Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tassie - The End of The Line

Leaving Strahan in my dust, I point the car northeast, towards Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake, situated in the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park 165 km (102 mi) northwest of Hobart.
Cradle Mountain
The National Park has lots of walking trails available, although I didn't schedule enough time on this trip to do one (I wish I could have stayed a month to fit it all in!).  Of course there's the well known Overland Track which takes at least 3 to 4 days on foot, but there are much shorter ones as well.  A couple of different options are listed on the Cradle Mountain page on our website.  Just click through on each walk to get more details or to book it.

The Park is a great place to view some local wildlife, as it is home to pademelons, Tasmanian devils, echidnas, wombats, quolls, possums and more.  It's also been designated as an Important Bird Area, being the habitat of quite a few of Tasmania's endemic bird species.

After stopping to wander around a bit looking for a few photo opportunities of the mountain, I didn't stick around too long thanks to a very brisk breeze that kept things cool, even though summer had begun.   The next stop was at my accommodation for the evening - Lemonthyme Lodge in Moina, about 30 minutes drive from the National Park.  This was the sort of place that you don't just stumble across, you really need to be looking for it.  Of course, I had booked it from the Cradle Mountain Hotels page before I arrived in Tassie, as I do with most of my hotels.  I'm so glad that I arrived in the daylight and was able to get a good look at this 'lodge'.  I use quotation marks because this place was actually a huge log cabin!  Set in the middle of the rainforest, blending in to its surroundings, I have to say I found a gem.  The cabins were extremely comfortable and very private.  Just outside the lodge that evening I was treated to a mini wildlife show!  Slowly, out of the scrub, I watched as several different critters made their way closer to the lodge looking for food.  Unfortunately, it was just on dark, so none of my photos came out very well.

Making my way towards Launceston the next day, I stopped en route to tour the Marakoopa Cave near Mole Creek.  I know some people who say that if you've seen one cave, you've seen them all; but I have to respectfully disagree with that.  The guide I had for this tour was very knowledgeable, but the best part was that he was funny.  For me, a little humour goes a long with with helping to learn about stuff.  I will warn you, it can get a little chilly underground, so I suggest taking a jumper with you, regardless of the outside temperature.
Stunning formations in the cave
The rest of the day (which wasn't much) was spent wandering around Launceston before heading to the quaint township of Evandale to spend the night.  Evandale is located just south of Launceston, and approximately 5 minutes from the airport, which made it the perfect place to stay when I had an early morning flight.  There was something very relaxing about Evandale - almost like the time passed slower there.  It's a bit hard to describe in words.  For some reason, the post office just enchanted me.  That is not what I consider a typical government building to look like...
Evandale Post Office
And so, my Tassie adventure drew to an end.  I flew out of Launceston back to Melbourne (my colleague, John Walters' old stomping ground), where I spent an afternoon sightseeing and dodging trams.  An uneventful flight back to the US had me home in time for a chilly Christmas.

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