No BUTs with Wilderness Expeditions guided walk of the Overland Track, Cradle Mountain National Park.
The office staff were wonderful to deal with. They answered our many questions. At one stage there was doubt over whether a member of our group would be able to do the walk due to some health concerns and the staff were understanding about the need to delay payment until the issue was sorted. They were friendly and honest.
The equipment provided was in excellent condition. We are from the tropics so we gratefully took the insulated jackets, mittens, goretex rain jackets and waterproof pants offered.
No member of our group of 7 carried a pack weighing more than 12 kg. A list of what to pack was provided and, to ensure our loads were as light as possible, we only took what was recommended. Our two guides carried the food and cooking equipment, greatly relieving the load we had to carry over the six days.
All the logistics were taken care of (and there were a lot!) including mini bus from Devonport to the Cradle Mountain National Park, bus from National Park office to start of the walk, park pass, ferry across Lake St Clair and mini bus from Lake St Clair to Hobart.
The food was abundant and delicious. Great care was taken to ensure safe food handling practices were observed. Our guide catered for our teenage daughter’s vegan diet.
We were cared for. One cold and wet night we were told to go to our tents, get into our sleeping bags to stay warm and our meal would be delivered to us. Talk about room service!
The guides were very safety conscious. We were instructed about how to stay warm when we stopped for breaks on a very cold day. We were not allowed to go on any side walks without being accompanied by a guide and without carrying our wet weather gear. I was the last of our group of 7 to reach camp at the end of each day and I always had a guide walking behind me.
The guides were incredibly knowledgeable about the area (one having worked as a ranger on the track for many years) so they knew the best spots for breaks and the best places to fill up water bottles. They knew about all things related to bushwalking: the best shoes to wear; the proper way to pack; how to conserve energy during a long walk and how to adjust a pack. There was no question they could not answer.
One of the guides was happy to take 3 teenage boys on the side trip to Tasmania’s highest mountain (Mt Ossa), leaving the parents to sit that one out!
Doing a guided walk is not a soft option. You still need to be fit and be able to carry a pack of about 12 kg but having this company take care of everything else really did make it much easier than if we had done it ourselves. It represented excellent value for money. Would do a walk with this company again.