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The Overland Track Newbie

Heather Ellis hiked the Overland Track, Tasmania in April 2021. Heather is an Australian motorcycle adventurer and author who rode solo across Africa and Central Asia along the Silk Roads to China on her Yamaha TT600.

The Overland Track in Tasmania, Australia was the beginning of her new adventure into hiking..... but she sill rides motorcycles!


"In every walk with nature one receives far more than one seeks." John Muir, Scottish-American conservationist and author (1838-1914) from the info board at Narcissus Hut, Overland Track, Tasmania, Australia.



From the 12 to 18 April 2021, I hiked the 78km Overland Track, in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, alone! While my solo walk was not planned, I am eternally grateful for the experience; the solitude; that rare chance to be 'one with the wilderness' for those magical seven days.

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DAY 4: View across Pelion Gap. A glorious afternoon with a brief moment of sunshine.



My Overland Track hike started when my long-time journo friend Karen Forman (we both wrote for The Cairns Post back in 1998), invited me to join her group of eight, when one of their party cancelled.

'Sure,' I said. 'What's the Overland Track?'.

When I Googled 'Overland Track', I was mesmerised by this magically world. I also realised I needed to get serious about pack training and buying some quality hiking gear. I'm not entirely new to hiking as on my motorcycle travels across Africa, I trekked Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; the Rwenzori Mountains, and the Ituri Rainforest, both in DRC (formerly Zaire). But on all these hikes, I hired a porter and a guide. While on a writing workshop in Chamonix, France with Cheryl Strayed, author of bestselling travel memoir Wild, I also hiked the mountains around Mont Blanc. Cheryl also endorsed my first book Ubuntu.

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DAY 1: Leaving Ronny Creek with our group of 8. That's me with the over-packed red Osprey pack. Note the 'pee rag' for pees on the track (and not using toilet paper). It's a microfibre cloth that can be washed out each day and dries quickly on the back of your pack. Photo: Karen Forman.



As a complete newbie to hiking, I quickly did my research and eight weeks out from departure for the Overland Track, I started pack training. Fortunately, I live in the Yarra Ranges and a brisk 3km walk half-way up nearby Mt Riddell with my new 65lt Osprey pack at 18kg (3 x 4.5kg bags Coles cat litter and 2 x 2lt milk bottles filled with water) became my daily routine. I purchased the 65lt Ariel Osprey from Paddy Pallin in Ringwood, Melbourne as I knew how important it was to be fitted for the correct size and shown how to wear a pack.

However, the sales assistant neglected to share her knowledge and I walked out with 'all the gear and no idea'. During my pack training, I assumed the pressure on my shoulders was 'normal' when it comes to carrying a hiking pack.

In the early days of my pack training, I was also fortunate to meet a hiker who regularly hikes in Nepal and to Everest Base Camp. 'Do lots of squats,' he said. So with my 2 x 7.5kg weights, I was doing 100 a day in my lounge room in the final weeks of my pack training. As I ride a Triumph Thruxton motorcycle which weighs 230kg, I need to have the strength to lift 'the black princess' just in case I drop her, so I was reasonably fit anyway. But without pack training, I would never have been able to hike the Overland Track carrying a massive 30kg. Yes, 30kg.

Fortunately, my fitness saved me and my 'stop often to be one with the wilderness' attitude to hiking. Every step, every turn, every change in the weather, brings a different level of wonder on the Overland Track. During my seven days, I met several hikers who where on their 20th, 17th, 9th and 5th hike on the Overland Track. 'It's always so different, that's why I keep coming back,' they all said.

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Gabby and I carefully cross a snow and ice-covered boardwalk. Photo: Karen Forman



Our group of eight split in two within minutes of us starting the ascent to Marions Lookout. With knee-deep snow and a forecast of rain and freezing temperatures to follow, the first person from our group turned back an hour into the walk from Ronny Creek. He'd been feeling unwell and his decision was a wise move. Sometimes, it is just not your time to hike the OT.

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Slow going in deep snow. Take rubbers off end of treking poles for better grip on wet, ice & snow-covered boardwalks.

The first four from our group of eight, who became known as the 'front-running four' set a brisk pace to reach Waterfall Hut before dark. I was more than happy to enjoy the novelty of hiking through snow and Karen, Gabby and I enjoyed the vistas across Cradle Mountain in this winter wonderland. To be honest, I was having so much fun, I didn't give a thought to how many hours of daylight we had left and it all came as a sudden and quite scary shock when daylight faded.

