Overland Track walker practicing leave no trace principles by walking through, not around, a mud hole on the track.
Overland Track walker practicing leave no trace principles (photograph: Heath Holden)

Leave No Trace

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​​​​​The seven principles​​ of Leave No Trace build awareness, appreciation and respect for our natural and cultural heritage.​

1. Plan ahea​d and prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns of the area you will visit
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use
  • Walk in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4-6
  • Repackage food to minimise waste
  • Take maps and a compass or a GPS, and know how to use them to eliminate the use of flagging tape or rock cairns

​2. Walk and cam​p on durable surfaces

  • Durable camping surfaces include established campsites, tent platforms, rock, gravel and sand
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary. If you use rocks to secure tents, return them to their place when you leave. 
  • Protect water sources – camp at least 50 metres from lakes and streams
  • Protect plant life – avoid the spread of phytophthora​ and other soil-borne diseases by keeping boots, camping equipment and vehicle tyres clean 

In frequently used areas:

  • Concentrate use on existing tracks and campsites 
  • Always walk on tracks, even when it is wet or muddy, so damage is kept to a narrow band 

In pristine areas:

  • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and tracks
  • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning

​​​3. Dispose of waste properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Check your campsite and rest areas for rubbish and spilled food. Pack out all rubbish and leftover food 
  • If there is a toilet, use it. Otherwise bury all faecal waste and toilet paper in holes 15-20cm deep at least 100m from water, camps and tracks. Cover and disguise the hole when finished 
  • Carry out any sanitary pads, tampons and condoms
  • Wash up using hot water, preferably without soap or detergent. Strain and scatter washing up water 50 metres away from water sources 
  • Wash your body at least 50m from water sources  

​​​4. Leave what you find

  • Respect Aboriginal sites and other sites of cultural significance
  • Preserve our past: examine but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artefacts
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them

​5. Minimise campfire impacts – use a fuel stove

  • Many parts of Tasmania are Fuel Stove Only Areas. In these areas fires are not permitted. Carry and use a fuel stove 
  • Out of preference, use fuel stoves even where fires are permitted. Escaped campfires have caused landscape wide damage, and can threaten human, animal and plant life
  • If lighting a fire (where permitted) use only established fire places and keep the fire small

​​6. Respect wildlife

  • Keep wildlife wild. Feeding animals can turn them into pests and may make them sick 
  • Store food and rubbish securely to prevent wildlife finding it
  • Observe wildlife from a distance​

7. Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors

  • Respect Aboriginal culture and country
  • Respect the wishes and regulations of all hosts (eg Aboriginal, pastoral, land managers and locals)
  • Only visit places where you have obtained appropriate permission 
  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience
  • Let natural sounds prevail – avoid loud voices and noises


Parks and Wildlife Service
GPO Box 1751
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 1300 TASPARKS, (1300 827 727)