Cycle Tour of Tasmania – February 2015
Monday 9 February. We slept in a sort of duplex room, rather swish really - two en suite twin bedrooms with a living / kitchen in the middle. Making his morning toast, Richard discovered that the smoke alarm was a bit on the sensitive side, and had to stand on a chair to knock it off. Ken never heard it. Note to self: if there's a real fire, make sure Ken's OK 'cause he won't hear the alarm. Actually, now that I think about it, the twin rooms had one single bed and one double. I gave Ken the double which seemed to make up for the disappointment of the night before.
It was overcast and chilly. I nipped across the road to buy a sandwich (too much meat, like America), then Greg the bus driver arrived with his little bus to take us to Cradle Mountain about 40 miles away. The route included some pretty big ascents and descents which wouldn't have looked out of place on yesterday's ride. We went through a hamlet called Promised Land (Greg said "We'll go back via Paradise") and a large upland area called Middlesex where there were lots of dead trees. Apparently these all died during a serious and prolonged drought a few years ago.
We arrived at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, paid our $16.50, had a coffee and then got on the Shuttle Bus which took us up to Dove Lake (photo above) , where there are superb views of Cradle Mountain itself (photo above). Black Currawongs - yellow-eyed crows - patrolled the car park ready to snatch any titbit. Most of the group opted to walk around the lake and then get the bus back. I worked out that I just had enough time to walk the six or seven miles back to the Visitor Centre, and Richard decided to come with me.
The landscape was interesting, a different kind of upland compared to the UK, with rocky paths, small ponds, strange palm-tree-like plants, boardwalks with basking skinks (the sun was beginning to come out). It looks like it should be boggy but it's quite dry. We visited the reconstructed wooden chalet at Waldheim which pioneer Gustav Weindorfer built in the early 1900s. We had hoped to see Wombats, Echidnas and Tasmanian Devils, but they were all hiding.
|I think this is a Mountain Skink|
|The Waldheim Chalet|
|Forest Raven I think|
At Snake Hill we looked at the map and Richard decided to catch the Shuttle Bus the rest of the way. I reckoned that if I got a wiggle on I had just enough time to reach the Visitor Centre by 3.00 when the bus driver wanted to leave. Nothing much interesting on the rest of the walk, and when I reached the Visitor Centre at 2.50 I found it was the Interpretation Centre and there were still another 2 km to go - Ooops!!
I almost ran the last 2 km and arrived at the Visitor Centre car park at 3.05, boarding the bus with those eternal words - "Am I the last?" I think I just got away with it. We did indeed go through Paradise on the way back, and returning to the motel I helped myself to another doughnut, visited the nearby 'emporium' (they seem to like these big junk shops in Tassie, selling everything including toilet seats and memorabilia). I had a look at a few more murals and called it a day.
|Go on, you know you want to lift the seat up....|
As the Currawong flies we're still not far from Devonport, but tomorrow we head to Deloraine and start to travel south, eventually to Hobart in a few days' time.