The Overland Track: A Guide to Tasmania’s Most Scenic Trail

The Overland Track is a 65km trail that winds its way through the heart of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. This iconic hike takes you through some of the most spectacular wilderness in Australia and offers breathtaking views of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, and lush rainforests. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, the Overland Track is an unforgettable experience. In this guide, we’ll explore what makes this trail special and what you need to know to plan your journey.

Views on the overland track

Getting to the Overland Track

The Overland Track begins at Cradle Mountain and ends at Lake St Clair, and it typically takes 5-6 days to complete. The best way to get to the trailhead is by car, and there are several options for parking in the area. You can also reach the trailhead by shuttle bus, which operates from Hobart, Launceston, and Devonport.

The hike can be started from either Cradle Mountain or Lake St. Clair, but most start from Cradle mountain, travelling north to south.

What to Expect on the Trail

The Overland Track is a well-defined trail that is well-signed and easy to follow. Despite its popularity, the trail is still relatively remote, and you can expect to be in the wilderness for much of the hike. Along the way, you’ll cross several rivers and streams, climb over rocky ridges, and traverse lush rainforests. You’ll also have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including wallabies, echidnas, and Tasmanian devils.

Mount Pelion West

What to Pack

When packing for the Overland Track, it’s important to bring the right gear for the conditions. The trail is often wet and muddy, so you’ll need waterproof clothing and footwear. A warm, lightweight sleeping bag is also essential, as the nights can be chilly. You should also bring a high-quality tent and a stove for cooking, as well as plenty of food and water. Finally, you’ll need a good-quality map and compass, as well as a headlamp or torch for navigating in the dark. Read our guide on packing for overnight hikes here

Camping on the Trail

Camping is the only option for overnight stays on the Overland Track, and there are several designated campsites along the way. These campsites are equipped with pit toilets and running water, and they’re typically located near a source of fresh water. It’s important to note that fires are not permitted on the trail, so you’ll need to bring a stove for cooking.

When to Go

The Overland Track is open year-round, but the best time to hike the trail is from late December to early April. During this time, the weather is mild and the days are long, which makes for ideal hiking conditions. However, you should be prepared for the possibility of rain and snow at any time of year.

If you’re planning a trip to the Overland Track between October 1st and May 31st, you’ll need to secure an Overland Track permit in advance. As of 2022, the cost of a permit is $200 for adults and $160 for children and seniors. This fee covers important track maintenance and management, including the upkeep of huts, toilets, and park rangers. Other expenses to consider are the park access fee and ferry over Lake St. Clair.

To secure your Overland Track permit, you must book in advance on the Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service website. Reservations become available on July 1st each year and are in high demand, so make sure to book early to ensure your spot on the trail.

Note that only 34 independent walkers are allowed to start the Overland Track each day, and the maximum group size is 8. This helps preserve the trail’s natural beauty and ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

Mountain range views from the trail

The Overland Track is one of the best bushwalks in Australia and offers a truly unforgettable experience. With its rugged wilderness, stunning vistas, and diverse wildlife, this trail is a must-visit for anyone who loves the outdoors. So why not lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and head out on the Overland Track today!

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