The Overland Track - Day 5

Off we set on day 5 from Kia Ora Hut to Windy Ridge Hut. This is a relatively short day with a base distance of 9.6km, but with a couple of appealing side trips to visit various waterfalls in the area. But before we get to that, we started adding up the distances travelled so far, and the remaining segments to go, and we made a startling discovery: we would be just short of 100km of hiking by the end!

Being the slightly competitive (and insane) group which we are, we decided that surely we can add some side trips to make the full century, so first thing today we took a random side track which isn’t really on any official maps, just to see where it went.

The track itself was barely a track, but occasional markers in trees kept us “on” the “path”. We ended up making it to within 50m of the Mersey River, so we bush-bashed our way down there and explored the area.

After climbing back out we decided that was enough exploring for one day, so we stuck to the track from here on. We pass a historic (and no longer used) hut called Du Cane Hut to stop for a rest and sign the guest book.

The next side track was an official one, heading down to 2 waterfalls- D’Alton and Fergusson Falls.
D’Alton Falls is great to look at, from a lookout perched up on a cliff, but with no possible way down to reach the water.

Thankfully Fergusson Falls is easy to get in and out of, and by this time in the day the sun is lighting up the base of it like a shining beacon in the night. Hot and sweaty from today’s exploring we eagerly head for the water and find the nearest rocks to jump off and canyons to explore.

We walk 1km further to our 2nd official side track turn off, to yet another waterfall- Hartnett Falls. We have another quick dip at these falls, as the base is accessible, but what is more interesting is exploring the top side of these falls as well. We see a lot of wildlife in this area, including our first echidna, and sit for a moment in the shade to soak up the view.

Back on the track we climb up through Du Cane Gap before heading into our camp for tonight at Windy Ridge Hut. This last hut is the largest and most modern of all the huts on the trail and in a lovely location.

We sit and watch the sunset over Mount Geryon and the Du Cane Range from a purpose built viewing platform, reflecting on our last night of the Overland Track.