A little bit of luxury has arrived by way of the new Waterfall Valley Hut along The Overland Track. The Overland Track in Tasmania is one of the world’s most iconic walks. Attracting walkers from all over the world because of its unique beauty, encompassing glacial valleys, button-grass moors, alpine fields, ancient temperate rain forests, waterfalls and many, many accessible mountain summits. Along the way getting up close and personal with wallabies, wombats, possums and beautiful tiger snakes!
The 65 kilometre walk (or 83km if you choose not to take the ferry at the end) begins at the iconic Cradle Mountain and ends at Australia’s deepest lake, Lake St Clair. It takes you through the heart of the Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park, part of the magnificent Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Take your time hiking the trail and make the most of climbing many of the mountains as side trips. Stand on top of the iconic Cradle Mountain, look down to Lake Will from Barn Bluff, summit Tasmania’s highest mountain Mount Ossa, or walk through a miniature pandani forest as you climb Mount Oakleigh! For those of you that want more adventure (and have the matching experience) why not consider climbing Mount Emmett or exploring Innes Falls and Mount Inglis.
Almost half the track sits above 1000 metres in elevation. Even though there are huts provided along The Overland Track, it is mandatory to carry a tent as part of your gear requirements should you need shelter in an emergency or find the huts full. We recently decided to enjoy a night at the new Waterfall Valley Hut, which is your first night’s accommodation on The Overland Track. Take a virtual walk through the hut via our video but here are the things we loved about the new Waterfall Valley Hut.
- The heater – Yep! Although it won’t turn the hut into a balmy Queensland night it does give a gentle warmth to the freezing winter conditions and a lovely ambiance to the common area.
- The solar powered lighting – We initially shuddered at the thought of lights in the hut but they have been executed in a discreet manner which doesn’t disturb the environment, yet does allow you to conserve head torch batteries and enjoy evenings in the common area.
- The little shelves on the bunks – We loved this little touch. A great spot to store your head torch or any other small item you may want to reach at night without having to get out of your sleeping bag.
- The mud/wet room – Wildlife are notorious for sneaking onto the balconies of the Overland Track huts and chewing through food and pack alike! The new Waterfall Valley Hut has a sealed wet room for storing all your gear. This also stops the sleeping quarters filling up with wet packs and stinky gear.
- The outdoor kitchen – No more crouching down over the fat drain trying to wash your dishes. A handy sink with a tap sits just outside the hut to make life so much easier.
- The toilets – More spacious than others along the Overland Track and with added ventilation to ensure that the odors become less noticeable. Yes, they are still a fancy long drop but at least these ones don’t make you feel like you are using a long drop.
- Storage – One of the only huts to have storage cubes in the common areas to stop gear piling up all around the heater and cooking area.
- The view – THIS IS AMAZING! The hut has been expertly designed to blend into the natural surroundings where it is located, and to amplify the view of Barn Bluff when inside. And it succeeds in this quest. Whether sitting inside by the heater, or outside on the viewing platform, Barn Bluff is the superstar as it should be.
- The quotes engraved on the bunks and walls – These glimpses into history are fascinating as are the native flora descriptions.
- Triple glazed windows and doors – Keeping the cold weather out in winter and the hut cooler in summer.
- The light coloured panels and sky lights – So much thought has been put into this design and it shows. One thing we have always disliked about the huts along the Overland track is that they are all in their own way quite dark and gloomy. Not this new hut! The light paneling combined with the sky lights and strategically placed windows and doors allow sunlight to flow through the rooms.
It appears that the architects Green Design have really looked at what has worked and what hasn’t in the other huts along The Overland Track and elsewhere (namely the Frenchmans Cap huts) and put all the positives into this new $1.5M creation. It’s a lot flashier than the other huts along the track but who knows, maybe over time they will all be lifted to this standard? For us we will always choose the peace and quiet of a tent but for those hut dwellers… well, you are in for a lovely first night on your Overland Track journey.