Sunday, 19 January 2014

Tasmanian Wilderness Hiker - Day 6

Thursday 16 January

After breakfasting at the bakery just along from our motel it was onto the bus and farewell to Sheffield.

It took us close on 1 1/2 hours to dive the 60 odd kms to the Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre. Along the way the trailer with our luggage was dropped off at the Cradle Mountain Chateau where we were to spend the final two nights of our trip.

On the drive to Cradle Mountain I discovered that the battery on my camera had gone flat. Trevor gave me his camera to use for the day. As I was unfamiliar with its functions it took me a little while to get going with documenting the days activities.

After a quick look around the visitors centre and a trip to the loos we returned to the bus and we trundle through the National Park to the Interpretation Centre and Ranger Station.

First up we were off on a relatively short walk along a boardwalk through the Enchanted Forest.

The first thing that was evident was the dominance of the button grass in the open fields. In places this gave way to a low growing fern with bronze tips.

A field of Button Grass

Bronze tipped fern
The walk through the Enchanted Forest took us along a babbling brook. There were a number of interpretive displays primarily intended for children although some of the members of our group got down on hands and knees and crawled through some of the displays. One informed us that we could see platypus in the brook. No such luck. We did see a wallaby eying us off from a vantage point a little way off the boardwalk.

We continued on to see the King Billy pine before returning to the Ranger Station.

The base of one of the King Billy Pines
Looking up at the canopy of the King Billy Pine
King Billy Pines can be determined from the distinctive foliage ... the green and brown bits in the top half of this photo
 From the Ranger Station we set off on the Cradle Boardwalk which took us along the Dove River in the direction of Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain off in the distance
We found a spot on the river to have our lunch and Marie demonstrated the pleasantness of the water by going for a swim, fully clothed. She didn't convince the rest of us to take the plunge.

Lunching by Dove River

Marie in the river

The boardwalk meandering through the button grass fields

After lunch we continued along the boardwalk until we reached Snake Hill where a number of the party elected to pick up the shuttle bus rather than continue walking on what was proving to be quite a hot day. The remainder of the group continued their walk as far as the Ronny Creek car park where the shuttle bus travellers rejoined the walkers.

Crossing to the other side of valley we headed along another boardwalk to Waldheim. Waldheim Chalet contains displays that give an insight into the early days of Cradle Mountain park as a place to be revered and preserved.

The walk proved to be particularly interesting as we came across a wombat right next to the boardwalk. It turned out that there was also a baby however I didn't see it.

A little bit further along Trevor spotted a large tiger snake not far from the boardwalk. It moved away quite smartly and I didn't manage to get a photo of it.

Waldheim chalet established by Kate and Gustav Weindorfer in the Cradle Valley was opened for business in 1912.  Over the years it was extended however the current building is a replica, as close as possible, to the early chalet. It is constructed in raw timber and shingles.

There are a number of displays inside the chalet as well as audios providing information about the chalet and the people who played such a significant role in the creation of the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park.

Returning to the bus we headed off to the Cradle Mountain Chateau. This is a modern eco resort in a secluded bushland setting.

After dinner Trevor and I returned to our room. It was still quite light outside. In the garden just outside our room was a wallaby happily munching on the plants in the garden. He seemed totally unfazed by the attention he received from the many hotel guests who spied him in the garden.

At 9 o'clock a number of us gathered to do a night walk with our guides. There are boardwalks leading from the hotel and we took this to suss out the night life. We came across a possum. Quite a few birds were maintaining a chorus although we didn't see them. Coming around the high side of the hotel we discovered a wombat trundling through the very same garden that the wallaby had attacked earlier in the night.

1 comment:

  1. I think I have an almost identical photo of a (large) wombat next to a boardwalk at cradle mountain!