Overland Track, Tasmania – Sourcing some tips

Hi gang, as a few of you now I will be heading over to Tasmania with my wife to walk the Overland Track. I have a few track specific questions for those that have done it prior. Mainly based around the side trips you took and any other recommendations you might have.

One of the things we are looking at is taking our car so we need to make sure the car is at the end of the Overland for us. Another thing we need to consider is that we would like to book a room at the PumpHouse on Lake St Claire, so we are trying to organise that for our reward of the walk.

So far this is our plan:

Day 0 - Monday 11 Feb
Arrive Devonport in morning
Drop Car at Lake St Claire
Shuttle back to Launceston

Day 1 - Tuesday 12 Feb
Shuttle to Ronny Creek
Start Walk to Waterfall Valley (10.7km, 4-6 hours)
Side Trip to Cradle Mountain (2km return, 2-3 hours)

Day 2 - Wednesday 13 Feb
Sidetrip: Waterfall Valley to Barn Bluff (7km, 3-4 hours)
Waterfall Valley to Lake Windermere (7.8km, 3 hours)
Sidetrip: Lake Will (3km, 1 hour return)

Day 3 - Thursday 14 Feb
Lake Windermere to Pelion (16.8km, 5-7 hours)
Sidetrip: Old Pelion Hut (1km return, 30 min)
Optional Sidetrip: Climb Mt Oakley (hard)

Day 4 - Friday 15 Feb
Pelion to Kia Ora (8.6km, 3-4 hours)
Sidetrip: Mt Ossa (5.2km, 4-5 hours)

Day 5 - Saturday 16 Feb
Kia Ora to Windy Ridge (9.6km, 4 hours)
Sidetrip: D’Alton + Ferguson Falls (1km return, 1 hour)
Sidetrip: Hartnett Falls (1.5km return, 1 hour)

Day 6 - Sunday 17 Feb
Option 1: Windy Ridge to Narcissius (9km, 3-4 hours)
Option 2: Has anyone done the side trip to Pine Valley Hut (adds a day possibly)

Day 7 - Monday 18 Feb
Option 1: Narcissius to Cynthia Bay (17.5km, 5-6 hours)
Option 2: Pine Valley Hut to Narcissus plus Ferry to Cynthia Bay (9-10km, 5 hours)

Pine Valley is a highly recommended. But don’t just stop at the hut. Go up to the Labyrinth and Lake Elysia - it’s pure magic. The Acropolis is also incredible. I would make the time to do this over some of the other side trips if you can. You could easily spend 2 days in the Pine Valley.

Looking up towards the Labyrinth


Pool of Memories

that second pic. holy shit.

I concur. Wowzers.

Damn, that looks impressive. Thanks for the heads up on that one.

Yep, the Pine Valley / The Acropolis is incredible - the only downside would be carrying the extra food earlier in the walk so you can get there.

If you’ve got plenty of time available, you could get a bit tricky and approach Pine Valley as a separate trip, e.g.

  1. Do the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Narcissus (pack light)
  2. Ferry from Narcissus to Cynthia
  3. Resupply from the car / Cynthia Bay shop
  4. Walk from Cynthia Bay back to Pine Valley / the Acropolis / onwards.
  5. Walk or Ferry back to Cynthia Bay

Ultimately depends on how many days worth of food you want to carry.

For the other smaller side trips, I’d say just stay flexible and see what the weather is doing on the day. There’s a good chance it’ll be sleeting and you’ll just want to charge on to the next hut. I’ve been to Cradle Mountain three times but never actually seen the peak due to snow/rain/fog etc.

The Mount Ossa side trip is great, especially in Feb once the snow has melted.

You’ll love it, Ezy!

Mt Oakley isn’t too hard a side trip. The track was a bit boggy when we did it but that’s just Tasmania.

Would definitely recommend the Pine Valley side trip if you can swing it. The campsite is in lush, mossy forest surrounded by enormous trees. The Labyrinth was a highlight for us. Be wary in foggy weather though (it’s called the Labyrinth for a reason…), Didn’t have time to see the Acropolis; will have to get back there one day.

We enjoyed the walk around the lake on the last day (as opposed to the ferry) but if you’ve got to save time somewhere then the ferry makes sense.


I did Pine valley, labyrinth and acropolis as a standalone trip and it was excellent.
Scrambling around the Acropolis definitely got my heart going.

If you feel like an adventure and have good nav then Olympus on the way home could be a vibe.

I walked back instead of the ferry and had a really nice nap, book reading session and swim at Echo point. The track alongside the lake is easy going.

If you end up finishing early or need to head back to Cynthia bay for some food then the Mt. Rufus and Little Hugel loop from there is also great.

Thank you for everyones input.

One thing I should mention, both myself and Vee aren’t really outdoorspeople if that makes sense. We love our day hiking, but we have never (recently anyway) been on overnight hikes like this together. Myself a long time ago with a high school group, and Vee a couple of years ago leading her high school kids over in Borneo (legend!).

