Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cradle Mountain & The North coast

Cradle Mountain - 15th – 16th March

Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain Tasmania Australia
From Cradle Mountain & The North coast

The next day the weather had slightly improved and we headed off to the famous Cradle Mountain. The drive was lengthy and we left Strahan a little late as we had wandered around some nice crafty type shops. We got into the Cradle Mountain area a little late and just popped into Tourist Info before going over to the only campsite there for an expensive un-powered pitch. (They have a monopoly on the market!)
We moaned about the price of the place for a while in the drizzling cold mountain weather that was until we ventured into the campers kitchen. OMG this place was awesome! It had 2 fireplaces with huge logs burning away – so nice and warm. The cooking facilities were great and we had bangers and mash with veggies – yum yum.
Whilst eating we got chatting to a couple called Terry and Di. They were so funny and we had a great laugh with them. Carl finally got talking about some football to an English guy!! We exchanged numbers as they live in Adelaide and invited us over. (we will be there soon).
The tent was not up yet and it was 11pm! The rain was falling and we were paddling in mud! Not happy campers! We got there in the end and we clambered into our icy cold tent. Mountain air is dam cold.
After sleeping with all my clothes on (Carl still didn’t, that sleeping bag he has is a miracle! Thanks Maz!) we awoke to an equally cold & wet morning and the prospect of our 2hr walk around Dove Lake.

About to start the Dove Lake walk
Dove Lake Cradle Mountain Tasmania Australia
From Cradle Mountain & The North coast

We took the shuttle bus down to the Lake as recommended and on the way we saw our first wild Wombat. He was much bigger than we expected and just sauntered across the road in front of the bus without a care in the world.
We got to the Lake walk in fine weather, however just as we got off the bus some one that had already walked and was leaving on the bus said out loud “The weathers coming in”. As we went into the shelter to register for the walk the rain started to come down sideways – lucky we had the rain jackets on us!
We waited a while before heading off on the walk. Cradle Mountain is very distinctive and we waited for ages to get a photo of it without mist shrouding it. The walk was good fun and the rain held off for the most part. The forest and views were great and well worth the visit.

Tasmania's Mid North Coast 16th – 21st March

Stanley Tasmania Australia
From Cradle Mountain & The North coast

Tired and cold we headed north towards the small fishing town of Stanley. The daylight was waning and Stanley was just out of reach so we stopped off at a beach camp. Just an overnighter.
We headed to Stanley in the morning and the famous ‘Nut’. ‘The Nut’ is a large rock plateau that juts into the sea from the mainland. We drove halfway up but decided not to walk up due to bad weather. The views were nice though.
We then headed east for Devonport as we needed to catch the ferry back to Melbourne later in the week. We stayed 2 nights in a town called Wynyard, just relaxed and wandered into town. The stop in Wynyard turned into a little reunion party for us as we bumped into Astrid (One half of the 2 people we wildlife watched with at Ted’s Beach) and also our caravan friends Ron and Cath.
It was all very strange really as when we pulled up into the park we were just behind Astrid and Bella (also booking in) and when we got to out pitch there was a very familiar looking caravan across from us. There was no car or owners with the caravan and Heidi and I were like ‘It couldn’t be could it?’ and ‘It sure looks like theirs’
Sure enough Ron and Cath pulled in and we caught up with them once more comparing trips.

Dip Falls
Dip Falls Tasmania Australia
From Cradle Mountain & The North coast

As we left Wynyard and (for sure this time) Ron and Cath, we bid them farewell and exchanged e-mail addresses. (We may yet meet again! – in Bris this time) We headed for Dip falls a surprise stop for Heidi and then the plan was to go to Latrobe to wait for the ferry. Dip Falls was particularly spectacular as we had had recent rain and the power of it was amazing. We took the obligatory pics and headed on out via (What Carl thought to be a shortcutting dirt road.) Even the Sat Nav said that we were going in the right direction. Turns out they were both wrong and that we had driven 40 mins down a winding, fast deteriorating dirt road in completely the wrong direction!!
So we headed out and onto another better sign posted dirt road, definitely in the right direction this time. 10ks down this road there was a tree across the road. With no chainsaw! On board we headed back and passed a 3rd short cutting dirt road. We decided not to take it as our luck had been bad so far! So we went 40ks round further on the sealed roads only to pull out behind a car that we passed back by the falls!! Obviously that 3rd road was fine – bugger!
On to Latrobe we went and a pleasant campsite where we did the washing and freshened up before the long 9 hour day crossing back to Melbourne.

We had a wonderful time in Tasmania, it completely surprised us with its natural beauty, wildness and how stunning the scenery is. We found everybody so friendly and willing to help, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we’re so glad we decided to go to Tassie.

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