Our last experience of Tasmania was the 6 day Overland Track – one of Australia’s signature bush walks covering around 80 kilometres – through the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair national park. What a way to finish! It was an utterly stunning week of hiking in very good weather. Whilst there was a little snow left from the stormy weather the week before our departure, we only had light rain on our final day, meaning we could mostly hike in T shirts and sun hats.
To cap it all, we had a wonderful group of people on our trip – 10 Aussies and us with 2 lovely guides, Sean and Ziah. We stayed in private huts every night with hot showers, comfortable beds and freshly cooked meals and patted ourselves on the back for this decision on every night when it rained or the wind howled. We only had to look at the faces of the group walking the same week as us, but sleeping in the unheated shelters or in tents, carrying all their dehydrated food and we knew we had made the right choice. They were nicknamed Les Miserables while they called us The Wilderness Wa*kers (looks like I missed the letter l out!). When we talked to one of them at the finish, she admitted they were very jealous!
One of the group – John – was resident troubadour and photographer and we thank him especially for some of these wonderful photos that almost do justice to the most breathtaking landscapes imaginable.
Looking fresh on Day 1 with the iconic Cradle Mountain behind us
Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake
Barn Bluff – result of one of John’s early morning photography walks. John normally got leeched a couple of times a day for his efforts. Wearing shoes might have helped!
When we weren’t on mountain tops or moorland, we walked through beautiful wet schlerophyll and temperate rainforests, full of endemic plants, trees, lichens and fungi.
On Day 3, some of us took a side trip up Mt Oakleigh – 750m of extra elevation and 4 hours of extra walking led to some tired hikers.
John and Sheila continued to rise early to get these atmospheric shots
On Day 4, the weather turned and we could only climb part way up Mt Ossa – Tasmania’s highest peak. However, the views of the Japanese Garden and The Gates of Mordor were ample compensation for the disappointment of not summiting.
The amazing panoramas and raging waterfalls just kept coming.
On our last night, Steve treated us all to a rendition of Banjo Patterson’s “Man From Snowy River” and we were officially crowned honorary Aussies! After lots of songs, jokes and anecdotes we were all sad to turn in for bed knowing that tomorrow would be our final day walking together.
John – ready for anything (except leeches) in his camouflage slippers.
From left – Ziah, Steve, John, Louise, Peter, Jeff, Anne, Pash, Sheila, Gudrun, Alex, Lesley, Lucy, Sean.
After lots of steps (nobody’s pedometers, FitBits etc could agree) tons of fun and the forming of lasting friendships we made it to the end. Thanks to all our fellow walkers and our guides for bringing our Tassie adventure to a close in fitting style.