Our Latest News

Fuel reduction burn at Risdon Vale

16/04/2014

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) will undertake a planned burn of 136 ha at Risdon Vale, Hobart, tomorrow, weather permitting.More

Macquarie Island free of pests

08/04/2014

The Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project has been declared a success.More

Historic mountain hut back in service

02/04/2014

Cradle Mountain's iconic mountain hut, Kitchen Hut, is set to provide a snug and safe emergency shelter for visitors to the Cradle Plateau for decades to come following a major restoration project.More

Overland Track

Planning Your Walk

The Overland Track is a significant undertaking. Travelling a distance of 65 kilometres through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, a large part of the track is above 1000 metres in elevation, on exposed plateaus, in a remote area. You need to be well-prepared.

Bookings are required for each walking season (1 October to 31 May). During the booking period walkers will be required to walk the track from north to south (Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair), and pay the Overland Track Fee. Bookings open July 1 each year for the coming season. If you plan to walk between 1 June and 30 September, you do not need to book or pay the Overland Track fee. You only need to pay the Park Entry fee and you can walk the track in either direction.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions section for more information about the Overland Track and the Booking System. 

Walking just a section of the Overland Track?
For walkers intending using only part of the Overland Track during the booking season (1 October – 31 May), please read our Overland Track Usage Guidelines [PDF 386 KB]. These guidelines ensure that the quality of the Overland Track experience is maintained for all users. 


Biosecurity

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, through which the Overland Track runs, is at risk from a number of devastating pests and diseases, including chytrid, platypus mucor and didymo. You can help by ensuring that all boots and camping gear, including tent pegs, poles, gaiters and trowels are completely clean, dry and free of all debris (soil, seeds, plant material, algae, leaf litter) prior to bushwalking.  Walking off track also poses an increased risk of spreading the above diseases - please stay on the track.  For further information please refer to our Biosecurity factsheet (4.3MB).

On arrival at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, ensure you use the boot washdown station before you depart.

When to walk

Overland Track weather is notoriously unpredictable – and changes rapidly. Most walkers experience a bit of everything during their journey, regardless of the time of year:  sunshine, rain, wind and snow. Whilst more stable and warmer weather patterns occur from November to April, snow and sleet can – and do – occur in the height of summer. Winter walking should only be attempted by very experienced bushwalkers (snow shoes recommended). Winter days are short (sunrise 8 am / sunset 5 pm) and heavy snow should be expected, which can linger through to mid-Spring.

The months of December-April have long daylight hours and warmer average temperatures. These months are recommended for walkers inexperienced in Tasmanian conditions. Long-range weather forecasts for the Overland Track can be obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Huts/camping on the track

There are huts and campsites located at regular intervals on the Overland Track.

NB:  If you intend to sleep in the huts, you must still carry a tent. Carrying a tent gives you independence and the flexibility to stop and camp when it is unwise to proceed (e.g. poor weather, injury or fatigue). Also, if the huts are full, you will need a tent. (Hut space cannot be booked.)

Everyone is welcome to use the huts to cook, store food, and rest. All walkers - with the exception of large group bookings (schools etc) who have specially reserved tent platforms - are welcome to use the hut bunks. In very inclement weather, for everyone's safety, you must welcome everyone into the hut - school groups included.

Hut facilities: Cooking:  Cooking benches, tables and bench seating are provided. Food, cooking utensils and cooking stoves are NOT provided.

Sleeping:  Each hut has long sleeping platforms. Mattresses and bedding are NOT provided.

Heating:  Either coal or gas heaters are provided. To save on heater fuel (which has to be delivered by helicopter), please don't light the hut heater if the hut thermometer reads 10°C or more. Before you decide if you really need the heater, put on extra clothing.

Composting toilets:  Each hut has composting toilets nearby. Toilet paper is not provided. Only your toilet waste, toilet paper and food scraps go in composting toilets. You must carry out all rubbish, including tampons, sanitary pads or condoms. You will need to carry a trowel to use if you need to bush-toilet between huts. For bush-toileting instructions, follow Leave No Trace - principle 3.

Water tanks: Rainwater tanks are provided at each of the main huts. If collecting water from watercourses along the track, only source water from deep lakes or fast flowing streams. Collect water upstream of any places where people are swimming. Few places on Earth have water as pristine as the Tasmanian wilderness, however some people prefer to treat their water to be sure (e.g. boil for 3 minutes, use iodine tablets, or water filters).To preserve water quality along the track, ensure you follow the bush-toileting guidelines (Refer Leave No Trace - principle 3).

