Hiking the Overland Track
Tasmania: Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Guidebook to Tasmania's iconic Overland Track. Described over 7 stages, the 80km trail from Cradle Valley to Lake St Clair takes in glacier-carved valleys, vast buttongrass moorlands, mossy rainforests, rugged peaks, thundering waterfalls, alpine meadows and peaceful lakes. Adventurous side trips are also described.
SeasonsSummer (December, January, February) is the best time for hiking the track as many plants are flowering and the long days make sidetrips more feasible. Tasmania has four distinct seasons, however it's rare that an Overland trip doesn't include rain, hail or strong winds, and snow can occur even in summer.
CentresLocated in the Cradle Valley-Lake St Clair National Park, the Overland Track starts at Ronny Creek in Cradle Valley and ends at Cynthia Bay on Lake St Clair. Along the track are a series of basic huts and camping platforms.
DifficultyThe main track is well marked and maintained with a network of basic huts, boardwalks above boggy ground and bridges over creeks, which makes the track suitable for hikers of average fitness. There are plenty of challenges for experienced hikers too, with sidetrips to mountain peaks and into wilderness areas like the Labyrinth.
Must SeeJagged profile of Cradle Mountain across Dove Lake; panoramic views from sidetrip summits including Tasmania's highest mountain, Mt Ossa; dolerite columns of Mt Oakleigh; tranquil Lake St Clair; thundering cascades of D'Alton, Fergusson and Hartnett Falls; mossy rainforest en route to Pine Valley Hut; eclectic range of endemic plants and animals including Tasmanian devils
This guidebook covers the iconic Overland Track in Tasmania's stunning Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. The well-maintained 80km route from Cradle Valley to Lake St Clair is described over seven stages, along with optional sidetrips to the area's many accessible peaks including Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest mountain. The track can be completed in between 5 and 9 days, depending on fitness and whether hikers undertake sidetrips.
Each stage features clear 1:50,000 mapping and profiles alongside detailed route description. The guide also includes essential practical information about booking onto the track and arranging permits, as well as comprehensive notes about the facilities available at each of the Overland huts. The extensive plant and animal section provides photos and descriptions of the eclectic range of wildlife that can be spotted along the track, and many of these fascinating species are found nowhere else on Earth.
The Overland Track crosses Tasmania's spectacular wild landscape, travelling through buttongrass moorland and rainforests, passing tranquil lakes and impressive waterfalls. Although more physically and technically challenging than the main route, the track's sidetrips are well worth the effort in good weather for the panoramic views they offer of the stunning Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
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Warwick Sprawson lives in Melbourne, Australia. After studying engineering he spent many years working and hiking in England, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Japan, Mexico and Costa Rica. Returning to Melbourne, he studied Australian Land Conservation and Management, subsequently working as a bushland regenerator. Since 2008 he has worked full-time as a writer, including as a regular contributor to Wild and Great Walks magazines.View author profile
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