Hiking the Overland Track

Overland Track location

click to enlarge

The Overland Track is Australia’s most famous multi-day hike. The track, in Australia’s southernmost state of Tasmania, runs north-south through Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park, part of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area. Each year around 8000 people hike the track, either the entire 79km from Cradle Mountain in the north to Lake St Claire in the south, or an abbreviated 62km version, finishing at the top of Lake St Claire (and catching a ferry across the lake).

While the hike is said to be from ‘Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair’, the track actually starts in the Cradle Valley near Ronny Creek (about 5km north of the mountain) while the southern end terminates at Cynthia Bay (at the southern end of Lake St Claire).

While it’s possible to walk from Cradle Valley to Lake St Clair (or vice versa, depending on the season) in just four or five days, allowing yourself a few more days, ideally eight or nine, gives you time for a rest day if the weather turns bad (as it often does). It also allows time to explore some of the Overland’s many side trips. These tracks head off from the Overland’s main spine and are the highlight for many walkers: from Pine Valley’s ancient rainforests to the breathtaking views among the stone pinnacles of Mt Oakleigh.

Overland Track profile

click to enlarge

Part of the reason the Overland Track has become so popular with hikers from around the world is its accessibility. The main track is well-marked and maintained, with boardwalks above the boggiest ground, bridges over creeks and a network of basic huts, all of which make the track suitable for hikers of average fitness. Yet there are plenty of challenges for experienced hikers too, with steep sidetrips to mountain peaks and into wilderness areas like the Labyrinth.

Despite its fame and popularity, hikers need to keep in mind this is a remote area with frequently wild weather. To enjoy the trip — and not just endure it — hikers need to be well-prepared. Packing The Overland Track will prepare you for a safe and enjoyable trip.

 

View and download a PDF copy of the full track map.