Cradle Mountain 2019
I visited Cradle Mountain National Park in central Tasmania late in November 2019, with Shruti.
In the image below the largest lake is Dove Lake, and Cradle Mountain sits just to the southwest. The pale areas to the east and west of Dove Lake are high alpine healthland and buttongrass plains. The dark green areas in the valleys are forests: a mixture of sclerophyll (largely Eucalypt) and ancient rainforest, containing species such as Nothofagus cunninghamii and Nothofagus moorei (Antarctic Beech). These rainforests are fire-sensitive, and are gradually being replaced by the fire-adapted sclerophyll forests. Climate change is likely to hasten this process.
The park has a variety of short walks and longer hikes. Notice the elevations: very few of Tasmania's mountains rise above 1600m.
The Overland Track is a six-day hike of world reknown. Only the local section is shown on the map below. Most hikers start from this area, walking south to Lake St Claire. It is mostly walked by independent hikers, although a guided walk is available (at a cost, of course).
Viewed from the west, this image shows Crater Lake with Cradle Mountain in the background. Weather here can change rapidly, with occasional snow falls and storms even in summer. There are shelter huts available on a first-come first-served basis. Most hikers are well prepared; there are very few deaths amongst visitors. Photo: National Parks Service
One of the most common of the animals here is the wombat. These herbivores dig burrows for shelter, and on the Australian mainland can usually be seen before dawn and after sunset. In Tasmania they can often be seen in daylight hours. These (in the image below) were gathered on the shelves of the National Park Service shop. Made in China.
Wombats can also be found in Cradle Mountain hotels.
Or sheltering under boardwalks.
Ronny Creek. The colour is the result of tanin staining in the water as it runs over shallow white quartzite rocks.
Many of the trails are also white quartzite.
The start of the Overland Track from Ronny Creek.
Wombats even have a pool named after them. Wombat Pool.
Buttongrass plains have a beautiful golden glow about them.
A closer look. Moving gently in the wind, the tussocks seemed so 'alive' that I expected to see them walk away at any moment.
The lakes and pools are beautiful. This is Crater Lake.
The boatshed at Crater Lake
Dove Lake in the distance.
A closer view of Dove Lake, with Cradle Mountain in the background.
Dove Lake, early morning mist.
The Cradle Hotel has an outstanding art gallery. Amongst their displays I really liked a small exhibition by Jon Kudelka. There was a lot of other wonderful art too.
There is a variety of accommodation available at or near the park. We chose the budget end of the market. Here is the communal kitchen at Discovery Park. We were pleased with the cabin we stayed in.
If you want great photos, you need to get to Cradle Mountain early on a clear calm morning.
Here are a couple of examples.
Photo by Dennis Harding
Photo copyright Royal Automobile Club of Queensland.
Photos (other than those credited) are from my Samsung phone. None are retouched.