Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Up Up Up to Cradle Mountain National Park

Cradle Mountain National Park is one of the major attractions in Tasmania. The national park covers 161,000 hectares of land comprising Cradle Mountain at the north and Lake St Clair at the south. At the foot of Cradle Mountain, there lies Dove Lake. Cradle Mountain is known for its lakes, mountains, rainforests and moorlands. 

Gustav Weindorfer was the one meritorious of making Cradle Mountain a national park. He was an Austrian migrant that visited Cradle Mountain in 1909 with his wife. He decided to settle in Cradle Mountain in 1912 and receive guest in his guest chalet which he named Waldheim Chalet. By 1914, the chalet has grown from 3 rooms to 8 rooms with a small annex hut. After the death of his wife in 1916, Gustav Weindorfer made Waldheim Chalet his permanent home.

The area from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair was declared as scenic reserve in May 1922. More visitors were observed going into this area until year 1927 when it is declared as Wildlife Sanctuary with northern part managed by Cradle Mountain Reserve Board and souther part managed by National Park Board. In 1947, the two areas were united. The reserve was proclaimed a State Reserve in 1971 and it became a national park and added to World Heritage List.

Motorised transportation started to reach Cradle Mountain in 1921 and the first road was built in 1934. The infrastructure system continued to grow afterwards, including lodging, campground and visitor centre.

Today, the visitors can visit Cradle Mountain National Park by joining a tour group from Launceston or Devonport and by driving. Those who drive to the visitor centre are advised to explore the national park by shuttle bus. The shuttle buses operate seven days a week between the visitor centre and Dove Lake.

I chose to book a day tour from Launceston which cost me AUD 168 via GrayLine website. The hotel pick-up started about 8:00 a.m. and we then started our journey to Cradle Mountain National Park. I really enjoyed the view along the road: green and blue and white and all are so pretty.

Villaret Garden

The remains of big flood last year, still pretty!

Our first stop for the day was Sheffield. Sheffield was named after a town in Yorkshire and is known as a town of Mural. We stopped for 20 minutes here for toilet break and lunch packing. The town is small and serene.

The parking area in front of Information Centre is full of murals

Paradise is 5 miles away 
The town

A mural about Gustav Weindorfer

We then continued our long journey to Cradle Mountain National Park. We stopped for about 30 minutes at the visitor centre. While our guide settled our pass, we were given the free time. The visitor centre has a souvenir store, a cafe, a gas station, information panels, etc.

The parking area

The building

The map

The information centre

The souvenir shop

The gas station

The cafe

We departed from the visitor centre and continued the journey to the Dove Lake through the shuttle bus route. The road is narrow and all the tour buses communicate with each other on the location for safety purpose. Some of the people stopped at Ronnys Creek to continued their journey on foot, which is called Overland Track. The track is 65km long to Lake St. Clair and will take the visitors 5 days to walk. The visitors will need to camp along the way. I can't imagine myself doing that kind of walks.

Bus Stop

View of Ronnys Creek

Start of Overland Track

Our ultimate destination was Dove Lake which was at the foot of Cradle Mountain. Cradle Mountain is named for the shape of the double peaks that look like a baby inside a cradle. When we reached there, the sky was cloudy and the Cradle Mountain was half unseen. We were given only 70 minutes to walk there thus we were unable to circle the lake.

We walked to the Glacier Rock viewing platform and the boat shack at the other side. It took me just enough time, which was not enough! The thing I was disappointed with is the fact that we drove so far and were given only 70 minutes to enjoy this place.

Dove Lake and Half Cradle Mountain

Start the walk

Glacier Rock is the big rock there

The track

Steeper track
The gate

Panoramic view from Glacier Rock

Shy Cradle Mountain viewed from Glacier Rock

Another great view of Cradle Mountain when I walked to the boat shack

The track to the boat shack

Finally, completely seen!

The boat shack, I love the reflection!

With me in frame

The next itinerary was to visit Waldheim Chalet, which is a replica of the original one. Gustav lived there, isolating himself from the rest of the world, since the death of his wife. In May 1932, Gustav was trying to leave the house when he suffered a heart attack and died. His body was found days later.

Gustav was then buried besides the chalet. Until today, the staff of Cradle Mountain National Park light candles for him on Christmas days.

We stopped here around 30 minutes but did not find any wombats though. The guide told us that the wombat usually appeared in early morning or late afternoon.

Waldheim Chalet

The path beside the chalet

The view

The graveyard of Gustav

After leaving Cradle Mountain National Park, we had one more stop before heading back to Launceston. We stopped at Ashgrove Cheese Shop. It is a local cheese factory that sells many kinds of cheeses, local products and ice creams.

The building

Grass & Cow & You

The cozy area outside the shop

The interior of the shop

Cheese and many other things

Cheese making room

Cheese tasting

Ice cream!!!!!!!

The view from Ashgrove

I was grateful to be able to visit Cradle Mountain but I felt the time was too short. When I checked with other people following other tours, they had enough time to walk around the Dove Lake (3-4 hours approximately). I had submitted my feedback to Gray Line and I hope they will fix the inconvenience.

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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