Tasmania, I had to go there, said every Aussie when I ask them what to see in Australia. So I went to Tasmania. I am joining Quentin and Tom who had decided to do the Overland hike together. Fine, I can hike I thought, but no, this is a serious hike. Despite that I have hiked a lot myself the past six months and some of them in Australia, this track is only for advanced hikers, the ones that really love hiking.
The Overland Track
The Overland track is a route that takes you five to six days to walk. So you have to bring your food, water (you don’t want to walk without water) and your tent on your back. And that is heavy.
Especially because it is not an easy route. Sometimes you have to climb over branches, trees or rocks. Australians maintain the paths well, but it’s still a challenge. It are days with less sleep, more muscle pain. And Tasmania is known for their not so ideal weather, so it was rain, rain, snow, sun, rain and rain during the six days we walked the route.
I do this blog in three parts. One about the preparations, another blog about our adventures on the hike itself and one about the reflections I had while walking. Because you have: lots of time to think.
I would hike the Overland track again if you ask me. I loved it! Although, I want to walk so many other routes first. There is still so much to see. In and outside Australia.
Blog 1: the food
How do you prepare for six days and five nights of walking? What do you eat and what do you take with you? The more you take, the more you have to carry, the heavier it is. And you have all your sleeping mat, tent and sleeping bag on your back, so I didn’t want to add too much food. But you have to eat. Especially because you also burn a lot when you walk all day (in the rain).
What food did we take with us?
Quentin and I had some experience with taking food with us during our three-day hike in Wilsons Prom. Because of this we knew what we needed about a day. We made a list and went shopping.
Oats for Breakfast
We started with breakfast. That’s simple: oats. That’s the best. Light and simple to make. All you need is warm water and some nuts – you also need some nutrients – and you’re done. We bought a big suit with smaller bags and took it with us. I liked this very much. Only on day 4 we were through our big bag of nuts. So we needed two large bags of nuts (900 gr). We also had twelve (little) bags with oats. Most people had more oats with them. Tom used two bags of oats, but did not add any nuts. You can also buy a large oats bag and put them in smaller bags. I think I’ll do that next time. Then I have just a little more oats than the small bag they have in the package.
Vegetarian Lunch & Dinner
For lunch and dinner we had several options. Our biggest invention was a meal of dried mushrooms, noodles and miso soup. We used the latter to flavour the meal. We also brought ginger (tip!). These meals were delicious! And cheaper and tastier than the freeze-dried meals that many people had with them.
Couscous, perfect hiking food
Another simple meal is couscous. Ideal. You only need water to make it. In addition, we had herbal mix with us to give it a taste. And Tom had chili flakes with him. This was an absolute must: this gives all meals much more taste. On the last days we had dried vegetables to supplement it. And nuts if we wanted. On the first days we took a carrot, a tomato and a zucchini to complete the meal. This was even a bit much for a meal. Next time, half a zucchini, a tomato and a carrot will do. The carrot makes it bite more. We did not use nuts. With nuts you would probably only be able to finish with a vegetable.
Pasta, light and easy
Then we also had pasta with fresh mushrooms and cream. An ideal meal, because it is light. Yet you can only eat this for the first two days. It remains a good meal, but for the next hike I would bring dried mushrooms, switch to pesto which stays good for a long time and maybe bring dried peas. Although they seem to cook less well according to other hikers. Here you can also add pine nuts. Hmm!
Uncle Ben rice
Then we had a meal with rice from Uncle Ben. You could do it in the microwave, but everything you can do in the microwave can also be done on the fire. Ideal meal if you ask me and very filling.
We had actually forgotten about snacks. Very stupid, because you really want to eat something when you come back and it is not yet time for dinner. We had dates and cereal bars for the hike, but ate our nuts from breakfast when we wanted a snack when we finished the hike. Luckily we could also occasionally get a piece of chocolate from Tom.
Musts for the Overland hike
What we did not have, but I would bring next time is wraps, peanut butter, chocolate for snack and chili peppers so. And salt but this is especially for the leeches we met on our route. Wraps I would use for lunch which you can fill with nuts, pesto, vegetables, gherkins, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. All this is also possible in the pasta. I could also use chickpeas in the wrap or in the couscous.
Things I absolutely must have to make everything tastier are spice mix, chili peppers and ginger. The dried mushrooms are also delicious. Together with the miso soup.
Alcohol & Drinks
We brought a small bottle of Brandy, but this was far too little for the two of us. That should have been at least three or a larger bottle.
We also brought tea and coffee.
Burner or Jetboil
We cooked on a burner and Tom had a Jetboil. That is a burner that boils very fast. They also use it in the Australian army to cook with. We took a large and a small gas with us. We didn’t need all of this. I think we made it two small ones, while we cooked at least three times with every meal, but you certainly don’t want to be without it.