Between Thursday 1 and Thursday 8 December ten students and three staff successfully walked the famous World Heritage Listed Overland Track in Tasmania. The Overland Track is a 65km North-South Walk from Ronny Creek (Cradle Mountain) to Lake St Clair in the southern highlands of the Tasmanian wilderness.
The students spent the first day preparing for the trip in Launceston by buying appropriate food and equipment and doing final gear checks at the caravan park. The next day we were driven to the beginning of the hike and set up from Ronny Creek for the first day of trekking. The first day included a steep climb up Marion’s Lookout, which was a challenging ascent, made even more difficult by the strong winds.
One of the highlights of the expedition was climbing Mt Ossa, the highest point of Tasmania (1617m). The trek up here was steep, parts were covered in snow and the going was slow. Although this is not as high as mountains in Victoria or NSW, what makes it special is it takes a three day hike to get to the base of the mountain and actually climbing up Mt Ossa is much more difficult compared to most mountains in Australia.
For Willow Stephenson highlights were “climbing Mt Ossa and being isolated in the bush with mates” and James Cotter shared similar experiences saying “climbing Mt Ossa in the snow and relaxing in the bush”.
We were fortunate enough to see some special native wildlife including Pademelons, wombats, echidnas, wedge-tail eagles, possums and many more unique and endemic wildlife.
Each night we set up camp on group platforms and enjoyed spectacular isolated scenery. On our third night we stayed in one of the bush huts due to a severe weather warning. That night we saw lightning and heard thunder that many had not experience before. It was spectacular to watch.
The last day saw us take a quick 10km hike across flat eucalypt plains, before taking a 40 minute ferry ride across Lake St Clair, the largest and deepest freshwater lake in Australia. Upon arrival we were driven to Hobart for our last night away, but not before a stop off along the way for some “non-dehydrated” meals.
I would like to thank Mrs Karen Davies and Mr Martin Judd for accompanying myself and the boys along the journey and James Whiting also for driving us to and from the airport.
Don Bosco often reminded his students to “detach yourself from worldly things” and the boys certainly got the opportunity to do this out in the remote wilderness.
Mr Patrick van Dyk