Apart from World Heritage Mount Wellington we planned visiting another iconic place of Tasmania, Australia. It was Cradle Mountain. Seeing believes as words can hardly describe the treasure that nature has given to this place. A true heaven on earth .There is so much to see there as tour planners usually advise to slot at least three days for a comprehensive tour there. But we could find only a three to four hour’s space in our tight schedule.
The location was three hours’ drive from Launceston. The day was bright and sunny with temperature about 18 Degree Celsius. We thought the day would be perfect to make a quick visit to Cradle mountain which had everything snow covered mountain peak, lovely lakes, rain forest and waterfalls. On the day at journey break we stopped at a roadside war memorial and took some photographs beside the simple but neat ANZAC memorial. Australians remember their heroes at every town and suburb.
The drive to cradle mountain was as usual very challenging, zig zag road, and sharp turns. But the picturesque country Tasmania looked enchanting .We passed by many vines, orchards and dairy farms. In some places we found Kangaroos and wombats. But the weather changed dramatically. Sudden rain made it chilly. Though Rozy, Shvro and Mahabub were prepared for it but I had only a blazer .Reaching the base camp first we had a quick lunch with Cucumber and Corolla soup, fish and chips. We took a tourist bus which along the way was carrying passengers to different vintage spots.
Before I proceed further it will not be out of place to briefly discuss about Cradle Mountain. Cradle Mountain is a mountain in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania, Australia. Rising to 1,545 metres (5,069 ft) above sea level, it is one of the principal tourist sites in Tasmania, owing to its natural beauty. The Cradle Mountain is composed of dolerite columns, similar to many of the other mountains in the area.
The mountain rises above the glacially formed Dove Lake (934 metres (3,064 ft)), Lake Wilks, and Crater Lake. The mountain has four named summits. In order of height they are Cradle Mountain (1,545 m (5,069 ft)); Smithies Peak (1,527 m (5,010 ft)); Weindorfers Tower (1,459 metres (4,787 ft)); and Little Horn (1,355 m (4,446 ft)). The mountain itself is named after its resemblance to a gold mining cradle.
Cradle Mountain forms the northern end of the wild Cradle Mt - Lake St Clair National Park, itself a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The jagged contours of Cradle Mountain epitomise the feel of a wild landscape, while ancient rainforest and alpine heathlands, button grass and stands of colorful deciduous beech provide a range of environments to explore. Icy streams cascading out of rugged mountains, stands of ancient pines mirrored in the still waters of glacial lakes and a wealth of wildlife ensure there is always something to captivate you. The area is one of the most popular natural areas in Tasmania.
The area is covered in a wide variety of alpine and sub-alpine vegetation, including the colorful deciduous beech, itself an anomaly given that most Australian native flora is evergreen. Alpine coral fern and button grass dominate the alpine wet sedge lands near the mountain summit. Stands of Tasmanian snow gum can be found at slightly lower elevations alongside Tasmanian eyebright, scoparia heath, mountain rocket, waratah, Cheshunt pine and pencil pine. Within the valleys surrounding the mountain, species such as myrtle beech, pandani, sassafras, King Billy pine and celery top pine form thick temperate rainforest with dense, mossy undergrowth.
Wombats are a common sight throughout the area, while pademelons, Tasmanian devils and echidnas can also be seen. Numerous bird species can be found, including green rosellas, black currawongs, pink robins and Tasmanian scrubwrens, while peregrine falcons and wedge-tailed eagles nest on the mountains cliffs. Tiger snakes are a highly venomous snake species known to be found in the area.
We could only visit two to three spots and as it was raining intermittently we had to cut short our visit at every spot. It was biting cold as well. We were high on the mountain. In most spots the cloud was floating below us. We had to return leaving our keen desire to walk to the mountain top and visit the water falls as it started getting dark. We could visit a lake, the museum and a small water fall. However, bus driver cum guide explained the treasure of Cradle Mountain.
With desires half fulfilled we returned. But on way back purchased a lovely Cradle Mountain Jacket and few souvenirs. If we had prior idea about cradle mountain we would definitely made a plan to stay around for at least two days to view most of it. We had to start driving back at around 4PM to avoid driving along the challenging roads in the dark. The day being 31st December we were to reach Launceston for a fabulous celebration of New Year at Launceston Park.
On way back stopped at a lakeside restaurant for evening and at look out.
We have a plan to return to Tasmania in next December-January. That time we will be well prepared for Cradle Mountain.
BDST: 1437 HRS, SEP 19, 2014