Hut locations: The huts (with sleeping capacity and AGD GPS co-ordinates) travelling from north to south, are as follows. The table is available as an "OziExplorer Waypoint File" for use within Ozi or a GPS. See our maps page to download this and other data sets.

 Hut        

 Sleeping Capacity

 Easting (AGD)

 Northing (AGD)

 Photos

Waterfall Valley

20

412282

5381178 

see photos

Windermere    

16

413139

5374873

see photos

Pelion 

36

420749 

5368465

see photos

Kia Ora

20 

423691

5361602

see photos

Bert Nichols (Windy Ridge)

24

424359

5357179

see photos

Narcissus

18

425500

5348260

see photos

Converting from AGD66 to GDA 94: You can easily convert a map co-ordinate to GDA. These equations will give about a 3-5 metre accuracy. AGD66 to GDA94 - add 112 metres to the easting (X) and 183 metres to the northing (Y) GDA94 to AGD66 - subtract 112 metres from the easting (X) and s183 metres from the northing (Y) More accurate calculations can be obtained from using one of the many free programs available on the internet.

Other huts: There is also a small hut (sleeps 8) at Echo Point, one third of the way between Narcissus and Cynthia Bay, for walkers who wish to break their journey while walking the Lakeside Track.

There are two other walker huts off the main track, at Lake Rodway (the Scott-Kilvert Hut), and at Pine Valley. Both have composting toilets and a water tank. 

There are also three historic huts - Kitchen Hut (has a toilet), Old Pelion Hut and Du Cane Hut. These huts are not to be slept in, except in an emergency.

Camping: Everyone must carry a tent for safety. If injury, fatigue or poor weather forces you to stop before reaching a hut, you will need your tent - it could save your life. Also, some of the huts may be too crowded for your liking. The booking system is designed to avoid over-crowding, however sometimes there are 'bunch-ups' of people if some groups are not following the usual itinerary. A tent is also often warmer than the huts, as it is an enclosed cell of air.

Timber tent platforms are provided to protect the vegetation at most overnight sites. Hooks or cables can be found around the platform edges to which you attach your tent's peg loops. Bring short lengths of string/rope as a back-up.

If camping on a natural surface (where platforms are not provided), follow Leave No Trace - principle 2 – Walk and camp on durable surfaces.

Camping is not permitted inside the Cradle Mountain day walk area.

What you’ll need (gear checklist)

Be prepared for all seasons, regardless of the time of the year. Please see the Overland Track checklist for a comprehensive list of items to bring.

Tent: You must carry a tent. Having a tent gives you independence and the flexibility to stop and camp when it is unwise to proceed (e.g. poor weather, injury or fatigue). Hut bunks cannot be booked – if the huts are full, you will need a tent.

Fuel Stove: The Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair National Park is a Fuel Stove Only Area. Campfires are not permitted. You must carry a fuel stove for cooking (the hut heaters cannot be used for cooking). Check your fuel stove before starting the walk to ensure it is operational. Use the metal fuel plates provided on the tent platforms to cook upon, or the cooking benches or tables inside the hut. Do not place fuel stoves or hot pots on vegetation. Do not dispose of boiled water on vegetation. Ensure you have the right type of fuel for your stove. On the Bass Strait Ferry (Spirit of Tasmania) and on airlines you cannot bring flammable items such as fuel-stove fuel. Fuel stoves and fuel bottles must be empty, cleaned and aired for 6 hours prior to any flights - check with your airline for specific instructions.

Boots and gaiters: Many people are surprised at the variety of track surfaces on the Overland Track. Two thirds of the track is natural surface, which could include boulders, tree roots, forest litter, gravel and mud. The remaining third has a timber surface to protect sensitive alpine or moorland vegetation. 

Tips to care for your feet 
  • To cope with the variety of track surfaces, you will need sturdy boots, with ankle support and strong gripping soles. 
  • To reduce the chance of blisters, make sure your boots are professionally fitted, well worn in and wear quality bushwalking socks. 
  • To protect your lower legs from scratchy plants, boulder scrapes, mud and snakes, wear gaiters. 
  • To reduce the load on your hips, knees and ankles, use a trekking pole(s).

