Trip Day 3 (Part 1): Cradle Mountain

This morning the weather looked better, but that was just an illusion, and by the time we’d had breakfast, it was looking pretty ordinary.

Juniordwarf was thrilled with the all-you-can-eat buffet style breakfast. He said to Slabs, ‘you didn’t tell me about this!’ and Slabs had replied that he’d wanted to surprise him (when he’d actually forgotten and hadn’t thought too much of it – just goes to show how things that we don’t think are a big deal are huge and exciting to little people, who have much less life experience. It was great to see how excited he was over breakfast).

It was bitterly windy, and the rain came and went (mostly went, which was a relief, unlike yesterday), and we weren’t sure whether to attempt a big walk first or some of the smaller ones. We decided to do the smaller walks first and hope the weather improved after lunch.

Our first stop was the Interpretation Centre again, where we did the Enchanted Walk, which is listed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.

Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk

The walk is described as ‘[taking] you through buttongrass moorland before entering cool temperate rainforest along the edges of Pencil Pine Creek.

Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk

‘Along the track are three interpretive tunnels that kids and kids at heart will find fun to crawl through!’ (Juniordwarf did. We found it a bit difficult.) There were wombat burrows on the walk, but I hadn’t read that bit of the description and didn’t look out for them, and it was too late in the morning for the wombats to be about anyway.

Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
Enchanted Walk
King Billy Circuit
King Billy Circuit

At the end of this walk, we saw a sign pointing to the King Billy Circuit, so we decided to do that walk as well. This was another short walk through some forests that included old specimens of King Billy Pine.

King Billy Circuit
King Billy Circuit
King Billy Circuit
King Billy Circuit
King Billy Circuit
King Billy Circuit
Coming out of the King Billy Circuit
Coming out of the King Billy Circuit

The King Billy pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides) is thought to derive its common name from the Tasmanian Aborigine William Lanney, who was referred to as ‘King Billy’. The tree reaches a height of 40 metres and may reach ages in excess of 1200 years. It’s only found in highland rainforest regions above 600 m.

After that we went back to the Visitor Centre and decided it was time to ditch the car and take the shuttle bus further into the park. We picked up some sandwiches from the café and hopped onto the bus. We got off at the third stop, Ronny Creek, so we could do the Weindorfers Forest Walk. To get there, we had to get to Waldheim Chalet, which meant we started off on the Overland Track before turning right and heading up the hill to find the chalet.

Start of the Overland Track
Start of the Overland Track

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The view from the top of the hill

 

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The view from the top of the hill

The original chalet was built in 1912 by Gustav and Kate Weindorfer. Gustav was one of the people responsible for having the Cradle Mountain area protected as a reserve and sanctuary (now National Park). The chalet has been rebuilt and it now tells the story of Kate and Gustav and their work in the area.

Waldheim Chalet
Waldheim Chalet

The forest walk runs just behind the chalet and took about 20 minutes. We saw lots more King Billy Pines, and some fagus.

Weindorfers Forest Walk
Weindorfers Forest Walk
Weindorfers Forest Walk
Weindorfers Forest Walk

Then it was decision time. Juniordwarf didn’t want to do a 2 hour walk around Dove Lake. We did.

We debated it while we were having lunch in the day hut, and convinced Juniordwarf that we didn’t come all this way to sit around in the hotel, and that the whole point of coming here was to go walking. We were only staying in the hotel, we said in true parent style, because we couldn’t drive to Cradle Mountain, do all the walks we wanted to and drive home the same day. An incidental benefit, if you like. He couldn’t argue with that. (Parents: 1, Child: 0.)

The Day Hut near Waldheim Chalet
The Day Hut near Waldheim Chalet
Bird hanging around in vain for some lunch.
Bird hanging around in vain for some lunch.

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Beautiful view of the whole valley
Beautiful view of the whole valley

We made our way back down the road to the bus stop, and watched a group of walkers getting last minute instructions before setting off on the Overland Track. I’m not sure that I’d ever be able to do that walk, but I think it would be a pretty amazing walk to do.

We caught the next bus through to Dove Lake (they run every 10 minutes or so) and began the 6 km circuit of the lake.

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