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Pelion to Kia Ora

Length: 8.5 km
Walking time: 3 h to 4 h
Climbing: 338m
Descending: 325m
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Overview

Chances are that Pelion has started to feel like home. With the rugged Mt Oakleigh looking down across the button grass plain, it really is a special place.

Today, we head for the hills. Pelion Gap is about halfway between the two campsites and about 300m higher. The climb is similar to the first day, but not as steep or as exposed; take your time and enjoy.

Start walking up Douglas Creek valley, and after about 1.7km there are a few very short sidetracks (30m) to some cascades and waterfalls that are well worth the visit. Keep walking up through the forested valley for another 2.8km before leaving the forest and coming to the exposed saddle and large timber platform at Pelion Gap. This gap marks the intersection of the side tracks that lead to Mt Pelion East, Mt Ossa (and Mt Doris).

If you are leaving your packs here to enjoy a side trip, make sure you take essential gear (the weather can change very quickly) and protect your pack from the currawongs.

Pelion Gap is the halfway point to Kia Ora. From here you head down the other side of the gap towards the views, to aptly named Cathedral Mountain and mixed forest below. Don't forget to look back to see Mt Pelion East and Mt Ossa behind. About 1.5km after leaving Pelion Gap, you will cross a timber bridge and a reliable creek. Continue to meander through the sporadic forest to the delightful cascades on Kia Ora Creek and the lovely camping area.

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Facilities

Creek Crossings
All significant creek crossings have a bridge.
1.7km) Reliable water Douglas Creek
6km) Reliable water at Pinestone Valley Creek
(Treat water before drinking)

Signage
All notable intersections are clearly signposted.

Toilets
0km) Pelion
End) Kia Ora
(No toilet at Pelion Gap)

Seats
0km) Pelion
4.5km) Sit on edge of timber platform Pelion Gap
6km) Sit on side of bridge
End) Kia Ora

Shelter
0km) Pelion Hut.
End) Kia Ora Hut

Mobile Phone Coverage
Telstra: No coverage on the main spine of the Overland Track
Patchy coverage at the summit of Mount Oakleigh, Mt Pelion East & Mt Ossa

Optus: No coverage on the main spine of the Overland Track
Patchy coverage at the summit of Mt Ossa

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Track Conditions

The walk starts by following a timber boardwalk but the majority of the track surface is natural rock or gravel with a lot timber and rock steps around Pelion Gap.

There are long sections of timber boardwalk through flatter and boggy areas between Pelion Gap and Kia Ora.

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Hazards

Pelion Gap is very exposed to high wind and snow. Deep snow and thick ice do accumulate on the ground at Pelion Gap and the open sections towards Kia Ora during winter and other times of the year (making walking and navigation particularly challenging).

Be mindful of tree roots and other trip hazards, especially in the dense forests on each side of Pelion Gap. The timber steps and boardwalks can also get very slippery.

The side tracks are very exposed, steep and slippery in places. Be prepared for extreme weather changes.