Updated: Apr 2023
Published: Mar 2009

Overland Track

Note: indicated routes and locations are approximate.Use official topographic maps for navigation

This is one of the best known walks in Australia, and certainly the one with the most infrastructure. The track has many kilometres of boardwalk and duckboards and there are huts, composting toilets and timber camping platforms at every recommended camping area. Not surprising really - up to 60 people per day leave Cradle Mountain (limited by a booking system) - and without the track hardening and huts the environmental impact would be severe.

I did the walk in peak season and was lucky enough to have no rain for the entire journey. In practice, the number of people on the track was in no way oppressive, and staying in the huts with about ten other people was actually pretty enjoyable. I'd rate it as a pretty easy walk, at least in summer and with good weather. The distances are short and the navigation is easy. When I did it, there was a family consisting of three generations on the track. I'd guess the kids were about eight years old or so.

For more information and details on booking a place on the track, see the official Overland Track website

At the southern end of the Overland Track there are a few extra walks that can be done without having to buy an Overland Track Pass. From Pine Valley you can do the Acropolis and Labyrinth walks, along with the final section of the Overland Track itself from Narcissus Bay to the Lake St Clair Visitors' Centre.

Cradle Mountain

The first day has the steepest climb of the entire walk, but at the top you're rewarded with fantastic views like this.

Eucalypt branch at Waterfall Valley

The first hut is at Waterfall Valley. The morning of day two was a bit foggy, so I figured there was no point in getting away early, and spent a bit of time poking around the bush near the hut.

Leaving Waterfall Valley

On the other side of the valley to the hut you walk through this pretty heathland.

Leaving Waterfall Valley

More of the Waterfall Valley heathland.

Lake Will

Lake Will is a short detour off the track on day two. I found it a bit too cold for swimming, but Lake Windermere just down the track was perfect.

On Pine Forest Moor

Early on day three.

Gnarled tree branch
Gnarled tree and walkers
Mossy forest
Mt. Pelion West
Track marker

The lichen around here seems to grow more prolifically on the track markers than anything else.

View from Frog Flat
Button grass stalks
Pelion Hut

That's right, it's just a hut... with stainless steel benchtops and polished floorboards. Actually I think it's pretty well done and looks like it will be quite durable. In bad weather I'm sure it would be a godsend.

Mt. Oakleigh from Pelion Hut
Mt. Oakleigh in the morning
Sleeping on the helipad

Some hardy souls preferred to bivvy on the helipad rather than sleep in the hut. Maybe they thought their snoring might be as loud as a helicopter.

Every hut has a helipad. The output of the composting toilets is carted away every so often by helicopter, and all the building materials for the huts and the track are brought in by chopper too. Think of that when you're buying your track pass.

At the Mt. Ossa track junction

Mount Ossa is a very worthwhile side trip. It takes a few hours to go up and back, but it's worth it.

On the Mt. Ossa track
Mt. Ossa tarn
Wildflowers on Mt. Ossa
This image also appears in Nature
View from Mt. Ossa track
D'Alton Falls
Inside Windy Ridge Hut

Inside the second of the two large huts. The lights on the ceiling are actually skylights.

Pine Valley track

The Overland Track itself normally takes six days, but I had an extra day's worth of food so I decided to do the Pine Valley side trip and stay overnight at Pine Valley Hut.

Pine Valley stream
Note: indicated routes and locations are approximate.Use official topographic maps for navigation

From Pine Valley there are a couple of day walks off to the north: The Labyrinth and The Acropolis. In April 2022 I did the first section of the Acropolis walk up to the ridge just south of the Acropolis itself, as part of a three day trip from Narcissus Bay.  The ridge affords spectacular views of the surrounding terrain. This trip is particularly worth doing in autumn for the deciduous Nothofagus foliage.

Cephissus Falls

Just a few minutes from Pine Valley Hut along the track up to The Acropolis.

Nothofagus gunnii

In autumn the deciduous beech (Nothofagus gunnii), one of the few native Australian deciduous plants, puts on a  show up on the ridge.

Nothofagus and The Acropolis
Nothofagus and The Acropolis
Narcissus River

From the Pine Valley turnoff, continue south on the main Overland Track. The track follows the Narcissus River as you approach Narcissus Hut.

Banksia flowers at Narcissus Bay
Lake St Clair from Narcissus Jetty

You can walk the final section along the shore of Lake St Clair or take the ferry from this jetty. Note that you have to book the ferry in advance.

Lake St Clair from Narcissus Jetty
Note: indicated routes and locations are approximate.Use official topographic maps for navigation

Instead of taking the ferry from Narcissus Bay, you can walk the track to the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre. Allow an entire day for that, or split it into two short days and camp at Echo Point. The track is slightly undulating with no significant hills, although there are parts where you need to clamber over exposed tree roots.

Leaving Narcissus Hut
Boardwalk through the forest
Cuvier Valley Track turnoff
Nothofagus cunninghamii

Also known as Tasmanian myrtle

Baby myrtle
Echo Point

There's a beach at Echo Point with room for maybe 6 tents without crowding. There's a hut, toilet and jetty too, and another couple of tent sites near the hut.