Published: May 13th 2007May 13th 2007 to Cradle Mountain National Park
Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake
the first day we did the leisurely hike around the lake
Our guides picked us up at the Launceston Backpacker's Hostel on Sunday morning. We hooked up with the other travellers, a couple from Brisbane, and drove to Cradle Mountain National Park. After lunch we hiked around Dove Lake, beautiful with the beech trees in their orange autumn color.
That evening we went to see the Devils@Cradle
. Although I'm not one to visit zoos or other captive animal displays, I do recommend this one, as the Tasmanian devil population is crashing due to facial tumor syndrome, first observed in 1996. This center is doing outreach, education, and some fund-raising for research. They have a captive devil population, and if you're there at feeding time you can hear the blood-curdling screams that earned these creatures their names, as well as the sounds of bones being crushed by their mighty little jaws.
We stayed in a cabin at "Blackjack", just outside the park. Quite amusing to encounter wallabies when heading down to the bathroom building in the dark. And the stars! I've been in some remote places and seen some awesome starry skies, but nothing like this. The Milky Way was absolutely thick slathered across the
Devils @ Cradle
why she's safe in nothing but rubber gloves, I don't understand
heavens. I read somewhere Tasmania has some of the cleanest air on Earth.
The next day we set out to climb Cradle. We were incredulous at the start: We're going to climb that? We soon made it to Kitchen Hut where our guides brewed us some tea to go with our lunch. It was a little cool that far up. Then the couple from Brisbane dropped out; the man had complained about his heart rate during the steep section of trail with the chain banister. One guide (Ann) took them back down while the other guide (Nick) took Jamie and I on to the top.
The trail to the summit gradually gives way to poles that guide you vaguely over enormous boulders. This was not really scary, just very tiring. Jamie tied her video camera to her belt and has some great footage of her clambering footsteps. The view from the top was well worth it. However, since darkness falls at 5:30 p.m. this time of year, we could only soak it up for 5 minutes before hurrying back down!
We were both very tired and Jamie was just about out of water, so it was great
beech trees seen from the trail
to stop and fill our water bottles at another wild stream partway down. We were losing steam, and darkness was approaching faster than we could flee, so Nick decided we would take a shortcut: the goat track. Luckily, they had installed chain bannisters on that stretch just two weeks earlier, otherwise I'm not sure our wobbly muscles would have seen us down that chute.
We were all so tired that night, we decided to eat dinner in the living room. With sore muscles in the morning, we visited the Cradle Mountain National Park gift shop, and did a short, easy trail to see the mammoth King Billy pines.
There are more photos below