I’d hate to put ourselves in a position where we could end up in strife.

We might also do an overnight camp somewhere else in Tasmania as we are planning on spending just under a month there.

The Overland itself is super easy. Big wide track, mostly very easy going and impossible to get lost. Yes, some of the side tracks are not as wide, and a bit tougher, but it’s still tracked and mostly marked.

Oakleigh is fine, a bit steep in parts but you won’t get lost. And it’s not far from Pelion.

Pine Valley is also fine. From the hut up to the Labyrinth it gets steep and rough in parts but it’s a track and you won’t get lost. Past Lake Elysia the track runs out a bit, and the Du Cane beyond is untracked. But to Elysia is fine. Same for Acropolis.

Neither of those side trips are harder than Cradle Mtn. Maybe not as well marked (Cradle is over-marked), but physically no harder. So head up Cradle as a good barometer.

And by the time you’ve got to the Pine Valley you’ll have a good sense of the conditions and area. You’ll know if it’s too much, and you can always turn around. It never gets so committing that you won’t be able to just head back to the last hut.

I would recommend the boat from Narcissus. The last section past Olympus is nice, but that extra day is better spent in the Pine Valley. And the side trip off the Overland to Olympus itself is off-track and requires some careful navigation through some thick scrub and some potentially dangerous cliffs, so I wouldn’t recommend it - it’s fantastic up there, but next level hiking.

Edit - I probably shouldn’t say “impossible” to get lost on the Overland because people do get lost. The point is that the track is very very well walked, and requires no true navigation skills. Just follow the track. Same for the side trips if you stay on the track, although the tracks do get thinner. Still carry a map and compass, but the map really becomes an orienter and guide and reference rather than any real navigation tool.

Hey again legends – do you think it is worthwhile purchasing The Overland Track - One walk Many Journeys’ visitor guide book and and a Cradle Mtn to Lake St Clair 1:10 000 waterproof map. They try to sell you one for $36 when you go to book the tickets. I would probably only want the map.

Definitely get the map. You’ll find yourself poring over it each night looking at where you are are where you’re going. Mine is pretty well marked with good camp spots, off-track routes, etc. Makes a good souvenir.

I’m not sure about the visitor guide. I have an old copy of John Chapman’s Overland Track guide, which is great and very detailed. But you wouldn’t really need it on the trip - it’s more something you might read beforehand to help plan what you want to do. It can be quite useful on some of the more intrepid side trips.

You might be able to get it from the library and photocopy pages. If anything I would take photocopy pages on the walk anyway - the book is heavy and glossy.

Chapman’s guides on Cradle Mtn, Lake St Clair and Walls of Jerusalem and his South West Tasmania are worthwhile if you’re down there for some time and want to do some different walks.

FYI, you can take files to officeworks and print on tyvek up to A0

waterproof, slightly bulkier than paper, can be used around camp as a large clean space also. Maybe not as good as the JPP synthetic that TASMaps are on.

And TASMap offer all the topos in digital format so you can purchase and print a couple in one shot.

Or, the waterproof 1:100000 overland map is $15
Digital is $6

Thanks once again guys - once everything is all booked in, the questions will stop (For the Overland at least, need to work out what to do with our 3 other weeks in Tassie).

Pretty sure Bay of Fires is on the hit list, Three Capes, Freycinet, MONA, Port Arthur, Perhaps the FoA overlords (Blakey + NickJ) etc.

You can print on Tyvek at Officeworks?!!!

Coming up to ten years on FOA and blakey is still blowing my mind

A question for the Overland Overloards. What did you do the night before the start - did you stay at Cradle Mtn or shuttle in from elsewhere? At this stage we are leaving our car at the end of the track and shuttling from there the day before… just trying to work out accom. The place we have found so far is Waldheim Cabins, but it’s damn pricey for what it is.

That’s where we stayed before we hiked. It’s expensive because it’s in the NP and is a pretty basic hut. It’s a lovely spot. The only place with a view to Cradle Mountain (through the trees).

Last time we were there we stayed at Cradle Mountain Hotel. It was pretty good. Big, new, touristy, goodish buffet. We stayed there because we booked last minute and that’s what was available. Cradle Mountain Lodge is pretty classic looking and more of a traditional lodge. Probably expensive, but that’d be the most classic place to stay.

If you want a restaurant meal that night, stay at one of the lodges (and dine in your hiking gear, which is normal enough to do there). If you’re happy to cook up, stay at Waldheim. It’s a really nice place and gives off good vibes for the impending trek

Legend, thanks Pete!

Ezy, if you want to borrow a copy of the Chapman notes for the Overland I’m happy to send you ours. It’s a slim book with maps, photos, and track notes that talk you through each section as well provide some general advice for the walk.