are awesome as you look out over the Overland Track and can have a birds eye view of Lake Will. If you do this climb you won’t need to walk the Lake Will the following day. You can also add this side trip onto day two which will require you to back track.
The track descends from Barn Bluff Junction to Waterfall Valley Hut. There are two huts here sleeping approximately 16 in the new hut and a cosy 6 in the old hut.
Ranger Tips: Keep your eyes peeled for Reg the Tassie Native Hen who loves a good chase and a nibble on your heel. Stand out, don’t run, point at him and let him know his behaviour is not acceptable.
Day 2 Lake Day Depart 9:25 Arrive 1 pm via Lake Will
This leg of the journey is quite easy. From the Waterfall Valley Junction the track descends before slowly ascending again on boardwalk path and steps. The path is mostly boardwalk throughout this section of the trip with some rocky tracks in parts. The side trip to Lake Will is lovely with beautiful views of Barn Bluff in the backdrop. The path is boardwalk the whole way and we’d recommend taking your lunch to enjoy on the lake shores.
Lake Will marks approximately 1/2 way in the trip. From here you travel along the exposed plateau before stepping into the forest. We found this amazing as it is a distinctive and instant change in environments from being exposed on the plateau to the protection of the forest. From here it is a descent most of the way to Windermere hut. Keep your eyes peeled for the many lakes with their small islands that surround this walk and take an opportunity to turn around and embrace the scenery that you’ve just conquered.
Windermere Hut is nice and cosy with separate sleeping arrangements to the shared space. There are ample camping platforms and if you continue along the path, you will discover more secluded spaces with spectacular views of the mountains and lake.
Once you’ve unpacked and settled in we’d recommend taking a dip in the lake and if you’re game swimming to the island. Legend has it rangers bury beer cans there and we can confirm that despite hearsay there is no book for you to sign in if you make it. The swim is freezing but refreshing and makes the outside temperature enjoyable. Here during the evening you’ll find wombats grazing.
Ranger Tips: If you’re camping make sure you leave your bags and all gear inside the hut. The rangers tells a story of a time when a young boys shoes went missing during the night. Our sleep was also interrupted by a large black possum and her baby on the hunt for packed lunches and muesli bars.
Day 3 To Pelion Hut
Depart at 9 am Arrive at 2:06 via Old Pelion Hut
Despite what some may say this is not a ‘flat walk’. The trek is an undulating path, the whole way, with a combination of boardwalk and various natural terrain. However, it is an easy and very picturesque journey.
The walk from Windermere Hut dips before climbing again to walk along the plateau. Keep your eyes peeled for slitherin in the Buttongrass moorlands throughout this leg.
Along the plateau you’ll come to the Forth Valley Lookout which marks the 4km mark into the journey. From here you begin the transition climbing into rainforest terrain where you’ll find yourself wandering over tree branches, through mud and over rocks.
After approximately 8 km you will slightly descend into the valley passing through creeks, with mossy covered, tranquil environments inclusive of the Frog Flats. This continues for several Km’s before ascending for the final time today.
The ascent back up to Pelion Hut is mostly along a boardwalk and again through stunning landscapes. We’d recommend seeing Old Pelion Hut before arriving at New Pelion Hut. It’s a quick side trip that takes you back in time. However, if you’re tired from the walk it’s not a crucial visit and may disappoint some if you’re back tracking.
Ranger Tips: From New Pelion Hut head right, when facing Mt Oakleigh, towards the Arm River Track for bathing and cooling off. There is a small swimming hole besides the bridge which is fabulous after a long day. Before you rush into any nude swimming and bathing be aware that there are hikers entering this way from the Arm River Track.
Day 4 Mountain Day – Kia Ora via Mt Ossa
Depart Pelion Hut at 8 am arrived at Pelion Gap at 9:30
Depart Pelion Gap for Mt Ossa Summit 9:45 arrived at summit 11:15
Depart Pelion Gap at 2:40pm Arrived at hut at 3:40 pm
This leg of the walk was substantially easier than expected. There is a lot of boardwalk to assist with the incline towards Pelion Gap and again to decline into Kia Ora. Mt Ossa is awesome and should be attempted by anyone who is up for the challenge. The walk up to and along Mt Doris is on both grated and planked boardwalk which makes it very achievable. We’d recommend everyone attempting to climb to Mt Doris even if they are not prepared to continue onto Mt Ossa.
