The second day of Overland Track is an easy walk, with no significant climbs. The track crosses alpine plateau and forests, and makes a possibility for a short side trip to the lovely Lake Will. The final walk to Lake Windermere and its hut hidden in the forest is accompanied by the views of mountainous peaks.
The next morning, exhausted, stiff and sore, we woke up pretty late, when all the bushwalkers have already gone. Recalling the previous hike, we were wondering how we would survive the next days… But the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and a cute wallaby came nearby to say hello. After all, not bad at all.
With up to sixty people a day on the track, you are never alone. But this morning we had the place for ourselves. There were no people lining up at the loo with toilet paper in hand. No people refilling the bottles of water. Sleeping until we feel enough energy to open our eyes, usually by the time everybody was finishing breakfast, became our inadvertent strategy for the whole track. We saw many walkers racing ahead to secure their spot in the hut but we preferred to take our time and leave the stress behind.
After our leisurely breakfast under the warm sun and saying good-bye to the friendly Bennet’s wallaby right near the Waterfall Valley Hut, we set off for the track. Leaving the hut, Olga’s knees almost refused to cooperate. Luckily, the walk from Waterfall Valley to Windemere is rather easy, with no significant climbs but still above 1’000m. We even met some walkers who skipped Windermere Hut and pressed on to the next Pelion Hut.
Compared to yesterday, today was an easy stroll. Time to find our own rhythm and get used to the gear. We walked across the plains studded with button grass and cushion plants, forests with myrtle trees, Tasmanian snow gums, deciduous beech trees, old pencil pines, and tropical pandanus. We crossed swamplands on raised boardwalks and moorlands with stunted trees and tarns. With the peaks of Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff left behind, Mt Pelion West was coming into view. And this is where we started to really enjoy the track with its changing faces.
Soon, we reached the junction to Lake Will. Following the sign, we secured our backpacks against cheeky currawongs (birds resembling crows), who have learned that all the walkers have food and have become experts in unzipping the bags to pinch snacks. With its surprising white quartzite beach, Lake Will fringed with pencil pines and Barn Bluff in the background was a perfect spot for lunch.
Our lunch finished, the last efforts brought us to Windermere Hut located near dark-coloured Lake Windermere.
Approaching this rustic and welcoming hut hidden by the forest, we were met by a wallaby hopping across the track and giving us a quizzical look. Our day two of the track was over.
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
Distance: 7.8 km, walking time: 2.5-3.5 hrs
Side trips from Windermere Hut:
Lake Will: 3 km return, 1 hour. If you leave your backpack at the junction, secure it properly! The local birds, currawongs, have learnt to undo zips to access food.
For more information, please refer to Overland Track Practical Information.