The Overland Track Tasmania solo? – Sue heads off, in a party of one

Thinking of doing the Overland Track alone? Sue leaves for Tasmania tomorrow to walk the Overland Track on her first solo adventure. It has been a nerve wrecking build up for her but should be successful due to one factor – planning.

In January, Sue announced she was thinking about doing the Overland Track in Tasmania on her own. This was a surprising announcement in the “Our Hiking Blog” household as she had never hiked alone nor expressed any interest in the concept.

Over the last few months many issues have been discussed, with detailed plans formulated to ensure the trip would be a success. We will list the issues here in a Q & A format, to provide information for anyone else who is planning this walk solo.


Sue cooking dinner somewhere along the Overland Track last year

The list is not exhaustive, as other information is available within “Our Hiking Blog”, (and widely on the net) but the goal is to outline the issues she raised to assist anyone else who is planning the walk solo.

Am I experienced enough?
The Overland Track is a well defined and supported wilderness walk. It is very well marked and there is a good system of huts and shelters if the weather turns bad.

Sue has walked the Overland Track about five times in different configurations and seasons. She has also done the South Coast Walk and other multiday walks. She is experienced on these types of Tasmanian walks but would not consider herself an experienced Tasmanian bushwalker (there is definitely a difference)

What if I get injured?
The track is very popular. There are several thousand people who walk the track each season. You are rarely more than 30 minutes for another walker or group. This is obviously a disadvantage if you desire a pure “wilderness” experience, but reassuring if you trip over and break your leg!

Will I be lonely?
No, definitely not. There are around 30+ Overland Track walking passes allocated to EACH DAY (excluding the walkers on commercial trips ….) Sue will have 30 ish close buddies starting the walk with her as there are only 2 spots left for her departure date. In addition nearly all of March was booked out.

One of the great parts of the whole Overland Track experience is the people you meet. It is a truly international crowd. Everyone is blown away by the journey and the wilderness (yes, in this context we refer to the wildness, the spectacular scenery and the pristine environment) Once you reach the huts in the evening there are great stories of the day’s adventures, often occurring in several languages with young and old all enjoying each other’s company in this unique place.

What if the weather is bad, yes really bad?
The weather will be bad. There is a 90% probability it will be bad one, two or every day. We have had snow in December , sleet in November, rain any old time. The key is taking good gear. Clothing that can be multi layered , excellent rain gear, good boots. There are lists everywhere. This is the link to a good hiking gear list that was developed by the Hobart Walking Club.

We have collected some excellent (and ultimately expensive) gear over the years. We have great confidence it is robust, warm, waterproof and appropriate for all conditions.

Fuel, i.e. FOOD is important. Eating small, high energy snacks, frequently in cold weather, keeps up your energy.

Read up on the signs of hypothermia and how to reduce the risks.

Won’t people think I am mad, crazy, irresponsible wanting to do it on my own?
Maybe, but who cares. Only you know why the idea appeals. Possibly it is the challenge to be self reliant, the need to have some personal space or just the timing means you have to walk alone without your usual hiking mate. What ever the reason, as long as you have confidence in your ability, have prepared thoroughly and probably bounced the idea off a more sane person (s)(thanks Colin and John) then go for it without any hesitation.

What if I miss the plane, bus, boat etc?
One simple word, don’t. Get everywhere early. Double check your bookings. Travelling solo means you are in charge and responsible for all facets of your trip. If you pull it off successfully, a great buzz. If there is a stuff up…..well, who knows what stories you will have to tell.

We will post more stories and picture of Sue’s adventure on her return home.

Have you ever completed a multiday hike solo? Dreamed of heading out on a hike on your own? Please take the time and leave a comment and share your tale or dream with our readers.

Related Post

Sue’s solo Overland Track trip report

Comments

  1. E-mail: loveinatent@hotmail.com says

    One other question I’d add if you’re used to doing trips as a couple: Can I carry all of the gear myself?

    When two people are on the same trip, they normally bring just one stove and set of pots, on first aid kit, and other gear that doesn’t have to be doubled up. Going solo means taking more than you might normally carry. I know that for me, it would make a significant difference to my pack weight.

    Enjoy your trip Sue!

