Day Four to Five Windermere hut to New Pelion hut Overland Track 2017

Sponsors:, Strive food (Tassie), Safelaces, Moxigear, Hothands

The Trek: 64km over 7 days, 20kg pack, hut to hut through the rain, wind and snow.

Everyone relaxed in the warmth of Windemere hut, playing music and enjoying drinks as we watched the snow fall outside. Limited sleeping areas in this hut, our group were not so lucky finding a platform to sleep on having half sleeping on the floor, those that were able to sleep on platforms crammed in as many people. A platform for two was shared by the three smallest, and another was shared by two more.

The hike to New Pelion hut was a difficult 14.2km hike through the lowest part, Frog Flats to the 720m above sea level. Though the constant climbing over roots and watching your step is a constant challenge. The change of scenery was dramatic, from the open snowed covered moors, into a dense snow and moss-covered forest which changed into a very wet humid rainforest area. For many in our group this was the hardest of the hikes, mentally.

Arriving to the largest of the huts with a wide veranda that went around the entire hut, surrounded by wildlife with a view the snow-covered Mount Ossa was a treat. With a large hut comes noise in the eating area, there were quite a few people in this hut but no one slept on floors as some groups skipped this hut and went straight to Kia Ora.
The next morning to the group continued on to Pelion Gap where the She Devils agreed it was a ‘great idea’ to do a female empowerment pose topless in an open heavily snow-covered area whilst it was in fact snowing. (Helloo cover photos!)

Jane was the sensible member that took the photo. Go on you, Jane.

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Day Two to Three Waterfall hut to Windemere hut Overland Track 2017

Sponsors:, Strive food (Tassie), Safelaces, Moxigear, Hothands

The Trek: 64km over 7 days, 20kg pack, hut to hut through the rain, wind and snow.

Staying in the warm Waterfall hut was a god send in this blizzard condition. Yes, the hut was packed, overcrowded due to lack of regulation during the winter months but that was part of the experience.

After finally reaching the hut, the girls helped me shed my cold drenched clothes and get warm in my dry thermals. After about 20 minutes of warming up, I was able to set about cooking a small assortment of hot meals for my lunch/dinner.

The She devils started covering any bare wooden ceiling raft with wet clothing, sleeping bags and tents to dry. Even going so far as to tie up rope for more additional hanging space to dry out everything else they owned.  Jane obsessed over evenly drying the clothes over the electric heater, teaching others that came in to help maintain it overnight.

Note: The heater has a 45-minute timer and requires 2 people to prime the heater and turn it on. These are available all most huts on the Overland trail. The heater will only work in 10 degrees of less on the build in thermostat.

That night over 30-40 people slept in the hut, many crammed on the wooden platforms, and any available floor space. The following morning, I found someone sleeping on the veranda that just had enough walls cover to kept most of the night’s snow storm off him.

Note: There was the older waterfall hut that could fit a smaller portion of people but did not contain any heating.

The next day, an 8km hike to Windemere Hut crossing gorgeous open areas covered in fresh snow. Mostly flat trails with the occasionally non-chicken wired platforms that made everyone take shuffling foot steps to cross.

Arriving to the hut and finding that most of the available sleeping platforms were taken. Three of us (Meg, Gill and I) were able to share a double sleeping platform but the rest of the group would have to sleep on the floor. That is until, we disturbed an old couple that did not want to deal with our ruckus and decided to the sleep in the tent outside, freeing up another double for Janet and Jane to share.

That night we drank, played card games and listening to music on the Bluetooth speakers. Glad to be in another warm hut away from the snow fall outside.

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Day Zero to Two in Launceston to Overland Track 2017

Sponsors:, Strive food (Tassie), Safelaces, Moxigear, Hothands

The Trek: 64km over 7 days, 20kg pack, hut to hut through the rain, wind and snow.

We were told by the staff at the Cradle Mountain Visitors centre that there is currently 2-metre-high snow though it has lowered somewhat from the rain it is still a difficult day or two of hiking. Experienced hikers have turned back in the first 24 hours and there have been others stuck in huts for multiple days due to the blizzards. We figured we would do we best efforts, and that we would go anyway.