We found out from a couple hiking behind us that we were still 3.7km from Waterfall Valley Hut at about 6pm. Together the five of us trudged on, our torches lighting the way and our trekking poles (rubbers removed to avoid slipping), supporting us. The sky had cleared and the air was eerily still as our boots crunched over the ice-crusted snow. The young woman had asthma and we rested for brief moments often, which suited me as my shoulders, by now, were on fire from my ill-fitted over-weight pack. To wait and help others in need is 'hiker's law' on any trail and is part of the Overland Track guidelines.

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A stunning view of Cradle Mountain on our walk to Waterfall Valley. Photo: Karen Forman

We reached the new Waterfall Valley Hut two hours later where the gas fire was blazing to warm us as we ate dinner and sipped red wine. Those 12kms were long and tiring and Gabby was fatigued from no food since lunch as we could not stop or else get cold and risk hypothermia. They decided to rest a day at Waterfall Valley and catch up, but with another cold front forecast, a ranger advised it was not safe to go on just the two of them. They returned to Cradle Mountain the next day saving a man from hypothermia on the way. I heard, there were three people helivacced off the Overland Track during the week of my hike.


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Day 1: Waterfall Valley Hut with gas heater in the spacious dining room. I sept in the dinning room to escape the snorers. I did so in all the huts and was mostly the only hiker to do so. Photo: Karen Forman

Once you are on the Overland Track, if anything goes wrong, its a helicopter out and if the weather is bad, it might take a day or two. When we had our briefing by a ranger from Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service at 3pm the day before departure, we were warned about the slow going in knee-deep slow, but I didn't understand well enough that in order to reach Waterfull Valley Hut before dark, we needed to start walking from Ronny Creek no later than 9am. The hike from Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley is majestic for its views of Cradle Mountain and beyond. It's a day you want to start early so you can stop often and just take it all in. However, in the summer months, you've got a lot more day light than in April.

On Day 2, I decided to walk on with the other four from our group as I had to reach Cynthia Bay on Sunday for the bus to Launceston and flight back to Melbourne. Karen and Gabby had an extra week in Tassie. The front-running four set a brisk pace for the 3 hour walk to Windermere leaving at 8am. 'What's the rush,' I asked? 'Rain and cold front coming in,' was their reply.

As it's advised you don't walk alone on the OT, I had no choice but to try and keep up. 'Fat chance,' I realised when the trail hit the snow and ice-covered boardwalks. 'Go on,' I told them when I finally caught up. 'I like my solitude,' I said, thinking 'and my life without a broken leg and helivac bill'. Their brisk pace was a breeze with light packs and as a mother of three, I understood their priority to get their two teenage girls warm and snug in a hut as soon as possible each day. Before leaving Waterfall Valley, Karen gave me her UHF radio and the front-running four also had a radio for an emergency. I never hired a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) as I'd always be walking with Karen and Gabby who did have one.

If you're a single person walking with a group, I'd hire a PLB as circumstances may change and you might end up on your own as I did.


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The Fagas, Australia's only native deciduous tree. As the track decended to Lake Windermere, it was like a Japanese garden. My photos were all blurred from Day 2 as my iPhone 6 was in its LifeProof cover. The Overland Track is the best reason to upgrade your phone so you have a decent camera, especially in low-light such as rain and cloudy days. Although, my aging iPhone 6 didn't do too badly. Photo: Pexels Free Stock Photos.

The 'front-running four' soon disappeared into the distance. Then the magic happened. Slowly at first as most of the pack weight was still on my shoulders. It was just after the four had disappeared that I met an experienced hiker enjoying the view. 'My shoulders are killing me,' I remarked. 'You must be wearing your pack wrong,' he replied and immediately showed me the correct technique How to wear your pack Wish I'd watched this video before the Overland Track.

