The Overland Track in winter - an 8 day itinerary

walk information |  fitness requirements |  itinerary |  gear list | FAQ's

Had your share of summer walks? Well get out your boots again for an unforgettable winter walk in Tasmania. The crowds are gone, the air is crisp and the Overland Track beckons with winter adventure. Nothing beats this World Heritage Area after a fresh snowfall!

Depending on weather conditions it is likely the walk will throw up some added challenges so this is not for the faint of heart.  We highly recommend you join this walk if you have had a reasonable level of multi day walking experience.

On this walk you will need to carry some extra gear, so your pack weight should be between 12-15kgs.  Please see full gear list for details.

Please note that this walk will be considerably more challenging than our regular walk (season 1 Oct - 1 May).  For this reason it is not available to book online.  Please call us on + 61 3 6392 2211 to discuss your suitability for this walk and check availability.  

 

 Walk Information 

Departure Dates

  • Saturday 11 June, Friday 24 June 2016
  • Friday 08 July, Friday 22 July 2016
  • Friday 05 August, Saturday 13 2016

Price  $3450 per person twin share 

Price Includes

  • Return transfers between Launceston and Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park
  • Accommodation each evening in one of our five private Cradle Huts - twin share (excluding the first night in the Cradle Valley)
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages, plus a limited selection of Tasmanian wines (excluding dinner night 1, breakfast day 2)
  • National Park and Overland Track passes 
  • Boat transfer across Lake St Clair 
  • Use of  waterproof walking jacket for the duration of the walk
  • Use of 65 litre backpack for the duration of the walk
  • Pillows and a comfortable mattress at each hut
  • Sleeping bag, sheet and pillowcase to carry with you
  • Two qualified guides and one Hut manager for the duration of the walk

Not Included

  • First night accommodation at Cradle Mountain Lodge
  • Dinner on night 1 at the Cradle Mountain Lodge
  • Breakfast in the Cradle Valley day 2

Meeting Point

Our shuttle will collect guests from The Sebel Hotel Launceston at 2:00pm, before making our way out to the Launceston Airport for a 2.30pm pickup.  From the airport, you will be transferred to our Walkers’ Base at Quamby Estate, 25 minutes west of Launceston.  Here, you will meet your guides, have a gear check and briefing before heading up to the Cradle Valley.

We will arrive at Cradle Mountain Lodge between 6 - 6.30pm, so there will be plenty of time to have dinner in one of the Lodge’s restaurants before retiring for the evening.  Please note the accommodation tonight needs to be booked directly with the Lodge and paid for by you at check out.  Cradle Mountain Lodge has a special rate for people walking with us so please let them know you are part of our group at time of booking.  You may contact Cradle Mountain Lodge by email (cradlemountain@peppers.com.au) or phone (03 6492 2100). Please note that this offer is not available through their online booking system.

If you are interested in exploring other accommodation options within Cradle Valley feel free to speak with our reservations staff.

The walk will return to Quamby Estate at approximately 5.00pm on the last day, for afternoon tea and a glass of wine. There will be a courtesy bus departing for Launceston at 6.00pm, which will go via the airport at approximately 6.30pm, arriving back in Launceston at about 6.45pm.

Weather

The weather is one of the attractions in this World Heritage Area. As in all mountainous regions, conditions change rapidly and snow is likely and heavy snow, sleet and ice is possible.  Our gear list is designed with your comfort and safety in mind so if you follow it you will be prepared for variations in weather and able to enjoy the many moods of this wild region.

What we provide

A high quality 65 litre backpack, waterproof walking jacket, sleeping bag and liner, foam mat and either crampons or chains are provided for the duration of the walk - these items you will carry each day. Snow shoes will be provided if weather forecasts necessitate; if required they will be provided for you at our walkers’ base on day one.

Pillows and comfortable mattresses are provided in each hut. 

Sunscreen, after-sun care, insect repellent and sorbolene-based skin moisturiser are available in each hut. We still recommend you bring a small amount with you for use on the track.

We also provide biodegradable soap that is suitable for our eco-friendly grey water systems. Please avoid bringing your own soaps, shampoos and conditioners (unless prescribed for medical reasons), as standard products are not designed for use in these sensitive wilderness areas.

