Visitors and locals alike can now enjoy new and improved facilities at some of Tasmania’s most iconic bushwalking destinations.
Two major projects to increase the capacity and amenity of walker huts in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and upgrades to the recreational amenity at the Walls of Jerusalem National Park are now officially complete.
The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park Overland Track upgrades to the Windermere and Kia Ora Huts include 34 bunk spaces for each hut, new common areas and new toilet facilities, enabling walkers to enjoy a higher standard of accommodation. These upgrades ensure the Overland Track retains its reputation as one of the world’s greatest alpine walking experiences with appropriate supporting infrastructure.
These works come after the Waterfall Valley Hut upgrades which were completed back in 2020. The former huts will be repurposed as staff accommodation for Overland Track Rangers and other Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service staff who work on the track.
The completed works at the Walls of Jerusalem National Park include walking track upgrades, new toilet facilities and campground upgrades. A new campsite has been developed at Dixons Kingdom, with 12 double tent platforms and a group cooking platform. A new dedicated group camping area with four double tent platforms and group cooking platform was also developed at Wild Dog Creek.
New full capture, fly-out toilet facilities have been built at the major campsites of Dixons Kingdom and the northern end of Lake Adelaide. No toilets had previously been provided at Lake Adelaide.
Various new tracks have been developed and track upgrades undertaken within Jaffa Vale, between Dixons Kingdom and Lake Ball, in low lying areas around Lake Adelaide, and connecting the new campsites and toilets at Dixons Kingdom, Wild Dog Creek and Lake Adelaide with the existing walking track network.
“The new huts have addressed long-standing issues with hut capacity and functionality on the Overland Track, with site specific designs that sit well within the landscape while showcasing the area to walkers. The new facilities and track work in the Walls of Jerusalem also ensure the experience matches walker expectations and ensures the pressures on our most popular walks are managed in a way that protects the environment,” Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service Deputy Secretary Jason Jacobi said.
“Having never had a toilet at Lake Adelaide, the construction of a new full capture fly-out toilet will be a welcome addition amongst walkers to that area of the Walls of Jerusalem.”
“It is important to acknowledge the outstanding work of many people in the Parks and Wildlife Service who formed the project teams to deliver the projects and whose knowledge and experience in working in these remote and challenging areas has been critical to successful delivery,” Mr Jacobi said.
In 2021-22, about 8,000 walkers visited the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and 10,000 visited the Overland Track. These walks remain more popular than ever, with Tasmania becoming recognised as one of the most wild and beautiful places on earth.
The Overland Track upgrades to the Windermere and Kia Ora huts represent a joint funding investment of $7.5 million comprising $3.639 million from the Tasmanian Government’s Improved State-wide Visitor Infrastructure Program and $3.839 million from the Australian Government’s COVID-19 World and National Heritage Projects Program.
The Walls of Jerusalem works were also jointly funded, with $586,000 (cash and in kind) invested by the Tasmanian Government and $965,000 by the Australian Government through the COVID-19 World and National Heritage Projects Program.
The upgrades not only improve the visitor experience but assist in protecting the natural values of our wild places while ensuring visitors can continue to access these sites and appreciate their intrinsic value.