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The team hiking in Tasmania on The Overland Track

STORY BY: Tracey Jordan

Winter hiking in Tasmania is an unforgettable adventure experience.

Hiking in Tasmania during winter is such an amazing and special experience and one week after our adventure began I still cannot believe I did The Overland Track in winter. When my friend Michael invited me to go hiking in Tasmania and take on The Overland Track Winter Trek, also known as The “Tassie Tuff'”, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. With much trepidation, I packed my backpack and sleeping bag (both borrowed) as I didn’t own such things and off I went to Launceston for two days of preparation with the Peak Potential Adventures team. After their careful analysis of the contents of my backpack (I can’t believe they made me take out my coffee machine and makeup bag), my pack weighed in at 15 kilos and armed with everything I needed for 6 days in the wilderness – rehydrated mince sachets; baby wipes; sunscreen; 2 minutes noodles and about 3 kilos of chocolate. I was ready to go. We met the other members of our group before we left and bonded over a beer and a burger on the eve of our departure.

The Tasmanian adventure starts

Up bright and early on Sunday morning, Darren Wise and Shane Pophfer (Peak Potential Adventure guides and former Paratroopers) myself and 4 strong fit men boarded the bus to begin The Overland Track adventure. I cannot lie, I had moments of reflection on my decision wondering how I was ever going to keep up because I’ve never done much hiking before, let alone hiking in Tasmania during the winter period. I knew this was going to be the challenge of a lifetime but there was no turning back now.

And then the magic began. After a short ferry ride and with absolutely no expectations of what lay ahead, we headed off to reach the first cabin (about a 4-hour walk). The terrain on The Overland Track was a combination of mud, snow and slippery tree stumps (not for the faint-hearted I thought). At a cracking pace, we made it just before nightfall and I can’t believe how much I was looking forward to rehydrated mince and freeze-dried peas.

The team getting a photo out the front of Kia Ora hut on the Overland Track

Day 1 was tough and hiking in Tasmania in winter has its challenges, but it was all incredibly new and a bit daunting. Day 2 we were up early and on our way for another full day of climbing. This was a tough day but Darren and Shane made sure we had frequent stops to rehydrate and take in the view. It was spectacular. Day 3 we got our groove on and things really started to fall into place. The scenery was breathtaking. Each day threw up new challenges, Day 3 was 6 hours of walking through knee-deep snow and ankle-deep mud, but the enchanted rain forests and the incredible mountains we were passing kept us awe-inspired and motivated. The rest day at Pelion Hut was much appreciated as we had additional food bought in and the fruit cake and custard Shane and Darren organised was like all our Christmases had come at once.

I couldn’t help but think they were sweetening us up for what was yet to come and I may have been right but as we got used to the terrain and the weight of the backpacks we all seemed to take each day’s new challenge as it presented itself. The good humour of the group also went a long way to get us through.

Cooking dinner in the huts on the Overland Track in Tasmania

On our last day after 17kms of more snow, steep inclines, mud and rocks (and even more spectacular scenery) we finally made it. We had conquered The Overland Track in winter and I could not have been more proud of myself and my team. Hiking in Tasmania is some of the best in the world because of the pristine national parks and given that the Overland Track is A World Heritage Protected Area. Many people trek The Overland Track during the normal season, but for me, the winter trek brought out the essence and the real beauty of The Overland Track and best of all, it was quiet with very few trekkers on the track. This is definitely one of the best hikes in Tasmania, and perhaps even Australia.

A Tasmanian wilderness adventure of a lifetime

There is no way I could have done this without the incredible support of Darren and Shane. Shane for his incredible kindness; patience; sincerity and calm soulful demeanour (and his incredibly funny and entertaining stories) and Darren for his professionalism and unconditional focus and commitment on the comfort, safety and wellness of each member of the team. Micky, Conrad, Matthew and Chris were all amazing team members whose sense of humour, kindness and protection of me helped to get me through. It was a tough challenge but I am so glad I did it and I will be looking at doing some more hiking in Tasmania on some other adventure that the Peak Potential Adventures team are putting together like the Three Capes trek. These fond memories will stay with me forever.  Thank you, Shane and Darren. You amazed me every day and I cannot wait for the next adventure we can do together.

Almost finsihed The Overland Track with a photo in from of Kitcheners Hut on the Cradle Mountain Plateau

 

 

Shane Pophfer on the Overland Track in Tasmania

Hartnett Falls on the Overland Track Tasmanian Adventure

The definition of a Tasmanian adventure.

We’ve been thinking about our new awesome Tasmanian adventure. That’s not new but what is new is that we want to find out what adventure means to you.

We want your take on adventure and if you’re just beginning an adventurous journey – what do you want those choices to bring to your life?

The push is for more than a definition, we are looking for meaning, and yes, there is a difference. Today I reached for my 1979 edition Collins English Dictionary, (yep it’s old) to learn that adventure is:

  1. risky undertaking of unknown outcome.
  2. an exciting or unexpected event or course of events and
  3. a hazardous financial operation or course of events.

Yeah, that’s not how we define it. We want to get you thinking and talking about adventure to inspire you to make choices that will see treks and expeditions become part of your life story.

Peak Potential Adventures is offering three very different adventure experiences in 2015 and building momentum on the development of more treks and adventures. The Overland Track Winter Trek is our newest trek and over the Christmas/New Year period we reflected on what we took from the trek and considered what the adventure could add to your life.

Du Cane Hut on the Overland Track in Tasmania

A real Tasmanian adventure during winter

The Overland Track is a real Tasmanian adventure if you complete it during the winter period and would be considered a tough adventure challenge; you have got to work for it. It’s designed to be a back-to-basics wilderness trek which means you carry everything, cook everything, clean everything and contribute to a team environment. It’s an adventure that offers the opportunity to learn how to operate effectively in the Tasmanian wilderness and is 70km of mental and physical challenges in a wilderness environment of remarkable beauty and diverse weather conditions. Big adventure!

Our experience of The Overland Track and our Tasmanian adventure involved a really big push from the Nicholls Hut through to Cynthia Bay. It was around 27 kilometres and we had too much weight in our packs. That daily distance is not on the cards for the or Tasmanian adventure, what the adventure gave us in the wake of the challenges of that final day was this: life’s damn good and we are so lucky.

That feeling, that meaning, came as we sat in The Cynthia Bay Resort Cafe and ate a hamburger that was just magic, we thought it was the best hamburger we had ever eaten – now it probably wasn’t – but at that moment, after our six days on The Overland Track, it was magic. Every sense was heightened and our appreciation of the simple things was so much greater. We had clarity of thought, we felt that life’s damn good and we are so lucky.

The experience of pushing yourself in challenging environments will make you see the world differently and appreciate the good in your life – even when times are tough. That is a little of what adventure adds to our lives and our take from our Overland Track winter Tasmanian adventure.

So we’ve shared – now let’s hear from you!

Please contact the Peak Potential Adventures team at [email protected] if you would like to receive a full information brochure on this amazing Tasmanian Adventure.

Peak Potential Adventures is an authorised operator on the Overland Track Track issued a licence by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.

Shane Pophfer hold up a sheet of ice on our Tasmanian Adventure through the Overland Track