Featured Writer: Travels with Curley
When I was a kid, the two most exotic sounding places to me were Timbuktu and Tasmania. In fact, it was a long time before I knew that these mythical sounding destinations were real; that they were actual places one could visit. We haven’t had the opportunity to go to Timbuktu yet, but we did spend a week in Tasmania as part of a three week trip to Australia. We were enamored with the entire island, from the capital city of Hobart to the unique rock formations along the Tasman Peninsula that demonstrate the raw power of nature over a long period of time , but the highlight for us was the two days that we spent at Cradle Mountain.
With the recent shut down of the U.S. Federal Government, our national parks are currently closed, but you can still visit this Australian gem. Almost 45% of Tasmania is protected through reserves, national parks, and World Heritage Sites.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park has a range of diverse landscapes to explore, from pine forests to alpine meadows to ancient rainforests. There are so many hikes to choose from that it was hard to pick since we only had two days in the park. In the end, we chose some of the most popular hikes because they provided a great introduction to the park. We packed a picnic lunch and started at Dove Lake and hiked up Cradle Mountain on our first day. The views were fantastic and we were fortunate to have blue sunny skies. You can tell from our pictures that the mornings and evenings were really cold even in December. However, the temperatures were much more pleasant by late morning into late afternoon.
We spent one night in a cozy cabin at Cradle Mountain Highlanders. We were very thankful for the wood burning stove, which kept our cabin warm at night.
On the second day we did several shorter hikes including the Enchanted Walk, which is in fact quite enchanting. The hike through mossy ancient rainforest only takes about 20 minutes and offered very different scenery from the day before. This would be a perfect walk for young kids.
In addition to the gorgeous scenery, one of our favorite aspects of visiting the park was the abundance of wildlife. Is there anything cuter than a wombat? I seriously doubt it.
We also saw many echidnas and pademelon. Unfortunately, the only Tasmanian devil we saw was a dead one on the side of the road, which happens far too often to these endangered creatures.
If you have the time and money, doing the six-day Overland Track hike with Cradle Mountain Huts looks like an incredible way to experience the beauty of Tasmania. Bucket list worthy for sure!