Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Discussion specifically about the Overland Track should be posted in this subforum, including side trips and the Cradle Mountain day walk area. Alternative access routes and connecting routes belong in the parent forum.

Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Gulliver3 » Sun 26 Jan, 2014 7:53 am

Ok so am I correct in thinking that if I was to walk in via Lees, I would still be able to use Kia Ora or Bert N if the weather were to turn pear shaped? Or is this a situation of goodwill/ space from particular rangers? Obviously a parks pass is in possession.
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Never Neverto Pelion

Postby GraemeSpedding » Wed 29 Jan, 2014 11:40 am

Um trying to interpret all of this and thanks to those people who have done the research and spoken to parks.... IF i want to come down the NN from the Walls and exit via Kia Ora- Pelion then Arm River Track, this is OK?

It means can, wx permitting, climb Mt Ossa and a few other peaks along the way..using Pelion as a base to do some of that.

Cheers
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Re: Never Neverto Pelion

Postby north-north-west » Wed 29 Jan, 2014 3:31 pm

GraemeSpedding wrote:Um trying to interpret all of this and thanks to those people who have done the research and spoken to parks.... IF i want to come down the NN from the Walls and exit via Kia Ora- Pelion then Arm River Track, this is OK?

It means can, wx permitting, climb Mt Ossa and a few other peaks along the way..using Pelion as a base to do some of that.

Cheers


I think so. Can't see any reason why not. Go for it.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Nuts » Wed 29 Jan, 2014 3:50 pm

The new guidelines incorporate The Never Never (so I guess that's an accepted route now..), however the interpretation from there is:

v. Mersey Valley  Junction Lake  Never Never  Lees Paddocks

I guess this means D'Alton > North down the mersey (unfortunate) rather than using Kia Ora hut?

or climbing P.East / Ossa from Pelion Hut.

The chances of meeting one of the park staff on the OLT are quite high.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Gulliver3 » Wed 29 Jan, 2014 7:03 pm

Ok so I rang parks this week to get some clarification of side track access etc. Apparently in the "spirit?" Of the OLT if you join the track at any point you must in all instances walk in southerly direction during the booking season and you may not pass or access more than one hut. EG if a party were to join the track via lees paddocks and reg wadley they could spend a night but would then need to return via the same route. The same would apply to arm river/Pelion etc. Not sure if this would include in via Kia Ora and out via never never?

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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby north-north-west » Wed 29 Jan, 2014 7:20 pm

Gulliver3 wrote:Ok so I rang parks this week to get some clarification of side track access etc. Apparently in the "spirit?" Of the OLT if you join the track at any point you must in all instances walk in southerly direction during the booking season and you may not pass or access more than one hut. EG if a party were to join the track via lees paddocks and reg wadley they could spend a night but would then need to return via the same route. The same would apply to arm river/Pelion etc. Not sure if this would include in via Kia Ora and out via never never?

Phil

Sod that for a lark! So how am I supposed to get in there to knock off Pelion West if I can't do a little northerly jag?
Besides, if you can only walk southerly, how can you return via your access route? Not exactly logical, that.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Gulliver3 » Wed 29 Jan, 2014 7:47 pm

Yes NNW am also probably still as confused as when I started. May all become too hard in the end. I mentioned I would be happy to pay for specific tent platforms/sites etc down the track but as yet not part of the booking system. This works well in NZ. Eg Heaphy track.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby north-north-west » Thu 30 Jan, 2014 5:58 am

I had no trouble last year walking up to DuCane Gap from Narcissus to start the DuCane circuiit. Sure there are signs, but they're easily ignored. Got a dirty look or two but no-one actually said anything and if you talk to the rangers/hut wardens they're usually pretty cool. Had a chat to one near Pelion Hut on my way out after the Pelion circuit and he was fine with it. Mentioned I'd be back at some stage to knock off Pelion West and he was fine with that too.

If I were you I'd just go and explain your route if anyone official asks. What you're wanting to do is within the terms as they're written, and as the spoken advice contradicts itself it can't be trusted.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Gulliver3 » Thu 30 Jan, 2014 7:09 am

That sounds encouraging NNW.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Nuts » Thu 30 Jan, 2014 9:47 am

It seems that P West would be ok anyway NNW?

ii Arm River  Pelion (O/N)  Arm River (day walks to
Ossa, Pelion East, Pelion West, Oakleigh) must be fit those planners :P
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Re: Never Neverto Pelion

Postby GraemeSpedding » Thu 30 Jan, 2014 6:47 pm

north-north-west wrote:
GraemeSpedding wrote:Um trying to interpret all of this and thanks to those people who have done the research and spoken to parks.... IF i want to come down the NN from the Walls and exit via Kia Ora- Pelion then Arm River Track, this is OK?

