The Overland Track starts by guiding you through some amazingly diverse and spectacular landscapes. You start from the bus stop and car park at Ronny Creek, sign the register book, cross the road and get your photos at the trackhead sign.
Wander for 700m along the timber boardwalk through the open button grassland beside Ronny Creek. Just after crossing Ronny Creek on the timber bridge you start to climb up through the rainforest of Crater Creek valley with a lovely waterfall giving the perfect excuse for a rest. About 500m further up the steep valley from the waterfall, the view opens up at the mouth of Crater Lake and the historic boatshed. Enjoy the steep walls of this glacially carved valley as you start the climb up to the ridge. It is steep, the steepest sections of the main spine of the Overland Track, just take your time and enjoy the view on the way. There is a set of chains near the top, to help you up a short rock scramble. At the top of this climb continue walking on to the spectacular Marion's Lookout.
After the lookout, continue along the main track as it meanders much more gently uphill (mostly) for about 2km to Kitchen Hut (and a toilet). The hut is a great shelter for a snack and rest, but not designed for overnight stays (only in emergencies).
If the weather is clear and you have time, consider using Kitchen Hut as your base to do the side trip climb up Cradle Mountain.
The Overland Track continues south 'behind' Cradle Mountain. After nearly 4km is a signposted intersection with another potential side trip to Barn Bluff. The side trip is generally too much for day one, but if you're keen and the weather is favourable you might want to head back up here tomorrow.
You're almost there. Follow the Overland Track as it winds down to Waterfall Valley, where you will find the main camping hut, the Historic Waterfall Valley Hut, camping platforms and the most stunning open valley with Barn Bluff dominating the skyline.
All significant creek crossings have a bridge.
All intersections are clearly signposted.
5.4km) Kitchen Hut has a toilet behind it
End) Toilets at Waterfall Valley near new hut
Start) Ronney Creek Bus stop
1.8km) Crater Falls
3.4km) Marion's Lookout
5.4km) Kitchen Hut.
End) Waterfall Valley
0km) Ronney Creek has a small standing area shelter for signing log book.
2.3km) Crater Lake Boathouse. This historic building has three walls and roof, with the open wall on the edge of the lake. Access is via the water with only a small amount of dry space at the back. Not an ideal shelter.
5.4km) Kitchen Hut. This is a small two story shelter for day use. It can be used overnight in an emergency, but it will not be a comfortable night.
8.5km) Emergency Shelter. A small green dome shelter is available for emergency use about 70m south from the intersection with the Lake Rodway Track. The hut is on the left-hand (eastern) side of the Overland Track.
End) Waterfall Valley has two huts
Mobile Phone Coverage
Telstra: Fair coverage at Ronney Creek and much of the walk up until Kitchen Hut. No coverage from about 1km past Kitchen Hut.
There is limited coverage on the side trip up Cradle Mountain & near the summit of Barn Bluff
Optus: Patchy coverage at Ronney Creek and much of the walk up until about 1km before Kitchen Hut. No coverage from there.
There is limited coverage near the summit of Cradle Mountain & Barn Bluff
The walk starts by following a timber boardwalk, but the majority of the track surface is natural rock or gravel. On steep sections, there are constructed steps and one rock scramble which has a chain to assist with the climb.
All significant creeks have timber bridges and there are a scattering of other timber boardwalks along the flatter sections of the track.
This walk is exposed to extreme weather (rain, wind, snow, thunderstorms and hail). Deep snow and thick ice does accumulate on the ground during winter and other times of the year (making walking and navigation particularly challenging). Carefully study weather forecasts and current conditions before starting this section and heed BOM bushwalker warnings.
This is one of the more physically challenging sections of the Overland Track. The vertical climb to Marions Lookout is about 300m and includes a short rock scramble with chains. Rocks and track can be extra slippery in the wet.
Allow plenty of time, set an achievable pace and rest in well-sheltered areas. Stay well hydrated and well fed.