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Overland Track Tasmania, Hiking to The Gates of Mordor

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I’ve loved hiking ever since discovering it helps me recover from stress at work. Speaking of hiking, one of the most famous hiking tracks is the Overland Track Tasmania. It is a 65 km hiking track which begins in Cradle Mountain and ends in Lake St. Clair. It’s considered among the most challenging tracks, because it lasts up to 6 days to complete.

Overland Track Tasmania

Day 1 Cradle Mountain & Crater Lake

I was thrilled to bathe my face with sunshine on our first day. First, we crossed a plain and reached one of the steepest tracks I’ve encountered and stopped at the Crater Lake. (The Crater Lake is not really a crater, it got its name from the previous ice ages where ice was formed.) Then we traversed on a chain trail which led us to Marion’s Lookout. The view of Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain is breathtaking. We stopped for lunch at Plateau Creek and went straight to Barn Bluff.

Have you heard of the Mountain Pepper Berry? Our guide showed me a tree with dark green pointed leaves. It was adorned with cream flowers which eventually turn into charcoal brown pepper berries. I was told it was a highly valued commodity in Tasmania because only the female plants bear fruit. I chewed a leaf and found it very spicy.

At Barn Bluff Hut, we are served with delicious coffee and tea. Glad I haven’t forgotten my coffee container as it keeps the taste when we start trekking tomorrow. Everybody’s able to get the chance to know each other while our guides prepared the meals. All in all, everything was splendid.

crater lake overland track tasmania
Crater Lake, Overland Track Tasmania

Day 2 Pine Forest Moor and Lake Will

Today we set foot to the Pine Forest Moor. Yesterday was bright and sunny; but now it’s windy and foggy. The trail is notoriously muddy. We’re just thankful that boardwalks have been installed to keep us from getting stuck. Don’t forget to bring a good jacket with you because the Tasmanian weather is really unpredictable.

Thirty minutes later, we were at Lake Will where our group decided to go for a swim. The water was so cold and refreshing. How I wish I could have stayed there a little bit longer.

It was a beautiful morning walk and the view was stunning everywhere I looked. The flowers were in bloom and we also saw footprints of a nocturnal marsupial, the quoll. At lunch, we stopped at Lake Windermere. While our guides prepare our food, I found peace in the breathtaking scene that’s in front of me. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Before heading to the Pine Forest Moor Hut, our afternoon was filled with magnificence from the Forth Valley Lookout.

forth valley lookout
Forth Valley, from Forth Valley Lookout, Overland Track by Doug Beckerslicense

Day 3 Pelion Creek / Mount Oakleigh

Day 3 is hiking in the base of the third highest mountain in Tasmania, Mount Pelion West. Below its northern side, the water from the Forth River flows to Pelion Creek.

As I was taking photos of the vast scenery, I sensed that there was someone (or something) watching me. I felt like I was in a scary movie! Turns out, I’m right,  I’m being watched. I saw a wallaby about 5 feet away from, staring at me. I was waiting for his next move but I think the wallaby is probably more scared than I am. After taking a photo, we both moved on.

Before lunch is served at the Old Pelion Hut, our group had a quick detour to the Fossil Creek. It brought back some of the old memories when I was learning geology. Some of our group members took a different route to Mount Oakleigh. And at dinner, they told us how they endured mud that was chest deep!

pelion west overland track tasmania
Pelion West from Pelion Plains By PelionClimber [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Day 4 Douglas Creek and Mount Ossa (The Gates of Mordor)

Today is extra special for me, and I’m going to tell you why. After a hearty breakfast, we’re back on track. The sunrise is invigorating. I didn’t expect to feel so much energy from it. Our first stop is Douglas Creek where I saw the tallest King Billy Pine I’ve ever seen in my life. We were told that this is only one of three throughout the Overland Track. And then, we went to Mount Doris for lunch.

Here’s my most awaited part, climbing the highest peak in Tasmania, Mount Ossa. Die-hard fans of the book and hit TV series Game of Thrones will love it here. For this is where you find two rocky pinnacles which are named after that dreaded place called “The Gates of Mordor.” This rocky slope took us five hours to reach. It was so steep that I’m surprised I made it. Looking down scared the hell out of me. But reaching the top of Mount Ossa was one of my best achievements so far. From there I saw the darkening clouds in The Gates of Mordor. Boy, that’s scary.

We, of course, talked about our Game of Thrones-like experience over dinner.

mount ossa gates of mordor
The Gates of Mordor! Mount Ossa on the Overland Track Tasmania – license

Day 5 Loads of Waterfalls

Today, it’s all about waterfalls. But before that, our fifth day started with more hiking, with the amazing rays of the sun, and beautiful trees covered in moss. Our next stop is the Du Cane Hut. The Du Cane Hut was known to have been built in 1910 by trapper Paddy Hartnett. And in to the forest, we go. In it lies three waterfalls.

First is the D’Alton Falls. Next, we went to Ferguson Falls and had lunch at Harnett Falls. I love waterfalls, and there’s no stopping me from diving into these amazing bodies of water. After swimming, we hiked to the Windy Ridge Hut to spend our last night in the wilderness.

du cane hut
Du Cane Hut, an old trappers hut which was once known as Windsor Castle. It’s built of timber shingles and is registered by the National Trust. By Julie Edgleylicense

Day 6 Lake St Clair

Ah, our last day. I can’t believe we’re leaving. As some of them say, good things come to an end. But as they also say, savour it while it lasts. It took us 3 hours to complete the first 9 hours of the walk of the day. We made it to Narcissus just in time for lunch. After we ate, we took a swim, in very cold water!

Finally, it’s time to go home. A boat took us to Cynthia Bay and we waited for a return trip to Quamby Estate. Amazing is an understatement in describing how wonderful my experience of the Overland Track was. Hopefully, I can come back next year! Check out more excellent hiking tracks in Tasmania

Need Accommodation in Tasmania?

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Author: Samantha Rosario is a blogger, mother, and resident of the greatest city in the world, NYC. When not working at a Manhattan publishing house, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. She is also an avid runner and swimmer, and aims to complete an Ironman in 2018. You can check on her at Pound Coffee.

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