It means can, wx permitting, climb Mt Ossa and a few other peaks along the way..using Pelion as a base to do some of that.

Cheers


I think so. Can't see any reason why not. Go for it.



Thanks for that. I have read the on line guidelines and they are not totally clear are they. I think I will go with my plan and not ask a question of parks that begs a response I dont want to hear. We are coming from a long way away and am happy to pay for use of the campsites if required but dont see the sense in a" One Way Rule."
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Re: Never Neverto Pelion

Postby geoskid » Thu 30 Jan, 2014 8:45 pm

GraemeSpedding wrote:Thanks for that. I have read the on line guidelines and they are not totally clear are they. I think I will go with my plan and not ask a question of parks that begs a response I dont want to hear. We are coming from a long way away and am happy to pay for use of the campsites if required but dont see the sense in a" One Way Rule."


Just for clarity, the walk you are proposing is against the guidelines.
No judgement from me whether it should or should'nt be, or whether you should or should not do it. It just is.
You can't just pay for selected campsites either.

I really don't think the guidelines are all that ambiguous, especially if read with the intent of the guidelines in mind.
What you do about them is up to you.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Nuts » Fri 31 Jan, 2014 10:36 am

yeah, that route mentioned doesn't really fit any version of the rules. The other school of thought would say that (the guidelines being a document to communicate the rules to the public) if the public don't get it- then the rules are ambiguous. Not at all something easy to define for the managers, especially when trying to be nice about it. Anyhow, I'd try the ranger in charge (OLT) to really pin it down.

Surely there is an easier way to explain it, afterall, at the end of the day there are fines involved as a consequence. How about a map??
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Nuts » Fri 31 Jan, 2014 10:45 am

OK- heres one I threw together :) :

Edit: updated/removed [url]

This represents the sections of the OL track you Can use and indicates the Hut you Can use.
The end points moving (Nth> Sth) are the Barn Bluff Turn-Off, Pelion West 'T/O', Pelion Pass & Pine Valley T/O

Now- before the final draft, does anyone not agree? :)
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby stry » Fri 31 Jan, 2014 2:26 pm

Thanks for expressing that graphically Nuts. When presented in that format it can be readily appreciated that the need for flexibility has been recognised by Parks.

The spirit of the guidelines or rules, seems pretty clear to me. Parks are trying to preserve the benefits of the one way system without unduly upsetting the plans of those who may need/wish to use a portion of the OLT during the season. Trying to get this satisfactorily in black and white will always be a challenge, particularly to those with a penchant for detail.
.
I also understand that some locals quite simply don't like being restricted in what they have been able to do unfettered for many years.

Restrictions are a necessary part of enabling an increasing population to enjoy the bush while minimizing damage to the bush and, most importantly, minimizing degradation of the wilderness experience.

The OLT was my first experience of a one way rule. I met only a very few people whilst actually walking (overlooking the under equipped back packer greyhounds who embarrassingly and effortlessly overtook me :D ) This much appreciated solitude could be attributed to the one way rule.

Remember that during the season approx. 60 (?) people per day can be started on the OLT from Cradle, so fair to say 400 to 500 people on the track at any one time. If this number of people was going willy nilly in both directions, the walk would be less tranquil and the wilderness aspect would be significantly reduced. I have walked on other popular tracks with two way traffic, and whilst pleasant, the oncoming traffic makes the walk more like an urban park, albeit a very scenic urban park. More of a social event than a tramp/bushwalk.

I will be returning in April/May this year and I will also need to deal with the restrictions. I am happy to do so and I accept the restrictions because of the considerable benefit that they provide.

Rather than trying to nit pick (and get around) the restrictions, it would be more helpful to acknowledge their benefit and intention and work with them.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby eggs » Fri 31 Jan, 2014 2:55 pm

Nuts - you have missed the access from the Never Never.
I must admit that this is probably the most confusing part of the document.

According to the key rule you should walk from North to South - meaning an exit via Bert Nicholls and Narcissus - ie over one full hut section.
But the specific text on the Never Never suggests the exit is via Lees Paddocks. [example 5]
..but a few paragraphs up it says re the Never Never plus others "If entry is made via these routes, walkers should if practicable complete their walk on the OLT in a north-south direction." !!

And how do you get to Lees Paddocks without going via Kia Ora + Pelion - ie also 2 huts?
The only resolution is that you go south to north to Kia Ora hut, but then descend directly to Lees Paddocks via the vague waterfall route.
A short red mark on the OLT starting at the junction with Hartnett Falls turn-off and ending at Kia Ora.
For many people that will be like saying that should not enter the park via the Never Never when in the booking season.