Fitness Requirements & Track Conditions

If you are healthy, have a good level of fitness and had some multi-day walking experience you should enjoy this winter walk. Depending on weather conditions, it is likely the walk will throw up some added challenges, so this journey is not for the faint of heart. You will need to carry some extra gear, so your pack weight should be between 12-15kgs. Please see full gear list for details.

Please note that this walk will be more challenging than our regular walk (season 1 Oct - 1 May). For this reason, it is not available to book online. Please call us on  + 61 3 6392 2211 to discuss whether this walk is appropriate for you and check departure dates.

The best way for you to maximise your enjoyment of the walk and get the most out of your holiday is to put some extra effort into building up fitness in the weeks leading up to your walk.  The greater your level of fitness the less trouble you will have with fatigue or muscle soreness.  A higher level of fitness also equates to a higher level of safety when walking in the Tasmanian highlands during the winter months.

Availability of side trip options along the walk and time allocations between huts will vary significantly dependent on weather and on ground snow conditions.

Along the Overland Track, you will be walking on some boardwalk, over rocky trails and through rainforest. The trail can be quite rugged underfoot and muddy in sections. It is therefore essential that you have good lace-up walking boots, with treaded soles and firm ankle support.

For further information about fitness requirements and preparation for your walk please speak with our reservations staff.

  

An 8 day itinerary

All meals and snacks are included, unless otherwise noted

 

 Day 1: Launceston - Walkers' Base at Quamby Estate - Cradle Valley

(meals & accommodation by own arrangement)

Our shuttle will collect guests from The Sebel Hotel Launceston at 2:00pm, before making our way out to the Launceston Airport for a 2.30pm pickup.  From the airport, you will be transferred to our Walkers’ Base at Quamby Estate, 25 minutes west of Launceston.  Here, you will meet your guides, have a gear check and briefing before heading up to the Cradle Valley.

We will arrive at Cradle Mountain Lodge between 6 - 6.30pm, so there will be plenty of time to have dinner in one of the Lodge’s restaurants before retiring for the evening.  Please note the accommodation tonight needs to be booked directly with the Lodge and paid for by you at check out

If you are interested in exploring other accommodation options within Cradle Valley feel free to speak with our reservations staff. 

Day 2:  Waldheim - Barn Bluff Hut (12km, 7 hours) (lunch and dinner included)

After breakfasting at the Lodge, you will need to be ready to meet your guides in the Lodge’s reception area at 7.45am.  

From here, our bus will transfer you to Waldheim and the start of the Overland Track, where we aim to start walking by 8.30am.

Your personal luggage not required for the walk will be transferred to our walkers base at Quamby Estate, stored securely for the duration of your walk and will be accessible upon your return to the Walkers’ Base. 

By lunch time, we have walked through our first section of ancient temperate rainforest and witnessed the dramatic glacially carved Crater Lake. The steepest section of the whole Overland Track is behind us.  The steep section is mostly stepped and takes us about an hour (depending on weather conditions).  It gets us onto Marion’s Lookout which, in clear conditions, offers famous and spectacular views of Cradle Mountain (1545m), with Dove Lake at its base - worth every step.

If the weather is fine, we stop for lunch by the peaceful Plateau Creek. We then continue on for about another 4 hours around the base of Cradle Mountain, out along the edge of a spectacular glacial cirque. We drop into Waterfall Valley, which we cross before arriving at our hut at the base of the towering Barn Bluff (1559m). 

Several hours of this day’s walk traverses exposed alpine plateau, which allows great views on a clear day. In rough weather, the wind howls over the landscape, making for exciting and sometimes challenging walking conditions. 

Some of the track is uneven under foot, however, we take our time to walk carefully and make sure we still look at the wonderful scenery all around.

Dscf6044FYy9X3658

 

 Day 3: Barn Bluff Hut - Pine Forest Moor Huts (12km, 6 hours)

The walking today is undulating, with a few sections of exposed moorland.  There are no large hills, and the once notoriously muddy Pine Forest Moor now has a duckboard path over the mud! We may offer an optional side trip to Lake Will. 

