The Overland TrackThursday, 4 January 2007
I ended 2006 and started 2007 on Australia’s iconic bushwalk, a 60 to 80km (depending where you finish up) stroll through central Tasmania with fantastic scenery and a smorgasbord selection of lakes, rivers, forests, plains, waterfalls and mountains peaks. There are some decidedly boggy stretches to check that your boots are really waterproof and the extraordinarily changeable weather can test your Gore-Tex rating one hour and your sunscreen factor the next.
I walked the Overland Track with a group of friends 15 years ago, toting tents, cooking equipment and a week’s supply of food. Hikers have to be completely self sufficient, there is absolutely nowhere to reprovision along the route although water is so plentiful it’s been said you could walk the route with a cup rather than a water bottle.
This time round Maureen and I walked it in deluxe fashion with Cradle Mountain Huts. This enterprising Tasmanian operator has five huts spaced along the walk and provisioned with supplies for the season. All walkers have to carry is their clothing (remember that very variable weather) and a sleeping sheet and pillowcase to use with the sleeping bags provided at each hut. Two guides come along to prepare food at each stop and there’s even wine (Tasmanian of course) with dinner every night.
Some of the walk highlights included:
Crater Lake & Marion’s Lookout – the first day of the walk features the steepest climb of the whole walk, the superb views more than compensate.
Lake Windermere is one of the most picturesque of the many lakes along the route. We stopped there for lunch, campers can put their tents up nearby.
Mt Ossa – the views from the top of Tasmania’s highest mountain (1617 metres) are fantastic, there was even snow on top, at the height of summer.
Kia Ora Hut – the views of the Cathedral Range, framed in the hut windows, was knockout. It was even better sitting outside with a glass of red wine in hand.See Walking in Australia for more information on The Overland Track and other great Australian walks.