The Overland Track 15-21 October 2016

Zelko Erdec, Ian Warner and Theo Vereker headed off from Hobart in mid October 2016 to tackle the Overland Track starting at Cradle Mountain and finishing at Lake St Clair.

Our itinerary for the hike

Day 1 - Cradle Mountain to Waterfall Valley Hut

Ian, Zelko and Theo all smiles waiting for the shuttle bus to Ronny Creek for the start of the Overland Track at Cradle Mountain.

What a fine day. Little did we know ...

Ian packed, ready and looking forward to the hike

Zelko and Theo fired up at the start of the track. Notice the snow on the hills behind? A sign of things to come!

Zelko well prepared and equipped for anything the Tasmanian high country can throw at him ...

Theo is keen for the adventure, but actually a little nervous about the whole thing

You can see Ian heading up the boardwalk on the right-hand side

22kg+ backpack with food, spare clothes, wet weather gear, Trangia, sleeping bag, tent and 100 other bits and pieces

The only thing we don't have to carry is water ... thank goodness

On the track near the boat shed at Crater Lake.

Theo is not sure about that energy drink Ian gave him ......

Yes, the boat shed at Crater Lake does need some work

Have you got a hammer?

Crater Lake - what a beautiful spot!

"Ian, don't look now but I think there is a Tassie Tiger behind you ..."

Crater Lake expands as we hike along

Looking along the track to the south end of Crater Lake

Here we have the first big test of the trek.

The climb up to Dove Lake Lookout ....

Yippee! Made it up the steep pinch to Dove Lake Lookout. There is a waterfall in the background on the left.

Zelko looking good above Lake Lilla and Dove Lake

Surely we have come further than that!

Next challenge - the big climb up to Marion's Lookout.

Theo in foreground climbing up the track thinking ....

" ... and there is another 6 days of this!"

Looking down into Crater Lake with the track from Dove Lookout on the right

Then onto the other side looking down into Dove Lake with the car park on the left a long way down

So far so good ... made it to Marion's Lookout

Yep, so far so good and what a fabulous view!

Approaching Cradle Mountain earlier in the day - photo by Florent and Justine, a French couple we met on the hike

On the board walk looking beyond Cradle Mountain to Barn Bluff in the south earlier in the day - photo by Florent and Justine

Theo and the cradle of Cradle Mountain

Zelko and Cradle Mountain, achieving a long time dream. Well done mate!

Looking beyond Cradle Mountain to the south east. Where has all the snow gone?

Here it is and plenty of it as we head along the plateau in the direction of Waterfall Valley hut, our accommodation for the first night.

Is it far from here?

Barn Bluff in the background

Historic Kitchen Hut. Not where we are staying tonight.

But Ian says Waterfall Valley Hut (where we are staying), is not far away - "just around the corner and along the ridge...."

Aah that's better, nice to get the backpack off for a few minutes

Time to get going as it will soon be dark

Its getting cooler now so put on some extra layers

That post in the middle shows us the way, as we head around the base of Cradle Mountain

Looks pretty rugged doesn't it?

But that's OK because Waterfall Valley Hut is "just around the corner and along the ridge...."

Right Ian!

Day 2 - Waterfall Valley Hut to Windermere Hut

Its the morning of Day 2 and we are ready to leave Waterfall Valley Hut for the hike to Windermere Hut.

Quite an experience last night - no electricity and sharing one big bunking area with about 12 other people, mostly strangers.

The thoughts from last night (as I collapsed into my sleeping bag) of "What was I thinking when I agreed to do this ..." and "What the heck have I got myself into???" have all disappeared.

If those five mums from Bondi can do this, we can too!

Someone was talking about someone's snoring last night ... I hope it wasn't me!

It was quite a trek to the loo in the middle of the night

End of Day 2 at Windermere Hut in a Myrtle forest. Quite cosy inside with a gas fire. We even had a bunk each to ourselves - luxury!

Beware of the giant albino possum that is expert in going through the backpacks of people who hang them outside under the verandah at night!