The climb to Mt Ossa from Mt Doris is steep and rocky but there is a distinguished path until you reach the top (see image above). From the top of this first rocky outcrop (which gives you a false sense of summit) there is what appears to be a path to the left. Don’t follow this as it is a technical rock climbing section and not the correct path. Instead veer right of the track pole to a much less intense rock climbing section which then connects you directly to the path up to the plateau on top of Mt Ossa.
Take your lunch with you and enjoy the serenity as you nibble away in complete silence. The views are absolutely phenomenal and worth the climb. It is amazing to look back towards Cradle Mountain and acknowledge how far you have travelled. We spent hours up here just being completely present and taking it all in. There was snow at the top which we played in and we explored every section of this summit that we could.
If you are with Telstra you will have phone coverage from the top of Mt Ossa. It is recommended to call the Ferry company and confirm your booking from the summit. Today you will have a better idea of your time and itinerary and it’s good to call to secure your spot or to make changes dependent on your trip.
Expect at least an additional hour of walking from the base of Mt Doris to Kia Ora Hut. This section is through grasslands with some planked pathways. Kia Ora Hut is a beautiful area and is fantastic to enjoy on a sunny day. It’s close to the river which allows you to fall asleep to water sounds.
Kia Ora hut has some outdoor tables and cooking spaces to embrace this scenic part of the trek. If you continue over the bridge and follow the track to the left, this will lead you down to the base of the waterfalls and water hole. This is a great, seclusive spot to bath, relax and rest.
Ranger Tips: Avoid drinking from the creek at the base of Kia Ora due to human Pollution.
Day 5 Windy Ridge- Waterfall Day
Departed at 8:37 arrived at 1:30 via the 3 waterfalls.
Today’s path is quite undulating and mainly over natural terrain particularly tree roots. It’s a beautiful walk through the rainforests with very bright greens to appreciate. There are not any views to embrace today as you are immersed in the wilderness. However, be sure to stop by and check out Du Cane Hut. Here we saw quite a large Tiger Snake basking in the summer sun.
The waterfalls are great side trips and if you have the time and are prepared you can swim at the top of Hartnett Falls and at the base of Fergusson Falls.
At Hartnett Falls follow the path to the left from the top of the falls and this will take you down to see the falls from the bottom. From here you can capture the image as seen in The Overland Track visitor guide.
Bert Nichols Hut is enormous and impressive, with many rooms, ample wet area space and a huge dining room hall. The hut has great tent platforms which are both private and secluded and has some with awesome views of the mountains. Be sure to catch the epic sunsets over the mountain ranges from the the viewing platform but be mindful of your chatter as it is right next to tent platforms.
Ranger Tips: There are no creeks or falls to wash today so you’ll have to heat up some water and have a bucket wash or a good ol wet wipe wash. Also, ensure you keep the doors closed as the local fauna like to investigate the smells alluring from the wet area spaces.
Day 6 Lake St Clair- The Home Stretch
Departed Bert Nichols Hut at 8:30 arrived at Lake St Clair at 11.
It is advised to ensure you have booked your ferry prior to commencing the Overland Track. However, if you haven’t contacted them on the summit of Mt Ossa then you can contact the Ferry crew at Narcissus Hut. In January 2018 the Ferry departed Narcissus Hut- Lake St Clair at the following times; 9, 11:30, 1, 3 For more info click here
Today is bittersweet as it is your final day exploring the phenomenal and memorable Overland Track, unless you are continuing on to either Pine Valley Hut or Echo Point. The track is mainly natural terrain and the gradient, as outlined in the guide, can be deceiving if you are expecting a complete ‘downhill day’ as it undulates towards the Pine Valley Junction. Pine Valley Junction represents your 1/2 way mark for the day and from here the track mostly declines through Eucalyptus forest.
Take a moment to stop and embrace the wild scenery and keep your eyes out for the ‘Bowling Green’ in Narcissus Valley where you may spot some animals grazing. Enjoy crossing the suspension bridge over Narcissus River. From here you know you are getting closer to the hut. It took us about 30 minutes from the Bridge to the hut.
When you arrive at Narcissus hut be sure to phone the ferry to confirm your arrival before heading down to the river. If you are still and quiet you may catch a glimpse of a platypus at play. We were fortunate to be fare-welled by an Echidna as we left the Overland Track and finally got to remove our packs.
When you return to civilisation be sure to order The Overland Track Burger at Lake St Clair – when ordering inform the staff that you’ve just completed the Overland Track & show your pass to receive a burger and a beer for $25. Go on you have earned it!