Sunny days, nippy nights, alpine wildflowers, high rugged mountains, button grass, secret lakes, boardwalks, lookouts, walking sticks, shuttle buses, sturdy shoes, kids with backpacks, cups of tea, hearty dinners, warm showers and warm beds.
Cradle Mountain. Of all the places we visited in Tasmania, this was my favourite. We spent 4 nights camped in our own private spot. Of the 69 days a year that are usually clear – 6.2 allocated to January – we enjoyed 2.5 of them! A win by any standard.
We undertook 3 beautiful walks while we were there. The first was a glorious afternoon around Dove Lake. The track was 6km around the lake. It took in the Ballroom Forest and the famed Boatshed with the mountain always watching over us.
With such cracking weather, we did think about offering our holiday snaps to the printers of tourist brochures here in Cradle Mountain.
Our second walk was shorter and designed for 4 kids and a fairly relaxed day. While we hung out with the gorgeous 6 yr old Bolger twins, the other intrepid Bolger walkers hiked to the summit. We ventured from Ronny Creek through to Lake Lilla and back to the Dove Lake.
A trip to see the Tassie Devils that evening gave us a greater insight into these animals. While we were not exactly endeared to them…. solitary, competitive, scavenging carnivores….we did at least feel very sorry for them in their current fight against the facial tumor that is decimating their species.
Our third hike began on the only rainy, freezing 5 degree day where the wind was howling up the mountain. Abandoning the shorts & T-shirts of the previous days, we unloaded every woolen, thermal and waterproof item from our bags and put them all on.
Together we hiked at 8am from Ronny Creek along the Overland Track towards Marion’s lookout. Although we couldn’t see terribly far, the mist and fog in the valleys and over the lakes was wonderful.
When we stopped at the breathtaking Crater Lake and sheltered in the hut there, for morning tea, we wondered if we would dry off or warm up? Gloves on and walking sticks out, we continued on our way up the hill.
The kids did brilliantly, BloggiE making her way easily up the steep sections supported by chains, on to Marion’s lookout, where we admired the view from 1223m above sea level. We descended via Wombat’s Pool – not nearly so picturesque, but a new adventure, and left axo1000 and Spike to continue their climb to the summit.
They took it easy, because with the weather, they were uncertain that the boulder clambering at the end would be wise. However 4 hours from the start, as we hiked into the Dove Lake car park, to catch the shuttle back to camp, the sun was shining. Wind continued to whip the mountain, but it had been dry enough to scale the cliff and axo1000 & Spike were at the top! Shrouded in mist, they were at 1545m! What an achievement!
Their whole trek was 7hours & though tired, they were jubilant and celebrated with a hot chocolate back at the bottom.
The campsite was reminiscent of a National Park and equipped for cold, wet conditions, with a large indoor camp kitchen. Happily the kids found a secret ninja forest hideout, where they played each afternoon and we had a few moments for a cuppa and a chat about the day’s events.
The only disappointment of our stay in Cradle Mountain was that it had to come to an end. One day we would love to return to hike more of the many paths that we didn’t have time for, or perhaps the Overland Track itself, from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair. And for me, I think that if I had to choose just one spot to visit in Tasmania, this would be it.