One of the best things about travelling is that it pushes you to go over your limits. These limits can be emotional, mental and physical and are often very difficult to overcome when you are in your comfort zone. The one week I spent in Tasmania back in December 2014 was definitely one of the most challenging experiences I have ever been through in every way but also one of the most rewarding.

The Overland Track is (usually) a 6 to 7 days trek in the gorgeous mountains of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. The track is 65kms long between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair and more than 8000 walkers decide to go on this adventure each year. These parts of the country are extremely well protected because of the diverse fauna and flora. For instance, a no waste policy occurs in this park which means that anything you bring into the lands (food, waste, plastic) needs to leave with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tasmanian climate is quite extreme and there’s no guarantee it’ll be warm even in summer. One thing is certain, you will cope a bit of rain during the seven days. Therefore, you need to be extremely well prepared before you leave. The essentials are: a tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, torch, thermal cloths, cooking items like a frying pan and a gas bottle, food for seven days with lots of light dehydrated food and many other little things. Yes, you will probably end up looking like the Notre-Dame hunchback. But it’s part of the experience trust me.

There are seven main huts along the track in which you can stop at night. Some people (like us) prefer sleeping inside on wooden bunk beds, some other (the real warriors) set up their tents and sleep outside if it’s not raining.

We were walking between 4 and 8 hours a day with our backpacks and I must say there were many moments when we thought we just couldn’t do it anymore. Being with a close friend made it so much easier and at least we could just chat all day and try not to think too much about our muddy boots and the rain. I strongly recommend going with someone you enjoy spending (a lot) of time with and with which you have the ability to laugh at silly things and look at things on the bright side.

The track itself is quite safe and people from different ages and fitness levels can relatively easily do it. We met families doing it with kids and elders. It does take a lot of preparation beforehand but it’s definitely doable. Some parts of the tracks are made up by the roots of the trees which makes it hard to walk in there if it’s muddy. But generally, there are wooden paths to make it easier.

Obviously, a no waste policy means that you are not allowed to use soap to wash yourself. Only toothpaste is allowed if you spit at the right places (glamorous right?). Most of the people went for a few days without washes themselves but we couldn’t bear this thought. I went for waterfall showers and icy water baths most days, even if it was freezing.

And at the end of the seven days, when you know it’s the last one and that soon you will be back to your little comfort, there is this incredibly strong sensation of pride and achievement. The feeling that you’ve done it and no one will ever take it from you is priceless. We felt so strong and empowered, knowing that we met our goals with a constant smile on our face.

If you ever want to commit to these sort of treks, don’t forget to read all the info from the websites and prepare yourself properly by buying the right gear. We’ve heard stories of people starting the tracks with flip-flops and getting caught in the snow or people walking with mud up to their thighs. But if you are well prepared, you are in for an adventure you will never forget.

What was your most challenging but rewarding experience? I’d love to hear all about it.