HIKING THE OVERLAND TRACK – by Warwick Sprawson
A publisher in the UK sent me a book to review, which was a big surprise. I told them that I had less than 100 subscribers, but that didn’t seem to worry them, they said that I probably had a lot of random people who came across my blog after all that’s how they found me. There are a lot of random viewers out there, but I always thought they were robots (or bots!).
I’ve walked the Overland Track three times, but many years ago, way before the internet and the myriad of reports and You Tube videos that are out there, you basically picked up a brochure at the visitor centre in those days and headed off. So, I was interested to read the book to see if there’s anything that I’d missed.
I’m an avid reader and have done some editing from time to time, so was prepared to look at the book objectively. Before starting, I figured that no-one wants to see a negative report on their book, so if I truly didn’t feel positive about it, I’d just decline to review it. Obviously, as you’re reading a review, I’m impressed.
So, about the book … I really couldn’t fault it. Warwick’s put an awful lot of effort and research into this handy pocket guide (well, if you had a big pocket).
The first 70 odd pages are devoted to preparedness, to ensure that anyone embarking on this adventure knows what to expect, what equipment to take and Warwick directs readers to additional research. Having seen one walker on the trip drag out a Bunnings gas stove out of his pack at a hut, I cannot stress the importance of this section.
The next 70 odd pages gives a comprehensive overview of each stage of the Track, an elevation graph, topographical map with track route, named features and side trip routes. The inclusion of the topo map snippets eliminates the need to carry the full topo maps.
The final 70 odd pages cover Flora & Fauna – the usual animals and plants, but the author has listed them from smallest (animal) to largest, so if you come across a really small bird you don’t have to hunt through an alphabetical listing to find the right one. The flora is arranged according to where you find it (alpine, sub alpine, grassland etc). I believe this section of the book would be particularly helpful and might change my feelings about packing a book (which, up to now, I’ve never done).
There’s a lot of history included in the content, fleshing out the early explorers who found the route, the early pioneers and the huts along the track.
Size: At 204 pages it is substantially more than the other book that I found available (68 pages). At 115mm x 170mm and 12mm thick, it’s not too big to have in your pack for easy reference.
Weight: 230gm – a little weighty for those of us who are light-weight walkers, BUT, you’d want to refer to the content often so that would offset its weight.
Where to pick it up: A quick search on the net and I found that in Australia Dymocks carry it and it can be purchased on line (as of 15/2/20 RRP is A$37.95).
I’d always said that I didn’t need to walk the Overland Track again, after all, three times was probably enough, however, having read Warwick’s book I’ve realised that I missed a lot. I had said that I would “raffle off” the hardcopy of the book on my Facebook page, and am regretting that now, it’s a book that I’d definitely like to keep in my library!