Cradle Mountain

Australia, Tasmania Add comments
Planet View: S41°34.734’ E145°56.098’
Street View: S41°34.734’ E145°56.098’

Our transport to Tasmania: the Spirit of TasmaniaFrom King Island we flew back to Melbourne for one more night with the Kennares and then hopped on to the Spirit of Tasmania for our journey across Bass Strait.  Although we left an hour late and were on the boat for more than nine hours, I really enjoyed the trip on the ferry (I’m not sure I can say the Cradle Mountain and Dove Lakesame for Lisa and the Youngs…).  With a couple of bars, plenty of food, a casino, restaurant, live music, cinema and a well-stocked gift shop there was plenty to keep us all entertained.  We arrived in Devonport (S41°10.427’ E146°22.211’) late on Friday night, quickly checked-in to the Abel Tasman Caravan Park and then made a beeline for the nearest pub.  I wish pubs on the mainland still had prices like those in Devonport: at the Edgewater Hotel Cradle Mountain and Dove Lakethe four of us ate a sit-down restaurant meal with a round of drinks for $65.00.  Nice!  Quarantine regulations prohibited us from bringing fish, fruit or vegetables across on the ferry so we had a big restocking at Devonport’s Woolworths the morning after our arrival before heading into the Tasmanian high country.

From Devonport we set our sights on Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park, roughly 85 kilometers inland from the coast.  It was a beautiful drive through the mountains, we stopped off at Sheffield for a quick lunch at the bakery and continued on through the fern-filled forests of the Tasmanian high country.  The Tank doesn’t appreciate mountains as much as we do: on the way up she always seems to need a second-and-a-half gear and on the way down she’s too heavy for the engine to slow her down.  It becomes a delicate juggle between speed and heating up the brakes.  Nonetheless, we made it to Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park in one piece, where we checked into the only campground in the park’s northern section and spent the afternoon hiking around Dove Lake with spectacular views of Cradle Mountain in the distance.

Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the distance  The Youngs and Lisa hiking around Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the distanceSam, Greg, Carol and Lisa in fron of Cradle MountainCradle Mountain wildflowers Lisa hiking around Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the backgroundWildflowers and Cradle MountainKayakers on Dove Lake Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain

Wildflowers with Crater Peak in the backgroundLisa on the way to Crater LakeOn our second day in the National Park we set our sights on a five-or-so hour walk traversing 4200 vertical feet and completing a loop along the striking cliffs encircling Crater Lake.  It was an interesting day of weather, to say the least: I started off in shorts and a t-shirt and at one point during the day was wearing three warming layers plus a Gore-Tex rain jacket!  Our hike began at Ronnie’s Creek parking lot, the beginning of the famous Overland Track, a walking trail traversing the National Park from Cradle Mountain to Lake Saint Clair and taking roughly six to eight days to complete.  It was a misty walk up into the rainforest surrounding Crater Creek, at times we struggled to see 50 meters in front of us, Greg, Lisa and Carol suiting up in Ronnie's Creek parking lota stark difference to the brilliant blue skies of the day before.  By the time we reached Marions Lookout (S41°39.630’ E145°57.169’) we hadn’t seen much of the beautiful vistas surrounding us, the fog and misty rain was still quite thick and the wind was making things a little miserable.  We hiked around the cliff tops of Crater Lake and passed by Crater Peak, all agreeing that with the dense fog it wasn’t worth the hike to the summit if we couldn’t see anything!  It was through the boggy highland swamps and back down to Crater Creek for lunch, roughly halfway between our high point for the day and the Ronnie’s Creek parking lot.  While we were eating the skies began to clear, after we’d finished lunch Crater Peak finally came into view.  I decided that I couldn’t complete the Crater Lake hike without even a photo of the picturesque lake itself, so Carol, Greg and Lisa continued down to the vehicles while I bolted back up to the top of Crater Peak for some absolutely brilliant views of the trail we spent all morning hiking (but hadn’t really seen!).  The cliffs dropping into Crater Lake are so sheer that there’s really only Eating lunch on the way back down near Crater CreekSam on top of Crater Peak with Crater Lake in the backgroundtwo places around the rim where one can see the entire lake: Marions Lookout and Crater Peak.  The view from Crater Peak’s summit (S41°39.584’ E145°56.401’) was absolutely magic, the caldera-like Crater Lake in the foreground with Dove Lake and Lake Lilla in the distance.  I started snapping shots furiously at each break in the clouds but the views only got better as I stood at the summit, the dual peaks of Cradle Mountain (Little Horn and Weindorfers Tower) eventually breaking through the clouds and completing the spectacular panorama.  I’m so glad I bolted back up to the summit, it was well worth the roughly 600 vertical feet of climbing I had to redo!

Crater Lake with the tips of Cradle Mountain to the right  Lisa walking through the plains near Crater CreekCrater CreekA wet morning on the way to Crater Lake Climbing the chains to Marions LookoutClimbing the chains to Marions LookoutThe boggy plains near Crater PeakClosed wildflowers near Crater Peak Cradle Mountain in the cloudsHigh country plains near Crater PeakThe Crater Lake hike The trail back to Ronnie's Creek parking lotThe Crater Lake hikeBoardwalk near Ronnie's Creek with Crater Peak in the distance

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This entry was posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2010 at 1:00 PM and is filed under Australia, Tasmania. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Cradle Mountain”

  1. Heidi says:

    Your posts always make me envious! Beautiful photos, as usual. Hope you guys are doing well and having a blast!

  2. Idaho Youngs says:

    WOW!!!!!!!!! What a beautiful area. The fog and mist reminds me of Ketchikan, AK. Looks like the area was carved by glacial action??? You guys are on a trip of a lifetime.

  3. Cathy says:

    Hey you guys why arnt you doing the 8 day walk? I’d love to do that someday. Anyway just as well you scampered back up again. You certainly were rewarded well. Great shots. Big Hi to Greg and Carol. Love Cathy

  4. Sue and John says:

    It was worth going back for the photos Sam…great view!!

  5. The North Coast | Our Walkabout says:

    […] Cradle Mountain the four of us headed back to the north coast of Tasmania, spending a night next to the beautiful […]

  6. The Lyell Highway And Central Tasmania | Our Walkabout says:

    […] a taste of Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park a couple of weeks back with our trip to Cradle Mountain and Crater Lake, the southern portion of the National Park around Lake Saint Clair gave us a dose of Tasmania’s […]

  7. Back In The High Country | Our Walkabout says:

    […] kilometer hike we did enjoy some fantastic hiking through Alpine National Park.  As with our Crater Lake hike in Tasmania recently, when we set off toward Mount Loch we were rugged up in beanies and […]

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