He also told me my 65lt Osprey pack, purchased in-store at Paddy Palin in Ringwood, Melbourne was too long for my torso. An Overland Track ranger made the same comment a few days later and recommended Aarn packs from Backpacking Light in Melbourne. Aarn packs have optional balance pockets. Perfect for me as I like the easy access to gloves, water bladder, lunch, snacks etc (the stuff I carried in my day pack worn front facing, which was the only place to carry my red wine cask which would leak if carried in the Osprey pack, especially when I did up the straps to compress its contents). Check out Aarn packs at Backpacking Light


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Day 3: Windermere to Pelion Hut

"The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive." Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist and author, 1926. (from the info board at Pelion Hut)



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The Overland Track is often a tangle of tree roots as it passes through ancient forests that grab you and insist you stay longer. When you do, the wind rustles in the leaves above and the trees whisper words of wisdom. Ask for guidance and they will answer you.



When you book your permit to hike the Overland Track, you will receive a guidebook. As well as safety information and detailed hiking notes, it also contains a packing list and top tips. Read this repeatedly and follow the advice like it is your new religion.

You really do only need one set of clothes to walk in, and one set to sleep in.

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View across Pelion Gap.



I weighed my pack on Day 1 at Cradle Mountain and it came in at 20.7kg + 3kg in my day pack, which included 2lt of red wine and 1.5lt water in a bladder. But the hand-held scales had to be wrong, because when I weighed my pack and day pack on Day 7 at Launcheston airport, I realised I was carrying a massive 30kg when I started the Overland Track. A sudden change in plans meant I caught the ferry to Tassie instead of a flight from Melbourne so I did not weigh in at the start. An Overland Track ranger advised the ideal weight for an adult is 16kg, but this is really for the ultra-light hikers.


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Weigh-in at Launceston airport on Day 7 on Sunday, 18/4/21 after Overland Track. Day pack also included items to shower at airport.


The Overland Track guidebook recommends 18kg and no more than 1/3 of your body weight.

This 18kg made up of:

Base weight 10kg (pack, tent, sleeping bag, mat, clothes, tent, cooking equipment, clothes, wet weathers etc etc) plus 1.1kg of food per day. Most people take 5 to 6 days without side trips, which can add another two or three days.

I met several hikers (men and women) carrying around 16kg. But all the newbies, advised their weight was around 20 to 23kg.

As a solo hiker, I also carried a 2.5kg tent. To get anywhere near 16kg, I have some serious learning to do about ultra-light hiking and I welcome any advice. No, I'm not giving up my red wine! Those 300mls each night with dinner finishes off my day just perfectly. But I will seriously consider the Zpacks trekking pole tent at 539g made of Dyneema. This tent is expensive at US$650.

The Chinese offer a similar trekking pole tent made of nylon at 1.25kg for US$39 Alibaba tent.

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Zpacks trekking pole tent. Weighing at just 600gms, the Zpacks is ideal for long multi-day hikes. You must carry a tent on the Overland Track. I never used my 2.5kg tent as it was too wet most days.


NB: I didn't think to take pack contents photos before the Overland Track. These photos wear taken when I returned home.

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Left: Pack contents (plus 2 x 110g small butane gas cyclinders. Used 1.5 cyclinders over 7 days).

Centre: What I wore and/or had in my day pack worn front-facing. Boots: HiTec Altitude Light.

Right: Food bag and left over food, which weighed 2.5kg. (Note the bag of glucose powder. I did not really need to take the entire bag of 325g! I only had a few spoonfuls mixed in water over 7 days).

FOOD (Food eaten: 6.8kg) Total weight of food including left-over food 2.5kg = 9.3kg

10 x boiled eggs, 200g quick oats, brown sugar/cinamon, milk powder, black forest gateu cake 250g (this was my leftover birthday cake made by my three boys so could not leave it behind and so glad I didn't), 2 x punnets cherry toms (stored in a Jalna pot-set yoghurt container), 2 x Strive gnocchi 285g each, 1 x Strive Laksa 120g, 4 x protein bars 60g each, coffee sachets x 8, tea bags x 6, packet soup x 2 , dried mango packs x 2 , butter 200g, 1/2 loaf sourdough bread, spinach leaves, jalapeno chilli x 4, John West Tuna + Protein 220g x 5 (heavy and when eaten cold feels like you're eating cat food, but heated with a little water, cherry toms and chillis is very yummy). 2lt red wine cask without box. See photo above for my left-over food which weighed 2.5kg. Notice all the protein bars. I allowed two per day, but only managed to chew through one per day or 1/2. Not that tasty.

