Trip report: Overland Track, Tasmania—part 4 (day 2), Windermere

Posted by Patrick Lam on Monday, June 24, 2024

Table Of Contents

Links to other parts of this trip report:

I’ve realized that I’m still processing pictures from day 4 of the hike (now onto day 5), and here I am writing about day 2. Better get through some of those pictures soon; there are still over 700 pictures from this trip that I need to process.

Lens cap recovery

Although I wasn’t planning to go to Barn Bluff, I did get out a bit earlier this morning looking for a lens cap which I had dropped the previous afternoon. Obviously, that would work best after sunrise (7:05am). I did know that it couldn’t be too far away, as I had removed it less than 30 minutes before arriving at the hut.

It turns out it was far closer; Aidan handed it to me as he was coming back from Barn Bluff. People left at 5am to get to Barn Bluff at sunrise; it’s posted as a very doable 3-4 hour side trip. Waking at 5 is never my favourite anyway.

Now I keep my lens cap in my pocket while I’m shooting with a lens. Probably I won’t scratch the lens while the camera is on my neck.

Barn Bluff at 7:30AM; frosty plants; frozen puddle; ranger's hut and more frost.

Overland Track Day 2: Waterfall Valley to Windermere

The combination of the elevation of 1100m and the latitude of 41.7ºS means that it can easily be frosty in the morning, especially since it had been clear overnight. Sleeping inside means that we didn’t have to deal with either frost or dew on our tents, and the hut wasn’t full anyway. It is quieter outside, but there is more overhead in dealing with the tent, and we saw some tents drying as we left. Standing water had some ice on it as well.

Day 2 again has a lot of boardwalk. It’s a short day, at 7.8km, estimated at 2.5-3.5 hours, plus 3km (1 hr return) for Lake Will. Elevation gain is minimal too, with +175m and -209m. The book says “relatively flat and leisurely”, which is accurate, and the terrain is wide open, with Barn Bluff visible for a long time, and other isolated mountains around us, but not ranges.

A non-standardized Overland Track blaze; MP pondering; Lake Will; Barn Bluff again.

Lake Will

We took the side trip to Lake Will, again with more boardwalk. Saves sinking in the mud for sure. Lake Will really is in the shadow of Barn Bluff, though I didn’t realize that until looking at the map, and I’d mis-identified the mountain as Mount Inglis. Barn Bluff seems to look quite different depending on which angle one is looking from.

There is a dotted line going around Lake Will to Innes Falls, but we saw that the track got worse (no more boardwalk, overgrown, and swampy), and another group reported that it didn’t get better and that they didn’t hear the falls, so it probably wasn’t worthwhile. The guidebook does not mention the falls. The guidebook does mention that Lake Will is a good spot to stop for lunch, so we did have lunch on the beach.

There are a lot of black birds around. Most of them are currawongs. But I got a picture of one at Lake Will. Turns out that it had white eyes, so it’s a forest raven, not a currawong.

Onwards to Lake Windermere

About another hour of easy walking got us to Lake Windermere. It would indeed be a tempting place to camp, but there’s a sign explicitly saying “no camping here”. (There are no platforms and one is supposed to camp on the platforms.) There is a viewpoint on the lake, though.

“Enjoy a refreshing mountain lake swim on arrival”. Well, maybe not in May. That sounds cold. I think some people did.

Island on Lake Windermere; Lake Windermere; Windermere Hut; inside the hut.

Just past the lake, we saw some movement and heard a splash into the creek.

The lake is close to the hut, and we arrived shortly afterwards. Windermere was another modern hut, similar in construction to Waterfall Valley. We’d been on the trail for 5 hours, including Lake Will, so at the upper end of the posted time, though we took about 2 hours on that side trip.

Animal spotting

We came back an hour later and saw a platypus swimming away! Other hikers tried to see the platypus but I don’t think they managed to. While continuing to find the platypus again, I saw something that looked like a rock but moved. That was a wombat.

Wooly-style heath; was it waxgills?; likely lichenomphalia; forest raven at Lake Will; platypus; wombat.

We were also looking for birds but saw nothing. We heard something, and some other hikers saw it, but I didn’t.