Northern Exposure is a fitting blend of rainforest trekking and salty-sea-breeze wandering. It begins by slipping deep into World Heritage Wilderness on our Cradle Mountain Huts Walk for 6 days amongst ancient, rugged landscape. Retreat each evening to the only private huts in the park.
After a short break in Launceston, it’s time to lace up your boots and embark on the 4-day Bay of Fires Lodge Walk. Prepare for squeaky white sand beaches, fiery-orange lichen topped boulders and indigenous history that’ll stop you in your tracks. But keep walking. Your destination? The Bay of Fires Lodge. This idyllic lodge complete with well-earned foot spas, is your base for the final two nights. Here, sneak in a spa treatment, nap on the front deck or paddle your way across the smooth waters of Anson’s River by kayak.
Northern Exposure is about intrepid rainforest adventure and cruisy coastal days. Treat yourself.
Upon arrival into Launceston Airport you will be transferred to your accommodation. Depending on your arrival time, you may like to explore the nearby Cataract Gorge (a favourite amongst locals) or visit the Design Centre where you can view crafts designed by local artisans.
Your group and Tour Director will meet in the lobby of your accommodation at 6:00pm to take the short stroll to the multi award winning Stillwater restaurant, for a three course menu with matched wines.
*If Stillwater is not available we will dine in a restaurant of a similar standard.
Approximately 7 hours walking
After an early breakfast at your accommodation, meet in front of the hotel where you will be transferred to our walking base at Quamby Estate, a short 25 minute drive into the picturesque Tasmanian countryside. Here your Tour Director and fellow Cradle Mountain Huts guide will do a gear check and introduction before being transferred to Waldheim in the Cradle Mountain - Lake St.Clair National Park.
Today we climb the steepest section of the whole Overland Track. Reaching Marion’s Lookout (1250m) takes about an hour, with steps leading through steeper sections. The reward, providing weather conditions allow, is staggering views of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake. Every uphill step is worth it.
We continue around the base of Cradle Mountain along the edge of a spectacular glacial cirque before dropping into Waterfall Valley. Our private hut awaits, beneath towering Barn Bluff, having completed the steepest part of your journey (excluding side trips). It’s a welcome retreat after several hours walking over exposed alpine plateau where some days the wind howls – a reminder of nature’s power.
Approximately 6 hours walking
Today we’ll be walking across plains where glaciers once rested, slowly moving and scouring out shallow tarns. Although an undulating trek with a few sections of exposed moorland, there are no significant climbs today.
We take our time venturing across vast button grass plains where ancient pencil pines fringe alpine tarns. Rising from the moors, the peaks of Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff are behind us. Look ahead, and the stately Mt Pelion West comes into view.
Those looking for additional challenge today can take a side trip to Lake Will. Hugged by pencil pines and with its narrow quartzite sand rim, Lake Will is striking. Keep an eye out for gravel mounds along the way, remnants of Joseph Will’s coal mining efforts in the 1890s.
This evening, at Pine Forest Moor Hut, enjoy our outdoor dining setting with views out to Mt. Oakleigh in fine weather.
Approximately 5 hours walking
This morning we venture through gorgeous myrtle-beech rainforest as we descend around the base of Mt Pelion West, down to the Forth River before it plunges into Lemonthyme Valley. We’ll take a break at Frog Flats beside the Forth River, which happens to be the Overland Track’s lowest point.
From here, it’s a gentle ascent back out of the valley. We leave thick Eucalypt forest behind as the trees part to reveal Pelion Plains. Uninterrupted views of Mt Oakleigh’s dolerite spires now come into play.
The Pelion Plains area offers a host of side trips, hugged by mountainous terrain. There are excellent swimming holes, peaceful nooks to rest and abandoned copper mines to explore. Come nightfall, we’ll be nestled amongst dry sclerophyll forest at Pelion Hut.
Approximately 4-9 hours walking (Optional 5hr side trip to Mt Ossa)
Today begins with a climb of almost 300m to Pelion Gap through beautiful rainforest. Pelion Gap is a plateau stretching between Mt Pelion East and Mt Ossa, affording fantastic views to the south as well as back to the north.
There’s plenty of time for side trips from Pelion Gap including the option to summit Mt Ossa. At 1617m, it is Tasmania’s highest peak. There are other less challenging climbs, including Mt Doris.
From Pelion Gap it's a further two hours of gentle downhill to the hut. Today, choose to keep things relaxed or challenge yourself to stand atop the island’s highest point. Once we arrive at Kia Ora Hut, enjoy a Tasmanian drop with spectacular views out to Cathedral Mountain.
Approximately 4 hours walking
Today is about icy-flowing waterfalls. We depart Kia Ora hut and walk about an hour to Du Cane, where a 1910-built hut remains from the long-gone days of animal trapping. Du Cane Hut is a fine spot to rest, surrounded by native gardens and overlooked by the spectacular Du Cane Range.