A WORD ON STRIVE DEHYDRATED MEALS: Just takes far too much gas to cook. Seasoned hikers agree. Most recommended Outdoor Gourmet and Back Country. Butter Chicken was the most popular. You just add boiling water and leave for 10 mins or longer and then give it a quick reheat in your pot.


(plus food and 2 x 110g small butane gas cyclinders. Used 1.5 cyclinders over 7 days. Day pack worn front-facing contained gloves, 1.5lt water, 2lt red wine, phone used as camera)

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My pack contents after removing items I did not use such as book (I was too pre-occupied being one with the wilderness. If you must take a book, try a slim volume by nature poet, Williiam Wordsworth. Ideal to read on the Overland Track to inspire other-worldly thoughts of nature... I did not need 3 x thermal leggings. I thought I'd get wet but my Outrak wet weather pants kept me dry. Most other hikers complained their wet weather pants & jacket had failed to varying degrees.

“Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.” 
― William Wordsworth

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A rainbow just after leaving Narcissus Hut where I stopped for lunch. Most people end their hike at Narcissus and catch the ferry to Cynthia Bay. But the walk to Cynthia Bay is one of the highlights of the Overland Track, especially if you love ancient moss-coved forests.



Sea to Summit gaiters

Macpac trekking poles

Macpac pertex rain jacket (I stayed dry after 8 hours hiking in rain. A little damp on the arms on this day of constant rain. All other days stayed dry. I borrowed this jacket but the men's size large was ideal as the sleeves covered my gloves and more of my upper legs)

Outrak wet weather pants with full-length zippers on legs (stayed dry after 8 hours hiking in rain.) I mostly wore leggings and wet weather pants with zippers open to prevent sweating.

Mountain Designs hiking cargo pants (pockets are a must). Only worn when it was not raining. As hiking pants are in a stretch fabric, make sure its a firm fit. Mine are a size 12 and way too big. I love these pants and will buy a size 10.

Polypro leggings - worn on day 1 (snow), day 2 (snow and rain) and day 3 (rain) under wet weather pants.

Polypro long-sleeve top - worn every day.

Fleece neck warmer - worn as beanie and head band every day.

Waterproof ski gloves - worn on day 1, 2 & 3.

MacPac merino wool glove liners - worn on day 1, 2 & 3.

MacPac cami singlet - this is my favourite piece of clothing. Soft, warm and soooo comfortable.

Sloggi zero-feel bra and undies

Sock liners, hiking socks and gortex sock liners - everyone had wet feet as track was like walking in a creek.

North Face fleece - I bought this fleece 14 years ago and wear it under my motorcycle jacket. On the Overland Track, I only wore it on day 1 under my rain jacket. I had this fleece in my day pack to keep warm when I stopped for lunch. I carried two fleece jackets but only needed one as I could have worn it at night as well.

Hiking sun hat - even though it was cloudy, I wore sunblock everyday. But in some of my photos, it looks like I still got a little sunburnt because I did not wear my hat.

Hi-Tec Altitude Light hiking boots - I bought these boots at Anaconda three years ago from a bargin bin for $50, I've done many day hikes in these boots, which are so comfortable and light. Even after 7 days on the Overland Track, when my feet were wet most of the time, I did not get blisters or sore feet.

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The Overland Track is a great leveller for hiking boots as it turned into a creek for most of my 7-day hike.

The Overland Track is a great leveller for hiking boots as everyone had wet feet from my $50 boots to $700 top of the range leather and gortex hiking boots. One woman's advice to newbie hikers is to buy the lightest hiking boots you can as when leather gets wet, it gets heavy.

Even waterproof socks failed eventually after walking for days in water. At least, we could partially dry out our socks on the gas heater in the huts. But damp socks in wet boots soon warm up. Even if you start with dry feet, it does not last on a wet track.

Too many hikers walk around the puddles and each year more and more vegetation is damaged. Just stay on the track. Be brave and face the water. If you look carefully, you'll see stepping stones and logs placed just right so you don't sink up to your ankles in mud and/or water.


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Mt Ossa Junction. The sun shines for a brief moment but Mt Ossa is shrouded in cloud with snow on the peaks on Day 4 of my hike.


