The Overland Track is one of Tasmania’s, if not Australia’s most popular multi-day hikes. A six day walk through Cradle Mountain National Park to get your fill of mountains, waterfalls, and wildlife, with the added bonus of modern huts to keep you warm and comfortable each night.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the palawa people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


Please note! It’s free to hike the Overland Track in winter (yipee!) but this is due to the unpredictable weather conditions that can change incredibly quickly. If you plan to hike the track in winter, you must be well-prepared and experienced. Check the track conditions and weather forecast before you head out.

Read more: The Overland Track is Free in Winter – But There’s a Good Reason Why

Quick Overview

The Overland Track is a 65-78km hike in Tasmania that can be completed over 6-7 days.

About the Overland Track

The Overland Track is a point-to-point hike in Tasmania’s north west region. Most people tackle the hike in six or seven days, starting in Ronny Creek and finishing at Lake St Clair.

During this time, you’ll cover 65km of the beautiful Cradle Mountain National Park (or 78km if you choose to skip the ferry from Narcissus Hut and continue on foot to the Lake St Clair Visitor’s Centre).

There are huts as well as tent platforms at every campsite, with space enough for everyone on the trail – choose your own adventure!

Read more: Highlights of the Overland Track


The Overland Track: A Guide to Tasmania’s Famously Beautiful Mountain Hike, Bree Furlong, alpine heathland scrub, hikers on boardwalk

Meandering through the Heathland Scrub

History of the Overland Track

The Overland Track has a rich geological history, spanning further back than my tiny human brain can comprehend.

The landscape we walk on today has gone through major transformations over millions of years, including being lifted out of the sea, and glaciations that covered the area in hundreds of metres of ice.

The palawa people first walked through this area thousands of years ago, mainly moving through valleys.

The ample button grass plains in the area give an insight into how the local palawa people cleared paths and attracted wildlife to the area.

Keeping the palawa people in mind as we walk the Overland path is an important reminder to take care and try to leave the environment in a better condition than when we found it.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

How to Get to the Overland Track

The Overland Track starts at the Cradle Mountain Visitor’s Centre, about a two-hour drive from Launceston or a four-hour drive from Hobart.

Some people choose to leave their car in Lake St Clair and just organise a transfer to the starting point of the track. Alternatively, you can arrange a car shuffle with your fellow hikers.

There are also plenty of shuttle services that can transport you from around Tasmania to the Visitor’s Centre and pick you up from Lake St Clair when you finish your journey.

If you’re finishing up your walk at Narcissus, book your ferry to Lake St Clair in advance to ensure there’ll be a boat coming to collect you.

Before you set out, you’ll be required to register at the Visitor’s Centre and complete the mandatory safety briefing.

You can then make your way to the shuttle bus, which will transport you to the trailhead. The free bus service operates at set times depending on the season, so be sure to arrive at Cradle Mountain with plenty of time to complete your registration, safety briefing, and get out onto the trail with ample daylight left in the day.

Skill Level


The Overland Track is a grade four hike that requires a reasonable level of fitness and a lot of preparation. There are steep and rocky sections that are tough on the joints, so having the right equipment is crucial for both safety and fun levels.

The track is well-marked and easy to follow, just stick to the track. Visit Parks Tas for more essential safety details.


A wallaby visiting us at Waterfall Valley

Distance / Duration

65-78km / 6-7 days

Essential Gear for the Overland Track

  • Quality hiking gear and food to last you a week in the wilderness
  • Warm clothing e.g thermals
  • Waterproof pants and jacket
  • A rain cover for your pack – don’t do what I did and forget it! When it starts raining on the first day you’ll have regrets
  • PLB
  • First aid kit
  • Hot chocolate – trust me. Tasmania’s a cold part of the world, so a hot drink after wolfing down a bland dehydrated meal is the perfect treat

The Experience of Hiking the Overland Track

Day 1 – Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley Hut

Distance: 10.7km
Duration: 4-6 hours

After a long morning of preparations and travel, we set off for our adventure with the usual mix of anticipation, excitement, and nervousness.

To take my mind off the first-day heaviness of my pack I reassure myself with the mantra of ‘It’s just walking’.

Turns out, ‘It’s just walking’ is undercooking it a little. The first day serves up a tough but beautiful start to the trail, with a 1,200m climb in the first 3km.

