Monday, March 9, 2020

Tasmania Day 10 - Lake St. Clair and Cradle Mountain

We slept in again today and enjoyed a very leisurely breakfast.  Some fresh blackberries had been added to the treats from the day before so breakfast was really good again.  Hamlet Downs was a great place to stay and, despite the events of the night before, we would recommend it for anyone visiting Mt Field NP.

At around 9:30 AM we left and started our drive to our next destination which was Cradle Mountain NP.  But, we would be stopping at Lake St. Clair NP on the way to get some hiking in.

We took a quick stretch break at Meadowbank Lake since it was looking picturesque.
Meadowbank Lake

But, we didn't even think about getting in because of signs like this:
Maybe a quicksand warning?

Maybe that's a quicksand warning?

Previously, I had mentioned that we rented a GPS unit with the car.  Not only did it help us get from place to place but it also provided some entertainment.  You see, the voice was female with a nice Aussie accent. So naturally we named it Sheila.

I had a few problems with Sheila.  First off, she was bossy and would yell at me with a loud double beep whenever I went over the speed limit.  After a few rounds of this, the "ding ding" really started to sound like "Too Fast!".  The problem was rarely me though.  Her internal speed limit didn't always match the actual speed limit.  So, she would yell at me even though I was going under the actual speed limit.  "Too Fast!"

God forbid that I would drift a bit left in the lane while going over the "internal" speed limit because then I would get it from both sides with Karen telling me I was too close and Sheila beeping "Too Fast!" at me.  It was NOT a dream threesome at all.

There were a few points in the trip where Sheila just got too bossy and I turned her off.  When I would turn her back on later she would seem to be extra nice.  Did she realize that I turned her off and if so was she passive aggressively planning revenge?  I sure hoped not.

Anyway, once at Lake St. Clair, we decided to hike the 65km Overland Track:
Just a quick 65 km hike

We did about 5km...

We almost made it too.  We were only 60km short. But, the hike was nice and took us to a platypus viewing area that was, of course, devoid of platypus.  They were proving to be very elusive so far but we had some "guaranteed" locations coming up in future days so we weren't worried.

On the way out of Lake St. Clair a little voice in our heads told us to "keep our eyes peeled" when we passed signs like these, which we did to no avail:

Wombat Crossing!

Echidna Crossing!

We had a delicious toastie lunch at the fantastically named "The Hungry Wombat Cafe" just outside of Lake St. Clair.

Great toasties here

The drive from Lake St. Clair to Cradle Mountain was about 3 hours so we broke up that time with a spontaneous stop at Nelson Falls.

Quick stop to stretch our legs

The forest along the trail was amazing just like all the other forests we had seen in Tasmania.

Forest around Nelson Falls

A peaceful stroll

Nelson Falls itself was very nice as well.

Nelson Falls

Getting closer to our destination, we made one last stop at a lookout point where you can see Cradle Mountain in the distance:
View of Cradle Mountain National Park

We arrived at Cradle Mountain around 5:30 PM and checked into our room at Pepper's Cradle Mountain Lodge.

We have arrived

Home for 3 nights

The main lodge

I had splurged for an upgraded cabin here and it was VERY nice.

Our cabin and semi dirty rental

By the way, if you think the rental car looked dirty at this point, you should have seen it when we were done.  We would get filthy just looking at it by the end of the trip.

Nice room

I don't make it a point to take pictures of toilets but I had to make an exception at Pepper's:
Well said

After a nice dinner in the restaurant at the lodge, we did a 2 hour night walk on the many trails they have at the lodge.  Of course, we saw some brushies.

Look at the tail on this one:

This dark morph brushie also looked really healthy:

I am sharing this picture because it shows the little rat like tail that they really have hidden under those piles of long hair:
And another...

Since we only saw brushies on our night walk (9 in total) we decided to take a night drive into the park where we saw, you guessed it, more brushies.  But, we also saw our first wombat which was on the road right next to the passenger side of the car.  It didn't move at all but I didn't want to startle it by getting out and taking a picture since I was very hopeful that we would see plenty during the day.

The final sighting of the night drive was a dark morph eastern quoll on the road.  They aren't seen in the area that often apparently so it was nice that we got to see one.

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