The Overland Track Seed Collection Walk
Available for private groups by request
Join our partnership with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and help achieve their urgent goal to map and collect seeds while walking along Tasmania's precious Overland Track.
Recent drier summers and fires in Tasmania's alpine regions have created a critical and pressing need to accurately map the flora and collect seeds along our precious Overland Track. Collecting is made more difficult by remote locations.
James Wood of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and his seed collecting partner, Tim Rudman, have analysed their seed collection data and this is the next ideal time for Tasmania's Seedbank Program to secure good high-quality seed collections to protect vulnerable and threatened species.
This will be the third trip since the original collection took place during the COVID lockdown of 2020. The walks provide opportunities for wide-ranging conversations about Tasmania's alpine flora. Ciara, our Tas Walking Company guide, said 'as a guide, I learnt more about plants this trip than I have in three seasons of guiding".
The Tasmanian Walking Company will host the walks, James and Tim, contribute to the ongoing work of the program and train guides to provide ongoing observations from the tracks.
Direct bookings only. For all enquiries and bookings please contact Tasmanian Walking Company on (03) 6392 2211 or email email@example.com
Read about the 2021 Seed Collecting Walk
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 Seed Collection Walk
(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. On our signature itinerary, 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. Strong walkers are encouraged who like to walk then pause to collect seeds or for interesting conversations.
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.
Come join these unique walks and help preserve our precious alpine plants.
2020 Seed Collection Walk
- Read about the Special Covid-19 lockdown mission in this article from The Guardian.
- Pencil Pine seeds collected: 12,900
2021 Seed Collection Walk
- Four important collections were made, collectors had the privilege of heading off tack, field data and herbarium species secured and future targets identified. It was a celebration of plant lovers and conservation and it took place in one of the most spectacular places on earth.
- Olearia pinifolia seeds collected:258,470
- Scapisenecio pectinatus var. pectinatus seeds collected: 19,865
- Scapisenecio albogilvus seeds collected: 3,201
- Drosera arcturi seeds collected: 34,491
- Read about the walk in T's Magazine's article Hunters and Collectors by Kate Hennessy
- Please find James' photos from the walk here.
- A beautiful collection of photographs taken by Amanda Thomson, a guest on the 2021 walk. can be discovered here.
- Please see images from the walk below
2022 Seed Collection Walk
- In January of 2022 James Wood led the second Overland Track with the Tasmanian Walking Company to collect seed as well as survey the vegetation and tell the stories of the native vegetation. Over the 6 day walk, seed collections were made of from 4 different shrubs - Allocasuarina zephyrea, Epacris gunnii, Leptospermum lanigerum and Melaleuca virens, totalling 450,000 viable seed. Additionally, a sample of a distinctive, white-flowered, Epilobium was collected from Mt Pelion East. This plant was spotted on last year’s walk, but the importance of the find wasn’t appreciated until several days later when photograph from the trip were being examined. With samples secured, some of the material collected was pressed as an herbarium specimen and some of it was grown on at the RTBG nursery. These samples will assist ongoing work at the Tasmanian Herbarium to ascertain the identity of a distinctive, and possibly very restricted alpine herb.
- Fiona Walsh has kindly given permission to share some images from the walk: https://lnkd.in/g6VTZkZj
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 4: Pelion Hut to Kia Ora 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.
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, we place 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 'Seed Collection' Walk
- in collaboration with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens Seed Conservation Centre
Available by request
- Price: walk fee
- 6 Day Guided Walk (Twin Share)
- Each trip requires a minimum of 6 guests (Twin Share). The maximum is 10 plus James Wood and his assistant.
- Phone: (03) 6392 2211
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- or complete the below enquiry form
Special Interest Walks - Terms and Conditions
These are in addition to our standard booking terms and conditions.
- All prices are quoted per person in $AUD including GST
- A deposit of $500 per person and the Guest Information Form are due within five days of booking
- The final payment is due 90 days before departure. For reservations made three months or less from the departure date, full payment is due at the time of booking.
- more than 90 days from the scheduled departure date, a fee of $350 per person will be charged with the balance payment refunded;
- between 90 and 60 days prior to departure, you will be charged 50% of the full trip cost with the balance refunded; or
- within 60 days of departure, no refund is available. Bookings are transferable.
- Travel and pre and post-trip accommodation expenses are not included.
- This walk cannot be booked in conjunction with any other offers and discounts.
- Single supplements are not available on this walk.
After the minimum number of bookings has been achieved, the trip is guaranteed to depart. If for any reason, the trip cannot go ahead due to restrictions placed upon travel due to Covid-19, guests will be permitted to reschedule their walk to the new date provided for the departure or receive a full refund with no additional fee or rebook a different Walk within 24 months. Cancellations by guests for other reasons will incur our standard cancellation fees.
- 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
- Have a burning question? Check out our FAQ page, and if you need further help please don't hesitate to contact our friendly reservations team
- Ready to start planning your next adventure and want to know what to bring. Check out our detailed gear list, including details on what's provided. If your unsure about anything on the gear list please call us or talk to you local outdoor adventure store.