Cradle Mountain National Park
It’s a short morning drive to the end of the road leading out to the sea in Green Beach; we take a stroll along the beach facing out onto Bass Strait. On our way up to the mountains we stop in Legana to visit the Tamar Island Wetlands Reserve.
The road climbs out of Sheffield up towards Cradle Mountain- Mount St. Clair National Park. It’s a steep and twisty climb up through the bush to Cradle Valley and Dove Lake.
Stopping at the visitor center have to leave the camper and take the shuttle bus up to Lake Dove as we are not allowed to drive up there, the journey is along a narrow road which stops at set-down points for walkers before arriving at the southern end of the lake.
The circle walk around the lake takes two hours so we have enough time to catch the second to last bus back to the center. The walk starts off easily to the boathouse and Bounder Rock back the visitor number drops after we get further along the path. The way is cut through the bush and often built out over the lake itself, the walk way is well laid and set out with a number of viewing points. The path takes us under the Dolomite Forms of Cradle Mountain, the water of the lake is brown from the roots of the grasses and in shallow areas this is more prominent.
As we reach the boathouse on the way back it’s close to six-o-clock and the sky has clouded over, so the most popular photographic spot on Dove Lake is difficult to do justice. We catch the bus back and stay at the National Park campsite as the temperature continues to fall, we are in for a cold night in the mountains.
The Tasmanian Devil Centre, Devils@Cradle is a must visit in Tasmania. The centre cares for a number of Devils of various ages and offer an educational film and talking guide around the park. The Devils are unfortunately an endangered species because a rare strain of mouth cancer which is rapidly wiping out the population at an alarming rate, 85% reduction in the last 20 years.
Highway down to the coast in the afternoon, leaving the wilderness behind, we stop for lunch in Pengiun a small seaside town, then relax for a while at the three sisters rock on the northern coast before heading for the ferry terminal in Devonport for the night ferry over to Melbourne on the Australian mainland.
Check out the visitors website : Discover Tasmania, Tamar Islands Wetlands Reserve. between Legana and Launcester easy walkways out into the estuary, lots of wildlife birds, bring the binoculars !
Devils@Cradle a must if you visit Dove Lake, chance to see and help the endangered Tasmanian Devil.
Where : Cradle Mountain National Park, on the edge of the Western wilderness Tasmania, Australia.
Travelling : 200 km from Kelso Beach to Cradle Mountain National Park, we travelled back up the A3 to Lancaster (the Legana Bird Sanitary is just a right turning off the Highway) then the A1 towards Devonport, turn off for Sheffield then climb up the mountains on the winding C136 to join the main road up from Devonport the C132 which takes you through the bush to the turn off for Cradle Mountain. Buses are not allowed up to Dove Lake, everyone has to stop and buy a ticket to travel up to the lake on the provided shuttle buses.
Camping or Campervan: Discovery Holiday Park, Cradle Mountain near the entrance to Cradle Mountain National Park, camping within the bush.
Don’t tell anyone: Cosy Corner, The Bay of Fires, the best place to see the red rocks.
Next up: Heading down the Great Ocean Road
pjbourne is a full time architect, urban masterplanner and sustainability designer. In his free time he’s outside with a camera, running, wandering or mountain biking through the Alps where he lives or indoors in front of the iMac planning another long road trip in a campervan to the other side of the world.
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