Setting out across the button grass gives us a small chance to get into the groove of walking with a pack, before we catapult into the first ascent to Crater Lake.

We stop for a short rest to marvel at the first alpine lake of the walk, created by glaciers thousands of years ago. The shockingly clear waters surrounded by alpine vegetation give us a sweet little taste of what’s to come.

Now things start to get really serious. The climb to Marions Lookout is steep, in fact it’s the steepest ascent of the track. Hauling our heavy packs and unconditioned bodies up the rocky cliff is a challenge, particularly during one section that requires pulling yourself up steep ledges using a chain.

This endeavour leaves us feeling pretty hardcore when we reach the spectacular lookout over Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain.


Marions lookout over Dove Lake


After lots of celebrating, staring, and snapping pictures, we gather our breath and continue on to the historic Kitchen Hut for lunch.

The last part of the walk is made trickier by intermittent rain and cloud cover that has us changing layers every 15 minutes.

By now we’re completely soggy and wet and I’m bracing myself for six days of never getting completely dry. Little did I know we were in for a big surprise in the shape of a brand-new hut in Waterfall Valley.

Waterfall Valley is home to one of the newer huts on the trail, constructed in 2020 and, wow. This was a lot less Bear Grylls and a lot more glamping than I’d imagined.

Think architecturally gorgeous eco-lodge vibe. Modern timber finishes and thoughtful windows (triple glazed for your warmth) framing views of the imposing Barn Bluff in the distance.

We even catch a cute little wombat grazing in view of the window. It’s the perfect place to rest and take stock after a gruelling first day.

Read more: Pine Valley Hut – Is This the Overland Track’s Best Side Trip?

Day 2 – Waterfall Valley Hut to Windermere Hut

Distance: 7.8km
Time: 2.5-3.5 hours

After the baptism of fire on day one, day two feels like a walk in the park. It’s the shortest day of the track and relatively easygoing.

Setting out with the imposing Barn Bluff in our sights, we meander through button grass plains, heathland, and alpine gums.

About an hour into the walk, we dump our packs at the junction and (armed with water and snacks) head down the short path to Lake Will.


Lunch amongst the glacial lakes


The sun shows her kind face as we park ourselves on the quartzite sand and take in the picturesque lake, with Barn Bluff keeping an eye over everything.

We take the rest of the day slowly, taking advantage of the smaller distance we need to cover and enjoying the views as we wander across the plateau towards Lake Windermere.

After dropping our packs at Windermere Hut we head back to Lake Windermere for a swim/wash. Feeling clean and refreshed we head back to the warm hut to enjoy dinner and hot chocolate. It’s lights-out for us at approximately 7:30pm.

Day 3 – Windermere Hut to Pelion Hut

Distance: 16.8km
Time: 5-7 hours

The third day is a long one, which means we’re treated to lots of different ecosystems as we make our way towards Pelion Hut.

Heading into the myrtle-beech rainforest feels like we’re entering a different world after the alpine mountain lakes of the previous two days.

The floor is covered with rocks and roots which require lots of concentration for each foot placement.

The trees here are seriously old and seriously beautiful. The kilometres go by as our minds try to grasp just how ancient and special this part of the world really is.

Pelion is home to one of the older huts on the track, so tonight we opt to camp on the platforms, surrounded by button grass and with a jaw-dropping view of Mt Oakleigh in the distance.

Camping tonight proves to be rewarding, as we’re visited by grazing wallabies as dusk falls. In the evening we’re woken by some pesky possums who have decided they really want the toothpaste from my pack.

A comedic scene ensues, as I sleepily attempt to scare the possums away with a ‘psst!’ (they’re not scared of me, at all).

Day 4 – Pelion Hut to Kia Ora Hut

Distance: 8.6km
Time: 3-4 hours

Day four of the trail is called mountain day – for good reason. Straight out the gates we begin the 300 metre climb to Pelion Gap. This is no small task, but by now we’re well worn-in and in the groove.

At the junction we’re presented with the option of tacking on another summit to the walk (because, why not?). Hikers have the choice of ditching packs and summiting either Mount Ossa, the highest peak in Tasmania, or Mount Pelion East.

We opt for Pelion, which is the slightly less intimidating prospect at 2.4km return and 1,433m elevation.