We arrived, it was raining we did the obligatory starting point photos and off we went. After a few hours of hiking uphill we started seeing snow covered board walks which eventually became completely hidden in snow forcing the group to rely on the pole markers. The poles are 2 metres tall, in some areas the snow was so deep that you would only see about 20 centre metres of the pole stick up, whereas, some of the foot prints from hikers previous were knee to thigh deep.

We arrived at Kitchen hut, the first hut of the trail, we had a couple of hours to get to Waterfall hut destination which we justified that we could make at the slow pace of 1km per hour in knee deep snow with 20kg packs on with no snow shoes.

However, about an hour and half into the hike, the clouds start to darken. We could hear thunder and the wind started to pick up. Only to realise we all wouldn’t make it to the hut before the storm hits us. The group walk for another 30 minutes finding a flat open area to set tents up and as we drop our packs to set up tents the sky opens over us. The thunder rumbles overhead and the wind makes it a monumental effort to set the tent stakes in the snow without the tent blowing away from us.

The wind and rain batters the tent the rest of the night, I’m quite concerned it will tear the tent pegs and cover but the tent stays. Some of the ladies settled, got warm and cooked meals while others just tried to sleep it out, anxious of the following day.

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Overland Track 2017 – Pack break down

Since announcing that I will be hiking the Australian Alpine Walking track (AAWT) in 2019 on my blog, I have been achieving a set of mini goals over the next 2 years to help me prepare for the trip (whether it’s solo or with friends). Those goals are: increased fitness to achieve ascents and descents of 800 – 900 m, hike across 20 km distances with a 20 kg backpack every day during the trip, competency in compass and map navigation, hiking experience for longer than 2 nights, invest in light to ultra-light weight equipment and learning ways to film these adventures.

My first step in preparing for this long journey is to focus on fitness, hiking experience and deepening my understanding of compass and map navigation. The AAWPT guide book suggests hiking a few week long, or longer tracks before attempting it.

This is how I got involved in hiking the Overland Track hike for September…

I was fortunate that a friend of mine linked me to a post in the Hiking & Bushwalking in Australia Facebook page where the Janet Archibald was promoting the She Devil group (female only) who are hiking the Tasmanian Overland track.

I contacted Janet directly to see if there was space for one more for the trip and there was! I will be hiking the Tasmanian Overland track with the She Devils women’s group [link Facebook page]. 7 Days away with a group of wonderful women of varying ages, mums, sisters, and daughters of all fitness levels. My flights and accommodation are booked and paid for! 1 month from now I will be meeting these women for the first time.

I will gain a lot of experience during this trip from equipment considerations, fitness expectation, and personal growth. It will give me a good idea of what to expect for the AAWT hike. Pack weight for this trip is 18 kg or under for both base weight and consumables.

This hike is organised by a wonderful lady, Janet Archibald, whom some may know as the runner up to the 2013 Biggest Loser. This lady has managed to bring together 9 unlikely women to hike together to promote support and create a community for survivors of domestic violence, mental health awareness, and survivors of substance abuse.

These women are mostly based in Melbourne, so I have not met them but we communicate through Facebook and, so far, I have found these women hilarious, genuine and above all, inspiring.

This hike is sponsored by some amazing Australian companies:

  • Moxie gear – providing shin and ankle gaiters to the group.
  • Strive Food –Tasmanian company providing the 9 walkers with their first 3 days of meals.
  • Macpac – for graciously donating 3 x Torlesse 65 (litre) hiking packs, of which I will be one of the first to use!
  • Hot hands – for the cold hands and lonely beds for our weary minds and body.
  • Safelaces – for providing us a way to secure our shoe laces, no doubt our fingers will be too cold to keep tying them together.
  • Macfarlanes – supplying first aid kits, we have more than enough that if everyone manages to hurt themselves we would have enough for slip, trips, breaks and falls.

She Devil Trekkers  – Social media

Facebook Page
Facebook group
Youtube Channel (I edited the videos for Overland Track ’17)