Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: Cradle Mountain

My first look at Cradle Mountain, from near the beginning of the Dove Lake Circuit.
I'm a sucker for national parks. Maybe it's having all but grown up in them, but plunk me down in a national park with plenty of trails to walk, night sky to stargaze at and wildlife to marvel over and I couldn't be happier. So when I heard from a couple of Aussies (Queenslanders) my parents and I met in Utah's Zion National Park in the U.S. this past September that Australia's island state of Tasmania is 40% national parks, I decided I had to get there.

Cradle Mountain and the pristine waters of Dove Lake.
Freycinet National Park with its charming bays and coastline was lovely and I'd have liked to spend more time in Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, but it was Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park that made me feel like camping out forever might just be a viable life plan. Known for its six-day Overland Track that stretches from near Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair itself, Cradle Mountain NP is a backpacker's dream, with trails ranging from easy but visually stunning walks to challenging climbs over rocks and crags to reach a view that could take your breath away.

Cradle Mountain hangs dramatically above the northern end of Dove Lake and the Dove Lake Circuit.
Tasmanians say that you can expect to see Cradle Mountain itself one day out of every three but, after my humbling drenching in Freycinet a few days before, the powers that be must have decided I deserved a treat, because I was lucky enough to get two days of crystal clear views.

Cradle Mountain from the opposite (northern) side, a shadowy backdrop behind the lovely greenery of Cradle Valley.
There are places in the park where you can't see the mountain at all and wonder where it's gone off to, then you come around a bend in a path or crest a small hill and it appears, striking against the sky and a rugged contrast to the Tasmanian rainforest below.

A morning at Cradle Mountain, with Dove Lake and its boat shed in the foreground.
If you ever get the chance to visit Tasmania, be sure to include Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park in your itinerary. There's a peace and quiet in the air, not to mention heart-stopping views, that absolutely should not be missed.


Rebecca said...

I wanted to go to Tassie at some point during my time down under. Unfortunately, in all my planning of returning to NZ one last time, it also took a big bite into my savings. New Zealand > Australia, hands down.

But the pictures look lovely! NEXT TIME!

Jessalyn Pinneo said...

I'm hoping to do an NZ road trip during one of my school breaks this year - I can't wait to see this country that so many people think is the best thing ever! Thanks Becs! And I do highly recommend a Tassie visit, if you get the chance.

The Endless Terrain said...

Wow thanks for sharing your photos of Tasmania. I had no idea that the island was "that" beautiful! Wow, it's getting me excited to one day visit there. I love national parks too (the last one I loved was Sequoia), but the parks in Tasmania look absolutely breathtaking!

Jessalyn Pinneo said...

Thanks Harrison, I'm glad you liked the photos! Tasmania is pretty spectacular, from Bruny Island in the southeast to the Henty Sand Dunes on the west coast - there's a lot to see, and so much of it is beautiful. I'm really glad I took the time to get down there, and I highly recommend it!

Joanne said...

I have friends in Tassie and try and visit them as much as I can. Cradle Mt is a truly magnificent part of the world and one of my favourites. I have only seen Cradle Mt once before after several visits and that was the morning I was leaving. A few quick snaps and I was on my way. I am heading back in June and can't decide between going back to Cradle Mt or to visit Freycinet. Decisions! Thanks for sharing your photos. You have really captured the beauty!

Jessalyn Pinneo said...

That's a tough decision - I didn't get to spend as much time in Freycinet, but it was beautiful too! Whichever you choose, enjoy your next trip. And thank you, I'm glad you think the photos do Cradle Mountain justice!