  2. Frank and Sue says

    Thanks Michelle,
    Weight was not really one of her issues (that Sue talked with me about anyway!) She is probably carrying 2 kg extra so around 18kg as a starting weight.
    She was surprised about the small amount of food (hence weight) she had to take. Basically it is what she has to carry as her share for the two of us.
    I usually carry the pots but they are pretty light (Titanium MSR)The issue is more their bulk.
    We take a pretty pathetic first aid “kit” so not much additional weight with that.

    We purchased a new 1 person tent for the trip (blog to follow when I get a chance) It is just under 2kg so would be slightly more than her usual half of the tent (she carries the fly and the poles normally!!)
    Have really enjoyed your posts on your summer trip and will get back and reread them soon.
    Frank

  3. pete G says

    Hey ,

    we are in the area, have you ever thought about go for a trip with your readers and have some fun?

    if you are interested, you may create a meetup at gutmeet.com and we can coordinate one~

  4. Frank and Sue says

    Hi Pete
    Thanks for the comment.
    Where are you at the moment near Geelong? (where we live) or in Tassie? I am in Geelong , Sue is between Waterfall Valley Hut and Windemere Hut on the Overland Track today… hope the weather is good.

    Yep, I would love to catch up with readers of the blog. In fact, I hope to join Alan, a guy from New Jersey who is doing the Overland Track in early May (met him via the blog and was just emailing him with a suggested menu!!)

    My problem at the moment is juggling work and play!! That will change in the nearish future!!

    You are welcome to email me on frankinoz1-blogg@yahoo.com.au and send me a phone number if you are around Geelong. Have not come across gutmeet.com but will check it out!
    Frank

  5. Joanne says

    The bigger part of my bushwalks have been solo; for years I didn’t walk for want of a partner to walk with, now, I may have developed a bit of a preference for going solo.

    To date, my walks have been confined to track walking; the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk was my first back in 2007, and since then I’ve walked the Great Ocean Walk, the Great Walk on Fraser Island, and most recently, the Hume and Hovell Walking Track.

    I agree with the comments in your post Frank and Sue; planning is the key factor to being prepared and thus as safe as possible. I also carry a PLB, and leave a detailed itinerary with appropriate persons. Self management is also essential; I stop and drink and stretch every hour, and eat every second hour. I try not to finish too late in the day so that I don’t risk getting caught out in the dark, and I’m very careful to stay adequately warm/dry/cool as appropriate to the conditions. And of course, having the right gear is essential.

    On some of my walks there has been company in the evenings at campsites, on others, I have gone for three or four days without seeing a soul. A book is an essential, but I do love the luxury of having campsites to myself.

    Sue – enjoy! Be warned though, it’s addictive. If I could walk full time and work part time I would. I love my walks, and am now looking to walk the Bibbulman Track in WA.

    • Frank says

      Hi Joanne,
      Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. You HAVE been busy. Would love some info on the Hume and Hovell Walking track , it has slipped under my radar. Is there a good site I can check it out?
      You walking schedule and plan sound spot on. Looks like you look after your self really well. Agree re a book, never leave home without one. Hope you can pull off the Bibbulman. it’s on my busket list!
      Frank
      (and yep, Sue had a ball and would be off again in a heart beat)

  6. Jack says

    Hey hope i can catch you guys before i leave. I am looking at doing the overland track in winter june-july, solo for uni break. Have never done this track before however have been doing night and multi day hikes in the snow to get some experience. I have the majority of equipement that i will need except will need some new snow pants and new tent.

    Few questions:
    In fine weather is it possible to do the track in 3 days, obvioulsy allowing longer for bad weather
    In winter what are walker numbers like

    Cheers

    • Frank says

      Hi Jack,
      Thanks for dropping by.
      Walker numbers will be small so you won’t get crowded out but you might get lonely.

      That time of the year conditions can be tough and the snow deep – this is the first in a series of articles by Nik Sands from last August – read them closely… http://ourhikingblog.com.au/2010/09/overland-track-snow-walk.html

      Re the three days – It is up to you, depends on how fit you are, how deep the snow is, how wet and boggy the track is, how much weight you are carrying – lots of people try and do it as a fast trip. Sorry, it is not our style – too beautiful a place to rush.

      For example, Sue heads back next week and has allowed 6 nights!

      Good luck and be safe!
      Frank

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