I also note that example 4 includes visiting Lake McCrae, but how do you do that without passing Waterfall Valley?
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby whynotwalk » Fri 31 Jan, 2014 3:14 pm

eggs wrote:I also note that example 4 includes visiting Lake McCrae, but how do you do that without passing Waterfall Valley?


Yep Brian - given this landscape, and its history of use, there are always going to be "leaks"/exceptions/what ifs. But to quote the Castle "it's the vibe" that I think matters the most. That idea of a one-way, improved experience for the majority - which I reckon stry has nailed (well said!) - is the main story.

cheers

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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Nuts » Fri 31 Jan, 2014 4:53 pm

Hi stry, yes I think you have a good grasp of the intention of the booking system and the attempt to preserve some traditional options- as they appear to me also. I too can imagine it becomes a difficult task when seeing the value in allowing these other routes to remain open though not promote the fact. Recognising that (given time) they may have a negative effect by creating routes or inferring campsites in the process is obviously where the references to 'spirit' & 'vibe' comes into play. Given this, i'm surprised the Never Never even gets a mention in the guidelines, but ok, a fair recognition that 'The Park Service' is seeing and acknowledging the potential for greater use.

This process isn't difficult to imagine. Given that the number of 'over-water' visitors has almost doubled since the inception of the booking system yet the number on the Overland Track is at best stagnant(?) maintaining a booking system without definites will be increasingly hard to do. 'Theyr'e coming at us from all sides' arggh.. While, all said and done- regulations tend to rely on the public agreeing- it's a good thing that Parks have tried to be inclusive from the start.

Anyhow, I haven't intended to do more than try to place some known definites on the map (as dodgy as it is :) ). This is not in any rally against the system. It's not necessarily nit picking as I see it. It comes from imagining that the very best of people (some planning well in advance, traveling a long way etc etc), those trying to do the right thing, should be able to be sure of their plans. Is this a great number, probably not. There have been a few dramatic accounts on here, iv'e heard others but not a lot. perhaps there aren't many? That is not clear and a little besides the point. Will the numbers grow- yes.

All good, happy to add to the map.

While I know what i'd do personally in planning a walk- I'm not sure what I could propose as a better/ more easily defined solution (other than maybe defining the current one). It gets difficult at huts & campsites (Nodes..). Joining the track either side of Ducane Gap? (de-mote The never Never) Maybe Windy Ridge (node) can handle a given number more through a separate payment option? No?, ok, :) , forget I said it...

Have a great weekend! :)
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby MrWalker » Fri 31 Jan, 2014 8:07 pm

Nuts wrote:The end points moving (Nth> Sth) are the Barn Bluff Turn-Off, Pelion West 'T/O', Pelion Pass & Pine Valley T/O

Now- before the final draft, does anyone not agree? :)


The instructions definitely allow a day walk to waterfall valley, so you can go past the Barn Bluff turnoff all the way down to the valley.
It appears you could do this from Rodway (overnighting there) or direct from Dove Lake or Ronny Creek (as a day walk).
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby stry » Sat 01 Feb, 2014 12:21 pm

Nuts - just to clarify - I saw no nitpicking or system wriggling in your post(s). I took them as an attempt to clarify. Apologies if I gave the wrong impression.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby tigercat » Sun 02 Feb, 2014 8:05 am

Does narcissus to ducane gap to the gatepost fit into vi narcissus to traveller range?
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Nuts » Mon 03 Feb, 2014 5:56 am

No worries stry :) and I wonder whether there will always need to be some 'spirit' in the guidelines.

eggs wrote:I also note that example 4 includes visiting Lake McCrae, but how do you do that without passing Waterfall Valley?


Trying to see it with fresh eyes, wonder if I would choose to read no further than 'one overnight section'. Without the example of Rodway to muddy the waters it would seem that staying at WFV is ok..

Being Tastrax's topic i'm happy to move the map from this association with the guidelines. I'd rather just try to work with the obvious (so it might not be a big deal) but baulk a bit at interpreting the less-than-obvious.

The sign at Pine Valley T/O (previous page) might trump those plans Tigercat?