We travel across plains, where once glaciers sat and slowly moved, scouring out shallow tarns.  Now we see plains of button grass, with ancient Pencil Pines sitting with their roots in the water.  Rising from the moors, the peaks of Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff are behind us to the north, and the stately Mount Pelion West (1560m) directly ahead.  Take advantage of the viewing opportunities at several lookout points and complete the day through an enchanting rainforest.

 Photo3Enjoy a antipasto platter on arrival at the hut

 

Day 4: Pine Forest Moor Hut - Pelion Hut (10km, 5 hours)

Today we begin with a long slow descent around the base of Mt Pelion West down to the Forth River before it plunges into the Lemonthyme Valley.  After a break at Frog Flats by the Forth River, we have a long gentle ascent out of the valley onto the beautiful Pelion Plains with outstanding views of Mount Oakleigh (1252m).  If the weather allows there are many side trips in the Pelion Plains area with mountains all around, abandoned copper mines, or simply peaceful and humbling spots to rest quietly.  

 Th_Gear_Boots_Mud_065Th_Animals_Echidna_E_079

 

Day 5:  Pelion Hut - Contingency/Rest Day

Today is a day of options.  If you would like to relax at Pelion Hut and have a rest day, you are most welcome.  If the weather is good, we can either climb Mt Ossa (1617m) or Mt Oakleigh (1252m). The guides will discuss different options with the group.

Please note if weather conditions are poor throughout another section of the itinerary, the guides may change the rest day to be at a different hut.

 Cradle 137Overland Track Winter 2

 

Day 6: Pelion Hut - Kia Ora Hut (7km, 4 hours)

Begin today with a climb to Pelion Gap, where there are great views both back to the north and forward to the south.  Today we allow extra time for additional side trips from Pelion Gap.  It’s a further few hours of gentle downhill from the gap to the hut, so it is a very relaxing day, with the option to make it more challenging.

 One of the private huts used by Cradle HutsWinter Overland Track

 

Day 7: Kia Ora Hut - Windy Ridge Hut (9 km, 5 hours)

This is a day of waterfalls and majestic forests.  We depart Kia Ora hut and walk about an hour of easy travelling to Du Cane, where a hut remains from the long-gone days of animal trapping.  A fine spot to rest in the native gardens planted by trapper Paddy Hartnett’s wife during her long stints in the bush with her husband.  From there we wander through some of the oldest forest in the National Park with King Billy Pines as old as 2000 years.  Here, we are above the Mersey River, which descends steeply northward towards Bass Strait.  There are three major sets of waterfalls and we opt to visit one or more of these.  We will probably take lunch down to enjoy beside one of the falls.  During the afternoon, we make our way over Du Cane Gap, then descend beside the spectacular Falling Mountain to Windy Ridge Hut.

 A hearty meal after a long days walkDsc 0289

 

Day 8:  Windy Ridge Hut - Lake St Clair (9km, 3 hours) (breakfast, lunch and snacks included)

Lake St Clair is Australia’s deepest natural lake and, as with most of this area, it has been shaped by glaciers. Our final day’s walk is mainly through cool temperate eucalypt forest, and bird song is all around.  We arrive at Narcissus Hut, at the northern end of Lake St Clair, in time for lunch. We then board the Ida Clair cruise boat, for the spectacular 17km cruise back to Cynthia Bay. 

There is a visitor centre at Cynthia Bay, and we usually have about half an hour to look around (and perhaps grab a coffee)!  The return trip to Quamby Estate meanders through the trout fishing mecca of the Highland Lakes, descending the rugged Western Tiers to the broad plains of the Northern Midlands, finally passing through the rural townships of Cressy and Longford.   

 Tim Hughes Cmh Mountains 155Th_Walking_Lightforest_233

 

 

Essential Gear List

What we provide

A high quality 65 litre backpack, waterproof walking jacket, sleeping bag and liner, foam mat and either crampons or chains are provided for the duration of the walk - these items you will carry each day. Snow shoes will be provided if weather conditions necessitate. They will be available for you at our walkers’ base on day one.

Pillows and comfortable mattresses are provided in each hut. 

Sunscreen, after-sun care, insect repellent and sorbolene-based skin moisturiser are available in each hut. We still recommend you bring a small amount with you for use on the track.

We also provide biodegradable soap that is specifically matched to our eco-friendly grey water systems. Please avoid bringing your own soaps, shampoos and conditioners (unless prescribed for medical reasons), as standard products are not designed for use in sensitive wilderness areas.

