The Overland Track in Tasmania is possibly Australia’s number one and most popular long distance hike. Stretching 65kms from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, Overland takes you through some of Tasmania’s most beautiful and brutal wilderness.
You have the option of doing Overland either independently or through a tour group. I was going to do it independently however having never done any hiking in my life I was slightly apprehensive (not to mention scared) about tackling the track independently. So when an invitation came to be a guinea pig for a new photographic tour group starting up, I jumped at the chance.
Overland Photo Tours are the newest kids on the block for organised tours hiking the Overland Track.
Founded by Cameron Blake, a Hobart photographer with a passion for capturing Tasmanian beauty. Overland Photo Tours came about when Cameron saw a niche for people wanting to hike Overland with a difference.
Cameron’s knowledge of all things photographic is vast. Whether you’re a professional or amateur photographer everyone will learn or re-learn shooting techniques from Cameron. Even this professional photographer got a few brush up lessons in basic tricks that had long been forgotten.
It’s not just Cameron’s knowledge on cameras and capturing that makes this tour so special it’s also Cameron’s effervescent personality. Combined with the global adventure chasing Trish this will be one tour you will never forget. Nights spent camping and chatting, days spent walking and whinging (well I was anyway) are all part of the fun of hiking the Overland Track. Trish and Cameron are not just fantastic guides, they are fantastic company.
If you prefer trekking whilst taking in the picturesque scenery that surrounds you, what better way to experience Overland than with Overland Photo Tours trek. I highly recommend it!
Here is my rundown of our fantastic trip!!
Day 1 – Ronny Creek car park to Waterfall Valley
Quite possibly the most difficult day, trekking along Crater Lake whilst adjusting to your pack (especially if you carry a heavy pro DSLR like I did) and climbing up the steep ascent up to Marions Lookout is brutal. But the view from Marions on a clear day is simply superb and worth every bit of blood sweat and tears shed on the climb up. Cradle Mountain can be very elusive most days so when it’s clear make the most of it and relish in the breathtaking view as much as you can. After Marions you walk alongside the base of Cradle Mountain and its gorgeous vistas making your way to Waterfall Valley. If you’re lucky (like we were) you’ll be blessed with a sensational sunset over Barn Bluff.
Day 2 – Waterfall Valley to Lake Windermere
A relatively easy day to the point it’s almost like a stroll. Boardwalk covering most of the way, it takes you through pretty flora. Although be careful if its windy, it easy to lose balance and fall off the boardwalk as was the case with this ditzy blonde! Lake Windemere is a gorgeous spot to camp next to, if its warm enough there is a lovely area you can take a dip to cool off and relax after your first two days of trekking.
Day 3 – Lake Windermere to Pelion
After encountering a wild and windy night we were doubly unfortunate to be faced with a misty, foggy day. We sadly missed viewing the gorgeous mountain ranges that surrounded us on our super long walk. This day is the longest day of the entire track and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing glimpses of Pelion hut after hiking 15kms! We were also fortunate enough to experience a helivac fly in and transport out an injured guide from another tour group. When you’re in the middle of nowhere without any modern conveniences the sight of a helicopter landing and taking off with Mt Oakleigh in the background is truly magnificent.
Day 4 – Pelion to Kia Ora
Waking up to the sun highlighting Mt Oakleigh brought on another spectacular view to be admired before we commenced our biggest day yet. Another tricky day, hiking up and up and up to Pelion Gap was difficult not to mention tiring at times and you will continually wonder “will this ever end?” but once at the top you’re rewarded and greeted with sensational views (if its clear) of Mt Ossa, Tasmania’s highest peak to your right and Mt Pelion to your left. The view is so spectacular you simply never get tired of staring at it. When we arrived at Kia Ora we had a quick dip in a not-so-secret watering hole before being blessed with a spectacular sunset and full moon rise over Mt Catherdral.
Day 5 – Kia Ora to Bert Nicholls
This is officially the day you get rooted on Overland! Walking through the gorgeous rainforest it’s the day of never ending roots. Twisted and raised they are easy to trip over. As it was misty and raining it was slightly slippery and tricky at times, however it was the perfect setting to shoot the gorgeous D’Alton and Ferguson Falls.
Day 6 – Bert Nicholls to Lake St Clair
The last hurrah! Your pack is super light, the track is dead easy and you almost want to run to the Lake St Claire Jetty. The thought of real food is on your mind as is a shower and hot water. You’re on a mission!! As you see the jetty and lake in the distance you’re elevated, relieved, sad.
A real sense of accomplishment ran through my mind as i sat on the jetty waiting for the ferry. As was thoughts of hiking the Himalayas, Machu Picchu, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Kokoda Trail…then I looked down and discovered a leech in my cleavage…. maybe not just yet!!!
A couple important things and tips I learnt whilst doing Overland Track!
Be prepared! Start training (walking with a pack on) about month before your departure date.
Limit the amount you carry, you’d be surprised at how little you actually need (like a heavy 1DS MK III) if you can, swap it for something lighter and smaller do it.
Really wear your hiking shoes in before you set off. I encountered so many hikers who had feet covered in bandages and blisters.
Prepare for all weather conditions, in the space of a few days you will get all four seasons.