Tassie adventures begins, as you’d expect in Tasmania!

This year Judy and I decided on a road trip around Tasmania for our week off over the Christmas break.

We flew into Launceston from Brisbane on Dec 23rd, picked up our hire car and drove the two hours into the mountains to arguably, Tasmania’s best known National Park.

Cradle Mountain National Park is also UNESCO World Heritage site so as you’d expect it must be amazing!

Although the drive from the Launceston Airport is only 104 kilometres it’s made up of tight roads with a long series of mountain switchbacks to make its way up into the Alpine region.

Surprisingly, much of the last 40 kilometres you’re surrounded by thick rainforest.  Such a wide variety of biospheres it’s no wonder that it’s a World Heritage site.

We stayed at the Peppers Cradle Mountain resort adjacent to the Ranger station within the park.

The smell of woodsmoke engulfed us as we entered the lodge and was reminiscent of cool fall nights in western Canada.

Even though it’s summer here in Australia the climate within the National Park remains temperate during the day and cool at night due to its elevation.

When we woke and went for breakfast the next morning, we were greeted by a couple of rather tame wallabies grazing just feet from our cabin door.

And so began a series of encounters with wildlife during our stay including wombats, Tasmanian devils, Easter Quolls and Spotted Quolls.

You can also throw in an eagle and a lot of wallabies.

After breakfast our Tassie adventure really began to take shape as we decided to take a hike into the nearby wilderness.

From the Ranger station there are lots of hiking trails you can take.  This included some easy hikes as well as some for only for experienced hikers.

I chose the trail that I thought was an easy hike up to the Dove Lake…

I misread the sign and didn’t realize until we were two hours into the hike which got progressively more difficult.

Neither of us were equipped for a hike of this magnitude and it wasn’t until we met a hiker coming the other way that we discovered that we in fact, were on the Dove Canyon trail and still only about half-way.

Judy was none to impressed with my miss but to be fair, it was Dove Lake versus Dove Canyon.

Now, the Dove Canyon trail is a 7-kilometre hike that has the advice of some steep and muddy sections with a medium rating.  Caution is advised…

However, that wasn’t the half of it.

The description is rather underwhelming in comparison to the actual hike itself.

The hike began innocently enough as we made away along raised boards through a moss-covered forest.  This section of the hike was quite beautiful and perhaps something you’d expect to see in Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.

We then made our way along a steep gorge to a set of waterfalls, again not too difficult.

However, it wasn’t until we crossed the gorge on a wooden bridge that things began to take a turn…

The next section was wet, swampy ground and grasslands before we headed up a mountain spur that was nothing but a tangle of large tree roots and dark, damp forest.

Clearly, our Tassie adventure had hit a rather large bump in the road.

The path became difficult to see as the forest floor all looked the same… nothing by tree roots and ever upwards.

Strangely, it was somewhat reminiscent of my hike across Papua New Guinea.  This would have made the perfect training ground for Papua.

Fortunately, there were red markers nailed into trees at shorter and shorter distances so that you didn’t lose the trail.  There were a few times where we had to backtrack to the last marker and search for the next again as we’d lost it.

After coming out of the forest we found ourselves on a narrow granite ledge that ran along a sheer drop to a rushing gorge some 30 meters below us.

Fortunately, Judy is made of strong stuff and made her way along the ledge without any incidents with me following closely behind with camera in hand and therefore only one free hand.

Next, we had to climb a rocky, and at times almost vertical wall over rocks and boulders to the summit of this peak.

This was the by far the most difficult portion of the hike and it took us a while to navigate successfully up and over onto the top of the plateau.

This is the point where we met a group coming the other way with a guide.  They all seemed well prepared with backpacks, the correct walking boots, and accessories.

I’m sure they looked at us and thought “what the hell?”

The final 1.5 kilometres was across grasslands and down a graduated path through a valley back to the ranger station.

Given that the 7-kilometre hike had only take us three hours I was pretty impressed with the first leg of our Tassie adventure even after all of our challenges.

Until next week