Winter Wonders on the Overland Track

Tasmania was the obvious choice for a hike. The Overland Track we had yet to do.

With a summertime traverse becoming more crowded, the choice was made to do it in Winter (note the capital letter).

Trip in a nutshell:

    • When: early August 2013
    • Days: 6.
    • Rain of some sort: 6.
    • With snow: 1
    • Mud: 5
    • With at least a bit of sunshine: 4
    • Companions: 2
    • Other People Seen: ~60.
    • Quality of the Huts: Good.
    • Quality of the track: Mostly good.
    • Map: TasMAP Overland Track edition.
    • Guidebook: The Chapman one.
    • Direction: South to North.
    • Transport: Tassielink and Evans Coaches.
    • Fresh Stewed Apple with Porridge: 1
    • Carrots: 8

Was it an epic undertaking as we had imagined? For us, not really. Having come from other Tassie hikes this was still on the easy side. [Usual disclaimer: Be prepared, it is still Tasmania]

Winter hiking on the Overland Track, Tasmania

Winter hiking on the Overland Track, Tasmania. Photo: Dave Bremers

Here are my tips for the Track in Winter:

  1. Don’t bother with snowshoes. Even the photos of the track covered in snow still show people with the snowshoes on their packs.
  2. Bring a nice down jacket. Most days we finished walking by 2-3 pm, which leaves a lot of time sitting in a cold hut.
  3. Bring hut footwear. Sea To Summit Hut Booties are a classic. Save tramping around the hut in your soaked, muddy boots.
  4. Bring cards, a book and extra snacks. These are great for passing time in the hut.
  5. Bring lots of food. It was pretty cold, some of the huts didn’t have working heaters and even the ones that did don’t get very hot. Lots of food helps your body generate its own heat.
  6. Bring hiking poles. We didn’t use them, but I have heard that under a thin layer of snow the duckboard is hard to find.
  7. Don’t expect to do many side trips. Even if it’s not snowing, the mist and cloud will likely make many not worthwhile. That said, the mist really did add to the scenery a lot of “mist-ique” (see what I did there? It’s that kind of humour that makes me a great hiking companion).

Tasmania's Overland Track in winter

This track is so popular for a reason! Photo: Dave Bremers

Some other general notes on the track:

  1. In some parts the track quality was phenomenal (good work, TasPWS!). From Windermere Hut northwards the track was outstanding. However, there are still sections of classic Tassie mud. Bring your gaiters.
  2. Even in Winter, we had company in the Huts most nights. I would say if you’re going in summer book well in advance and anticipate being in a tent in all weather.
  3. It’s a very popular track for a reason; the scenery, people and track work were amazing.

If you have any questions regarding bushwalking in Tasmania, let us know in the comments section below. For all the gear you need to tackle Tasmania’s wilderness, check out the range at Snowys or call in and see us in store.