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Published: March 1st 2009
Who's Hiding Here?
Look very closely!
Hello Mother, Hello Father, here I am at Camp Granada… some of you may remember a very old song by Terry Scott called Camp Granada, well after yesterday I have to say that it felt a little bit like that here, especially after we had to abandon our plans to walk “The Nut” at Stanley. If you are not familiar with the song then look it up on the Internet and you will understand where I am coming from on this one.
We were beginning to think that we may never see the sunshine on Tasmania and especially when Hazel, the Penguin volunteer, said this is summer, I could be forgiven for thinking that I wanted to go back to the mainland, no, not come home! Just get back to the mainland where the weather is actually warmer and there is a little more sunshine.
But wait a minute, the sun has come out and the day is warming up very nicely thank you! Kindly disregard the first two paragraphs, we are staying there are things to do and one of those things is to pack up and move on up to Cradle Mountain today.
Well camouflaged behind the trunk is our very first wild wombat.
I did a little washing last night, which still needed drying, so with the morning sun out, the washing went back on the line and before long we were breaking camp.
We have already booked in at Cradle Mountain so we knew that we had a site to go to, both of us have been looking forward to this, as we wanted to get out and see more of the countryside and hopefully see more of the native wildlife.
We left our trailer on the campsite and popped into Ulverstone to get some groceries (they would be more expensive in the camp shop on the mountain), we had a leisurely early lunch enjoying the warmth and sunshine then back to the campsite to hook up the trailer and off into the mountains.
A lot of people kept warning us about the narrow winding roads and said that we had to drive “very slowly” on these roads, however we think that they have it in mind that Australians only know how to drive on wide straight roads and forget that they need to use a steering wheel and drive too fast, I am not in a position to
No Road Sense
Andy slowed the traffic down for this one, too many end up as roadkill
comment on that, however from our British perspective, these roads are just like England, particularly Cornwall so there is nothing new for us.
One woman even advised us against taking our trailer on a particular road saying that we would be too long for the road conditions (at roughly 9 metres!!).
Anyway, along the winding country roads, the views were so different from a few days previously when we came up here to do the Dove Lake Circuit, the cloud base was so low that you could not even see Cradle Mountain, well today, you can!
Arriving on the mountain, the area is a bustle with the Cradle Shuttle, walkers, campers even the helicopter is doing scenic tours today. We check in, find our spot and set up base camp.
We take a drive up to the Information Centre so that we can get the basic map of walks; this is purely as we want to drive out later this evening to Ronnie Creek, looking for wildlife and we also want to do the Enchanted Walk which is only a 20 minute circuit, but at the right time of evening you are virtually guaranteed to see
Waterfall at the start of the walk.
To date we have seen no Wombats in the wild, which is the one animal that Andy would really like to see. You may remember our blog a couple of days ago when we walked up here someone had told us that they had seen a wombat on the Enchanted Walk in the daytime. “Yes, today is the day that I am convinced we will see a wombat”.
We have been told that because of the decline in the Tasmanian Devil we would be lucky to see one in the wild, obviously no Tasmanian Tigers they are believed to be extinct, however there are some stories around that claim they are not extinct but living happily in the remotest uncivilised part of Tasmania, however Andy and I are not the people to dispel that myth.
After an early tea of ham salad we loaded the truck with head torch, big torch, both cameras and ourselves then off we set to the main visitors information centre where the Enchanted Walk begins. However, we have not even left the campsite and a Tasmanian Devil walks across the road in front of us, he disappears into the bush and
Sugar Puff Eyes
One of Andys favourites
no time for a photo, but this only confirms one thing, they are around; if there is one there will be another. We have been told by one of the people that we have met on our travels that if we listen at night we can hear them.
We leave the campsite and only a few minutes into our drive, I see a car has slowed up on the side of the road, they move on so I tell Andy to drive slowly and there it was hidden in behind a log I could see two ears poking up, our very first Wombat.
We pull over and view it from a distance so as not to disturb it. The Wombat was quite happily munching on the grass, we decide to move on and walk back to the car happy in the knowledge that we have achieved one thing this evening. I turned around and noticed this little fella had wandered onto the road. A car was coming so I cringed but Andy had waved them to slow down for the Wombat (bear in mind these supposedly little animals are built like tanks and will write your car off!).
