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Published: March 27th 2014
It doesn't matter who you ask about travel in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain is one of the first things listed. Funny, it has ended up being one of the last things visited on our tour of Tasmania. That has been dictated by weather as it was originally our plan to do the west cost and Cradle Mountain first, but severe storms and wind sent us the other way around the Island.
I guess when planning the tour we were always aware that the weather is changeable down here, but hoped for generally good weather for February and March. So if you are planning a visit, plan to be flexible!
We had purchased the National Parks Pass for our holiday duration which includes not only access to Cradle Mountain, but free use of the shuttle bus for the duration of the stay. We made good use of that.
The morning broke misty, but by the time we had breakfast and jumped on the shuttle down to Dove Lake, the morning mist had all but burned away and the breeze had not yet risen.
For early walkers, the Dove Lake circuit walked clockwise from the car park gives the best
opportunity for those great reflection photos that appear in brochures. We had no difficulty finding locations for beautiful photos, the biggest worry is to know which ones to publish.
The Dove Lake walk is generally pretty easy going as one heads out from the car park in a clockwise manner. There are some rougher sections on the other side of the lake on the return half of the circuit. People with good footwear and reasonable health can manage this track just fine.
As we progressed around the lake we climbed Glacier Rock which provides an elevated view around the lake and to the mountains. This proved to be a very popular stopping place. Be careful here with children as the rock face is vertical down to the water.
As we progressed around the lake we crossed little streams, walked through shaded forest with ferns, moss and lichen, but we could hear a water fall. It wasn't until we looked up across the lake we could see a waterfall on the far side high up in the mountain, tumbling down in stages to the stream and eventually the lake.
The lake water is quite clear, but has
Cradle Mountain 11
Pink Mountain Berry
a brackish tinge due to the button grass and other vegetation that the streams pass through. The big plus of the tinted water is the improved quality of reflections on a calm day like we experienced.
We had planned to climb the steep path to Marion's Lookout, but by late morning when we got to the path, cloud was descending over the hills and mountains, and the wind had got up. So we decided to move up the valley and walk past the Pencil pine waterfalls and The Enchanted Forest.
The Enchanted Forest walk is another loop, and easy for anyone. Initially I wondered why it was given this name. Once we got to the halfway point and heading back to the Ranger Station car park, the spell hit, and it took us ages to walk the short distance back.
A lady we had met told us that dusk is the time to go. At that time she said that we would see stones get up and walk - big stone = fluffy wombat, middle stone = pademelons, and little stones = echidna. We didn't go at dusk so cannot confirm her sightings. We did wonder what
she had drunk before going walk about!
But we did see pademelons grazing beside the path within a few feet of where we stopped for yet another photo opportunity.
I'm not quite sure, but some how we got lost at the exit to the walk and ended up at Peppers Lodge reception area. Rather flash me thinks! Still a Mercedes Motorhome sounds flash too, so we were not feeling out of place. After a little assistance we were directed to the exit path and were soon back to the Ranger Station to catch a shuttle bus back to the main car park.
There was a little delay for a shuttle with empty seats, but we were entertained by a cute Echidna out catching ants. He was pushing small rocks out of his way as he cleaned up a small colony of ants. I took a movie as well as single shots. And we were only a couple of feet away from him/her.
Back to the motorhome, and we had decided to head for Sheffield for the night. Another twisty driving session through beautiful forest/mountain country.
If ever there was a lesson in not judging a
book by its cover, it is found in Sheffield. There is a little shop front, not freshly painted and a sign indicating that it is a Chinese Restaurant. But it had been recommended as The Place to eat in Tasmania! That is some claim. After dining in we can endorse this humble little restaurant for quality of food accompanied by very personalised service. As we chatted to the waitress about our choices, she realised that we liked spicy food rather than standard fare, so the meals were adjusted to our taste. This proved to be a belated but very good birthday celebration. T's is the place to dine, but only go without a booking Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday to Sunday they are booked out up to three weeks ahead. We were lucky to be there on a Monday!
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