Advice On Winter Conditions

WINTER ROAD CONDITIONS

Please note that during the period 1st June to 30th September, roads, particularly in highland areas, are subject to extremes of weather, including frost, black ice & snow. In some cases, this may make the roads impassable and on some occasions, are closed by the police. Customers should note that whilst we will do our best to adhere to the times and dates you have specified; we cannot guarantee this. Customers should make due allowance for this eventuality when making airline bookings and if necessary take out travel insurance. Please see footnote at the bottom of this document.

In addition, as it is possible that you may be delayed during your walk due to bad weather, we recommend that you allow for a ‘bad weather day’ in your planning or plan to arrive the previous evening to the day you wish to be picked up.

WINTER SERVICE 2020.

1st June to 30th September.

COVID-19: National Parks have made a number of changes to hiking arrangements to many popular walking tracks including The Overland Track during the winter and other tracks until such times that Covid 19 restrictions are eased. One of these changes requiring you to walk north to south on The Overland Track, where as before during winter it did not matter. This has forced us to make changes to our services, particularly return transport from Lake St.Clair to Launceston.  Whilst we can still undertake return transport to Launceston, the possibility of lengthy delays or long detours to avoid the Central Highland route via Great Lake can add significantly to journey times and the cost.

Having completed the overland track myself in winter on several occasions it is not unusual to be stuck in Derwent Bridge for several days waiting for roads in the highlands to become passable or having to make a detour of well over 100km (200km for the transport operator).

As you can now only walk North to South in winter, we would suggest to lessen the possibility of lengthy delays that you fly into Launceston and out of Hobart.

The reason for this is that we generally do not have lengthy delays getting passengers to Cradle Mountain but we do have problems getting to Lake St.Clair. Therefore, we suggest that you travel “inwards” with us and “outwards” (to Hobart) with a Hobart based company that we can recommend to you. As Derwent Bridge is already on the western side of the Highlands there is far less chance of transport to Hobart being unduly delayed.

Due to the unpredictability of the weather at this time of the year, the likelihood of conditions that can close the roads to the highlands as well as making progress on foot within the National Parks either extremely slow or impossible, our service will operate on the following basis.

  1. No guarantee can be given to take you to your outgoing destination or picking you up from your finishing location. If we are unable to travel to your outgoing destination on the date you have booked, we will make that journey as soon as safe conditions exist, or we will either offer you a complete refund or offer to take you to an alternative destination (in winter the East Coast, Freycinet, Bay of Fires, Douglas Apsley, Maria Island etc can be viable walking alternatives).
  2. You will need to carry a Satellite phone, so that you can contact us if you are unavoidably delayed and we can contact you if we are unable, due to road conditions, get to your finishing destination. (We would initially send a text message to your sat phone) You must contact us a minimum of 12 hours before we are due to pick you up if you think you will not be able to meet us at the pre-arranged time & day. Failure to do this would result in loss of your transport fee (fare) if we make a journey & you are not there.
  3. You would also need to have a means of making contact with another operator that you have booked with if you have decided to travel to Hobart and due to severe conditions on the trail that has seriously delayed your progress.
  4. We strongly suggest that you allow an absolute minimum of 24 hours, preferably more, of extra time to reach your destination. We recommend planning to arrive at your destination the day before the time you have specified for a pickup. 
  5. We do not travel in remote rural areas after dark. This is hazardous both to our drivers and to the animals on roads at this time of the day.
  6. If travelling interstate by air or other booked means of transport we strongly recommend travel insurance due to unavoidable delays that cause you to miss your connections. We will not be held liable for missed connections due our inability to pick you up due to weather/road conditions or closures.
  7. Departure & pickup times:

TO CRADLE MOUNTAIN

Due to the potential for icing on roads our earliest departure from Launceston is 0830 & our latest 1200 noon.

TO MERSEY VALLEY AREA (Walls etc)

Departures from 0900 & latest 1200 noon.

TO LAKE ST.CLAIR

Earliest departure 0930 & latest 1200 noon

PICKUP FROM ALL LOCATIONS.

Earliest pickup 1200 noon,  Latest 1400

COST OF SERVICE

Due to additional wear & tear on our vehicle, longer drive times & use of chains etc there is a Special Winter Price list for all our services, except East Coast of Tasmania where we offer special budget rates to places such as Freycinet, Bay of Fires, Douglas Apsley etc. (please see attached price lists)

Please also note that should we have to divert via another route to take you to your destination due to closed roads or expected dangerous conditions, this may involve up to 100 km extra. If this was the case we would need to add a surcharge to the journey due to the extra driver time & fuel. This would be based on $1.00 per km over and above the normal kilometre distance. i.e 100 extra km = $100.00 split between the number of passengers being carried.

Important Note – Winter Pickups at Lake St. Clair (if applicable)

  1. RETURNING TO LAUNCESTON

If you have booked to be picked up from Lake St. Clair and we are unable to reach Lake St. Clair by the usual route across the central highlands due to closed roads you will be given the option of either waiting until these roads are passable or travel via  the southern link if it is open (i.e. bus travels south via the A10 to Hamilton & then follows the A110 & A5 via Bothwell to join the Midland Highway at Melton Mowbray & then back to Launceston) If you choose this option, this will incur an extra charge of $150.00 per group to cover extra driving time for our drivers, plus the additional fuel. (The total distance from LSC to Launceston, via the above route, is just over 300 km or 600 km for our drivers).

The drive time for this routing, even under good road conditions, would be 4.5 hours in each direction.

  1. TRAVELLING ONWARD TO HOBART

If you decide to travel to Hobart after your walk, we suggest you contact “Transport Tasmania” you will find this company listed under Tasmanian Wilderness Experience (Website). The operator of this service is Kevin Lempa Ph: 0477 480 383

FOOTNOTE:

Getting to Lake St.Clair and to Cradle Mountain in a vehicle during the winter months.

Almost 70% of the roads to Lake St.Clair are actually in the the highlands with elevations varying from 737 metres to over 1034 metres.  Whilst only about 20% of the journey to Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre is over 700 metres.
This also means that the cradle mountain road is seldom closed for a prolonged period whilst the roads in the Great Lake area can be closed for several days. If this happens you will be forced to wait at Lake St. Clair or travel to Hobart.