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Windermere to Pelion

Length: 15.2 km
Walking time: 5 h to 7 h
Climbing: 476m
Descending: 626m
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Overview

Leaving the forest around the Windermere campsite, you wander through the open heathland, past a series of tarns and lakes as you head towards the view of Mt Pelion West. The track gently undulates for just over 4km to come to a signposted intersection with the short (65m) side trip to Forth Valley Lookout, worth the short side trip.

From here, the track soon leads into the dense and mossy Pine Forest Moor then after about 1km the forest gives way to more open buttongrass country, and a great view of Mt Pelion West. After another 250m cross a small timber bridged creek, then after another 1.7km come to the bridged Pelion Creek (there is a timber platform giving access the creek). From here continue down the main track, through the myrtle-beech rainforest to Frog Flats.

Frog Flats marks the lowest point of the Overland Track (730m @ 11.1km into this section). There is another creek and camping area at Frog Flats. There are no toilets or camping facilities (and there are leeches and mosquitoes) so most walkers don't stay the night here, but it can be a good spot if you want a night away from others or to simply break this day up.

From Frog Flats, the track winds uphill; notice the change in vegetation from the mossy rainforest to the open eucalypt forest as you reach the edge of the Pelion Plains. Just shy of 3km from Frog Flats, you come to a signposted intersection with the track to the Old Pelion Hut.

Continue straight along the Overland Track for another 800m to come to Pelion camping area and hut.

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Facilities

Creek Crossings
All significant creek crossings have a bridge.
7.4km - Reliable water at Pelion Creek
11km - Reliable water at Forth Valley River @ Frog Flats
(Treat water before drinking)

Signage
All notable intersections are clearly signposted.

Toilets
0km - Windermere
End - Toilets are near the hut at Pelion
(No toilet at Frog Flats or Old Pelion Hut)

Seats
0km - Windermere
4.2km - Sit on edge of timber platform at intersection with Forth Valley Lookout
7.4km - Log seat beside Pelion Creek
End - Pelion

Shelter
0km - Windermere Hut.
14.3km + 450m - Old Pelion Hut (Day use - emergency overnight use only)
End - Pelion Hut

Mobile Phone Coverage
Telstra: Very patchy and unreliable signal south of the Fourth River Lookout and Pelion Creek.
Patchy coverage at the summit of Mount Oakleigh.

Optus: No coverage

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Track Conditions

The walk starts by following a timber boardwalk but the majority of the track surface is natural rock or gravel.

Pine Forest Moor (from 4.2km) has a large number of tree roots that can be a signficant trip hazard. There are significant muddy sections of natural surface track (with more tree roots) from about 7km on the way down to Frog Flats. Avoid walking around boggy sections as this leads to widening tracks - just walk through the puddles (note: trying to jump over puddles is likely to lead to injuries).

There are long sections of timber boardwalk through flatter and boggy areas including Frog Flats. The steeper sections have timber-edged steps.

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Hazards

The open sections of this walk (namely the first 4km, the 1km after Pine Forest Moor and last 2km before Pelion) are particularly exposed to wind and snow. Deep snow and thick ice do accumulate on these sections during winter and other times of the year (making walking and navigation particularly challenging).

This is the longest section between huts on the Overland Track. You can collect water from the creeks along the way, although it is recommended you treat the water before drinking.

Be mindful of tree roots and other trip hazards, especially in the dense forests. The timber steps and boardwalks can also get very slippery.