Overland track

I walked the Tasminaian Overland Track Jan/Feb 2004. Great walk!

Its tuesday, Im bored, I want to do something. The Overland Track comes to mind. I have an exam 12 days, the walk takes 5, travel takes 2, preperation takes 2. I know it will be right!

I spend the rest of tuesday and wednesday preparing for the walk. I dont know much about it, Im unable to obtain a map so I cant plan much for it. But nevertheless I buy the planetickets, waterproof my boots and pack the backpack.

The flight down to Launceston is eventless, likewise is the night after the last food and gear is purchased. I learn that Tasmania has experienced imense rain the last few days, but Im still determined. Im walking!

I catch the bus friday morning after a crap night in a hostel, its drizzeling and there are a few others there. Todays target is Waterfall Valley Hut (S 41 42.881 E 145 56.811), and to climb Cradle Mountain (S 41 41.096 E 145 57.086).

I arrive at Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre, and the walkers are given the spiel on how to behave, what gear to have and so on. Poncho is apperantly a big no-no, but thats what I have, and thats what I will use. I never worked out why it was a big no-no, because I stayed dry. Nevertheless, the shuttlebus takes us out to Ronny Creek (S 41 38.273 E 145 56.875), and for the first time I see what I have set out on. Mountains!!! After a real heart starter up the hills to Marions Lookout, I can see the beauty of it!

Cradle Mountain from Marions Lookout

I finally make my way to the top of Cradle Mountain. Noone else around. The serenity is awsome! And from here, I can see tomorrows target, Barn Bluff.

Barns Bluff from Cradle Mountain

I scramble down, and walk on to Waterfall Valley Hut. The hut is spacsious, and I get a spot in the bunks. After a wash in the stream, its dinner and yarn time. Then bed at sunset.

I get up early in the morning, first to take of up towards Barn Bluff. After an hour, at the foot of the mountain, Im overtaken by Bob & Terry, two retired professional holliday makers. They speed past me, and I keep on scrambling my way to the top. Im hoping that it will clear up by the time I reach the top, but it doesnt.

Top of Barns Bluff in clouds

Down again, I have my lunch. When lunch is over, a girl that I passed on my way down is back as well, and we walk together to the next hut, Windemehr (S 41 46.269 E 145 57.510). On the way there, we check out the waterfalls in Waterfall Valley, and by Lake Will.

Lake Will waterfall

The walk to the Waterfalls are a wet and boggy 2h return walk, but the falls where fine nevertheless. Thunder is on the horizon so we skip lunch and hope for a dry walk to Windemehr instead. And only 5 minutes before the hut, does it start to rain. Very good timing! Windemehr is another nice hut, quite new and spacsious. After a nice freeze dried dinner, there is time for some solitare, talk and then finally sleep at sunset.

The cobwebs in the morning sun

We are the first to take of that morning, but are soon overtaken by Bob & Terry. We are on our way to New Pelion Hut (S 41 49.828 E 146 2.812), another muddy walk. The worst sections are boardwalked, a lot of it is boardwalked actually, which is good I sepouse. The trend indicates that more of the track will be boardwalk in the near future due to unsustainable impact. We lunch at Frog Flats (S 41 50.352 E 146 0.277) before we start our ascent up to New Pelion. Its still fine when we get there, so we go for a swim in the waterhole by the old hut. The water is very refreshing. It escpesially feels good when the blood comes back into your veins afterwards.

The New Pelion hut is a big hut, with 6 bedrooms and 60 beds. Plenty of room for everybody, but still a contradiction to the talk about unsustainable numbers of bushwalkers.

The next morning we are the first of again. Im still walking with Eleanor, she does most of the talking, and doesnt seem to anoyed with my lack thereof. On the way up the gap by Mt Ossa, we are overtaken by some fit country NSW girls. But sadly, they dont realise their own limitations. We catch up with them just by the top as one of them is hurling. She excuses herself by claiming she had too much water, when it is obvious she pushed her body to far. Bob & Terry joins the party as well, and overtake us on our way to the top of Mt Ossa. Halfway up it starts raining, and luckily, I brought my backpack this time with fleeces and waterproofts, thanks to Eleanor point out the obvious to me. “You got a small backpack, why dont you use that to the top?”. It keeps on raining as we scramble up, then down. My poncho keeps the backpack, and most of me dry, so its all good. Finally down, it has as good as stopped, but it is still in the air, so we postpone lunch before we go to the Kia Ora hut.

Kia Ora holds 23 people that night, and the natives visits just after sunset with cake. Very nice of them, but sort of a surreal experience.

I have decided that I will give Windy Ridge a pass, and rather make for Narcissus and the ferry on tuesday. Im getting a bit concerned about my exam by this stage.

Eleanor doing track clearing

Eleanor joins me, and toghether we walk for Narcissus. Nobody overtakes us this day. The old guys are getting tired. I catch my ferry, and Eleanor stays behind, determind to walk out the next day the whole way! No ferry for her.

While we wait for the ferry, a guy that seemed to love the sound of his own voice, joins us for a chat. He is disappointed by the lack of people bringing alcohol on the walk, and how they had brought bottles of all kinds, and he is also so bored because he is injured and waiting for his mates doing a side trip. Its funny, because the ranger at Waterfall Valley told us about some people that had left behind a heap of rubbish there, and how someone had to come back and get it. That was Mr. LoveMyVoices group.

I just catch the bus with a delyed ferry, and head for Hobart. After finally getting reception on my Optus phone, I reschedule my flight, and my accomodation. The hostel is horrible, but it will do for a night.

And Wednesday the 4th of Feb I head back to Wollongong, 2 days earlier than planned.

A nice walk, some very nice mountains. All in all very good! Highly recommended!

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