Tasmania’s iconic world-renowned bushwalks are a key driver behind the boom in visitor numbers to the state, and bookings for the Overland Track walking season have opened with a rush for the peak summer periods.
Liberal Member for Braddon Joan Rylah said more than 2,000 walkers have booked their Overland Track walk since bookings opened on 1 July for the coming season.
“The Overland track is one of Tasmania’s most iconic bushwalks that attracts bushwalkers from all around the world,” Mrs Rylah said.
“Last year about 9,000 people walked the track, an increase of nine per cent over 2015.
“As has happened in past seasons, the first days to be fully booked were those in the week after Christmas, with December, January and March filling up quickly."
The appeal of the Overland Track is such that the harsh winter conditions don’t appear to have dampened the enthusiasm of keen walkers, with a steady stream of walkers departing during the school holidays.
Northwest Region manager Nic Deka said that while the track is monitored during winter by a highly experienced team of Overland Track rangers, walkers should be aware that Tasmania’s highlands can experience severe weather during winter and not underestimate the type of conditions they may experience.
“We strongly recommend that walkers attempting the track during winter are experienced and have a high level of navigation skills for winter walking,” Mr Deka said.
“Walkers need to ensure they have suitable warm and waterproof clothing and equipment, including a tent.
“We strongly recommend that people don’t walk alone and that they let a reliable person know their plans before you go.
“It’s also important to record trip intentions in the log books at the track heads as this will help searchers to locate a walker if they are reported overdue or missing.
“Walkers must be flexible and be prepared to turn back or change plans if severe weather is forecast or eventuates during the walk. People have died when they have been under prepared and experienced severe weather.
“Finally we highly recommend that the party carries a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) which can be activated if a life-threatening situation occurs.
“We want people to enjoy the special experience of a winter Overland Track walk, and we want them to do it safely.”
For further information and bookings, go to www.overlandtrack.com.au