Leave No Trace principles

Leave No Trace is an internationally accepted way of minimising impacts on the places we visit. Please follow these seven principles to help keep the Overland Track beautiful for future generations.

1   Plan ahead and prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns of the area you will visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies.
  • Repackage food to minimise waste.
  • Take maps and compass or GPS and know how to use them, especially when taking side-trips.

 
2   Walk and camp on durable surfaces

  • Always walk on tracks, even when wet or muddy, to avoid unsightly track widening.
  • Durable camping surfaces include tent platforms and established campsites.
  • Protect plant life – avoid spread of Phytophthora and other soil-borne diseases by keeping boots and camping equipment clean.

 

Trackwork is a never-ending project on the Overland Track. You will come across occasional boggy sections. When you can, please wade through the centre of boggy sections of track. A trek pole is useful to check the depth of the bog, while gaiters help keep your lower legs dry.

In pristine areas:

  • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and tracks.
  • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

 
3   Dispose of waste properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Check campsites and rest areas for rubbish and spilled food. Pack out all rubbish and leftover food.
  • If there’s a toilet, use it. Otherwise bury all faecal waste and toilet paper in holes 15-20cm deep at least 100m from water, camps and tracks. Cover and disguise the hole when finished.
  • Carry out any sanitary pads, tampons and condoms.
  • Wash up using hot water, preferably without soap or detergent. Dispose of washing-up water in the drains at hut sites, or 50m away from water sources.
  • Wash your body at least 50m from water sources.

 

Please do not burn your rubbish in the hut heaters. Much of it is inflammable and/or will release toxic gases as it burns. Composting toilets can only receive your waste, toilet paper and food scraps. Anything else (including plastic) will restrict the composting process. Used sanitary pads, tampons, condoms and baby nappies must be carried out with you. Please don't leave unwanted food and clothing in the huts.

4   Leave what you find

  • Respect Aboriginal sites and other sites of cultural significance.
  • Preserve our past: examine but don’t touch cultural or historic structures and artefacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.

 
5   Use a fuel stove - minimise the impacts of fire

  • The entire track is a Fuel Stove Only Area. Fires are not permitted. Carry and use a fuel stove. (Hut heaters cannot be used for cooking.)

 

Check your fuel stove before starting the walk to ensure it is operational. Use the metal fuel plates provided on the tent platforms to cook upon, or the cooking benches or tables inside the hut. Do not place fuel stoves or hot pots on vegetation. Do not dispose of boiled water on vegetation. Ensure you have the right type of fuel for your stove. On the Bass Strait Ferry (Spirit of Tasmania) and on airlines you cannot bring flammable items such as fuel-stove fuel. Fuel stoves and fuel bottles must be empty, cleaned and aired for 6 hours prior to any flights - check with your airline for specific instructions.
6          Respect wildlife

  • Keep wildlife wild. Feeding animals can turn them into pests and may make them sick.
  • Store food and rubbish securely to discourage wildlife from finding it.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach wildlife.

 

The smell of food will have native animals raiding your pack, rattling your cookware and rifling through your rubbish. Nocturnal visitors include brush-tailed possums, eastern quolls and spotted-tail quolls, while during the day currawongs may attack unattended packs in search of food. At night, hang your food and rubbish in the huts or stow securely in your packs. The vestibule of your tent is not a secure place. Rigid plastic containers are useful for storing food. Do not feed animals. Ensure that no food scraps are left in huts or outside. Processed food is not part of their natural diet and, in some cases, can lead to the death of native animals, as well as result in unnaturally high populations occurring in the vicinity of huts.

7   Be considerate of other visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Let natural sounds prevail – avoid loud voices and noises.

 

Walk Safely

The Overland Track is a significant undertaking. A large part of the walk is above 1000 metres in elevation, on exposed plateaus, in a remote area. You need to be well-prepared. Follow these safety guidelines:

Plan to walk safely. Purchase and study the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair map and notes (1:100 000 TASMAP) before you depart. Arrive fit and walk within your capabilities.

Be prepared. Weather conditions in Tasmania can change quickly and frequently, especially in mountain areas. Snow, rain, wind and sun are all possible at any time of the year, and bushfires can occur between October and March. Ensure you have suitable clothing, equipment, food and water to cope with all conditions. Carry a tent in case the huts are full or injury or weather prevents you from reaching a hut before nightfall. Ensure you have a first aid kit. Before you begin your walk, you can check the Overland Track forecast on the Tasmanian Bureau of meteorology website.

