CRADLE MOUNTAIN - Thursday 21st December to Saturday 23rd (Days 55-57)
Yet another spectacular drive (God this is getting boring) from Strahan to Cradle Mountain Lodge. Our impressive spa lodge was nestled in beautiful surroundings adjacent to the the National Park and was teaming with wildlife right on our doorstep, literally. After checking in we set off straight away on an 1.5hr walk from the lodge car park (The Speeler Track), where we had our first sighting of Cradle Mountain (apparently this is a rarity as it rains nearly every day of the year so the mountain is often hidden in cloud, and when its not raining its snowing-the record is over 100 days of snow in a row!!). The whole area reminded us very much of the Highlands of Scotland with its moss-like covering, if you could ignore the gum trees, oh and the marsupials. In the evening after dark we went on a guided 'wildlife safari' - and boy oh boy was there some wildlife to be seen - wallabies, pademelons (don't ask), possums, hundreds of wombats, and YES finally a couple of sightings of wild Tasmania Devils!!
On the Friday morning Gill decided to have a rest as I set off for a half day, 4-5 hour walk to Cradle Mountain. I followed the first section of the famous Overland Track (a 5/6 DAY affair, arguably Australia finest bush walk), walking up to Crater Lake without meeting a soul, with a detour up to Marion's Lookout (1500m) with superb views of Lake Dove (sadly today Cradle Mountain was hiding), down past Wombat Pool, finishing with a circuit of Lake Dove itself. With perfect timing just as I finished the walk the heavens opened up, so it was back to the lodge to make use of that hot spa!!!
On Saturday we set off on the final drive back to Launceston to drop the hire car off at the airport and catch an early evening flight to Melbourne for Christmas, oh and some cricket.
In summary we can both say that EVERY single place we visited in Tasmania, every view from the car ranged from the simply beautiful to the incredibly stunning. We will be back!