Exploring the Land Down Under the Land Down Under

As winter closes in on the northern hemisphere, U.S. snowbirds are looking for warmer climates to vacation in. Australia hosts over 6 million of those tourists each year and funnels them through popular destination sites such as the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef. As shoulder-to-shoulder crowds bustle through common sites, fewer than 10,000 adventure-seeking tourists embark on one of Australia’s greatest vacation offers hidden just underneath the Land Down Under.

Tasmania is an island about the size of West Virginia located on the southern side of the Bass Strait. The island is accessible by a one-hour plane flight from Melbourne or an overnight ferry ride aboard the “Spirit of Tasmania” ship. The island boasts Australia’s most diversified scenery, including rain forests and glacial canyons. Visitors can enjoy an outdoor paradise that includes hiking to waterfalls, deep-sea fishing, and wildlife viewing. For those who want to see it all, the overland track exists.

Tasmanian Overland TrackTasmania’s overland track is a 65km (40 mi) hiking trail running north to south through the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Hikers embarking on the trail begin by walking through Cradle Mountain National Park and then head south to Lake St. Clair–Australia’s deepest lake by way of Mt. Ossa, Tasmania’s tallest peak. The trail includes optional side trails that include trips through Walls of Jerusalem National Park and the rain forests surrounding Lake St. Clair.

Hikers should expect to take six days to complete the track. Small cabins are placed throughout the trail to allow trekkers the opportunity to sleep indoors; however, carrying a tent is mandatory for all hikers in case of emergency or absence of room in the trailside huts. The overland track is open year round, though the parks and wildlife service recommends first-time hikers to go between October and May, Tasmania’s summer months when the weather is more mild and predictable.

So remember, if you want to beat the crowds, explore the outdoors, and see some of the most incredible areas in the South Pacific, Tasmania’s overland track is for you.

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