Tuesday, February 17, 2009 

The Overland Track in Tasmania


Looking for a holiday with a difference, Mrs S and I finally planned a long overdue hiking vacation this month. We set off on a wonderful journey of discovery in the Tasmanian wilderness where we traversed along The Overland Track. Joining a guided group track operated by Tarkine Trails, we set off on an eight day adventure which saw us walking in an alpine plateau, crossing mountain ridges and gorges, skirting tarns and wild moorlands, and meandering (toiling) through alpine rain forests. Located within the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park, it is one of the most glaciated areas in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area. The shot above was taken from the top of the compost toilet at the New Pelion Hut after my morning ritual.


Mrs S contributed this picture taken at the Labyrinth (this link includes some other spectacular pictures of this desolate lake).


Pausing for a quick breather on our way to the Windermere Hut.


View of the large field in front of the helipad at the Pine Valley Hut.


Relaxing after a long day of walking on the helipad at the New Pelion Hut.


Taking a quick dip in the cold waters of Lake Windermere.


Enjoying a hot cuppa. Tea featured a lot in our time in the Tasmanian wilderness, a sugary cup of mint tea really got me going in the frigid mornings.


Giving a hand in stretching out those achy muscles after a tiring day of bushwalking.


Mrs S's laundry line at Windermere Hut.


Probably a lot more appetizing than it looks, our first dinner of fresh vegetables and rice noodles at Waterfall Valley. Our guides spared no effort in making sure we got hot fresh meals at all times, which explained why our food bags were always so heavy. So if you are ever looking for a trekking operator which provides great meals, please surf on over to Tarkine Trails.


Making nori rolls in preparation for the ascent to the Labyrinth. They were loaded with wasabi, which certainly helped with the climb.


Our trip ended on the shores of Lake St Clair where the group spent an idyllic time relaxing on the jetty and skipping stones on the still waters of the cold lake. The lake is also the deepest in Australia, bottoming out at 200m.

All in all, a wonderful trip which allowed us to connect with our holiday destination on a very different level. The pack weight took a bit of getting used to, since we were carrying our food, water, tents, sleeping bags and personal supplies on our backs. I did manage to shed 2kg, though it would take a couple more trips to bring my weight down to a sensible level.

Being in the outdoors, especially one as grand as the Tasmanian wilderness, has etched a lasting memory. I found myself continually inspired by the surroundings whilst enjoying a quiet solace which I haven't experienced in a long while. We were fortunate to have a great group of people with us, who arrived as strangers to each other but left as friends. That made the experience so much more rewarding and enjoyable as everyone brought a kaleidoscope of different backgrounds and humor along. I won't be surprised if we returned for another trip in a different part of Tasmania. The 80kms or so we hiked only revealed a fraction of what the island state had to offer and there is just so much more to see.

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