The Overland Track's Montane Conifer Seed Collection Walks
We're partnering with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens to help achieve their urgent goal to map and collect seeds along Tasmania's beloved and precious Overland Track. Recent drier summers and fires in Tasmania's alpine regions have created a critical and pressing need to accurately map and collect seeds from ancient stands of montane conifers.
The right conditions for these endemic trees to produce sufficient cones to collect for Tasmania's seed conservation program are irregular and rare. The last occurred in 2015. Collecting is made more difficult by their remote locations. All signs indicate that this is a year when the icon trees of the mountains, the ancient King Billy and pencil pine "mast", a term used to describe periodic mass production of fruit, or cones in this case. James and his seed collecting partner, Tim Rudman, need to be ready to act. These events present an exceptional opportunity for Tasmania's Seedbank Program to secure good high-quality seed collections to protect these iconic and vulnerable species.
The two walks have been scheduled at late notice to coincide with seeding that is expected to take place in late March and early April. The walks provide opportunities for guests to assist and engage in wide-ranging conversations about Tasmania's alpine flora. If seeding does not take place, James Wood will still accompany guests and mapping of the pines and other alpine plants will take place in preparation for future collecting walks. The Tasmanian Walking Company will host the walks, contribute to the ongoing work of the program and train guides to provide ongoing observations from the tracks.
Guests can expect to stay on track and for James and his assistant to map and collect. Guests assistance with cleaning the seeds and storing will be very helpful and increase the number of seeds collected and trees visited. As the walks are exploratory, being flexible and patient with itinerary changes will be helpful.
Guests are invited to help raise funds for a follow-up event that will involve trained arborists on an extra field trip and cost $30,000.
Direct bookings only. For all enquiries and bookings please contact Tasmanian Walking Company on (03) 6392 2211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre
Behind the scenes at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens lies the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre, generally known as the Seed Bank. Seed banking is a conservation measure that provides additional insurance against the extinction of many species in the wild.
The Seed bank is the cornerstone of the Gardens’ conservation strategy. So far, the Centre has collected 57% of Tasmania’s rare and threatened species. There are more than 400 threatened plant species in Tasmanian alone, and the Gardens plays an important role in protecting these species through seed collections, ongoing germination testing and through growing them in the living collections.
With increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and threats by fire, this conservation strategy is more important than ever. However many of the species are in remote places, difficult to access and requiring significant resource to undertake collections. Through working in partnership with the Tas walking Company, we can work more efficiently towards our targets and ensure that Tasmania’s rare and threated species are protected into the future.
James Wood is the manager of the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre and has worked in and around seedbanking for 28 years. He took on his current post in December 2005 after working for 15 years at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the UK. Running and overseeing seedbank germination tests for over 20 years, James has a broad background and interest in the challenges of wild species germination. He has been interested in natural history from an early age and developed a specific interest in botany since his mid-teens.
Overland Track (Cradle Mountain Signature Walk) (6-days)
Tasmania’s Overland Track is famous the world over and our signature trip is the way to experience it in classic style. Across six days, our most popular Overland experience completes the full journey from World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.
The fully guided walk begins at Waldheim in Cradle Valley and journeys some 65 kilometres through to Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest natural lake. Our signature adventure does not include multiple side trips, but there is the opportunity on Day 4 to summit Mount Ossa.
For these special walks, groups may begin walking earlier than usual each day to maximise the potential for seed collecting.
Come join these unique walks and help preserve our precious pines.
Prices from $3,695 pp
Day 1: Waldheim to Barn Bluff Hut
Approximately 7 hours walking
On the summit of Cradle Mountain in 1910, Austrian-born Gustav Weindorfer proclaimed, “This must be a national park for the people for all time.” It’s fitting our journey begins at Waldheim in Cradle Valley, where Weindorfer’s story is told. We set off on the track, venturing through ancient temperate rainforest, passing the dramatic glacially-carved Crater Lake.
We climb the steepest section of the whole Overland Track today fuelled by a hearty lunch. 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.
Day 2: Barn Bluff Hut to Pine Forest Moor Hut
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.
Day 3: Pine Forest Moor Hut to Pelion Hut
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.
Day 5: Kia Ora Hut to Windy Ridge Hut
Approximately 4 hours walking
Day five 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, surounded 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.
the island’s highest point. Once we arrive at Kia Ora Hut, enjoy a Tasmanian drop with spectacular views out to Cathedral Mountain.
Day 6: Windy Ridge Hut to Lake St Clair
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 Entally Lodge is through the trout fishing mecca of the highland lakes, descending the rugged Western Tiers. We’ll cross the broad plains of the Northern Midlands, passing through the rural townships of Cressy and Longford.
True shelter, something that gives protection and refuge, simple and sustainable, clean and comfortable.
Our groups have the exclusive use of the only private hut accommodation along the Overland Track. Each hut has been discretely located off the main trail and offers a hot shower, drying room and twin share accommodation.
Our Private Huts
Operating and owning the only private hut accommodation along the Overland Track is a great privilege, and we take our responsibility toward the National Park & the natural environment very seriously. Operating in such a delicate environment, Cradle Mountain Huts places a great deal of importance on minimal impact track and hut practices and the huts are designed to be ecologically sustainable. Each hut is architecturally designed to maximize cross flow ventilation and operate with maximum efficiency with renewable energy. Our private Cradle Mountain Huts are maintained by us to ensure your comfort.
There will be afternoon tea, as well as some time to relax and enjoy your surroundings before dinner is served. In the evening, you are free to relax or take an early night and feel refreshed and revived in the morning.
There are games and a number of books in each hut, which can be enjoyed in the lounge area or, in warm weather, out on the deck or helipad.
The remote location of the huts demands that they are autonomous in terms of servicing. Rain water is chanelled off the roofs into tanks and the huts incorporate self-composting, water-free batching toilets. We provide phosphorous-free soap for our guests, and all waste water is separated through grease traps and sand filters. The residue is regularly removed from each site, along with all other rubbish. Gas and solar are the only sources of power, used for lighting, heating and cooking.
Provisioning of these huts is a unique procedure, once again due to their remote location. Only twice each season, supplies of food, wine and gas cylinders are flown in by helicopter over a two-day period, while all garbage and waste matter is flown out. Nothing is left within the National Park.
Cradle Mountain Huts Montane Conifer Seed Collection Walks (6-days)
- in collaboration with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens Seed Conservation Centre
March 29, 2020 and April 13, 2020
- 6 Day Guided Walk (Twin Share)
- Maximum guests - 12 (Twin Share)
|Price per person March 29, 2020 (inc GST)||$3,995.00|
|Price per person April 13, 2020 (inc GST)||$3,695.00|
Direct bookings only:
- Phone: (03) 6392 2211
- Email: email@example.com
- or complete the below enquiry form
Booking Terms and Conditions
All prices are quoted per person in $AUD, including GST
View our booking terms and conditions
- Return transfers between Launceston and the walk base
- Accommodation each evening in one of our five private huts - twin share
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages, plus a limited selection of Tasmanian wines
- National Park and Overland Track passes
- Boat transfer across Lake St Clair (on Day 6 of the six day walk only)
- Use of a backpack and Gore-tex jacket for the duration of the walk
- Sleeping bags, pillows and a comfortable mattress at each hut
- Sleeping sheet and pillowcase to carry with you
- Two qualified guides for the duration of the walk