Our Latest News

Replacement of Cockle Creek bridge

09/07/2014

Visitors to Cockle Creek in Tasmania's Far South are advised that the Cockle Creek bridge will be closed from approximately 14 July to the end of August 2014, while the old bridge is removed and a replacement bridge is constructed.More

Firewood theft can be costly

08/07/2014

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) is warning that unlawfully cutting trees for firewood on reserved land can be a costly exercise and that remote cameras are being used to catch offenders.More

Caretakers wanted for island's historic site

08/07/2014

Fancy spending a few weeks at the fascinating Quarantine Station on Bruny Island? The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and Wildcare Inc Friends of Bruny Island Quarantine Station are seeking volunteer caretakers for the station for the 2014/15 summer.More

Overland Track

Planning

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.

Best time to walk

The most popular time to walk is during the booking 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 during winter and early spring (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.

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.

Weather conditions on the Overland Track can change rapidly. Be prepared!

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

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.

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.

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

Guided walking options

If you’d rather experience the Overland Track with a guide, the following private companies offer guided tours. All companies are licensed operators, approved by PWS, and are committed to the 7 principles of Leave No Trace.