Walking the Overland Track is a highly rewarding, life-changing experience. Almost half of the track is above 1000 metres in elevation on exposed plateaus in a remote area. You need to be well-prepared.
Is this the right walk for you?
92% of walkers, from all over the world, state that walking the Overland Track was one of the best things they’ve done. If you would like to be among them, you will need to prepare yourself:
- Are you fit enough to walk an average of 12km a day, carrying around18kg on your back, for 6-7 days?
- Do you have (or are you able to purchase/hire) the appropriate equipment and clothing to cope with extremes of weather?
- Can your body cope with a variety of track surfaces, including boardwalk and natural surfaces (e.g. rocks, gravel, tree roots and mud), and the occasional steep ascents and descents?
- Can you live simply for a week, in basic huts, or in your tent?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to all of the above, or you are willing to prepare yourself to accept the challenge, then read on!
If you are uncertain about being an independent walker, you may wish to pay extra and go on one of our approved guided walks. This option is often taken by people who are time poor, who may have trouble carrying a heavy pack, who prefer a few more luxuries, or who simply prefer walking with a knowledgeable guide. Guided Walks.
Is the track suitable for children?
Around 600 children (aged 5-17) walk the track each year. Most children love the Overland Track experience, but it’s very important they are physically and mentally able to cope, and are well-equipped, or it might ruin their love of bushwalking for life! As a general guide, we don’t recommend the track for children under 8. Daily walk distance is between 8 and 17 km and unpredictable weather (including blizzards) can occur at any time, even in the middle of summer. Children are more susceptible than adults to fatigue, hypothermia and heat exhaustion. If parents/carers do intend to walk with young children, we recommend the children first gain experience on other less demanding multi-day walks and their parents/carers have experience walking in Tasmanian alpine areas.
As well as families walking with their children, many Tasmanian and interstate high school and college groups walk the Overland Track for Outdoor Education.
Please note: Children aged 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
To read a wonderful account of walking the Overland Track with a child, go to: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/activity/great-outdoors/hiking-tasmania-with-children-small-stature-great-heights-20140724-3cglv.html
Who walks the track?
Around 8000 people from all over the world, from all walks of life, and of all ages, walk the Overland Track each year. About 75% of all walkers are aged under 45 years.
During the booking season, on average, around 30% of all walkers are from overseas (from up to 50 different countries), 60% are from interstate, and 10% are Tasmanians.
When is the 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.
We strongly recommend you purchase and take with you, the following two products. These can be ordered online from the Parks online shop
, or when you book your walk as part of the Overland Track Information Pack, which also contains a Leave No Trace swing tag. The map and visitor guide may also be purchased from major national park visitor centres, Service Tasmania, selected bushwalking shops, or the Tasmanian Map Centre in Hobart.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park map and notes – 1:100,000 -
published by TASMAP. Walkers should never enter remote areas without a detailed map.
Visitor Guide: ‘The Overland Track: One Walk, Many Journeys’
published by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. The visitor guide will significantly enhance your experience on the track and includes daily walk notes, satellite imagery maps, and detailed interpretive notes on the geology, flora, fauna and history of the track.
Natural Wonders of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area – Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. This illustrated guide explores this fascinating and unique wilderness ecosystem. Available through the Parks online shop.
The following companies are PWS approved licensed operators, committed to the principles of Leave No Trace. You can choose from fully-catered, comfortable private hut accommodation, to using the public huts, but being accompanied by a guide. Costs vary widely.