Columbia fleece jacket - Note on down jackets: I can't bring myself to buy/wear a down puffer jacket. And I'm not about to believe the RDS when the jacket comes out of China. I bought a Sea To Summit Altitude II RDS down sleeping bag before I looked into whether or not ethical down was in fact ethical. Read this article for more on ethical down. If you already own a down jacket, don't watch the video as you may never want to wear it again. The dark side of down jackets There are good quality synethic puffer jackets you can buy. Check out Patagonia.

Macpac merino thermals - leggings and long-sleeve top

Wool socks

Aldi croc-style shoes - with liner removed (much lighter and cheaper than Crocs).

Anticorp lined-wool Beanie - a greatly appreciated birthday present from Karen Forman.

Fleece gloves - used to keep phone and charger warm and together in my sleeping bag to converse battery power.

3 x undies

2 x spare hiking socks - not needed as I rinsed my socks each night and after a night on the rack over the gas heater, my socks were dry-ish by morning)

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Inside Kia Ora Hut. It's quite snug but has a very good gas heater. As it was raining, only one hiker used his tent.


PACK BASE ITEMS ( pack, tent, sleeping bag, mat, gas stove etc)

Osprey Ariel 65lt pack (purchased instore and fitted by Paddy Pallin salesperson. The frame was too long for me.

Sea to Summitt Alt 750 loft sleeping bag from Tom's Outdoors - I slept in the huts every night and was very warm in this sleeping bag. Mostly slept in single and undies.

Sea To Summit Thermolite Extreme sleeping bag liner - I did not need this as was very warm in my sleeping bag, but good to have if I'd been in my tent.

Thermarest mat (I've had this mat for a few years and is so comfortable. But I also had a Mattress Pro inflatable mat, which I affectionately call the 'inflatable plastic bag'. I used this under my thermarest and it was like sleeping on my bed at home. These inflatable 'plastic bag' mattresses a very light and very popular on the Overland Track, and very noisy as well with plastic rustling all night when hikers tossed and turned. Another reason, besides the snoring and farting, why I slept in the dinning room of every hut. Except Kia Ora, which is all one room. I tried ear plugs, and no these don't cut out the noise.

Sea To Summit drylite towel small - Wild Earth

Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier bottle - Wild Earth

Soto Amicus stove w/piezo lighter - Wild Earth - I used 1 + 1/2 small butane gas canisters) came with free Spork (a plastic knife, fork, spoon combo that breaks easily, but mine lasted the distance.

Stainless steel ultralight cook pot with lid (fire-blackened but still good after my world motorcycle travels from 1993 to 1998). The closest thing would be the Sea To Summit Alpha pot - Snowys

Trangia pot lifter - Snowys Outdoors

Camelbak water bladder 1.5lt - Wild Earth - I drank 1.5lt per day. Carried in my day pack, I always had access to water. Having never used a water bladder before, this is an absolute must on the Overland Track and any multi-day hike.

Tenacious Tape - Wild Earth - just in case you need to repair holes in sleeping mat or if an animal chews through your pack such as a rat at Echo Point Hut.

Water bottle (aluminium) - this was too heavy, I was told and advised to use an empty water bottle from Coles or Woolies. This plastic bottle is only used to store water for cooking/drinking while at the huts. Balance water from Woolies or Coles - This plastic bottle was recommended as being durable and slim enough to slip into your pack side pocket.

Comsol Power Bank Charger (10,000mAh) - Officeworks. I put my phone on charge every night and tucked the phone and charger in fleece gloves and stored inside my sleeping bag to keep warm and retain charge. I still had three bars of charge on this charger when I came home.

Plastic poncho/ground sheet - useless as a poncho in the rain if it's windy.

First Aid kit with all the essentials including Vitamin I (ibuprofen), and an emergency blanket.

Basic toiletries including sunscreen even if it is cloudy and raining.



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Camelbak water bladder is a must on the Overland Track. It means you'll drink more water, which many newbies neglect to do. Photo: Karen Forman.

I was reluctant to buy a water filter until advised by Tom from Hike Or Die (outdoor adventure podcast) and a regular hiker on the Overland Track.

Tom put it this way: Nearly 9000 people a year hike the OT and there is a lot of wildlife out there, plus possums, mice and rats (only at Echo Point) live near the huts as well as currawongs and all could poo on the roof which collects rainwater for the tanks where hikers get their drinking water. Just takes one mouthful of contaminated water.

