The world famous Overland Track in Tasmania, Australia, stretches 86 kilometres through sheer alpine mountains, glacially carved valleys, temperate rainforest, and button-grass plains. Six unique huts provide warmth and shelter for the 9000 hikers that complete the track every year, while historic mining and trapper huts bring life to Australia’s colonial past. Packs typically weight between 15 to 18 kilograms, with hikers needing to pack warm clothing all year round and enough food for a week.
Along the main trail walkers can also take several side trips to waterfalls, lakes, and mountains. If the weather is clear a climb of Cradle Mountain or Mt Ossa, Tasmania’s highest peak, will reward the hiker with grand, 360 degree views of the national park.
But the weather is notoriously fickle, famous for changing at a moment’s notice with snowstorms in summer a normal event. The end of the track is a choice between a ferry ride across Lake St Claire, Australia’s deepest lake, or an 18km walk around its heavily forested banks.
One characteristic of the Overland that surprises many walkers is how social it can be. Walkers congregate in huts to sleep and cook, and can’t help but talk while sharing a table during a meal. Some may team up to tackle the mountains to stay safe, while others offer encouragement. By the end of the track, many form friendships, leading to emotional farewells, and this is repeated all along the trail with every new group of walkers.