The Overland Track – hiking solo in season? Not likely

Does hiking the Overland Track solo mean you will be alone?

Is it a wilderness hiking experience  or bushwalking super highway?

Some stats on the number of people hiking the Overland Track in Tasmania recently appeared in an article in the Hobart Mercury.  They are significant numbers and may scare people off hiking the Overland Track, or will they?

Waterfall Valley - camping

Waterfall Valley - camping

A recent article   Tasmania’s iconic Overland Track is operating smoothly five years after bushwalker access was regulated by Bruce Mounster, reviewed some stats from the Parks and Wildlife Service in Tasmania.

Echo Point sunrise
Echo Point sunrise

In summary:

  • Parks and Wildlife studies have found as many as 90 per cent of walkers believed it to be one of the best things they had done in their life. (yep, agree with that)
  • Revenue of roughly $960,000 a season from the $160 entry pass fees, as well as information pack sales, pays for constant staffing along the track, coal and gas supplies to huts and toilet waste removal. (yep, expensive business to maintain services and staff in an isolated environment)
  • The number of walkers had been trending up from 6360 in 2005-2006 to 7024 in 2008-2009, with this season so far lagging last season by about 130.
    • Below is the availability of spots for the rest of the season (as of 28th Jan)  – we wonder if this is the normal trend where people book latish??

  • Off-season numbers are around 1000 hikers (it’s when we go….)
  • Three rangers  are on duty along the Track to “police” the rules.According to the article, only a few people try.
  • The rangers’ main role is to provide interpretation, as well as advice, to inexperienced walkers who make up as many as 75 per cent of visitors – (that’s why we wrote our Guide to Hiking the Overland Track , we have seen it all!)
Overland Track - Pink Socks

 

So can you hike the Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair Overland Track “solo” in season (and feel isolated at times)?

Of course you can.

  • It is always busy around the huts in the morning and evenings, that’s a given
    • tent it and get away on a platform somewhere,  the huts are generally very crowded
  • Head off early (or late  after the masses leave)  if you like walking alone .  It’s a great feeling being alone on the track and the first to break the ice on a puddle!
  • Take a few side trips and enjoy these special places. The waterfalls or Lake Will are great spots for some sole time

All that being said, one of the great things about being on the Overland Track is  the people you meet. Their diversity, the spread from across the world and the funny things many people do (and carry) are always  a terrific part of the memories. We are still in contact with some great people from previous trips (Hi Dave, Oz, Alan, Jonno etc)

One word, enjoy. In season, there will be around 30 others plodding along the track each day with you.
Check out our Overland Track eBook

Comments

  1. Raina says

    A big g’day to Frank, Sue and fellow hikers,

    I’m heading off to Tassie on Monday for my first Overland Track experience… solo. I must say, it is a huge relief to know that there will be plenty of others starting out with me on Tuesday. I look forward to meeting many new people who also carry the ‘outdoor gene’. I would like to thank you for your brilliant site and ebook. They have been my main resources when seeking information and advice. I certainly feel more confident about walking solo, despite my lack of experience.
    I look forward to reading new material on the site, and I hope that you will indulge us with many more ebooks in the near future (I’m sure that a Victorian theme would be much appreciated).

    Raina

  2. Frank says

    Hi Raina,
    I am so excited for you! (and a little bit jealous)You should have a great time and don’t stress about doing it solo in season there will be plenty of people around if you get into trouble or just want to have a chat. I assume you read about Sue’s “solo” trip a couple of years ago?

    Really pleased the eBook was helpful. It has been a bit of fun and a good learning exercise. We do have a couple of more eBooks planned. There is definitely one in the pipeline on Hiking Food. This has been going on a while as some of our long term readers well know (have not forgotten we owe you guys a freebie)

    Trip eBooks are a bit of a challenge. Chapman does the actual hiking / track stuff incredibly well. Where we have tried to be a bit different is add the planning stuff around the whole trip and a bit of before and after advice. This takes a lot of time unfortunately and the market is not huge. The Overland Track is perfect for this as a lot of people have to travel to Tassie and the whole bus, flights, ferry blah blah thing can be really complicated.
    That being said, as we live near the Great Ocean Walk on about that trip would be relatively easy (but the numbers are small)

    Have a great trip! Can we interest you in writing up a trip report on your return?? It does not have to be long but , as you know, reading how others did it helped you!!

  3. judy says

    very interesting reading, i’m considering doing the overland track solo next year 2011.
    i have walked many tracks in tasmania, but this was quite a few years ago. i have never considered a solo walk before but now would like to experience walking alone and being totally dependant on myself.
    i look forward to researching more information from those who have already done this walk solo
    judy

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