We woke up to the chilly but sunny morning in Cradle Mountain where we were going to stay for the next two days. The camp we’d booked had a convenient location close to a bunch of tracks and a really nice setting.
Just on the way to the camp kitchen, we met a couple of wallabies wandering around tents. The kitchen had a big fireplace which kept the whole room nice and cosy even when the temperature outside were only slightly above zero degrees.
After a quick breakfast, we jumped into the car and drove to Lake Dove where we’d planned to spend a day on hiking.
It was quite early in the morning, but the car park next to Dove Lake was packed with tourist. There was a large group of Germans getting ready to set off the track and heaps of Asians taking pictures of everything around. But one could not wonder because the morning panorama of the rocky mountains behind the blue lake was stunning.
We shortly looked around as well but then set off towards Lake Lila. As most people chose a shorter walk around Lake Dove, we managed to avoid the biggest crowd. We followed the path up to Wombat Pool, passed Wombat Peak and also spotted a few wombats’ poos. A wombat is obviously a big thing here.
As we were clambering to the Marions Lookout, we overtook a few people with huge backpacks who were undertaking the Overland Track. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to do the entire 6-day walk, and therefore we chose the Summit Track to walk at least a little bit of it. And without the additional 20 kg on our backs it was much nicer experience.
The climb to Marions Lookout was definitely worth the effort. During a refreshing break we were enjoying the amazing views of surroundings – deep blue lakes beneath us, jagged mountains behind us.
From there to Kitchen’s Hut, the walk across the Cradle Plateau was flat and easy, but then it started to ascend and ended up almost as a 300 m vertical climb. Roughly in the middle of the slope, the beaten path disappeared and the crawling across big rocks followed. About 80 m below the summit, my fear of heights won and I decided to wait for Jakub as he tried to reach the summit. However, even he gave up and came back after a while because the boulders were quite slippery due to rain from the previous night. Nevertheless, the views of the landscape were still great.
On the way back, we steeply descended to Lake Wilks and further to the shore of Lake Dove where we connected to the wooden path of Dove Lake Circuit. The path ran through a tranquil area known as The Ballroom Forest with ancient myrtles and beeches.
A bit further, we suddenly heard a crackling noise in the bush. After a few minutes of listening and trying to identify that thing, we saw a grey fur. And then a nose. Another wombat on lunch expedition!
As part of the easier Dove Lake Circuit, this section of the track was quite busy. When we reached the Boat Shed, it was literally overcrowded. It was almost impossible to take a picture which wouldn’t include a tourist on it.
On the way back to our campsite, we were lucky one more time when a little furry walked across the road. Fortunately, we were driving slowly enough because it stopped right in the middle, casually rubbed its butt and then carried on in the pursuit of some tasty grass.
We wrapped up the day with a short Enchanted walk along a creek through an old rainforest but then continued to our camp for dinner. And that was it for our time in Cradle Mountains because the next day we were slowly moving to the coast of Freycinet Peninsula.