An Odyssey Overland
Each year as part of St Catherine’s Outdoor Education Program, Beyond Boundaries, a team of 11 Year 10 students are invited to complete the Overland Track in Tasmania. The students endure seven gruelling days of intense physical exertions in a constantly changing environment.
The Overland Track is one of Australia’s most famous bush treks. The track runs for 65 kilometers from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair. The track winds through terrain ranging from sheer mountains, temperate rainforest and wild rivers to alpine plains within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
The hike undertaken by St Catherine’s students takes six days to complete. The weather however can be unpredictable, such as the severe weather warning in 2015 resulting in snowfalls in November. Participants camp every night in designated campsites, except in the event of such weather warnings, where huts are available for use to ensure their safety.
To qualify for the opportunity to take part in this iconic Australian experience, students must apply and complete an interview, as places are limited to 11 students. This is a limit imposed by Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service. A restriction on the number of hikers on the track each day helps to reduce the impact of people upon this pristine environment.
Some of the spectacular sights encountered along the track include:
- Lakes (Lake St Clair, Lake Will, Lake Windermere and Dove Lake)
- Mountains (Cradle Mountain, Barn Bluff, Mount Ossa, Mount Pelion East, Mount Pelion West, The Acropolis and Mount Rufus)
- Waterfalls (Hartnett Falls, Ferguson Falls and D’alton Falls)
The challenges faced by the students on this expedition are not just limited to the undulating terrain of Tasmania. Whilst completing the Overland Track, the students as a group need to carry everything they need during their hike. This includes all food and camping equipment and clothing for a variety of weather conditions.
The Odyssey trek is a unique opportunity offered to Year 10 students at St Catherine’s, one in which they develop their team working skills in order to negotiate the challenges of an unforgiving, but spectacular environment.
It also offers them an opportunity to showcase their resilience. If anyone doubts the tenacity of the girls at St Catherine’s, they need only see them tackle the Overland Track and those doubts quickly evaporate.