We planned this trip to Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain area to view the Fagus – Nothofagus gunnii – Australia’s only winter-deciduous tree, several months ago.
It was with some trepidation, hoping our timing was right, and we would get to see the autumn spectacular in it’s full glory.
We were rewarded by some inspiring scenery and magnificent vistas.
The images below are just a snapshot of a terrific weekend around Lake Hanson, Twisted Lakes, Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake. It was great fun and fantastic to be back in the bush after a long break.
We arrived to Cradle Mountain about 10pm and because Frank had not made a booking at Cosy Cabins the campsites were inaccessable. (The office closes at 9pm or they will leave a key card for you to access the campsites if you plan to be late… ringing and booking would be a good plan)
We ended up “wild” camping just outside the Park.
As we had saved a camping ground fee, breakfast at Cradle Mountain Lodge was the reward ($24.50 per person) The image above is Frank’s fourth (or fifth) “tasting plate”. We love the Lodge and highly recommend the breakfast.
After organising Parks passes and getting the shuttle to Dove Lake, we headed up to Lake Hanson. There is a bit of a scramble as you reach the top and junction to Hanson’s Peak.
We decided to follow the track around Lake Hanson to Twisted Lakes. It was quite wet and muddly in places but there was a huge amount of spectacular Fagus. Unfortunately there was constant “mizzle” and the sun refused to shine (hence the washy look of the photo’s we took)
We kept on hoping for some sustained sunlight as occasionally there would be a peek of it and the Fagus lit up like gold. It was not frequent or long enought to grab a good photograph…
Close up without macro or a wide angled lense……
We enjoyed a terrific night at Scott Kilvett hut (video to follow) and headed out “early” to the Overland Track / Lake Rodway junction. This is a “bit of a grunt” and eventually we hit the Overland Track and headed back to Marion’s Lookout into a freezing head wind. The Fagus on this side of Cradle Mountain was less spectacular, as much of the leaf cover had been stripped by the wind.
Following a very chilly trip across the Cradle Plateau and a quick lunch break at Kitchen Hut we hit the new super highway that is under construction to Marion’s Lookout. We are talking HUGE sections of timber walking “track” that almost extend across the whole plateau.
The view from Marion’s was mist obstructed but it was a relief to get out of the biting wind. Sue headed down Marion’s like a trooper and nailed it “easily”. Thankfully, the fagus around Crater Lake was spectacular and it distracted both of us.
Sorry about the quality of the images, there was low cloud and very high humidity.
Back in “civilisation” at Crater Lake is always fun. This area is very protected from the elements and the fagus was magnificant and the walk out to Ronney Creek terrific (including seeing FIVE wombats -all with their bums towards the camera, hence no pictures here sorry)
Reflections on the trip:
- yes, it was too short BUT it was all we could squueze in between work
- the Cradle Mountain area has it’s own unique weather, be prepared for anything, even on a short trip. We took all our usual multi day clothing and used a lot of it
- wombats always turn their backs to you when you want to photograph them. If you want to see a great wombat image, click here
- we always meet great people when we are hiking – more to come in the future on that!
- we are about 30% slower than the signposted estimates, but what’s the rush?
- as good as a trip can be, unpacking, drying gear, re-storing and going back to work is a bloody pain.
- never rely on airlines to be on time – we were delayed in Launceston for THREE hours by fog in Newcastle earlier that day.