A Ranger visited and provided some helpful tips on things to see tomorrow and how to correctly fit and adjust a back pack. Hooray at last!

Day 3 - Lake Windermere Hut to Pelion Hut

The hike at the start of Day 3 started in mist and drizzle and some nice sections of boardwalk across the heathland

Ian leading Theo as we follow the boardwalk through button grass and moorland

The terrain varies frequently and dramatically within the space of even 5-10 minutes of walking. Here we exit a Pine Forest Moor, an area of King Billy and other pines.

Time for a break and some gear adjustment on one of the button grasses moorlands on the plateau

Zelko rugged up on the boardwalk as we exit the button grass and enter a myrtle-beech rainforest on the eastern flank of Mt Pelion West

Looking ahead to the cloud draped hills

Looking back at the track and forest we have just come from

Peaceful valley views with cloud just hanging and no mobile reception whatsoever

We are truly in the wilderness and it is awe inspiring

It is cold, wet and often windy but what a fabulous experience

Zelko has been wanting to do the Overland Track for a very long time and here he is doing it

But then there is the track and it can be a complete beast at times

In many places it should be called the Overland Creek!

It is vitally important that you have the right gear

Thankfully Zelko was able to provide expert guidance on gear selection months before, which meant we were well prepared throughout the hike

Lunchtime on Day 3 at the spot by the creek recommended by the Ranger

The sun even came out for awhile which was nice

We drank the pure clean water from this mountain stream

It was a lovely spot

Looking down into the Forth River valley as we descend along the Mount Pelion West ridge down to Frog Flats

Spectacular mountain range on the way to Frog Flats

After a long hard climb from Frog Flats we are getting close to New Pelion Hut

Mount Pelion West area and the valley in between

A paddy melon is our welcoming party at New Pelion Hut

Not too worried about us and quite happy to keep feeding

They are very cute

Late afternoon at New Pelion Hut and it is beginning to sleet and snow.

Glad we arrived well before this started.

Day 4 - New Pelion Hut to Kia Ora Hut

Day 4 starts with snow on the ground and a cold wind

Pano of the verandah at New Pelion Hut looking across the plain

Wakey, wakey .....

... rise and shine!

Are you ready?

Yep, are you?

Yep

Ok, lets get going! We have a 300m climb up to Pelion Gap

The snow has turned the bush into a pretty winter wonderland

The snow is quite deep on the track

And it is really coming down now just as we leave and head into the rainforest

Fortunately, Ian has gone ahead so all we have to do is follow his tracks

Hopefully he knows where he is going ...

It is a steep ascent to Pelion Gap through the forest but it has stopped snowing

It looks like it will be cold up at Pelion Gap

At the turnoff for the side trip to Mount Ossa which is Tasmania's highest peak, there is 2-3ft of snow

Ian was keen to climb Mount Ossa but he will have to wait to do this another next time

Some handy duckboard on the descent from Pelion Gap to Kia Ora Hut through beautiful Pinestone Valley

It wouldn't be much fun wading through that swamp this time of year

Arrival at Kia Ora Hut

The view from the backdoor looking to the left

The view from the backdoor looking to the bush on the right

Pano of the Kia Ora Hut heli pad on a field of button grass

You can see a Pandanis in the middle

Evening at Kia Ora Hut

With Ian stretching out a cramp

Wombat prints in the snow on the boardwalk at night

The night before (top) and the next morning (bottom) at Kia Ora Hut. Six inches+ of snow overnight!

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

Day 5 and more than 6 inches of snow overnight

The view from the backdoor to the left the next morning

The water in the tap of the tank is frozen

Morning view from the backdoor to the bush on the right

Well we wont be having breakfast outside on the deck this morning ....

.... not unless we want an ice slushy

Are we awake and happy?

Well Ian is ....

Please don't ask me questions ...

