After a lot of indecision, Day 3 started with a breakfast at a local place we scouted out the day before that would be open early on Easter Sunday. We continued to discuss whether to go to East or West, so Wineglass Bay or Cradle Mountain. After much consulting of guidebooks, text messages to others, we picked Cradle Mountain.
We began to cruise north on Hwy 1 and then at Mowbray, made a decision to switch to the A5, since this road seemed to go right by a “Great Lake”. Can’t miss those, right? Well, in truth you can, as we realised that basically we were on this drive to the middle of nowhere. How do you know it is the middle-of-nowhere, you ask? Gravel replaced the pavement on the roads, cell phone service is non-existent and when you can get it, the only thing you want to know is where the nearest gas station is, since you haven’t seen one for about 75kms. And did I mention the fog, rain and then how curvy the roads got? Let’s just say it made for an interesting drive.
Once we got to the Vistor’s Centre at Cradle Mountain, Earl realised that he had not properly geared up with a jacket that could stand the rain and the temperature change between Cradle Mountain and Hobart. Happily the intelligent people at the Visitor’s Centre sell a wide range of souvenir rain gear. That is why it shocked us both to see some ladies get on the bus with their Valentino high heels and dresses.
Now it was our time to get on the shuttle bus that takes you to the trail heads. You can walk between most of the 5 bus stops and catch the bus from either point, or you can go directly to Dove Lake. We decided to go directly to Dove Lake. If we had had more time and it had been less rainy, we certainly would’ve done the walk down to Dove Lake from one of the other stops, as the scenery was gorgeous even in the fog and mist.
After running into one of my co-workers totally randomly, we started the walk. It misted on an off during the walk, so we took a lot of chances to stop and check to see when the mist and fog was off the mountain in order to get our views of Cradle Mountain.
I was also pretty excited that through the walk we did get to see fagus! Fagus (Nothofagus gunnii) is the only native deciduous tree in Tasmania, and since it is Autumn it is almost the only fall colour.
After a full walk around the lake, we were ready to be warm for the day, and to get some food, so we left the park and ate at the Cradle Mountain Hotel in their Altitude Lounge Bar.
I had a great seafood chowder that was perfect after the day of driving an hiking. On the way out we also saw what I think is a Bennett’s Wallaby.
Now it was time for the long drive home, this time on Hwy 1 with no gravel. Would be excited to spend some more time at Cradle Mountain. You could definitely spend a whole week there hiking and checking out all of the sights.