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Published: November 13th 2018
We were up early to head to the transit centre to take the bus to Cradle Mountain. The walk was quite slow going as we were like a couple of pack horses with all the food we had bought. We had stocked up in the local supermarkets as options in Cradle Mountain would be limited and very expensive. The bus journey took around three hours and we passed through a few small towns on the way. We were deposited outside the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and it was just a short walk across the road to our accommodation. We had a private room, I think we had just booked out a dorm room to ourselves, but I can't quite remember. We dumped our stuff and headed to the shared kitchen with all our food and made some lunch before heading out.
Cradle Mountain was definitely a lot colder than Launceston and Freycinet National Park had been. The weather is also known to be very unpredictable here and snow is possible even in summer. It was wet and a bit cold as we headed over to the visitor centre to get our shuttle bus passes. These passes meant that we could
use the shuttle buses to get around the park and to access the starting points for the different hikes. No walking for miles to reach the start of the trails like we had in Freycinet National Park. Since it was already the afternoon and the shuttle buses didn't run until too late, we decided just to do some of the shorter trails around the first stop on the shuttle bus route after the visitor centre, the Interpretation Centre. First, we took a look around the Interpretation Cente, which gave us some background knowledge on the park. Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park is the most visited national park in Tasmania. We wouldn't be going to the Lake St. Clair part of the park apart from a brief stopover on the bus.
The first trail that we did was the Rainforest Walk, which is a quick 10-20 minute stroll. This trail was a nice walk through the woods. We saw a couple of waterfalls, which were pretty. I think these were Pencil Pine Falls. The trail was pretty quite and we didn't see many people as we were walking. I don't know if it was because it is an easy
trail and most people hike something more difficult or because of the weather. Walking through the forest in the rain definitely reminded me of being in England.
Next we headed over to the other side of the road to walk along the Enchanted Walk and the King Billy Walk. These trails were also pretty short. The Enchanted Walk was pretty. I quite liked that it was a rainy overcast day as it made it seem pretty atmospheric. It was nice to walk along by the river and I liked the variety of trees that I could see. After walking for a while on the Enchanted Walk, we came to a point where we could walk on the King Billy Track, so we did that. It wasn't long before we saw what I think was a wallaby. To be honest, I have no idea of the differences between a kangaroo, wallaby, and pademelon, and I just refer to everything as a kangaroo. My friend corrects me and tells me which animal it actually is. Anyway, we were walking on the boardwalk and this little guy or gal was just happily chilling by the side of the trail. Further on, we
came across something a bit random, a pair of boots. They weren't hiking boots, but more normal day to day men's boots. They looked a little worn out, but it did seem like a strange place to leave them. We also came across some interesting looking fungus growing on one of the trees. It was a very bright orangey red colour. Then we came to part of the trail that was cordoned off with a do not enter sign, I wonder why it is/was dangerous for people, however I wasn't going to attempt to find out. The deeper into the forest we got, the more the trees were covered with moss. They looked really cool. We came across many King Billy Pines, after which this trail is named. The name King Billy was given to the Aboriginal tribal leader of the Oyster Bay people and he was named after the then reigning King William of England. These trees are very impressive as they can grow up to 40 metres in height. After walking under the cover of the trees for a while, we came out into the open. It was nice to have a change in scenery and see more
of the Cradle Mountain National Park that surrounded us. I could see some of the mountains but the higher ones were shrouded in cloud. I was also surprised to see a portly lizard chilling on the boardwalk. I would have thought it was too cold for them to be out and about.
We made our way back to the Interpretation Centre to catch the shuttle bus. We had to let the first couple go by as they were too full, as this is the last stop leaving the park they had filled up at the previous stops, which are no doubt more popular as they are closer to the more scenic areas of the park. Back at the hostel, we had a relaxing evening. We cooked dinner and prepared our food for the next day. It was quite funny as we were cooking bacon to pimp up our pasta and sauce, and another backpacker, when out of earshot of his girlfriend, told us how good the bacon smelt. I don't know if it was dietary or budget concerns that was prohibiting him from eating bacon, but I really wished we had offered him some as he looked really wistful
when talking to us. Back in the room, it was pretty cold, so we cranked the heater before settling down for the evening.
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