The Overland Track, the most famous hiking trail in Tasmania, is situated among the World Heritage Listed rivers, mountains and lakes of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Full of unique wildlife, plenty of side trips to expand the distance travelled and a varying landscape, the Overland Track is a trail that’ll stay with you for many years to come.
KIA ORA HUT – NARCISSUS HUT
Kia Ora Hut to Narcissus Hut is where the Overland Track starts to be more like a walk in the park. No more mountains and minimum climbing.
It also starts to feel like we’re back in Australia instead of New Zealand with dryer areas and plenty of Eucalyptus Trees.
After about an hour worth of walking though dense woods, Du Cane Hut pops up on small clearing like light at the end of a tunnel. This historic hut served as the home of Patrick “Paddy” Hartnett and his family in the early 20th century and was later expanded to serve as a resting point for hikers. These days it’s a emergency use only dwelling that’s definitely worth a look as we found it to be one of the nicest looking huts on the Overland Track.
Have a break and imagine what it must have been like living in this tiny shack with wife and child all the way through winter. Tough folk back then!
After Du Cane Hut, it’s back through dense woods and past two side tracks, both taking you to waterfalls. The track keeps going uphill until you reach Du Cane Gap. With the view of mountain of both side, I was excited to be amongst snow again. We both ate a huge slice of fresh snow to rehydrate and cool off a bit.
Once through Du Cane Gap, it’s back into the dens Tasmanian woods. In the middle of the rainforest, you’ll bump into Bert Nichols Hut; a massive and brand new addition to the trail. When walking the Overland Track in winter like us, you may want to think about skipping this one. Even though maps and signs indicate this hut sleeps 24, it’s more the size of a small hotel that can surely fit lot’s more. There’s only one heat lamp (which doesn’t really heat anything) so if you do decide to stay, be prepared for a cold coooooold night!
The walk to Narcissus Hut is very much the same terrain as you walked between Du Cane Hut and Bert Nichols Hut except that it’s all downhill from here (YAY!). Bounce around on the suspension bridge and feel relieved as you’re only minutes away from a warm meal and some rest.
Narcissus Hut is located at the far north end of Lake St Clair. Inside the you’ll find another orgy pitt (8 to 10 people per bed) and a absolutely magical coal heater which warms up the place in minutes.
Make sure you’re in no need for a night time wee, because the toilet is quite far from the hut.
It was a very loooong day today! I’m so glad Sam took some weight off my back, because it would’ve been absolute hell otherwise! Even though the terrain was quite easy, my body is so sore and my ankle hurts so badly… Especially the last hour, I was struggling. My walk had become more of a crawl and I can’t take another step! I strapped in both my ankles this morning and taped in so many of my toes, my bottom half looks like a mummy. It still didn’t take away the pain…
When we were going across the suspension bridge, I knew Narcissus Hut would be minutes away and I would have jumped for joy if only I could.
One of the first things we came across on the walk was Du Cane Hut. It was such a cute little hut! Apparently, early last century, a hunter called Paddy lived there with his wife and son for 3 winters catching wombats and wallabies for their fur. There were some pictures in the hut of him wearing a tweed jacket and bowler hat and his wife wearing a pretty dress. I wonder if on any other given day they would’ve looked like complete ruffians or if that was just their normal mountain attire.
I imagine him in his pretty suit and bowler hat, bloody wombat flung over his shoulder, drinking tea out of a porcelain cup with his pinky up.
I wish we could stay in this hut for a while, but it’s for emergency use only. I guess that if a ranger comes to check in and asks us “what was your emergency” us replying with “photographic emergency! The other huts aren’t nearly as pretty!” wouldn’t have counted as a good enough reason…
The second hut on todays track (and our lunch stop) was the complete and total opposite! Bert Nichols Hut (named after another ruffian in bowler hat) is huge!
And cold! Lot’s of spots don’t have windows and in the whole complex, there was only one heat-lamp. Not even an actual heater but like one of those things you stand under at a cafe when you’re having a smoke in winter.
It’s probably a great hut for summer, but not so much for winter. Being the newest hut, I guess it’s also a preview of things to come. I bet that if you walk the Overland Track 10-15 years from now, all huts will be this massive to accommodate the hordes.
Tomorrow will already be the last day of our adventure on the Overland Track and I have mixed feelings. On one side, I would really like a shower and give my feet a rest. On the other side, I’m going to miss the pretty snowy mountains here. Guess we’ll have to come back soon to summit some of them!