On Day 7 of Overland Track, the detour from the Pine Valley to join the Overland Track requires backtracking to the junction. From there, a leisurely walk leads to the small and rustic Narcissus Hut beside Lake St Clair. This is where many bushwalkers choose to finish their track by taking a ferry to the visitor centre at Cynthia Bay.
The morning greeted us with a bit of fog, wind and grey sky. Taking our porridge breakfast in the hut, which became a pretty nice routine, we caught ourselves reading again the notices on the walls about recent deaths in the area due to “sudden changes in temperature”.
Despite the warnings and the unwelcoming weather, our friend was determined to climb the Acropolis, a big flat mountain dominating the Labyrinth, with panoramic views on the whole area. Having had a very early start, he didn’t come back for our late breakfast. We were thinking maybe we should start worrying, when the door wide opened and our friend’s wet face, beaming from ear to ear, appeared in the frame.
By the time we left Pine Valley Hut, the sun was shining in the cloudless blue sky, its rays penetrating the tick forest. Walking through the carpet of damp and spongy moss we suddenly realised that the Overland Track was almost over. By now we nicely settled into a routine, physically and mentally. We found the unexpected pleasure of carrying our heavy backpacks, day after day, pitching the tent and cooking our non-complicated dinner every night before getting asleep to the sounds of wilderness.
To join the Overland Track, we had to go back all the way we came until the junction and to continue walking further on to the Narcissus Hut.
The easy flat trail led us to the small and rustic hut located beside Lake St Clair. Many bushwalkers opt to finish their Overland Track here and take a ferry across Lake St Clair to the visitor centre at Cynthia Bay. Only some continue on foot.
We decided to camp overnight on the pier, a few minutes’ walk from the Narcissus Hut.
Hesitant to take a dip in the freezing water, we sat for a while on the pier, legs dangling over the edge, eating our last dehydrated Coq au Vin and Nasi Goreng while trying to spot a platypus in the lake’s still waters.
Overland Track: Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Day 1: Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley Hut
Day 2: Waterfall Valley Hut to Windermere Hut
Day 3: Windermere Hut to Frog Flats
Day 4: Frog Flats to Kia Ora Hut through New Pelion Hut
Day 5: Kia Ora Hut to Bert Nichols Hut at Windy Ridge
Day 6: Bert Nichols Hut to Pine Valley Hut
Day 7: Pine Valley Hut to Narcissus Hut
Day 8: Narcissus Hut to Lake St Clair visitor centre