Monday, July 07, 2014

Tassie to the Tropics: Overland Track, Tasmania

Brian spent many weeks planning the sixty five kilometre hike across some of Tasmania's most beautiful countryside known as the Overland Track. Our new(ish) brother-in-law Aaron and our friend Chris agreed to go along and because of time constraints with other travel the plan was to do the journey in four days.  Despite the fact that most walkers take an average of six days to complete the track, the boys pulled it off and Brian and Aaron even added the 17.5 km track alongside Lake St Clair just because they were enjoying it so much!

I, somewhat grudgingly, stayed behind to look after the kids but have very much enjoyed the photo documentary courtesy of Brian. So despite the fact that I wasn't on this walk, their journey gets a post of its own as the scenery was truly spectacular. So spectacular in fact that it warranted over one thousand photos in that four days!

Before sending the boys off on the trailhead, I offered my top three pieces of sage advice.
  1. Stay hydrated even when cold and wet. 
  2. Stick together.
  3. Only eat Brian in an emergency.
And with that they were off!

The big send off. Much cleaner and drier than the next time we saw them!

Starting off across a wide plain with vast scenic vistas. The boardwalk on the trail was extensive and well constructed.

Soon mossy covered forests with streams and waterfalls appeared.


The stunning orange color comes from a small deciduous beech tree known as fagus.

Cradle Lake boat shed



May isn't a popular time to hike the Overland Track as it marks the very end of the season and can be very cold. One of the perks, besides having the track more or less to oneself, is the spectacular range of autumn colors from the fagus, from rust red through to brilliant gold.

Lots of climbing on the first day...

...some of it very steep!

But the views are definitely worth it!

Looking down on Dove Lake

Chris surveys the landscape.

Chris with Cradle Mountain in the background.

Brian

Aaron




The track leads to Barn Bluff far off in the distance. With a brisk pace they ended up on the other side of the mountain by the end of the day. Markers indicate the path when there is snow, a not unusual occurrence on the track.

Cradle Mountain

Kitchen Hut. A two story hut where the second story is used as the entrance when it's snowing.


 The alpine region is full of very interesting plants.

Close up view of the "crinkle-cut" fagus leaves.




In the summer the path from this sitting area leads to an excellent swimming spot on Lake Windermere.

Lake Windermere hut is a welcome sight at the end of the first day of hiking, approximately 18-19 km.

Chris

Beyond Lake Windermere, much of the path resembled a creek more than a walking trail.

Aaron


The Overland Creek Track


Lovely rain forests, mucky path.

Button grass plains

New Pelion Hut. Approx 17 km for the day. Great view from the veranda.



Everything in the park is helicoptered in and out including the boardwalk, all supplies and human waste. This toilet facility uses poo-pods (pretty sure Brian coined that term) which are waiting to be helicoptered out given the end of the hiking season.

Which is the path?



An old hut, now used only for emergency shelter.


Bert Nicols Hut. Ending the day at approximately 19 km.

Wall plaques adorned each hut.

This large and modern hut had plenty of space for the guys and the one other family that was there that night. During peak season, hikers aren't guaranteed spots at the huts and must carry a tent.



Narcissus Hut is situated at the far end of Lake St Clair. Chris chose to catch the ferry due to blisters on his feet while Brian and Aaron continued on to the lodge on foot.


Bunks

Very interesting fungus through the rainforest in a rainbow of colors including purple, red, white, black, brown, orange, and yellow.

Echo Point hut midway along the walk to Lake St Clair.

Beautiful view right out the front door of the hut.
.
Watersmeet where hikers start seeing signs for the Lake St Clair Lodge and visitors centre. How good must that feel? Last day of the hike covering approximately 27 kilometers!

While the boys were traversing rugged and beautiful landscapes, the rest of us were having mini adventures of the more kid friendly variety...



3 comments:

  1. Hey Jennifer, great photos. I am doing a PhD on the Overland Track, and wondering if I could use one of your photos, Echo Point Hut in my study. didn't know where to send private message, but hopefully this is okay with you. Mitzi

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! You have permission to use the photo; please credit appropriately. All the best with your PhD and hope it offers an excuse for lots of trekking!
      Jenn

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    2. Thanks so much Jennifer. Oh yeah, I will enjoy that! Thanks, Mitzi

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