That all made perfect sense to me. After hiking the OT, and being one of only two hikers who left the hut after 9am when all my daily abultions had been completed, I did wonder about the bowel movements of the other hikers (numbering about 16 people), who started from 7am to 8am each morning. The rule is if you have to do a poo while on the track, you must dig a hole 20cm deep at least 100m from water, camps and tracks.

For half the track I filtered all my drinking water, but by Day 4 at Kia Ora Hut, I drank unfiltered water from rain water tanks, creeks and lakes and had no issues except on the first day of unfiltered water, I had a slight headache. As I was drinking nearly 2lt of water a day, it was not a dehydration headache. A seasoned hiker told me, this was a 'water headache' caused by my brain's reaction to low-level pathogens, which were not strong enough to effect my bowels. But I have a tough stomach as I rarely filtered water while travelling Africa and Central Asia. Although in China, I only drank tea like everyone else. I took two pandol and never had a headache again. It might just have been my body aclimatising to those low-level pathogens.


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The enchanted forest on the Narcissus Hut to Echo Point walk. Too much forest bathing does strange things to you after seven days. Forest Bathing or shinrin-yoku is the Japanese art and science of how trees can promote health and happiness.


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How could you not do the Echo Point walk? Photo by Heather Ellis taken on an iPhone 6.

"When you go out there, you don't get away from it all. You get back to it all. You come home to what's important. You come home to yourself." Peter Dombrovskis, Tasmanian wilderness photographer 1945-1996 - from the info board at Kia Ora Hut.



(I will add these links over coming days. The podcasts, blogs and websites are recommended by seasoned hikers and rangers on the Overland Track.

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Breakfast at Echo Point


I'll be back on the Overland Track with my three boys one summer very soon.

I'd take nine days, which would give time to hike Mt Ossa and stay two days at Pine Valley to hike The Labyrinth and The Acropolis. When you book your Overland Track permit, you must also book your side trip to Pine Valley.

If the weather is sunny, I'd spend a full day at Echo Point, swimming, laying on the beach and forest bathing (shinrin-yoku). You could also hike Mt Olympus as a day walk from Echo Point.

A day relaxing at Echo Point would end your Overland Track in serenity before returning to civilization.

PS. you do have phone reception at Echo Point and at Narcissus Hut, but I chose not to re-engage until I reached Cynthia Bay.

If you have any questions about my solo-adventure on the Overland Track, please email me.

h.ellis (at)

Heather Ellis


(All photos on this page are by Heather Ellis taken on an iPhone 6, unless marked otherwise. Thank you Karen Forman for your stunning photos from Day 1 taken on an iPhone 12)


ubuntu and silk road book cover

Heather's books are available at bookshops, your local library & via PayPal


Overland Track

Heather Ellis - The Overland Track Newbie

(so what's in the 'front-facing'day pack? Read on to find out!)


Day 1: Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley

11km (snow). 10:30am to 8:40pm.

(Day 1 photos by Karen Forman)



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Heather Ellis with Gabby and Karen Forman at Marions Lookout on day 1, Overland Track



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Kitchen Hut for lunch



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Our late start and slow walk through deep snow, meant a three-hour walk by torchlight to Waterfall Valley Hut.

With an ill-fitting pack and carrying most of the weight on my shoulders, when we reached the emergency dome hut, I was ready to bail, but walked on to enjoy the warmth in the modern Waterfall Valley Hut.



Day 2: Waterfall Valley to Windemere

7.8km (cloudy, boardwalks covered in snow) 8:15am to 1:30pm


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Beware the black possums at Windermere Hut. Don't leave food in pockets of rain jackets.


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Windermere Hut.

I opted to sleep on the dining area floor to avoid noise of snoring, farting and plastic inflatable mat rustling in the crowded sleeping area. Myself and another hiker were the only ones who figured this was the best option for a good nights sleep!

NB: A poncho which doubles as a ground sheet is a must to put under your mat and sleeping bag.


Day 3: Windemere to Pelion

16.8km (cloudy, rain) 9:10am to 4:40pm


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View across the buttongrass plains


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In the forest, the track turns medieval.


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With so much rain, waterfalls were everywhere


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The track opens to eucalyptus forest



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Fungi thrives on the forest floor.


'A mushroom walks into a bar. 'Sorry,' said the barman, 'Your kind arn't welcome here.' 'Why not,' said the mushroom, 'I'm a fun-guy.' Thank you to hiker Kathy for this joke. With so many fungi, her joke was an 'ear-worm' on this day .