... I can't talk yet

That's better ... we are all happy now

Time for breakfast

Florent & Justine with a girl from Melbourne melting snow in the Trangia for breakfast

Ian letting off a little steam as he gets ready for the hike to Bert Nichols Hut

Zelko and the Bondi mums almost ready for the big mountain day ahead

Time to say good bye to Kia Ora Hut

Kia Ora Hut framed by bush and snow

Zelko on the track as we head towards to Du Cane Hut which is just over an hour away

It has stopped snowing and the wind has dropped

All is calm, all is bright in the bush

With many wonderful sights along the way

The snow was deep on parts of the track

Zelko making his way through a heavy section

Snow falling from the trees above is quite refreshing as it land on your head!

The snow is heavy in the branches of the trees along the way

The sun comes out just as we arrive at Du Cane Hut

Sunglasses are in order for the glare off the snow

Du Cane Hut is the oldest hut remaining in the Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair National Park and today is a visitors hut only

It is a classic, being made entirely from split King Billy pine shingles. Built in 1910, it originally was used as a base for possum snaring.

The Bondi mums arriving at Du Cane Hut

Zelko and Theo rested after a short break at Du Cane Hut

Next stop D’Alton and Fergusson Falls

The side trip to Dalton Falls was down the side of a steep and slippery hill and this stream had to be crossed to get there

Dalton Falls - in full flood, a spectacular wonder of nature

The roar of the enormous volume of water coming down the waterfall was deafening

Theo at the top of Du Cane Gap - at last

For me this was the hardest climb of our adventure

The track was more like a fast flowing stream with rocks, logs and tree roots seemingly placed to make hiking as hard as possible ...

... well at least the sun was out and the mountains either side of the Gap were spectacular

... and it it mostly downhill from here!

Late afternoon of Day 5 we arrive at Bert Nichols Hut

Early evening view of the Acropolis from Bert Nichols Hut

Our hiking group at Bert Nichols Hut - a great bunch of people to hike with

Interestingly, most were women

We are all rugged up because even though this is the most modern hut, the gas is not working and it is around 4 degrees inside!

Day 6 - Bert Nichols Hut to Narcissus and Echo Point Hut

The morning of day 6 is cool and fine

Looking to Mount Acropolis over the trees and Bert Nichols Hut

The snow is melting as we leave Bert Nichols Hut

Zelko by one of the many streams we crossed

Eucalypts are among the many tall trees along the way

Time for a break

As we descend the snow has disappeared

Zelko at the base of a big eucalypt beside the track

A nice section of track through the forest

Zelko crossing a stream - part 1

Halfway across - part 2

Made it! - part 3

View of Mount Olympus as we approach Narcissus Hut

Nearly there, as the Narcissus River comes into view

The Narcissus River flows into Lake Saint Clair

He did it! Congratulations Zelko!

Zelko on Lake Saint Clair waiting for the ferry to Cynthia Bay

Time to say goodbye to the Bondi mums as Theo heads off to join Ian at Echo Point Hut

The boardwalk across the swampy Hamilton Plains leading to rainforest beyond

A welcome sign post in the forest

I now know I am going the right way!

The ancient rainforest on the way to Echo Point Hut is peaceful and full of magnificent tall old trees

It is lovely walking through the lichens and mosses, with damp, spongy earth beneath your feet

Echo Point Hut with 4 bunk beds, a bench and coal heater. What else do you need?

Ian had the bunk on the bottom right. Theo's was bottom left. Quite comfortable, especially after the feast for dinner we had, finishing off all our leftover food supplies. ....

Not sure what animal ran across Ian and then Theo during the night though ....

It was cold, rainy and windy outside, but warm and cosy inside the hut. In fact the warmest hut of the whole trek

Day 7 - Echo Point Hut to Cynthia Bay

A sprig of King Billy Pine

On the last day lan and Theo hiked through the rainforest from Echo Point Hut to join Zelko in Cynthia Bay

Many fallen trees from a recent storm were across the track and had to be climbed over or under as often there was no way around

Ian's iPhone had succumbed to a pocket that filled with water and Theo's iPhone had run out of battery, so no photos of the last day unfortunately

What an incredible and experience for us all and one that we will always remember - The Overland Track October 2016

Credits:

Photos from Zelko Erdec, Florent and Justine and Theo Vereker

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