cradle mountain [australia #12]

the first sight of cradle mountain, emerging up across the dove lake, is often compared to the first sight of sydney opera house. it was definitely one of those magical travel moments -> i remember seeing its picture, but i was still blown away by the real thing.

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the cradle mountain, a part of the unesco heritage site tasmanian wilderness, undoubtedly offers numerous walking tracks, the most beautiful ones in tasmania (and some would say even the world!). it is a starting point of the overland track, australia’s most famous hiking trail, a 65km & six-day traverse of tasmania’s central plateau, through the heart of the cradle mountain – lake st clair national park.

when planning our trip, we could spare only a week for tasmania altogether (meaning: fraycinet & bay of fires, cradle mountain and hobart were to be covered in a week), so it was impossible to squeeze in the overland track into our jam-packed schedule. instead, we opted for shorted walks, two of which were listed as 60 great short walks.

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since we arrived in the afternoon, we decided to go immediately for our first short walk, dove lake circuit, a 6km track around dove lake and beneath the peaks of cradle mountain. the dove lake circuit took us also through a magnificent cool temperate rainforest known as the ballroom forest.

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on the shores of dove lake stands the often-photographed boatshed, built by the first ranger at cradle mountain in 1940.

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the boatshed was also a starting point of our second hike, a bit longer and more difficult one – cradle mountain summit, which we planned for the following day.
it was a sunny day, but we were cautious, since the weather forecast was not quite the best -> it was supposed to rain in the afternoon.. but we still didn’t want to miss the chance to climb the cradle mountain.

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the start was quite easy, track was boardwalked for much of the way.. and there were a lot of people around. since aussies are very friendly people, we chatted away with a lot of them. one lady was so nice to offer to take picture of us. it is not maybe the best picture, but it’s the only one we have from cradle mountain.

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so, we went on.. all this while we admired the lovely scenery.
however, out road soon turned to be rocky. and i mean – really rocky!
fortunately it was a granite rock and it was not very slippery.. but still, i started feeling a bit uneasy.

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when we were 60-70m below its highest peak, i decided i can’t continue. it already started raining, the rock was getting a bit slippery and people were going crazy a bit.. and i was simply too scared to go on. i found a cosy spot and waited for tarik, who went all the way to the top.
he managed to find a nice fellow who took a picture of him, on the highest peak of the cradle mountain.

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after an hour or so, tarik returned and we started our descent. now it was raining really heavily and we started rushing back to our car. on the way there he was telling me his impressions from the summit and was completely mesmerized by cradle mountain. well, who wouldn’t be..

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once we arrived to the boatshed, the starting point of the hike, we hopped into a car and continued our trip. we  headed to hobart, where we would stay for two days. on the way there (it was quite a long drive) we talked a lot about what we saw while climbing the cradle mountain. i also started to regret my decision..

i hope i did the right thing (who knows, something could’ve happened to me), but somewhere deep down i hope to go back to cradle mountain.. the next time i will go all the way to the highest peak.

tasmanian wilderness, no.181 [australia #11]

tasmanian wilderness, australia’s largest conservation zone, satisfies all four natural criteria for world natural site. its rocks represent every geological period, the wide range of plants are unique to the area and it is home to some of the oldest trees and the longest caves in the world. one fifthย of the island is designated as a unesco heritage site; it has been on the list since 1982.

the insularity of tasmania has contributed to the uniqueness of the region. tasmania was cut off from the mainland australia by the flooding of the bass strait more than 8000 years ago, causing isolation not only of the aboriginal inhabitants, but also of its flora and fauna. ย the vegetation has as much in common with cool, temperate regions of south america and new zealand as with the rest of australia. in addition to climatic factors, the vegetation has developed in response to fire. the fauna is of world importance because it includes an unusually high proportion of endemic species, the most famous being the tasmanian devil (whom we didn’t get to see!)

tasmanian wilderness covers the area of the cradle mountain, lake st clair, franklin-gordon wild rivers national park and many more. on our week-long trip to tasmania, we managed to see the cradle mountain only.. nevertheless, we captured some examples of tasmanian wilderness..

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the next entry will focus on the cradle mountain only.. our ascent and some of the breathtaking views..