The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Jacquie Petrusma MP, Minister for Parks
Senator Claire Chandler, Senator for Tasmania
Site works and construction of two new huts on the Overland Track at Lake Windermere and Kia Ora within Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park will begin this month.
The project is part of the Australian and Tasmanian governments’ commitment to improve the standard and quality of older huts along the multi-day track, while protecting the environmental values of the area.
AJR Construct Pty Ltd, a Tasmanian building and construction company, has been awarded the contracts to build the huts and associated amenities at both sites concurrently.
Commonwealth Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the construction of new huts along the famous Overland Track is part of the Australian Government’s $33.5 million support for heritage infrastructure projects under the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.
“Supporting the construction of three new huts along one of Australia’s most well-loved hiking trails will encourage even more visitors to travel to Tasmania and enjoy this spectacular natural area in the months and years to come,” Minister Ley said.
“This is one of 33 projects to be completed around the country by mid-2022, ranging from $40,000 to $4.9 million, which will provide immediate economic stimulus and new opportunities in all states and territories.”
Senator for Tasmania Claire Chandler said the construction will have a range of benefits for the area which has long been a haven for hikers.
“The construction of three new huts will ultimately provide new accommodation options for walkers, create local jobs, and generate economic stimulus for local communities,” Senator Chandler said.
“The Overland Track is one of Tasmania’s major tourism drawcards, attracting avid interstate and international hikers over the years, and the new huts will ensure the track continues to cater for hikers for many years to come.”
Tasmanian Minister for Parks Jacquie Petrusma said the redevelopment of the visitor facilities at Windermere and Kia Ora overnight nodes has been made possible by $6.8 million in joint funding provided through the Tasmanian Government’s Improved State-wide Visitor Infrastructure program and the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.
“Once completed each hut will include 34 beds, along with new updated toilets and common areas, to improve the visitor experience of those undertaking Tasmania’s most iconic multi-day bushwalk,” Minister Petrusma said.
The public huts will provide improved facilities and meet current building and environmental management standards.
The existing ranger quarters will be retained, and the former hut and toilet sites will be rehabilitated and repurposed once the new huts are operational.
“Tasmania is a must-visit destination for many walkers, with the Overland Track high on the list for many, and this desire to explore our irreplaceable wilderness has continued even through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Petrusma said.
“It is important for our economy and walking destination reputation that we undertake projects like this to welcome visitors and Tasmanians alike, while protecting our natural assets for generations to come.”
The project follows the successful completion of the Waterfall Valley hut in 2020.
Hut construction is expected to begin later this year, with preliminary on-site work starting this month.
The impact on walkers during construction will be minimal with the current huts remaining open for visitors to use.
It is anticipated that the huts will be complete by mid-2022.