From here, we wander through some of the oldest forest in the National Park, with King Billy pines as much as 2000 years old. Now, we are above the Mersey River, which descends deeply northward towards Bass Strait, spilling down cliff faces.
There are three major sets of waterfalls in the area. We aim to visit one or more of these, choosing the best to have lunch beside depending on conditions. During the afternoon, we make our way over Du Cane Gap, then descend beside the spectacular Falling Mountain to Windy Ridge Hut. Tonight is a celebratory one, our last evening on the track.
Approximately 3 hours walking
Our destination today is Australia’s deepest natural lake – Lake St Clair – shaped by glaciations over two million years. Birdsong helps us along this final day as we walk mainly through flowering dry sclerophyll forests.
We arrive at Narcissus at the northern end of Lake St Clair in time for lunch, before boarding the Idaclair cruise boat for a spectacular 17km cruise back to Cynthia Bay. There’s typically around half an hour to look around the Visitor Centre here. The return trip to the walker’s base is through the trout fishing mecca of the highland lakes, descending the rugged Western Tiers.
After a celebratory cheers upon returning to Quamby Estate, you will be transferred back to your accommodation in Launceston at The Sebel. Tonight you are free to dine in one of the many restaurants in Launceston that your Tour Director will be only too happy to suggest and make reservations.
Today is at your leisure. There are many options to choose from including taking a stroll into the Cataract Gorge or wander the streets of Launceston, one of Australia's oldest cities showcasing elegant Colonial and Victorian architecture.
This evening choose from a wide range of restaurants for dinner. You will have plenty of time to repack your backpack and prepare for your coastal adventure to the Bay of Fires tomorrow.
Approximately 4 hours walking
After an early breakfast at your accommodation, meet in front of the hotel where you will be transferred to our walking base at Quamby Estate, a short 25 minute drive into the picturesque Tasmanian countryside. Here your Tour Director and fellow Bay of Fires guide will do a gear check and introduction before being transferred to Mt William National Park.
It’s time to lace up and get your walking boots sandy! Our beach walk today begins at Boulder Point in Mt William National Park. In clear conditions, the Bass Strait islands of Flinders and Cape Barren are visible to the north.
We’ll nestle into a protected beach along the coastline for lunch, enjoying the company of native birds, rare shells and marine artefacts. From day one your guides will begin unravelling the Bay of Fires tales; its early inhabitants, visiting explorers and how it came to bear its fiery name.
After about four hours walking, we’ll arrive at the Forester Beach Camp, tucked away in secluded dunes. These semi-permanent tents are our home for the night. Relax on the deck with a local wine, take a dip or explore the dune swale location while your guides prepare delicious Tasmanian fare.
Approximately 7 hours walking
Following a relaxed breakfast at the camp we continue to walk south, absorbing the coastline’s bold colours and solitude. Along the ridgelines of sand dunes, views extend across heathlands and out to the ocean. We’ll visit marsupial lawns, often encountering quiet native animals and the tracks they leave at nightfall.
Our lunch spot today is a beach sheltered behind the dunes near Eddystone Point Lighthouse. We’ll have time to explore the lighthouse and its long-standing story before we trek far-stretching beaches that lead to the award winning Bay of Fires Lodge.
Afternoon tea will be waiting, along with spa treatments for those who want to indulge. Pre-bookings are best if you’re keen to sink into the outdoor tub or settle in for a luxurious few hours at the spa.
Come evening, venture into the library, cast a line off the beach or have your hosts deliver a cold drop while you dip your toes into a foot spa on the back deck. Dinner is a Tasmanian long-table affair, featuring produce from the island matched with fine local beer and wine.
Approximately 6 hours kayaking/walking
Rise early to the native birds accompanying the dawn, waking to the aroma of a hot-cooked breakfast and freshly brewed coffee. If it's a sunny morning, breakfast on the deck can reward you with whale spotting and dolphins surfing the waves.
Today choose your own adventure. Later in the morning, choose to kayak down Ansons River and experience the riparian ecology of this winding waterway. Cross the bird-rich waters of Ansons Bay and conclude with a stroll over the dunes of Abbotsbury Peninsula back to the lodge.
Other options for today include a spa treatment, fishing, snorkelling in the marine nursery, exploring shell coves or enjoying the lodge surrounds. After dinner is when the native wildlife wander out, keep an eye out for wombats, wallabies, Forester kangaroos, possums or even a Tasmanian devil. Don’t forget to look up also - the night sky from this pristine coastline is an awesome spectacle.
Approximately 1 hour walking
Following a leisurely breakfast at the lodge, there’s plenty of time for a morning swim or final spa treatment before we depart. Today we venture through eucalypt forests and coastal heathland. We’ll enjoy a forest lunch to the sound of native birds, including the endemic green rosella.
Upon our return to Launceston there will be time to stop at the Design Centre to raise a glass to the wonderful time spent together. There is the option to be returned to the accommodation of your choice if staying on in Tasmania. Alternatively you can be transferred to the airport for your departure flight from 6:00pm.