by David Moore
The Overland Track is one of Tasmania’s world renowned long distance walks. It is six days of walking in the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park from Waldheim near Dove Lake to Lake St Clair to the south.
You could probably do it faster if you were younger and fitter than me but I was on a guided walk run by the Tasmanian Walking Company so the pace and accommodation were predetermined. We were also walking with ten other people we didn’t know (including two guides).
Leading up to the trip my wife Susan was very excited. She’d been dreaming of this holiday for quite a long time. I was a little intimidated as walking isn’t my thing and I wasn’t as fit as I thought I should be.
Susan asked me if I was worried about anything.
“Well, you know how in every group of strangers there’s someone who everyone else doesn’t like? What if I’m that guy?”
“Seriously? That’s what you are worried about?”
“Yeah, that and being wet and cold and miserable for six days straight.”
“You’ll be fine, you’ll have the proper gear.”
Planning Your Trip: Tasmanian Walking Company
The operators are extremely well organised and this was only emphasised more as the trip progressed. There’s plenty of information on preparation and the required gear. It is not as much as you’d expect and they provide the expensive stuff that folks like me aren’t likely to need again.
If there’s one thing that can’t be over emphasised is the need for good quality ankle high gortex (read waterproof) boots. They’ll make your walk so much more enjoyable it isn’t funny.
On day one we met at Quamby Estate in Hadley for a briefing, a gear check and the bus trip to Waldheim.
Day one includes the toughest part of the walk, the climb up to Marions Lookout. To say I was nervous was no understatement. Luckily for us we had ‘t-shirt and shorts’ weather and the ‘toughest part of the walk’ lasted for about 15 minutes and wasn’t that bad. Really, even for me and some less fit folks it wasn’t an issue.
Towards the end of the walking for the day we lost one of our guides. They’d run ahead to prepare the hut for our arrival. Oh yes, we were doing things the luxury way. We walked past public huts, camping platforms and scary drop-toilets to our secret private huts where afternoon tea, cakes and hot showers awaited. Dinner was a three course affair with Tasmanian wine to accompany it. Now that’s my kind of walking.
Did I mention that our huts for each night were kitted out with sleeping bags, blankets, pillows (i.e. you don’t have to carry it), heating, a drying room (so our gear was ready for the next day), books, games, guitars and NO TV or internet? Brilliant!
I won’t even try to describe the beauty of the track. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Every day was amazing and different and ended the same way – in comfort and great company. Depending on the weather, there are some optional side trips for those keen to see more, or you can get to the next hut early and relax – all at your own pace.Our guides were wonderful, our walk-mates were a hoot and we had an absolutely amazing time.
It is easy to see why this is one of the world’s great walks and the fact that it is accessible to folks like me is a bonus.
Put the Overland Track on your bucket list. If you are over 40-ish and a ‘soft adventurer’, make sure you do it with the Tasmanian Walking Company.
Oh, and as for me being “that guy”, turns out that everyone doing these walks is wonderful. Go figure.
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