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?
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.
- 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!)
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)