 

Essential Gear

  • Lace-up walking boots, which provide good support & have strong, treaded soles (e.g. Vibram), waterproof and ankle support.  Walking boots must cover the ankle bone.  Guests arriving with the incorrect footwear will be unable to start the walk.  Click here for suitable boot type
  • Synthetic fleece (preferred) or woolen jumper
  • Light jumper/long-sleeved top (warm)
  • Down jacket/vest (or synthetic equivalent)
  • Beanie (synthetic or woolen)
  • Scarf, neck warmer or buff
  • Waterproof gloves/mittens with insulation
  • Gaiters (long - reaching to just below the knee  - available through MBT Hire)
  • Waterproof over pants nylon acceptable, 3 layer waterproof membrane preferred (nylon available through MBT Hire)
  • Shorts and/or light trousers for walking
  • Polypropylene or merino thermal underwear - both long-sleeved top and long johns (2 sets required)
  • Warm long pants (evening hut wear)
  • Shirts/t-shirts (3 recommended; avoid cotton)
  • Socks (3 pairs recommended)
  • Underwear
  • Lightweight hut footwear (thongs/sports sandals)
  • Sun hat and sun screen (small bottle for use during the day)
  • Travel towel, body chamois or sarong (body-sized, for showering)
  • Water bottle(s) (2 litres total capacity)
  • Head torch
  • Walking poles with snow baskets (available through MBT hire)
  • Please note: Denim clothing is not appropriate as it is heavy and very cold to wear when wet

Recommended items

  • Camera (with spare batteries, or USB or car charger - limited recharging capacity in huts)

Optional items

  • Pocket day pack (for optional side trips - can be purchased from our walking base)
  • Instant hand and/or foot warmers

Hire Gear 

Gaiters, wet weather over pants (nylon) and walking poles can be hired from Bush Walking Hire Gear Tasmania. Visit www.bushwalkinghiregear.com for details and place your order at least one week prior to your walk.  Your hire gear will be available at our walker’s base on your day of departure.

 

Cradle Mountain Huts Winter Overland Track FAQ's

What flights should we book?  

 Due to the nature of the Tasmanian winter weather, we highly recommend you book fully flexible flights.  Should the weather become inclement, your group may need to spend an additional night in one of the huts.  This is unlikely, however we cannot guarantee it won’t happen.

 

How fit do I need to be?

The winter Overland Track walk has been designed for those with a high level of fitness and multi day walking experience.  Due to potential weather conditions on the track, we will discuss fitness levels with you at time of booking to ensure this is the right walk for you.

 

How much weight do I carry?

Before the trip, the guides will carry out a thorough gear check to ensure you have suitable gear. Pack weight will typically be approximately 12-15kg.

 

What do I carry?

Each person must carry their lunch, wet weather gear, sleeping bag, foam mat (emergency use),  spare clothes for the hut, thermals, and warm clothing, plus any extras, such as a camera. It is important that all clothing and equipment that you bring is of an adequate standard. If you need further advice, please speak with our reservations staff.  For more detailed information, please refer to the gear checklist. 

 

What style of boot do I need?

It is essential you have good quality, lace-up hiking boots with good ankle support. They should preferably be waterproof and have a treaded sole. Boots must be worn-in to minimise the risk of blisters. Hiking shoes, approach shoes, walking or running shoes, sandshoes or similar are not acceptable.  We recommend something similar to the boot pictured hereTh_Gear_Boots_Mud_304

 

Do I need travel insurance?

You must have travel insurance before joining us on a winter walk. Consideration needs to be given to our cancellation policy, injury, evacuation, delayed flights, illness, etc. 

 

What will our walk accommodation be like?

Our groups have exclusive use of the only private hut accommodation along the Overland Track.  Each hut has been discreetly located off the main trail and offers a hot shower, drying room and a dining and lounge area.  The huts have 5 twin rooms with comfortable beds.

 

How many guests?

Each trip requires a minimum of four and a maximum of ten guests on each departure. All accommodation is twin share.

If the group is full, sharing is with another guest who may be male or female.

 

How many guides?

Two guides and one hut support staff member will accompany each trip.