Tassie Tour 2019–20
Cradle Mountain, takayna/Tarkine and South-east

Photo journal of our hikes in the Cradle Mountain heritage area
25–27 December 2019

Wednesday 25 December 2019
Travel day: Sydney → Launceston → Cradle Mountain

It's a leisurely start to the trip, as our flight from Sydney to Launceston is in the early afternoon. We pick up our rental car and, rather than hanging around town some more, drive off right away. In relaxed, unhurried holiday mood we cruise through regional Tasmania and arrive in Cradle Mountain by late afternoon. The weather is gorgeous, the scenery right out of the picture book.

We treat ourselves to a very nice room at the Cradle Mountain Hotel for the three nights we are up here. A Christmas dinner awaits us at the hotel—not necessarily our choice, but at times you have to take what you get.

Thursday, 26 December 2019
Cradle Mountain: Pencil Pine Track and Speeler Track [walk: 2–3h]

We use our first day up on the mountains to find our bearings, get a feel for the then prevailing weather and do a bit of a warm-up for the next day—Pencil Pine Track and Speeler Track are just ideal for that.

Pencil Pine Track 1 Pencil Pine Track 2 The beginning of the Pencil Pine Track takes us through a rather enchanted forested valley, from which we eventually emerge out into the open:

Pencil Pine Track 4 Pencil Pine Track 3 As the path swings around we are passing small alpine lakes:

...and some more nature trails, with emphasis on nature: tracks left to their own devices, a big bush of flowering Tasmanian waratah, an echidna trying to hide, and a not so shy wallaby. Speeler Track big bush of Tasmanian Waratah Echidna Wallabi

Cradle Mountain from Pencil Pine At the end of the walk, we look back towards the mountain range to scan tomorrow's target: Cradle Mountain summit

Trudy is surely looking forward to it! Cradle Mountain from Pencil Pine

Friday, 27 December 2019
Cradle Mountain: Summit loop [walk: 6–7h]

Cradle Mountain We wake up early and are greeted by a stunningly beautiful day. We pack a healthy and substantial brekkie and drive up to the car park to catch the first possible bus that brings us to the beginning of the walk at the bottom end of Dove Lake.

The idea was to get underway early and reach the summit preferably before noon and get down in the early afternoon, to leave a very large margin for unforeseen events. As it turns out, taking the first bus (and being fast walkers) has the additional benefit of having the uphill track all to ourselves—getting undisturbed enjoyment of the awesome scenery with true postcard views on a perfect day!

Our Cradle Mountain summit route

View from Dove Lake towards the summit
View from above Dove Lake towards the summit
View from Dove Lake out into the low-lands
... and out into the low-lands
Gernot is full of anticipation...
Gernot is full of anticipation...
The path ahead
The path ahead - and still no-one to be seen!
Perfect conditions
Ascent is easy when conditions are perfect
The path ahead
At the top: Trudy and Gernot letting the moment soak in
Near-perfect conditions
We take in another 360° view before ...
Near-perfect conditions
... descending down a reasonably gentle slope.

Wombat on the run Cyclist-only Sign The lanscape may look barren, but there are treats if you have your eye open, such as the impressive, flowering Tasmanian waratahs, albeit in the form of shorter, stunted bush, or a wombat on the run.

We use the next day to transition from the high country, Cradle Mountain, to the low country, the Tarkine near the east coast. You can read up all about it here.

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© Gernot Heiser 2020.