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Walking, walking and walking

Sunday 26 April 2009

Guess what I did today. Yep you are right: I did a whole lot of walking.

The weather is not too bad this morning. It’s dry, about 10 degrees and the wind is quite strong which makes it really cold. But by adding enough layers of insulation, that problem can be solved. At 9.00 the visitor centre opens and the weather forecast for today is available. It’s as clear as my coffee. It can rain, it can snow, there’s going to be a lot of wind. Okay… Let’s just start walking and when the weather gets bad, I can always turn around.

Based on the information I got from the visitor centre yesterday I will start at the Ronny Creek car park, walk to the Crater Lake, then to Marions Lookout and go to the Dove Lake car park via Wombat Pool and Lake Lilla. This should keep me going for about 3.5 hours and should show me all the high lights of this place.

As you can see, the first part of the track is a nicely build boardwalk. It’s good to get going and the views are pleasant as well.

Further on the track you will get more trees, it’s getting a bit steeper and there are some nice small waterfalls.

The next part of the track will take you above the trees and gives a great overview of the area you have gone through. The colors are fabulous.

After about 45 minutes I got to Crater Lake. The colors are fantastic. I met some people that come here every year especially during fall because of the colors and the fact that by then there are not too many visitors.

After a bit more climbing I got to Wombat Peak. From here you have an overview of Crater Lake and you can already see Wombat Pool, Lake Lilla and Dove Lake.

Now it’s time to get up to Marions Lookout. This is not a nice boardwalk; it’s a steep climb and by now the wind is making it very cold. But up there the views are really good.

By now there are some clouds coming in; the bad weather is on its way. When I leave Marions Lookout, it’s starting to snow. Yes really: snow. You know: the icy wet stuff. Looks like rain, but isn’t…

By the time I got to Wombat Pool, the snowing stopped. It’s raining now… This limits the possibilities to take pictures, since my camera is not waterproof and the combination of the wind and the rain doesn’t help either.

On to Lake Lilla. I am going downhill again and on my way I see more and more trees and bushes coming back into the scenery. After some quick shots at Like Lilla it was time to move on. It’s stopped raining and now it started to RAIN… By the time I got to the car, the temperature dropped to 2 degrees… Well it is 13.00 therefore lunch time.

The first walking track of today:

After lunch the weather improved. The rain stopped and there was even some sunshine. I got back in the car to drive to the Dove Lake car park. On my way I noticed that some mountaintops were white now…

It was cold (about 2 degrees) and the wind was much stronger, making it unpleasant out there. But I still had the Dove Lake track on my to do list. I didn’t trust the weather. There were some more clouds building up between the mountain tops. Therefore I thought to wait a bit and see what the weather was going to do. In the meantime I walked to the boat shed of Dove Lake and took some pictures here.

Then I started to walk back to the start of the Dove Lake track and just wandered up it for about 15 minutes. The weather couldn’t decide. There was sun, the wind was still strong and cold but by now it was dry. I decided to just go for it.

After 45 minutes it started to rain again. But by now I was walking on a part of the track that was covered by a lot of trees. “Rain Forrest” they call it and today it was absolutely correct.

The rain wasn’t too bad and by now I was at a point where there was hardly any wind. So although it was wet, it wasn’t that cold anymore.

Some impressions further on the track.

After that it was a nice walk back to the car park. The rainfall was increasing and there were more clouds coming in. So it was time to get a move on.

By the time I got to the car park it wasn’t very pleasant out there anymore.

There’s only one road in and out of the park. Therefore on my way back to the lodge I passed the Ronny Creek car park where I started this morning. Here are the before and after views.

The second walking track of today:

Although it looks like I have walked up to Lake Hanson, that’s not the case. It’s just a glitch in the GPS recording. I could try to find the one wrong coordinate, but it’s too much work. So just ignore this little side step…

All in all I have been walking for just over 5 hours I guess and I enjoyed the scenery. Looking back I would rank the parks I have visited like this:

  1. Blue Mountains; here you have it all. You can go for some real bush walks or just be a tourist. There are a lot of tracks out there ranging from easy to extremely difficult.
  2. Cradle Mountain; it’s more limited then Blue Mountains. There are fewer tracks for the average tourist and there are for sure no other things to do out here. It does offer some real extreme walks for those that want to go for several days.
  3. Freycinet National Park; this is more a holiday paradise. It needs sun and a lot of people. There are beaches and there are some walks. It’s more the place you would visit to relax I think.

That’s it for Cradle Mountain. Tomorrow I will leave this place and head to the west coast; to Strahan to be precise.

Sunday 26 April 2009

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