The rocky descent from Mt Pelion East


The incline gets the heart pumping and the second half of the climb requires lots of scrambling over loose rocks, but the effort is seriously worth it.

We’re blessed with good weather and gorgeous views across to Mount Ossa and several other peaks throughout the park.

We’re also treated to the unexpected surprise of a lush garden towards the peak, complete with cushion plants and moss that look way too enchanted to be up here on top of the mountain.

Following the climb, we return to our packs to find that they’ve been visited by a thief… Clever currawongs in the area have learnt to unzip packs in search of food.

One of our crew was unlucky enough to have a bird actually remove the rain cover and unzip his bag to take the last of his pretzels (not even mad, just impressed).

Tired and pretzel-less, we begin the descent into Kia Ora Hut where we find another beautiful new place to warm and rest our weary bodies.


Kia Ora Hut

Day 5 – Kia Ora Hut to Windy Ridge (Bert Nichols Hut)

Distance: 9.6km
Time: 3.5-4.5 hours

Day five has more surprises in store, with rainforest walking, pristine waterfalls, and a historic hut along the way.

Du Cane Hut is about an hour into the walk and gives a curious insight into how tough the Explorers were in the earlier days of tourism in the area.

Looking around the chilly hut makes me very grateful for the luxurious shelters we now have access to on the trail. The outlook from Du Cane Hut is picturesque and peaceful, the perfect stop for a coffee.

Full of caffeine, we proceed towards the junction where we once again ditch the packs for another side trip. The two waterfalls are a beautiful and welcome surprise.



Once again, we are struck by the diverse scenery we’ve seen in only a few days. Fergusson Falls also gives us a chance to swim in what I can only describe as the most frigid water I’ve ever experienced. Cold but clean we continue back to the main track.

The rest of the walk passes pleasantly as we climb towards Du Cane Gap, then gradually descend to Windy Ridge and Bert Nichols Hut– our final camp spot of the Overland Trail.

Windy Ridge is the perfect spot to sit and contemplate what we’ve achieved, looking out towards the impressive Du Cane Range. It’s been tough, but it’s hard to believe that we’ve already covered so much ground.

Day 6 – Windy Ridge (Bert Nichols Hut) to Narcissus Hut

Distance: 9km
Time: 3-4 hours

The final day of our hike in the mountains is here. Our weary legs are thankful for the mostly downhill path, as well as the duckboard that feels like walking on clouds after the rocks and tree roots of previous days.

Big old eucalypts mark that we’re nearing the end. We approach a suspension bridge, giving us a little thrill as we wobble across towards our final destination.


Making my way over the suspension bridge


An echidna pops out to welcome us to Narcissus Hut, and we feel pretty accomplished when we radio in the Narcissus Ferry to alert them of our arrival.

Crossing Lake St Clair in the ferry gives us a chance to sit back and marvel at the magical week we’ve spent in such a rugged part of the world… and maybe fantasise about the hot chips that’ll be consumed at the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre too.

Read more: Deep Lake Forest Cleansing at Lake St Clair

Tips For Hiking the Overland Track

  • You’ll need a valid Parks Pass to access the Overland Track, as well as an Overland Track pass. Spots in peak season tend to book out like hotcakes, so check out the Parks Tas website for details on when to book
  • The Overland Track Guidebook has all the essential safety information you’ll need for the hike, as well as details about the geology, history, and wildlife you can expect to encounter on the way. You can purchase the guidebook from Parks Tas

FAQs The Overland Track

Where is the Overland Track located?

The Overland Track is located in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, which is part of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage area.

When is the best time to hike the Overland?

Summer is the best time for hiking in Tasmania. A permit is required to complete the hike between 1st of October and 31st of May each year. No bookings are required during the winter months, but registration and safety precautions are essential. See the Parks Tas website for information about permits and winter walking.

Is the Overland Track good for beginners?

The Overland Track is a challenging walk, so a good level of fitness and some experience of hiking in alpine areas is recommended.

How long does it take to complete the Overland Track?

Most people complete the hike in 6-7 days, depending on whether you walk all the way to Lake St Clair or catch the ferry from Narcissus Hut. There are also a number of side trips for hikers who want to spend as much time in nature as possible.

Can you swim on the Overland Track?

Yep! There are plenty of lakes and waterfalls to dip in, just be prepared for the water to be bone-chillingly cold.