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Cradle Mountain Huts Walk with Ric Charlesworth

Departs January 23-28, 2021

On Australia's iconic Overland Track, at the height of summer, Dr Ric Charlesworth will share the trail and conversations about his extraordinary life. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to engage casually and share deep insights about playing and coaching, leadership, medicine and politics. 

Dr Ric Charlesworth is a doctor of medicine with an honorary Science degree and an Arts degree majoring in philosophy and history. He is a former captain of the Australian Hockey Team and the Western Australian State Hockey Team and Cricket Team. He played hockey for Australia for a record 17 years and played first-class cricket for nearly a decade. He was elected a member of Federal parliament in 1983 and retired 10 years later.

Cradle Mountain Huts Walk is a six-day walk along the iconic Overland Track, retreating each evening to the comfort of the only private accommodation along the trail.

  Direct bookings only.  For all enquiries and bookings please contact Tasmanian Walking Company on (03) 6392 2211 or email bookings@taswalkingco.com.au

Trip Notes   Walk Map

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DR RIC CHARLESWORTH (Cit WA, AO)

Ric Charlesworth is a sporting icon, both for his playing efforts and later his coaching successes.

During his sport, he studied Medicine and worked in Politics, but he will forever be known as The Coach. He specialises in knowing what triggers people (himself included) to be the best, and be their best.

His plans to pursue medicine were diverted when he took on the position of National Coach of the Australian Women’s Hockey Team from 1993 to 2000. Between 2009 and 2014 he coached the Men’s team. In four World Cups and three Olympic Games, Charlesworth’s teams won Gold on 6 occasions. They won 8 of 9 Champions Trophy tournaments and 2 Commonwealth Games Gold medals… this is a record never equalled in the sport. Between 1994 and 2014 Charlesworth was ‘Coach of the Year’ 8 times!

Given that in the last 60 years Australia has won five Hockey World Cups and four Olympic Gold Medals (nine in total), Charlesworth’s involvement in seven of these as a coach or player is an extraordinary contribution to the sport.

Ric graduated from UWA in Medicine in 1975 and worked in the hospital environment and general practice for 7 years. His entry into politics in 1982 led to his election as a member for Perth in Federal parliament. As part of the Hawke-Keating government, and remained there for 10 years. In 1992 he made a lifestyle decision to leave parliament, planning to work in medicine. 

He is the author of 5 books on coaching and team management.

Cradle Mountain Huts Walk with Ric Charlesworth (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.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk and talk with Ric is a fundraiser for Hockey Tasmania.

Prices $7,000 pp

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

One Of The Many Waterfalls En Route

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.

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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.

Itinerary Details

January 23-28, 2021 

  • 6 Day Guided Walk (Twin Share)
  • Maximum guests - 10 (Twin Share)
Price per person  (inc GST)

$7,000.00

Direct bookings only:

Single supplement
Single supplements are not available for this experience.

Booking Terms and Conditions 

All prices are quoted per person in $AUD, including GST

View our booking terms and conditions 

Inclusions

  • 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

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