Dusk at Ronnie Creek
Waiting for wildlife
The wombat ran back into the bush, it was then that I noticed another one, they both ran out of sight.
Onto the Enchanted Walk, we have our full hiking boots on with gaiters, we are still in snake country and closed in shoes are a necessity especially at this time of day. The biggest thing around here are the Tiger Snakes. Eeek!
The light is low but we are able to see well enough and once we are on the boardwalk and move away from the road, I spot another Wombat, just strolling down the boardwalk in the same direction that we are heading. I think he realises that we are there and strolls back into the bush.
We move on, this walk is enchanting, no pun intended, we can see how this walk got its name. No more wildlife as we walk on cross the river (no Platypus), we see plenty of wombat burrows and a wallaby. The walk finishes up by a mountain lodge and as we head back out of the trees we see another Wombat grazing on the long green vegetation.
We see some other tourists, one of them explains that
Our first and rare find an Eastern Quoll. As opposed to the Spotted Quoll which has a spotted tail.
their guide called this one Rebecca, she is completely unperturbed by the tourists, but after 9 years in the same area she must be used to them. Wombats are very territorial and she has obviously held onto this territory well.
As we leave the vicinity of the mountain lodge, we see another two but we decide that we should head down to Ronnie Creek for our nighttime viewing.
On the road, in we drive slowly as it is dusk; this is when the animals are likely to wander onto the road and get run over. Both Andy and I would be completely mortified if we ran over any of these wonderful fluffy creatures.
We see Pademelon Wallabies (small Wallabies), more Wombats and other species of Wallabies, yet down at Ronnie Creek as the last of the sun disappears behind the mountain range we see the piece de resistance (for me anyway), a Spotted Quoll. This little animal moves fast and scared the birds as it was moving toward them.
There were already 2 cars in the car park, they would belong to walkers, we are near a registration hut, I am not sure if we mentioned
Hard to photograph, this chap would not stand still for more than 2 seconds!
before, but you must sign the book before you go on any of the walks here. You leave your name, telephone number, car registration and which walk. You must sign out when you have finished. Someone will check the register periodically and if cars remain in the car park and the registration document denotes that your walk should have finished hours ago and you have not signed out then it is likely to cause a search operation.
This territory is serious stuff here; people can get injured and go missing, the weather is also apt to change at a moments notice. Andy and I will not be doing the really serious stuff like staying out on the mountain overnight. Unlike a couple that we met earlier today who had slept out on the mountain, we spoke to him and he was £10.00 pom, and he was 71 years old (they were geared up for it believe me!!).
We wait a while but see no more wombats, one set of walkers reappear get in their car and go that leaves us and another car. We decide that we have had enough for the night and go back to camp
Who Wants the Barbecue Next?
Please don't turn the barbie on, I am standing on it, unless you want barbecued Possum. These critters lift the steel lids off the bbq's to get at the fat remnants underneath.
for a cup of tea and relax before bedtime.
On the way back we drive slowly again and our wildlife count increases, we have now seen 11 Wombats, 6 Pademelons, other wallabies, 1 Spotted Quoll, 1 Tasmanian Devil and 8 (roughly) Possums.
Back at base camp we take the big torch and head torch around the camp to see if we can see any wildlife, there is a disturbance by the camp kitchen, upon investigation we find very large Possums on the barbecues licking the fat from them. I wondered why the barbecues were always so clean in the mornings? A bit of Possum spit goes a long way. A young chap nearby explains that the Possums have moved the heavy steel lids from the barbecues to get at them. There are four Possums running around here.
Not long after we are sat with a cup of tea and biscuit we are visited by Possums, Andy of course cannot (and stupidly) resists giving them little titbits. The chap next door popped around and said you have my visitors, I have just fed them (crafty devils - they know how to play the tourists).
They do not
These claws will open anything - we found that out to our dismay!
go away, but we pack up and go to bed.
Andy and I are laying in bed, the air outside is very very cold now, but again we are snug in the sleeping bags. We hear them scuffling around outside and trying to get into our plastic bins (tea kit, kitchen kit etc.) but we think we are ok. The food is inside the tent with us.
We drift off to sleep, happy that we have had a great fun packed day.
We hear them still scuffling around and we hear them running over the roof of the tent, I hear one in particular trying to scale the rear of the tent by the large window, I could hear the Velcro being pulled, but just put that down to the fact that the Possum was climbing up the window flap.
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