Thoughts on Location No 30
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Cradle Mountain is situated in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Having already admitted being at Cradle Mountain was (Almost) Beyond Words, now I have to find lots of words to express what we thought about our stay. Albeit we were only able to stay for two nights (the weather was turning nasty), I feel we packed as much as we possibly could into our short stay in this beautiful part of Tasmania.
We arrived a little after midday on Saturday and quickly took a brisk walk around Dove Lake. Nestled at the foot of Cradle Mountain, the day was spectacular with not one hint of cloud to be seen in any direction. One local I spoke to told me that clear blue skies are a rarity at this time of the year, so we know how lucky we were.
On Sunday we wanted to do as much walking as possible, but given the low temperature, light winds, and (all) the cloud, any walking that took us to an altitude higher than we already were was out of the question.
We settled on the Cradle Valley Boardwalk – a raised platform that takes you from the Ranger Station, past Stony Creek and onto Ronny Creek and from there you can also continue along the first steps of the Overland Track, and turning left, then walk up hill a little to pass Lake Lilla and then down on to Dove Lake. Three hours one way the brochure boasts, and taking in all the photo stops along the way, it took us a little over four hours including the short Pencil Pine Falls and Rainforest Walk before heading out.
It was cold, at times bitterly cold and we wore gloves and beanies all the way. It was only 3° C (37.4° F) when we parked the car, I have no idea what it felt like considering the wind chill factor, but before long, our footsteps were adequate to warm us up. It was 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) to Ronny Creek, where we sat and enjoyed a sandwich, and then tackled the final 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) to reach Dove Lake where we caught the shuttle back.
The boardwalk traversed open areas thick with buttongrass, across creeks and below the canopy and through dark areas, past a ‘dead forest’ and pencil pines dated at over 600 years old. Heading out onto the Overland Track from Ronny Creek, we walked straight into a head wind and it was the first time all day that my face ached with the cold. I had to pull my scarf up to cover my mouth and I held my hand against my right ear. Once we turned left to head towards Lake Lilla, we were eventually walking across stony ground, but thankfully, out of the wind.
Please enjoy the following galleries of photos taken during our two days at this magnificent place. A small selection really of the many, many photos we took.
Cradle Mountain (Saturday)
Cradle Valley Boardwalk (Sunday)
There were so many other things we would like to have seen, other walking tracks that beckoned, but the weather was not having any part of it. As we were heading down the mountain on Monday morning, the clouds were rolling in ahead of the predicted low pressure system and staying any longer would not only have been very cold, it would also have been very wet.
My theory is: Everything we didn’t get to do this time, we’ll get to do next time.
We stayed at the Cradle Mountain Discovery Holiday Park and all I can say is thank goodness we were not free camping because although we didn’t need the park’s facilities, we did need the electricity.
Our first night the temperature dropped to -3° C (26.6° F). On our second night the temperature was also sub-zero, but not as cold – like one single digit above the previous night’s temperature made all the difference to how cold it felt.
Dean and I spent the night under three layers, with an electric blanket on 50% AND the (reverse-cycle) air-conditioner on 27° C (80.6° F) and still, that was not enough to keep the frigid air at bay. To say it was cold was an understatement.