Planning your Overland Track permits – don’t be caught out

Descending Cradle Mountain, Tasmania | Chris Buykx
Descending Cradle Mountain, Tasmania | Chris Buykx

Did you know only around 50 permits* are available a day to trekkers on the Overland Track during the summer season? Here's what you need to know about securing your permits to walk Tasmania's world-renowned trail.

If you have your sights set on completing the Overland Track but are unsure how the permit system works, we have you covered. This guide will give you the ins and outs of obtaining a permit for guided and self-guided walks on the track, what it covers, why they are necessary, when the permits are released and what options you have if you miss out.

Organising your Overland Track permits

You are required to have a permit pass when walking the Overland Track, however, Tasmanian Expeditions takes the hassle out of organising this with the permit and the Cradle-Mountain-St Clair National Park pass covered.

As an operator on the trail, Tasmanian Expeditions secures the National Park passes and associated track passes each year for all their trekkers. It is a process that takes place well in advance before the season commences to ensure that when you want to go, we can get them locked in. However, permits and passes are issued in limited supply, so booking in early is your best shot at securing them.

This is especially the case if opting for a self-guided walk. These permits are released from July 1 and tend to sell out within days during the peak season.

*Originally only 60 permits were available a day to trekkers on the track during the summer season (October to May), however, in light of COVID, this has been reduced to around 50 a day – 24 of which are for independent walkers. This may again change, so contact us or visit the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services website for the latest information.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the Overland Track >

 

Why do I need a permit to walk the Overland Track?

The Overland Track permits help avoid overcrowding on the track and the fee contributes to the sustainable management of the track.

As most of the track is not serviceable by road, the permits manage the record of walkers entering the fragile environment to account for the impact of the track and surrounding wilderness. The preservation of the wilderness is essential to safeguard the area for its flora and fauna and for people to experience the beauty of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Everyone who walks the Overland Track will need to purchase an Overland Track Permit if planning to do it from October to May. However, for the months June to September, while no permit is needed, you do need to register.

What about the National Parks pass?

All walkers are also required to possess a current Tasmanian National Parks Pass regardless of the time of year.

What happens if I miss out on a self-guided permit?

Missed out on a permit on your preferred date? Don't stress! You can jump onto our guided Overland Track where we have permits secured in advance.

If you prefer a self-guided walk, why not explore the Overland Track's underrated neighbour, Walls of Jerusalem? This more remote World Heritage alpine wilderness of Tasmania does not require the purchase of permits, with equally spectacular natural landscapes that are only accessible on foot.

Plus, it attracts much fewer visitors than the Overland Track making it very alluring for those who want to get away from it all. Read more about the Walls of Jerusalem walk versus the Overland Track in this blog post.

Does my Overland Track permit confirm a spot in the huts on the track?

While your booking confirms your place and date of departure, when walking self-guided, this does not guarantee a place in the huts along the track.

The public huts cannot be booked and are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, therefore walkers are required to carry a tent if a hut is full. But rest assured that when travelling with Tasmanian Expeditions, quality gear use is part of the package so you aren't caught out in bad weather.

If camping-based trekking isn't your thing, you can experience a private luxury hut stay on the Cradle Huts Overland Track trip to add a little more comfort to your walking holiday. The exclusive huts are well hidden away from the public huts and campsites with the luxury of returning to a hot shower, a potbelly heater, comfy beds and a Tassie wine after each day's walk on the Overland Track.

Does my permit include transport transfer to and from the track?

If you purchase your permit independently, the Overland Track permit fee does not include transport to/from the track, or the privately-owned Lake St Clair Ferry. It would be your responsibility to organise these transport links. However, if travelling with an experienced operator, like Tasmanian Expeditions, transfers can easily be organised.

Ways to experience the Overland Track & Cradle Mountain area

The Overland Track is internationally renowned, home to the famous Cradle Mountain and Tasmania’s highest mountain Mt Ossa at 1617 metres. The 65-kilometre trail begins at Ronny Creek with the majestic Cradle Mountain towering in the distance. Winding through ancient rainforests, alpine meadows, waterfalls and mountain ranges leading to the summit. Viewing the native endemic flora and wildlife the track ends at scenic Lake St Clair.

The track can be experienced in the main season with our guides or self-guided where all the logistics, food (you get to choose from a menu!), equipment, support and passes are included. You can choose from camping or use private huts along the track. It can also be explored in the winter for a guided walk into a white snowy wonderland where you can try out snowshoeing. View our range of trips.

Whichever walking experience on the Overland Track you choose – guided, self-guided, in summer or winter, staying in tents or private huts, rest assured your National Park passes will be provided to you when booking with Tasmanian Expeditions. But don't leave your decision too long as they do sell out!

Last updated 20 July 2021.

Travel Advice, Overland Track, Permits

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