How many nights to spend hiking the Overland Track is a common question.
Do you take five, six or seven nights to walk from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair?
What are the best number of days to hike the Overland Track?
Michael, one of our readers, sent the following email that highlights a common problem when planning the walk :
I realise you are not a travel agent but I wondered if you might be prepared to make a suggestion for me.
I am booking the final details for my solo overland hike in two weeks and the question relates to booking a bus from Lake St Clair to Hobart. Tassielink offer only an 8:00 PM departure bus on the Friday that I planned on arriving at the end of the hike. Every other day they offer a late morning option – including the following day.
If it were you, would you stay the extra night (making it 6 nights on the track) leaving Saturday morning or leave on the Friday at 8:00 PM night (5 nights on the track).
I realise there many factors to consider but all things being equal for yourself, I wondered what you might do knowing what you know now and if it were your first time on the overland hike?
We had a chat about Michael’s question and the reply is below.
What we are really interested in is your feedback. Many of you have hiked the Overland Track and used our eBook as a guide.
What advice do you have for Michael?
Frank & Sue’s response:
Ok, we are not travel agents but have grappled with this problem before.
First of all, we cannot for the life of us work out why they have changed the Friday night bus to 8pm at Lake St Clair. It means you get into Hobart about 10:30pm and then have to get to your accommodation.
We are pretty confident the booking system for the bus is very flexible. Check with the company, BUT, from memory, if you prebook and pay your ticket is basically transferable to a different date. So, for example, if you are booked and paid on the Friday bus and come out Saturday, your ticket should be valid. They do have a check list but don’t seem to wait for people to arrive. (bushwalkers are notoriously unreliable)
We would go for the 6 nights on the track. BUT, it really (REALLY) depends on what weather you have, how many side trips you take, what sort of a hurry you are in , what people you meet and your frame of mind…..
There is an interesting thing that happens down there, it is sort of a herd mentality (particularly among the young overseas backpacker fraternity) They get a sniff of beer and chips and tend to sprint the last couple of days with the people they have met along the way. Sometimes there can be groups of up to 10 of them who do a forced march towards the nearest pub! You need to be careful to avoid the herd or you may be swept up and popped out the end before your realise it!
We believe the Overland Track (and you) deserve the six nights. It takes the pressure off, means you can have a rest day or walk the length of Lake St Clair or just take your time and enjoy the environment. A side trip and night in Pine Valley also becomes an option.
I hope this has helped, as you say “there are many factors to consider”. Frank did it in 4 nights once and hated it, we both have done it in 5 several times and 6 or 7 a couple of times. The longer times were best!
Over to you dear readers, what advice do you have for Michael?
How many nights are best when walking the Overland Track?
Please leave us a comment below.
Addendum – Michael sent us another email in response:
I will see if I can find a bus company that leaves on the Saturday as Tassielink don’t have any buses on Saturday in their Winter timetable. They switch to their Winter timetable early April and massively lower their options. Here is the link to their winter timetable if you would like it for your readers
I will write something about my trip for your blog and take some photos. Meanwhile if you want to use me for a testimonial I would be most happy for you to do so. Feel free to use any photos off my website if that helps. I am telling everyone about your Ebook. “It is by far the best money I’ve spent since I took up hiking.” That’s the truth.