The Lake St Clair Lodge operates the IDA Clair, a passenger ferry that operates between Narcissus Hut and Cynthia Bay. The Lake St Clair ferry carries 22 passengers.
The overland track ferry trip takes around 30 minutes to cover the 14km trip and operates all year.
The Lake St Clair ferry must be pre-booked as places are limited in the summer, at other times the ferry runs on demand. In the off season the overland track ferry needs a minimum of 6 to run or if less, payment is made for 6 which is a total of $240. The single trip is $40/person from Narcissus and $35 from Cynthia Bay.
To book call Lake St Clair Lodge 03 6289 1137 There is a radio at Narcissus Hut where you must confirm your booking. The ferry time will be confirmed as it can change.
The ferry departs three times a day from Narcissus in the summer with a published arrival time at Narcissus of 09.45, 13.15 and 15.45, in practice is 9.30, 13.00 and 15.30.
The published arrival in Cynthia Bay being 10.30, 14.00 and 16.30. In practice 10.10, 13.40 and 16.05.
The overland track ferry departs as soon as the booked passengers are accounted for. In winter is an on-demand service so must be pre-booked. This in practice means the ferry time are 9.30, 13.00 and 15.30 as if everyone is there the ferry leaves.
Most groups aim for the 13.15 ferry and tend to walk the last 9km from Windy Ridge Hut arriving around 11.30. Time for a swim in the lake before catching the ferry. The guided overland track group also use the same ferry and they have a standing booking which means this ferry is very busy so book early.
If you do not want to use the overland track ferry the walk along the lake is 17km. An option if you are moving faster is to walk on day 5 to Echo Point Hut that is half way along the lake and then on day 6 to Lake St Clair. An alternative is on day 5 to reach Narcissus Hut and then walk on Day 6 to Cynthia Bay which normally means you arrive at about 14.00.
If you are using the overland track ferry it can be cancelled as we have found out. This may be due to weather, staffing or mechanical issues. Lake St Clair will of course try and clear the backlog but be prepared and useful to have extra food, just in case.
Telstra phones do work from Narcissus and a good place to send a message if anyone meeting you.
There is a very short walk to the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre from the ferry pier, housing a café with a welcoming fire, chips, coffee, beers. The visitor centre has an exhibition room and rangers on duty. There are toilets and even a shower reserved for walkers.