Saturday 19 August 2017

A couple of hiking trips at Cradle Mountain

About a month ago, I had the morning off work, so I decided that I needed to make the most of our location in Tasmania, and drove the short 1.5 hour drive to Cradle Mountain. I set out at about 7am and was at Dove Lake just after 8:30am.

Dave and I had spent a weekend at Cradle Mountain last August, and as we hiked up to Marion's Lookout on that weekend, it wasn't until we were about half way up that we started to see snow. This time around, it was completely different. In fact, the snow started appearing on my drive there, about halfway between Burnie and Cradle Mountain. When I arrived, I decided to hike the Dove Lake Circuit, and throughout the entire hike, the path was covered in snow.

It was such a beautiful morning - the skies were completely clear, the snow-covered mountain was the most beautiful backdrop, and even though the temperature was below zero the entire walk, trekking through the snow meant that I got my heart rate up fairly quickly and was pretty warm in my down jacket and thermals by the end. The circuit took about 1.5 hours to walk, meaning I was back home before midday. It really as the perfect way to spend a Friday morning.

This past weekend, Dave and I decided that, even though Dave had a night shift starting at 5pm on Saturday, we would spend about 24 hours at Cradle Mountain from Friday evening to late Saturday afternoon. We thought that we'd try a different accommodation option this year, staying at Cradle Mountain Hotel (as opposed to Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, where we stayed last year). We had a lovely dinner at the Altitude Restaurant on Friday night (we both had the hot stone - I went for the seafood option while Dave had the meat option), and had a very restful night's sleep in one of their extremely comfortable beds. After enjoying a buffet breakfast the next morning, we set out at about 9am for a hike.

We had planned to do the Crater Lake Circuit, however after reaching Marion's Lookout, the grey clouds started rolling in and the wind picked up, so we thought it might be a bit dangerous hiking through the snow on such an exposed area. Instead, we decided to hike to Kitchen Hut, then along the Face Track down to Dove Lake, along with a lovely girl from Melbourne that we met at Marion's Lookout. It was a stunning walk, though it was probably the most challenging hike we have done, with waist-deep snow covering a lot of the mountain (as we discovered quite a few times). All up, the hike took about 4.5 hours, and our legs were very thankful that we finished when we did.

For anyone visiting Tasmania, I would definitely recommend making a trip to Cradle Mountain, no matter the season, and having a go at one of the many hiking tracks on offer.


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