The Overland Track: Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair

By Warwick Sprawson (Red Dog Books, $19.95)

The Overland Track in Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is renowned as one of Australia’s truly great multiday walks, taking in some of the most iconic wilderness our country has to offer.

The walk, which is designed to be completed over six days, is generally considered a must for any wilderness enthusiast or bushwalker that visits Tasmania. For this reason, the value of comprehensive resources on the area cannot be overstated.

Hence the longevity of Warwick Sprawson’s guidebook The Overland Track: Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair. First reviewed by previous Wild editor Ross Taylor in issue 122 (March/April, 2011), the book has managed to maintain its authority in the market extremely well in the five years since its first release.

Overland Track guidebook cover

Cover art for Sprawson’s celebrated guidebook.

Here’s Taylor’s original review:

The Overland Track: Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair is the latest walking guide devoted to Australia’s most famous multiday track. The guide, which has clearly been a labour of love for regular Wild contributor and author Warwick Sprawson, is a good addition to the Overland genre. Apart from the track notes to the walk (which are excellent and include all the sidetrips that make the Overland so special), it has a few aspects that distinguish it from other guides. Firstly, it has many interesting sections on Overland-related history and pre-history, but best of all it has extensive information on local flora and fauna. While this may sound like it is all a bit heavy to carry, the guide is actually very compact (it weighs 280 grams), and would make excellent rainy day reading. It also comes with a good map in the back. For any one who is keen to learn more as they walk the Overland this guide would make a great companion.’

Logically laid out, the book covers every possible angle a reader may be interested in, beginning with ‘Getting Set’ and everything a walker will need to know to prepare for the trek, before moving into notes on the history of the area. As noted by Taylor, the track notes are excellent and these form the central section of the book, before being closed out by notes on flora and fauna. The book is completed with a fold-out map of the track that can be removed if necessary.

Of course, as accurate as it was upon first release, some aspects of the track and its surrounds have changes in the intervening years, and Sprawson therefore maintains a website on the topic that includes updates to salient details in the book itself, as well as options to purchase. Even better, the website allows for regular news updates and points of interest from the region, so that walkers can find out about any recent events in the days before they head out onto the track.

However, Sprawson tells us the title also continues to sell from hiking and outdoor specialty stores and select bookstores.

To celebrate the ongoing success of one of Australia’s greatest walks, we’re currently offering to giveaway three of Sprawson’s guides. In particular, we want to help out readers seeking to complete the track in the next 12 months. Simply send us an image of yourself on a recent walking adventure along with a sentence or two explaining why The Overland Track is on your walking bucket list and send it to Entries close Friday, April 3.