Overland Track Tasmania

In September this year, 31 Avondale University students and staff conquered Australia’s premier alpine walk known as ‘The Overland Track’. After a flight from Sydney to Launceston the Avondale students immediately boarded a coach that took them to the starting point – the iconic Cradle Mountain. For most, this 6-day trek was the longest and most challenging adventure they had ever embarked on. They were expecting this walk to be “physically demanding and emotionally challenging” and they were not disappointed.

Walking in this remote wilderness required all students to carry their own food, clothing, bedding and equipment for 6 days. This meant most of the team were carrying backpacks in excess of 20kgs. The weather in Tasmania also supported the purpose of this expedition – the development of character– as snow fell heavily on the first two days of the expedition making walking a little challenging yet also incredibly beautiful. Wet feet, blisters, bathing in icy-cold lakes, thin bed mats, fatigued muscles, and self-doubt forced many to demonstrate high levels of determination and grit. Rather than focusing on the 65km minimum distance, many students challenged themselves to complete a majority of the optional sidewalks along the way. One of the students who conquered all of these additional challenges ended up completing over 120kms. There were many rewards along the way for their efforts. Some highlights included summitting Tasmania’s highest mountain Mt Ossa, scaling Barn Bluff, incredible view from Mt Pelion, having lunch beside Hartnett Falls and exploring the beauty of Pine Valley and the Acropolis.

For most, the beauty and diversity of the scenery exceeded all expectations. The team walked down glacially carved valleys and through luscious rainforests and eucalyptus woodlands. For many the trip highlights were less about what they saw and more about whom they journeyed with. Hours of walking together during the day and hanging out in wooden cabins at night made it easy to tell stories, run worships, and build strong community. All the 31 participants successfully made it to the end point and climbed into a ferry that took them over Australia deepest lake – Lake St Clair. As they climbed into the bus headed back to Launceston they looked and smelt very different to when they had first arrived. After a well-needed shower in Launceston the team completed their final debriefing session. Many of the Avondale young people shared how the trek had challenged their beliefs, how the community had impacted them and how the experiences shared in Tasmania would impact their future goals and dreams for the future.