Of all of our Tasmanian destinations, Cradle Mountain was what I was most looking forward to. I am a mountain lover and I feel at home the moment I reach this landscape. Cradle was no exception; as soon as I stepped out of the car and breathed the cold mountain air I was filled with joy. Unfortunately for us, the notoriously wet and cloudy mountain was true to form during our visit so we didn’t get to explore it in a way that we had planned. This didn’t stop us from having a magical experience, enjoying quite a few unexpected aspects and an endless stream of rainbows.
We stayed in the Cradle Mountain Highlanders cabins. These are adorable little cabins tucked away in privacy and stocked with wood for warm nights by the fire.
Cradle Mountain National Park isn’t really too large. There are several tracks that as trail runners we could have easily explored in a day or two. However, due to the wind and rain we generally stayed on the lower tracks around Dove Lake.
As we climbed higher to Marion’s Point, a place where you can get a bird’s eye view of the park , we were completely shrouded in clouds and hammered by the wind. We figured that there really wasn’t much point of climbing much higher. I like climbs for two reasons, the burning in my legs and the views. Slowed by the wind and rain, I was getting neither, just growing cold.
We retired to more appropriate activities, such as fireside whisky and wombat searching.
These cuddly little marsupials are the cutest wee things I have ever seen. They can hardly be bothered as munch on grass. They are typically nocturnal, but can be seen in late afternoons in the central highlands and west coast. In the morning, the trails will be filled with evidence of their evening wanderings in the form of their square poops. Even their poo is adorable!
We also saw quite a bit of wallabies as well.
A stop at the often overlooked Waldheim Chalet is worth a visit. The chalet was built in 1912 by Gustave and Kate Weindorfer who lived in solitude at the base of Cradle Mountain for years. Here you can listen to stories of their life on the mountain; his struggle with isolation, his growing fear of the Tasmanian cat, and his deep love for the rugged cradle landscape.
We did a bit of road tripping during our time here. We headed to the West Coast Region to check out the mining and logging culture. We didn’t do any lengthy hikes here as the rain was coming down pretty hard so we opted to spend some time in the Tullah Tavern hanging with locals by the fire and hearing stories of their lives near the mountain.
The town of Sheffield offers a bit more to do, with a variety of yummy cafes, an endless display of murals capturing life in the regions, and art and antique shops.
At the end of each day it was always nice to return to a nice big fire at one of the few lodges in the national park. We believe the weather prompted us to try them all.
As we left Cradle Mountain, we were greeted with a spectacular misty sunrise creating silhouettes of the trees.
And of course rainbows when we left Tas and rainbows upon return from our trip. It mostly certainly was the theme of our trip…color, light, and beauty.