Mr Walker, yes, i'd missed WFV. There are at least a couple of former hut wardens on here who would have the best idea of how many people visit WFV on day walks.Not that it matters for the exercise but I'd assumed that Barn Bluff T/O would be the effective limit... but your correct- WFV on a daywalk seems fine at least- Standby for draft no2 :)
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Nuts » Mon 03 Feb, 2014 6:25 pm

OLT Public Access - No Pass.jpg
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby geoskid » Mon 03 Feb, 2014 7:41 pm

Nuts wrote:
OLT Public Access - No Pass.jpg

That is an accurate representation of the guidelines as far as my understanding of them goes Nuts. And helpful :)
People should note also( in the guidelines) that Parks are open to communication, as a matter of courtesy, regarding trip plans that may be considered iffy (by the planner). No excuses to break the law unknowingly. :) And in all honesty, being clear about the guidelines makes it more difficult to break them.( you know, conscience and all that ).

I don't get away enough to really worry about the guidelines, I can always go in off season.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby doogs » Mon 03 Feb, 2014 8:39 pm

You need another colour :wink: as yours only covers the areas you can walk both ways.. you can join the OLT at Du Cane gap and walk south without a permit but I would think you are expected to not stay at the hut between there and Narsissus.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby eggs » Thu 28 Apr, 2016 1:35 pm

A quick update borne from experience.

My wife and I did something very adventurous for us and went off track to visit Lake McRae and the Hydro Hut last week.

The first thing we noticed was that a sign is now posted at the turnoff down to Lake Rodway at the head of Cradle Cirque.
It says that Waterfall Valley Hut must not be used. Anyone wanting to climb Barn Bluff or visit the falls in Waterfall Valley have to do this as a day trip from Scott Kilvert Hut.
It does mention that there are some exceptions - but to refer to Parks to find out what they are.
I knew that Lake McRae was an exception so we pushed on to find very few people and no Ranger at Waterfall Valley that night.

It was a big step up for us to get out to the Hydro Hut the next day - it has an admission price in the form of waist deep scrub to push through with the worst just at the end.
The following day we made our way around Lake McRae - again pushing through some difficult patches - to arrive at the Waterfall Valley hut late afternoon.
This time there were a lot of folk at the hut, so being conscious that the site is specifically for the support of Overland Track walkers we set up our tent and kept mainly to ourselves.
We did speak to the very friendly ranger early on and it was clear our situation is something of a dilemma.
He said Lake McRae is an exception to the rules, but that it was expected that people going out there would bypass the Waterfall Valley Hut.
[I have had a quick scan of the rules again, and the no stay at the Hut was not clear.]

If we had arrived earlier we would have been asked to keep going to Scott Kilvert. [It would have been difficult as we were quite worn by then, but could probably have been done]
For all those super fit and fast walkers out there, that is probably fine, but I suspect that folk like us would struggle with that - especially with shorter autumn daylight hours.
He caught up with us again in the morning and said if there is any messsage that should be emphasised, it is that Parks should be contacted about any walks like this and they can advise what would be acceptable at the time.
That approach could take into account the numbers using the track and the abilities/speed of the parties wanting to get out that way.

He also mentioned that there was some plans by locals to set up their own camping hub close by - but separate from Overland Track facilities. That would be nice.

So bottom line is contact Parks about any of the unusual off track walks you are doing.
The other complication for me is that my plans are rarely concrete.
In this case, while McRae was an early thought, actual planning had been for a completely different itinerary up to about a week before we left.
The long term weather forecasts were hopelessly wrong - we had glorious weather for every day of the walk. And I often make last minute decisions based on the weather at the time.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby Nuts » Mon 02 May, 2016 3:27 pm

eggs wrote: It does mention that there are some exceptions - but to refer to Parks to find out what they are.


Lol, you'll very likely need to tell the VC staff 'where' they are first! :) .. not that that is any personal reflection on them.

I'm sure it would be less messy just to bar any exceptions.. but then those locals, the ones feeling special, with their 'man on the ground' would have needed to miss out too.

The track staff are good. And I'm sure they continue to be made feel empowered.
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby norts » Tue 24 Apr, 2018 8:30 pm

A heads up in regard to camping at Waterfall Valley, I was there on Sunday night(23 Apr) . There is now a platform (up behind the main toilets) that is reserved for non Overland Walkers. The sign said it needed to be booked. I presume you book at the Visitors Centre.

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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby tastrax » Tue 24 Apr, 2018 8:33 pm

norts wrote:A heads up in regard to camping at Waterfall Valley, I was there on Sunday night(23 Apr) . There is now a platform (up behind the main toilets) that is reserved for non Overland Walkers. The sign said it needed to be booked. I presume you book at the Visitors Centre.

Norts


Been there for years and generally used by “groups” either commercial or booked groups
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Re: Overland Track Usage Guidelines - Update April 2013

Postby norts » Tue 24 Apr, 2018 9:24 pm

No not the one up behind the old hut, this is a new platform up behind the newer toilets just as you come into the WFV, you access by going behind the toilets. Only enough room for 2 tents.
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