Cradle Mountain for two days
From Parkland to Cradle Mountain there were several routes, the shortest being 100km taking about 1 hour. Most visitors would just visit Cradle Mountain as a day trip or stayed only one night at Cradle Mountain. In our case we had two nights, we stayed at Cradle Mountain Discovery Park. Some people might think that it was an “overkill” but it turned out to be fantastic.
We had earlier hope to detour to Leven Canyon unfortunately due to the heavy rain in the past weeks the road to Leven Canyon was damaged so it was closed to traffic. During this trip we were able to check the flood condition of Tasmania roads through a mobile apps. This helped us to reroute and replan.
Black Bluff National Recreation Area
Near to our destination, Cradle Mountain we saw a signboard pointing to Black Bluff Nature Recreation. We parked our car by the road and went out to explore.
It was an upslope path of about 200 m and at the top was a lookout into the reserve. Unfortunately the weather was misty so the view was very “blur”. As we walked down the slope, the mist turned to rain. We had to run to our car to get out of the rain. We started the day with nice fine sunny weather at the north coast but the weather turned drizzly the nearer we got to Cradle Mountain.
We reached Cradle Mountain Discovery Park, where we had rented a cabin, just before noon. The weather had turned for the worst and it was raining heavily. We waited for two hours for the rain to lighten before we drove 500m to Cradle Mountain Visitor Center.
All visitors had to park their cars at the visitor center and go by “Visitor Center Bus” to Dove Lake/Cradle Mountain. Visitors to the park must have a Park Pass. Since we already bought our pass, we showed it to a staff who then issued us “bus ticket” (valid for three days).
The bus ride to Dove Lake took about 25 minutes. There were several stops from the Visitor Center to Dove Lake car park. Along the way there were several hiking paths and more at Dove Lake. Some hiking trails were as short at 20 minutes walk and others up to 3 hours.
At Dove Lake carpark, there was a little building, we went in to register our entry/time and the walk we intended to take into a log book. The registration was voluntary as there was no supervising staff. We supposed if at the end of the day an entry was not signed out the ranger would send a search party!
We did the Dove Lake Circuit which was a walk round the entire Dove Lake. It took us nearly three hour and a half to complete the circuit. Somehow we went the wrong direction, we were advised to do a clockwise loop but we must have missed a direction sign and went the other way. It was a wet day and some parts of the walkway were submerged in water so we got our shoes and socks wet.
The next day was a bright day with fine snowing. We went up to Dove Lake again but this time instead of walking the whole circuit we focused on two of its main attractions. The sceneries were so different for the two days. One the first visit the sceneries were misty, wet, sombre and cold. On the second day the sceneries were bright and cheerful.
It was a good thing we had two days at Cradle Mountain, if not we would certainly missed its “bright and sunny” look!
Cradle Mountain Boat Shed was on the most significant highlights in the Dove Lake circuit. It was about 15 minutes from carpark/start when taking the anti clockwise loop. If visitor were to do the clockwise loop then the Boat Shed would almost be at the end of the 3-4 hour trek.
Glacier Rock Lookout was on high ground, at the lookout was an explanation (information) on how the mountain sides got so “groovy”, they were carved by gigantic graciers moving down into the valley as the ice melt. This lookout point was about 15 minutes from the carpark in the clockwise direction.
View from Glacier Rock Lookout – wet day versus dry
Our first Wombat
Our first sighting of wombats in Tasmania was at Cradle Mountain Visitor Center! A large wombat came out of nowhere followed by a young once. Everybody around was so excited, whipping out our handphones to photograph the animals. During the commotion the baby wombat got separated from the mama wombat. Mama wombat disappeared into the bushes and left baby wombat wondering alone.
On our final morning at Cradle Mountain Discovery Park we woke up in the morning and saw SNOW! Looking out the window from our room we saw that the bushes and leaves were covered by a white layer of snow. The roof of our car had a layer of snow too. Fine snow was raining down on us!
Accommodation at Cradle Mountain
Our two nights stay was at Cradle Mountain Discovery Park. The cost of our standard cabin was about AUD$510 for two nights. There were cheaper accommodations, four-person dormintories with share facilities (toilets and kitchen) in the Discovery Park too.
Our standard cabin looked “not pretty” from the outside. Outside the cabin was a car pouch so it was certainly very convenient to do bags “offloading”.
Inside the cabin, things looked much better. There was a full size kitchen, with fridge, microwave, stove, oven,pots and pans etc etc. The kitchen, dining table and sitting couch shared the center section of the cabin which also had a televison (place on top of the fridge) and a heater by the door.
On the left of the cabin was a bedroom with a big double bed. On the right side of the cabin was another bedroom with 4 bunk beds! Look like this place could take in 6 people.
A toilet with a shower was on the extreme right side of the cabin. Toilet was very clean. The shower was good, its spray was hot and powerful and helped washed away our tiredness after hours of tracking in the rain!