Avoid walking alone. It is better to arrange a party of three or more. Consider taking a PLB (personal locator beacon) for extra security. Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) can be hired (subject to availability) from the Parks and Wildlife Service at Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair and from Service Tasmania in Hobart. 

Let a reliable person know your plans, before you go. Be sure to advise them of your safe return. Make sure that they know what to do if you fail to return as planned (e.g. advise Police).

Record your trip intentions in the log books at the start and end of the track, and at each hut. If you are reported overdue or missing, Parks staff check your movements in the log books. Remember to sign out at the end of your walk. Log book records also provide useful information to guide management of the track. If there is a bushfire and you need to be relocated, the log book may often be the only indicator to staff that you are on the track.

Be prepared to turn back, or change your plans, if the weather deteriorates or the walk is more difficult than expected. Pushing on beyond your limits may result in injury or even death. Be sure that you can recognise signs of hypothermia or heat stress and know how to respond. Check the weather forecast before you depart. Depending on the conditions, you may need to change or adapt your itinerary. 

Essential references (map and guidebook)

Two products are essential for your walk:

  • Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park map and notes – 1:100,000, TASMAP
  • Visitor Guide: ‘The Overland Track: One walk, many journeys’ published by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. This booklet contains daily walk notes, 3D maps, and detailed interpretive notes on the geology, flora, fauna and history of the track.

These products can be ordered when you book your walk, as part of the Overland Track Information Pack, which also contains a complimentary Overland Track factsheet and Leave No Trace guidelines. (Cost: $31.50 plus postage and handling) The information pack is mailed to the address provided by the Contact Person, the first group member. Allow two weeks for postage.           

Overland Track Information Pack














Alternately, the map and visitor guide can also be purchased from various national park visitor centres, Service Tasmania, selected bushwalking shops, or the Tasmanian Map Centre.

Additional resources (further reading, vertical profiles, GPS datasets etc)

Day Walk maps are also available for Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair, and can be purchased through the Parks and Wildlife Service Online Shop or from the visitor centres.

Tasmania’s Essential Bushwalking Guide and Trip Planner is a free trip planning guide available from Parks and Wildlife Service centres. It includes checklists of equipment that should be worn or carried by all groups walking in the Tasmanian wilderness. You can also read it online – Tasmania's Essential Bushwalking Guide and Trip Planner

Natural Wonders of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area is an illustrated guide to the fascinating and unique wilderness ecosystem of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Available through the Parks online shop.

On-line maps: To help early trip planning, the following online maps are provided. These on-line maps are not to be used as a substitute for carrying the 1:100,000 map.

1.    Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley
2.    Waterfall Valley to Windermere
3.    Windermere to Pelion
4.    Pelion to Kia Ora
5.    Kia Ora to Windy Ridge (Bert Nichols hut)
6.    Windy Ridge to Narcissus

Vertical Profile:
The vertical profile below shows the altitudinal gradient across the length of the Overland Track:

Profile

Spatial datasets: The following files are available for download for use within Ozi, a GPS and/or Google Earth. To download data to a GPS you need OziExplorer on your computer with the associated GPS cables or another software program that can read Ozi files. 

Huts Google Earth KML
Entire Overland Track Google Earth KML

Access to/from the track

Organising transport to and from the Overland Track can be challenging as services are limited. The Parks and Wildlife Service recommend that all Overland Track walkers explore their transport arrangements before booking their walk.

During the booking season (1 October – 31 May), the Overland Track is walked from north to south, starting at Cradle Mountain and finishing at Lake St Clair. Outside the booking season, the track can be walked in either direction.

By Bus

Bus transport to both Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair visitor centres is available all year round from Hobart, Launceston and Devonport, with more frequent services in the December-April time period. Check with the operators listed below for scheduled bus services and charter arrangements.

By Car

Private cars can be parked at both Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair. Unless you have arranged for a car shuffle, you will need to use bus transport. Many walkers find it most convenient to leave their car at Lake St Clair and catch a bus to Cradle. See above for details.

Cradle Shuttle Bus

Within the park, the Cradle Mountain shuttle bus can pickup and drop off from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, Ranger Station and Interpretation Centre, Snake Hill, Ronny Creek and Dove Lake. From mid September to mid May the shuttle service operates every 20 minutes, seven days a week. See our Cradle Mountain Access pages for further details and a timetable.