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Alpine yellow gum. The colours were striking in the dam conditions.


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The boardwalk is very narrow and slippery in damp conditions. Take rubbers off your poles.


You can't take your eyes off your feet on any of the Overland Track surfaces (boardwalks, rocks and tree roots). Instead of risking a fall, stop and enjoy the wilderness. Let the trees speak to you! There is no need to rush unless arriving at the huts early and playing cards all afternoon is your thing.

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Mt Oakleigh shrouded in clour near Pelion Hut.



Day 4: Pelion to Kia Ora

8.6km (rain, sunny patches)

9:00am to 5:00pm

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Leaving Pelion Hut in rain.



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Mt Ossa junction, Pelion Gap. It's snowing on Mt Ossa and not advisable to hike today. Due to rain and snow, the side-trips including Pine Valley, where not possible on my Overland Track hike.


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View towards Mount Pelion East. Another side trip not possible due to snow on the summit.



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Toilets at Kia Ora Hut with view of snow -dusted Mount Massif range. I carried two rolls and used 2/3 of the second roll, but was a little wasteful for first two days until I realised. I used 'pee rag' during the day.


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Hikers leaving Kia Ora Hut


Day 5: Kia Ora to Bert Nichols Hut (Windy Ridge)

9.6km (cloudy, good sunny patches)

9:30am to 5:00pm

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Mostly rainforest walking on Day 5.


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Du Cane Hut sits in a sunny clearing.


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Junction where hikers leave packs to visit D'Alton and Fergusson Falls


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D'Alton Falls are thundering.


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Fergusson Falls

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Pandani. With every step, new vegetation and/or vista awaits.


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A very 'burlie' gum tree with a bum. Too much rain stress, I think!!




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The modern Bert Nichols Hut sits in the flow of an ancient glacier


Day 6: Bert Nichols Hut to Echo Point

15km (cloudy with sunny patches)

8:30am to 5:00pm


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Open eucalyptus forest and pink mountain berry shrubs covered in the ancient glacial valley hemmed by a mountain range, but shrouded in cloud on this day.



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The track is a tangle of tree roots. I kept thinking of the Avatar movie and how the trees are all connected. Was something strange happening to me?


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More fungi nestled next to a red splash of paint previously uses as a track marker.



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Echo Point Hut, the tiniest hut of all. Most hikers opted to sleep in their tents due to rats. Packs and food even if sleeping in tents needs to be stored in the metal bins provided.


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A must do for all Overland Track newbies, is to swim in Lake St Clair no matter how cold.


Overland Track

Inside Echo Point Hut. I opted for the hut after my swim and I managed to get the coal fire burning. I figured the rats had to be 'naturalised' since importation nearly 100 years ago on the boats of trappers. And just like all the other cute fury critters in the forest would be living off insects etc. While I stored my food in the metal bin, I ignored the advice about my pack. Yes, rats chewed a hole but only the front mesh.


Overland Track

Echo Point Hut: The coal fire kept me (and the rats) warm. The fire door is usually closed but I just wanted to show you I did get the fire going! Most hikers give up, but the trick is use your gas stove. Hopefully, previous hikers have replaced the kindling. Coal is supplied from a large bin outside.



Overland Track

The view from Echo Point Hut. I was ready to move in... but that was before rats chewed my pack and were probably eyeing off my ears while I slept. I'll sleep in my tent next time.



Day 7: Echo Point to Cynthia Bay

12km (cloudy with sunny patches)

9:30am to 1:30pm


Overland Track

From Echo Point, the track is close to Lake St Clair all the way to Cynthia Bay


Overland Track

The land of the giants. A woollybutt (eucalptus longifolia) stands sentinel beside the lake.


Overland Track

Just like home in the Yarra Ranges, the vegetation changes to giant tree ferns


Overland Track

I've made it! I'm filled with elation after my magical seven days on the Overland Track. I'll be back (in summer) with my three boys and a much lighter pack.


Overland Track

Like all Overland Track Newbies, I had to have the Overland Burger.

The only diners were a couple, a family and myself at 1:30pm on a Sunday. The Tasmanian pinot was very nice. Seasoned hikers and locals, I was told, opt for the Hungry Wombat Cafe at Derwent Bridge.































































































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