Barn Bluff Overland Track
AUSTRALIA,  TASMANIA

CAN YOU WALK THE OVERLAND TRACK FOR FREE?

The answer is no! Even if you decide to do the Overland Track off-season, when the permit is free, you still need to hold a current national park pass. What if you want to experience the Overland Track during the summer season, but you can’t afford it or don’t have enough time to walk the whole thing? Interestingly enough, you can get on the Overland Track through some access points, without paying the booking fee, and do a day or two-day hike instead. In this blog post, I’m sharing my favourite Overland Track alternatives.

CRADLE MOUNTAIN

How about a day hike to magnificent Cradle Mountain? Start from Ronny Creek and follow the Overland Track to Kitchen Hut via Marions Lookout or take an alternative route via Horse Track. Both tracks offer beautiful views, walking times are pretty much the same, so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. Just make sure to start early enough to return to the carpark before it gets dark. The final climb to Cradle Mountain includes a little bit of rock scrambling, so it’s not recommended in adverse weather conditions.

Ronny Creek – Kitchen Hut via Overland Track or Horse Track – Cradle Mountain – Kitchen Hut – Ronny Creek via Overland Track or Horse Track

Tasmania Park Pass: yes (click here)
Booking required: no

Walking track: 13 km, 7 hours (return)
Trail difficulty: class 5
Trail access: 2WD (sealed road)

Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain (1545 metres)

BARN BLUFF

Barn Bluff is a prominent mountain standing proudly further on the Overland Track, past the junction to Cradle Mountain. It can also be done in one day. With a little bit of planning, of course. I strongly suggest driving to Ronny Creek early in the morning, and leaving your car there. Vehicle access into the park is only permitted outside of shuttle bus operating hours (8:00 am or 9:00 am, depends on the season). Make sure to get there before the gate closure so that you have heaps of daylight to summit the peak, and walk back.

Ronny Creek – Kitchen Hut via Overland Track or Horse Track – Barn Bluff – Kitchen Hut – Ronny Creek via Overland Track or Horse Track

Tasmania Park Pass: yes (click here)
Booking required: no

Walking track: around 24 km, 11 hours (return)
Trail difficulty: class 5
Trail access: 2WD (sealed road)

You can walk the Overland Track for free to Barn Bluff
You can walk the Overland Track for free to Barn Bluff
Barn Bluff (1559 metres)

PINE VALLEY

This is one of the most spectacular side trips on the Overland Track that gives you an opportunity to sleep in a hut, climb up the Acropolis, and explore the Labyrinth Plateau. Pine Valley can be accessed from Lake St Clair, and the maximum stay is 3 nights. There is no extra fee, but booking is required, so make sure to sort that out beforehand. There are many ways to tackle this hike. I spent only one night in Pine Valley Hut, and finished the walk in two days. For more details, go to a separate post about hiking into Pine Valley in Tasmania (coming up soon).

Ferry from Cynthia Bay to Narcissus Bay – Pine Valley Hut – Acropolis – Labyrinth Lookout Pine Valley Hut Narcissus Hut – Echo Point – Cynthia Bay

Tasmania Park Pass: yes (click here)
Booking required: yes (click here)

Walking track: up to 4 days (return)
Trail difficulty: class 5
Trail access: 2WD (sealed road)

The Acropolis
The Acropolis
The Acropolis (1481 metres)

ARM RIVER

This one is a real treat! Did you know that you can get to the most beautifully situated hut on the Overland Track with no extra fee, and spend up to two nights there? The Arm River Track starts near Mersey Forest, and takes you to New Pelion Hut in 3 to 4 hours. What will you do next, is a matter of your choice. You can simply enjoy your stay or hike the surrounding mountains, including Mt Oakleigh, Mount Ossa, Pelion East, and Pelion West. Booking is required. For more details, go to a separate post about the Arm River Track (coming up soon).

Arm River Track – New Pelion Hut – Mt Oakleigh – Mount Ossa Pelion East Pelion West New Pelion Hut Arm River Track

Tasmania Park Pass: yes (click here)
Booking required: yes (click here)

Walking track: up to 3 days (return)
Trail difficulty: class 5
Trail access: 2WD (unsealed road)

You can walk the Overland Track for free to New Pelion Hut
You can walk the Overland Track for free to Mount Ossa
Mount Ossa (1617 metres)

These are my favourite Overland Track alternatives. Are you going to hike Barn Bluff or walk to Pine Valley? Let me know by leaving a comment below!


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