Safety in parks
The Overland Track is a significant undertaking. A large part of the walk is above 1000 metres in elevation, on exposed plateaus, in a remote area. Make sure you are familiar with our essential safety messages before you head out.
Outside the booking season we recommend all walkers call into our visitor centres immediately prior to departure to check on the latest track and weather conditions.
1. Plan to walk safely
Arrive fit and walk within your capabilities.
Take the time to watch our video on the Essential safety tips for bushwalking in Tasmania and read through the information on our Safety in parks page.
For a safe and enjoyable walking experience our essential safety tips for bushwalking in Tasmania video is recommended:
For more information that will help you prepare for your trip, check out our Know before you go page for all the essential information.
2. Be prepared
Purchase the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair map and notes before you leave via TASMAP, or when you book your walk.
Check the weather forecast before you depart via the Bureau of Meteorology. Take special note of any bushwalker alerts and adjust your plans accordingly.
Deaths have occurred when people have been caught unprepared in cold, wet and windy weather. Children, older people and those with an illness or disability are at the greatest risk in such conditions.
Please observe all track signs – they are provided for your safety. Stay on the formed walking tracks at all times – both for your own safety and to protect the sensitive alpine region.
The track surface and gradient is variable, including boardwalk, rocks, gravel, tree roots and mud, with occasional steep ascents and descents.
3. Avoid walking alone
Many walkers appreciate the security of carrying a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) to activate in the event of a life-threatening emergency. PLBs can be hired from Service Tasmania shops (Mon-Fri only) in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport. Phone 1300 135 513 for further information.
PLBs are also available from the Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair visitor centres, though numbers are limited and cannot be reserved.
There are also independent hire companies, including EPIRBHire and The Bushwalking Blog.
4. Let a reliable person know your plans before you go
Let a reliable person know your plans, before you go – be sure to advise them of your safe return. Make a plan if you do not return on time, such as, call emergency services on 000 to advise Tasmania Police.
5. Record your trip intentions in the log books
These are located at the start and end of the track, and at each hut. If you are reported overdue or missing, Parks staff will check your movements in the log books. If there is a bushfire and you need to be relocated, the log book may often be the only indicator to staff that you are on the track.
Log book records also provide useful information to guide management of the track. Remember to sign out at the end of your walk.
6. Be prepared to turn back
If the weather deteriorates or the walk is more difficult than expected, be prepared to turn back or change your plans. Pushing on beyond your limits may result in injury or even death. Be sure that you can recognise signs of hypothermia or heat stress and know how to respond.
Check the weather forecast before you depart. Heed any bushwalker alerts and adjust your plans accordingly.
What to pack
The lighter you pack, the more you’ll enjoy the walk. But you also need to pack right. We’ve got two printable lists, and you need to read them both.
Walker Safety Checklist: This includes the absolute minimum equipment and clothing you’ll need on the track to keep you safe. You'll also automatically receive this as part of your booking information.
Walker Safety Checklist (616Kb)
Walker Pack List: This packing list is comprehensive and is written for all multi-day walks.
Walker Pack List (966Kb)
Experienced walkers will already understand the need for such a comprehensive list, but those who are less experienced should heed the list to ensure they are suitably prepared to stay safe in all conditions. During the booking season, the Walker Safety Checklist needs to be completed and returned to staff before you start your walk.
The Overland Track is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area and is currenlty free or many pests, weeds and disease. Before you pack, check, clean, disinfect or dry all clothing and equipment. For more information, please see our Biosecurity page.
Leave No Trace
With thousands of people walking the Overland Track every year, we all need to take care of it. Read the Leave No Trace principles before you depart.
Map and Guidebooks
These may be purchased at the time of booking your walk and are a great resource for planning your trip.
- Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair Map and Notes, 1:100,00 scale map (published by TASMAP).
Overland Track Visitor Guide - One Walk, Many Journeys (published by PWS)
- This popular guidebook contains daily walk notes, pictorial maps, notes on park history and geology, and commonly seen plants and animals.
The Overland Track – For young (at heart) adventurers (published by PWS)
- An entertaining guidebook/activity book filled with things to do and see. Great for children, teens, school and community groups, and adults with a good sense of humour. This is available at Cradle Mountain Visitor centre.
Waterfall Valley redevelopment
Completion of the new Waterfall Valley Hut is expected in July 2020. Sites, for tents, tent platforms and toilet facilities near to Old Waterfall Valley Hut can be used while final construction is taking place. Nearby, the new Waterfall Valley hut is a construction site and for safety, walkers must observe all signage and access restrictions, including during helicopter operations.
Transport to and from Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair visitor centres is available all year from Hobart, Launceston and Devonport, with more frequent services during summer. Check with the operators listed below for charter arrangements.
- Overland Track Transport
- McDermotts Coaches
- Cradle Mountain Coaches
- Outdoor Recreational Transport
- Wilderness Expeditions Pty Ltd
- Tasmanian Wilderness Experiences
- Island Adventure Shuttles
Many walkers find it more relaxing to spend the night before they start the track at one of the accommodation venues in Cradle Mountain. This option allows plenty of time to check in at the visitor centre, catch the Cradle Shuttle Bus (departs regularly) from the visitor centre to the track start at Ronny Creek (some 7 km away), and walk 4 to 6 hours to the first hut at Waterfall Valley.
For other accommodation options in the Cradle Mountain area, see Discover Tasmania website.