Cradle Mountain #3: Dove Canyon Circuit, the Cradle Valley Boardwalk and Waldheim

Published: December 20th 2018
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After our long day's hike yesterday, we decided to take it a bit easier today. Also the weather was pretty bad, so we didn't want to do too much in the rain. We slept til a little later and then made ourselves some breakfast burritos to set us up for the day. I hadn't had a breakfast burrito in ages. We used to eat them quite often on hiking trips in Korea, so it was good to reminisce. We headed to the visitor centre and took the shuttle bus to the Interpretation centre. From there, we walked to Knyvet Falls. The waterfall was really pretty. In fact, the whole area is just stunning. It's just so green and because of the rain, it looked very lush. We had decided to to the Dove Canyon circuit. The hike wasn't too bad, but a little tougher than we had imagined. There were quite a few up and down sections, and our legs were still recovering from the day before. Still, it was worth it. This trail was super quiet and we barely saw anyone else on it. I loved just taking in the scenery. Coming for polluted China, it was a literal and metaphorical breath of fresh air. The bad weather also made the national park seem very atmospheric.

From the Dove Canyon Circuit, we came out onto the Cradle Valley Boardwalk. This is a pretty flat walk along the boardwalk through the countryside. It was still pretty cold and miserable, but we persevered. We headed down to Snake Hill, luckily we didn't see any snakes. I did get to see an echidna though. It was just chilling in the grass next to the boardwalk. We continued onto Ronnie Creek and then did the short Weindorfers Forest Walk. This brought us out at Waldheim, where we were able to learn more about this area of the national park. I thought there was only one chalet at Waldheim, which had been used by the Weindorfers, but there were a few other chalets that are available for the public to rent. However, since there were people staying in them, we couldn't have a good snoop around, so just headed over to the reconstruction of Waldheim. Waldheim had been built by Gustav Weindorfer, who was a major promoter of the Cradle Mountain National Park. He was born in Austria and moved to Australia in 1900. He first visited Cradle Mountain in 1909 and basically fell in love with the place. But he didn't want to keep the place to himself, he wanted it to become a national park so that others would be able to visit and enjoy it like he had. Thank you, Mr. Weindorfer! He decided to build a chalet there, so that other people could come and stay in order to visit the mountain. In 1912, the land was purchased and he set about building what became known as Waldheim, the 'home in the forest'. King Billy Pines from the adjacent forest were used. By late 1912, they were ready for their first visitors. Despite visitors having to walk about 13 kilometres to reach Waldheim, it became a success and later a track allowed access by horse and cart. The chalet is certainly rustic by modern day standards, but I really enjoyed walking around it and seeing how people lived back then. I also loved the passion that Gustav Weindorfer showed for the area and how he wanted to share it with others. Unfortunately, his life became quite tragic as he lost his mother, wife, brother, and father in 1916. Totally horrific! Because of all that, he moved permanently to Waldheim from his family farm. He lived quite an isolated life as the chalet didn't receive any visitors in the winter. However, he was known as a great host. It was good to learn about the figure, who was instrumental in making this beautiful place a national park.

We made it back to our accommodation in the early afternoon. We had taken our lunches with us, but since it was so cold and rainy at Waldheim, we couldn't sit outside and eat them. We headed to the kitchen to sit near the fire and warm up. Since we hadn't really slowed down for the past week and the weather was cold and rainy. It was the prefect time to turn the heater up and have a nap. Waking up feeling refreshed, the rest of the day was spent in a relaxing manner. It was nice to do some reading and to cook dinner. We also got chatting to a really nice family in the kitchen after dinner.

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