Can you walk the Overland Track for free
AUSTRALIA,  TASMANIA

ARM RIVER TRACK TO NEW PELION HUT

Did you know that you can get to New Pelion Hut without doing the entire Overland Track? Well… I was surprised too when I found out! Have a closer look at the map. Can you see a trail starting right behind Mount Pillinger? That’s what I’m talking about. The Arm River Track that goes straight to New Pelion Hut. Who would have ever thought that you can take a shortcut to the most beautifully situated hut on the Overland Track. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you all you need to know about this hike. Let’s go!

ARM RIVER TRACK: NEED TO KNOW

Most hikers get to New Pelion Hut on day 3 of the Overland Track. Then the debate begins. What side trip to do on the next day? People usually go ahead with Mount Ossa which is a fair choice. It’s Tasmania’s highest peak offering some epic views. I did the same on my Overland Track, and then came back via the Arm River Track to tick off the other peaks. As of June 2022, no booking is required for staying overnight in New Pelion Hut. Just remember to bring a tent, in case the hut is full, and have a valid Tasmania Park Pass with you.

Arm River Track – map

ARM RIVER TRACK: ITINERARY

I assume that you did one of the peaks on your Overland Track, and now you want to revisit New Pelion Hut, and do some more hiking in this area. If that’s the case, two nights in the hut should be enough. In fact, Tasmania Parks encourage people to move on from the location as soon as possible to protect the environment and make room for others. So here are your options: Mount Oakleigh, Mount Ossa, and Pelion East. Pelion West also lies nearby, but the track has no signs, and it shouldn’t be treated lightly. For more Overland Track alternatives, go to a separate post. For more details about the Arm River Track, stay here.

An example itinerary:

  • Day 1, Arm River Track Carpark to New Pelion Hut, and to Mount Oakleigh and back, 19,8 km, 8 hours
  • Day 2, New Pelion Hut to Mount Ossa, and back, 14,2 km, 6 hours
  • Day 3, New Pelion Hut to Pelion East, and back, 11,4 km, 4 hours
  • Day 4, New Pelion Hut to Arm River Track Carpark, 11,8 km, 4 hours

Here’s what I did:

  • Day 1, Arm River Track Carpark to New Pelion Hut, and to Mount Oakleigh and back, 19,8 km, 8 hours
  • Day 2, New Pelion Hut to Pelion East, and back, 11,4 km, 4 hours
  • Day 3, New Pelion Hut to Arm River Track Carpark, 11,8 km, 4 hours
Arm River Track to New Pelion Hut
Arm River Track to New Pelion Hut

ARM RIVER TRACK CARPARK NEW PELION HUT

The Arm River Track starts exactly in this location: 41°47’27.2″S, 146°09’19.3″E. Just copy and paste those numbers to find a carpark. It’s a 23,7 km out-and-back trail with elevation gain of 750 m that takes around 8 hours to accomplish. Fortunately enough, if you’re planning to stay overnight in New Pelion Hut, you’ll only walk half of this distance in one day. The track itself is not too exciting. It goes steadily up through a dense forest before reaching the open plains later on. This section is poorly marked, so pay attention to the map.

Walking track: 11,8 km, 4 hours (one way)

Arm River Track to New Pelion Hut
Can you walk the Overland Track for free
New Pelion Hut

NEW PELION HUT MOUNT OAKLEIGH

New Pelion Hut is not only the largest hut on the Overland Track, but also most beautifully situated. A huge terrace overlooking Mount Oakleigh is what makes this place so special. It’s well-worth waiting until sunset or even cook outside to enjoy this incredible view. The track to Mount Oakleigh (1286 m) starts right behind the hut. After crossing the buttongrass moorlands, it gets steep, and continues that way until the summit plateau. This first section is well-marked, but then you need to look for cairns while traversing the plateau.

Walking track: 8 km, 4 hours (return)

Mount Oakleigh in Tasmania
Mount Oakleigh in Tasmania
Mount Oakleigh (1286 m)

NEW PELION HUT MOUNT OSSA

Mount Ossa at 1617 m is Tasmania’s highest peak offering some pretty awesome views. This track has steep and very exposed sections, so extreme care should be taken while ascending and descending the peak. Leave New Pelion Hut early in the morning, and follow the Overland Track for about an hour and a half until you reach Pelion Gap. From there, turn right and traverse the slopes to a saddle. The track is well-marked, so follow the signs until you get to a bouldery summit. Some scrambling is needed to climb up to the top.

Walking track: 14,2 km, 6 hours (return)

Mount Ossa in Tasmania
Can you walk the Overland Track for free
Mount Ossa (1617 m)

NEW PELION HUT PELION EAST

Pelion East at 1461 m is a great alternative for those who don’t feel like climbing Mount Ossa. The track is shorter, and easier, but it still requires some scrambling just before the rocky summit. If you want to give it a go, you need to walk to Pelion Gap again. Here comes the question: is it possible to do Mount Ossa and Pelion East in one day, so that you don’t need to walk back to Pelion Gap? Probably yes, but only if you’re a very fit and confident hiker. From Pelion Gap, turn left, and follow a well-marked track to the mountain top.

Walking track: 11,4 km, 4 hours (return)

Arm River Track to New Pelion Hut
Arm River Track to New Pelion Hut
Pelion East (1461 m)

This is all you need to know about the Arm River Track to New Pelion Hut. What’s your plan when you get there? Let me know by leaving a comment below!


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