Lake St Clair Ferry

A private ferry service operates from Narcissus Bay to Cynthia Bay along the length of Lake St Clair. Bookings are essential (phone (03) 6289 1137). At Narcissus Hut you need to confirm your ferry booking on the radio provided.

Pre/post walk accommodation

Cradle Mountain

Cabin accommodation is available at Waldheim inside the national park. These rustic bush huts are very popular and advance bookings are advised. Bookings can be made at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre. Phone (03) 6492 1110.

The Cradle Mountain campground is located two kilometres outside the park boundary. This site is operated by a private leaseholder and camping, bunkhouse and cabin accommodation are available. Phone (03) 6492 1395.

To protect the fragile plant communities and water quality from the large number of visitors to Cradle Mountain, camping is not permitted inside the day visitor area. Walkers cannot camp until they reach either Waterfall Valley Hut or Scott-Kilvert Hut.

Hotel and additional cabin accommodation are also available outside the national park boundary. See www.discovertasmania.com.au for further details.

Lake St Clair

Cabin, backpacker, powered site and camping accommodation with shower and toilet facilities are operated by a private leaseholder. For bookings and enquiries contact Lakeside St Clair (03) 6289 1137.

Hotel, backpacker and cabin accommodation is also available at Derwent Bridge at the entrance to the national park. See www.discovertasmania.com.au for further details.

At Lake St Clair there is a free bushwalkers campsite (with no road access) on the lakeshore at Fergies Paddock, 15 minutes walk from the Cynthia Bay facilities. The campsite is still within the Fuel Stove Only Area and has a single pit toilet.

Guided walking options

Several companies offer guided tours of the Overland Track. Licensed tour operators play a key role in promoting access to Tasmania's parks and reserves. All licensed operators are committed to the Leave No Trace guidelines.

Licensed tour companies for the Overland Track include:

Cradle Mountain Huts

Cradle Mountain Huts offer a 6-day guided walk along the Overland Track with private huts. Facilities include hot showers, twin-share bedrooms and delicious meals prepared by experienced guides. Guests carry their own clothing and personal items – everything else is provided. A maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides depart daily from Launceston between October and May.

Wilderness Expeditions

Wilderness Expeditions Pty Ltd provide guided, fully-catered 6 or 8-day tours (including food, clothing and equipment) throughout Tasmania with a focus on the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair National Park. Guests are accommodated in tents on the group tent platforms and share the same facilities as independent walkers. Tours operate year-round and include ‘snowshoe trekking’ through the winter months.

Tasmanian Wilderness Experiences

Tasmanian Wilderness Experiences offer a choice of practical solutions to make your bushwalk smoother: transport from Hobart to all National Parks; a range of comfortable accommodation pre- and post-tour; quality equipment for hire; and gourmet food for the track. Pick the service you require or take a fully guided tour that includes all these features. It's up to you!

Tasmanian Expeditions

Tasmanian Expeditions are one of the most experienced operators on the Overland Track. They provide a guided, fully-catered 6-day Overland Track walk or a 10-day Overland Track Explorer (which includes Pine Valley). Food, and some clothing and equipment is provided. Guests are accommodated in tents on the group tent platforms and share the same facilities as independent walkers. Tours depart weekly with additional departure dates over the Christmas and New Year period.

Tarkine Trails

Tarkine Trails offers 6-day guided walks along the Overland Track. Our highly professional guides are expert hosts and will lead you on a memorable journey of discovery and inspiration. We take pride in offering the highest quality organic meals showcasing a variety of Tasmanian produce including salmon, wine and cheeses. Tarkine Trails is committed to ensuring the preservation of Tasmania’s amazing wild places.

Adventure Seekers

Adventure Seekers offer a 6-day guided tour of the Overland Track. We are small group specialists. Your packs are light and the food is hearty. This tour departs from Launceston between November and April.

Overland Track Photography Tours

Overland Track Photography Tours allow you to experience all of the wonders of the Tasmanian wilderness along with expert guidance and professional tuition from our photographers and guides. Our 6 day/5 night tours are a perfect way to experience all that Tasmania has to offer. We guarantee that you will complete our tours with a greater understanding and appreciation of your photography and the wonderful, unique Tasmanian wilderness.

Further Information

Contact www.discovertasmania.com for details on other operators who are also licensed to operate on the Overland Track.