Today was a MASSIVE day and another pretty special one.
We’d talked about having breakfast down at Dove Lake in time for sunrise, but everyone was up early enough to have breakfast and get ready before leaving at 7.30. It was foggy at the caravan park and about half way down to the lake we came out of the fog to a clear morning. We excitedly waited for our first view of Cradle Mountain – and except for the very summit on the right hand side it was free of cloud. There were only 2 other cars at the lake before us and it was about 10 minutes until sunrise. I sat down on some rocks at the edge of the lake and watched the tips and then the face of the mountain slowly light up. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful and as good as I had been imagining it might be. I felt like it didn’t matter what happened for the rest of the day, I was completely happy. The kids played near the edge of the lake and then we sorted out warm gear enough to go for another walk.
|Sunrise on Cradle Mountain|
|Caitlin was great at making sure there were some photos of me in places I enjoyed|
Our first destination was Lake Lilla, which sits just near Dove Lake but at a much lower altitude. Millie hopped in the carrier on my back and we set off through more beautiful forest and down along the side of Lake Lilla. When we reached it we found the path went over a cascading waterfall. The kids played on the rocks around the cascades and I even went down onto them so Millie could touch the water. Looking back towards the lake we could still see Cradle Mountain towering above the ridge beyond the lake. In fact I’d been thinking we wouldn’t see the mountain much on this walk but it was hardly ever out of sight.
|Lake Lilla with Marions Lookout (the highest peak in this photo) and Cradle Mountain in the background|
We split up our supplies and went in our two different directions. As we climbed up from the pool we saw Tony and Caitlin climbing on the other side and reaching a couple of fantastic lookouts. We slowly made our way back, investigating trees and rocks and views as we went. When we reached the Boat Shed we could see people way up on top of Marions Lookout and wondered if the others had made it that far. Liam and Millie played in the edge of the lake and the rocks on the shore and explored around the Boat Shed and I took photos of the reflections in the lake and chatted to other walkers and we all played hide-and-seek.
|Boat Shed and Cradle Mountain|
|Liam and Millie at the Boat Shed|
After about 45 minutes, Tony and Caitlin arrived from the opposite direction than I’d been expecting. They had climbed up to Marions Lookout and come down the steeper path to join on to the Dove Lake Circuit. They were both pretty pumped and I was so excited that they’d made it! Caitlin had been wishing that we could get right over to Cradle Mountain and this was a satisfying enough substitute.
We went back around to the path down from the carpark (which was now full of cars) and I took more photos, we played along the edge of the lake there, Caitlin, Liam and I trekked along the shore to some rocks I’d been wanting to take photos of (it was a muddy track and we nearly got our boots stuck) then we set up on a big rock just of the path to have some lunch. While we were hanging out there in the sun the clouds finally lifted completely off the summit of Cradle Mountain and we had a completely clear view of it. With Dove Lake reflecting the blue sky it was one of the most beautiful and inspiring views I’ve seen. We took a long time over lunch, Tony and I could have sat there all day enjoying the view. It was a very peaceful and restful hour or so.
|Lunch at Dove Lake with view of Cradle Mountain|
|Finally a view of the mountain with no clouds on the peak|
Eventually we left Dove Lake (around 1.30pm) and drove back to the Interpretation Centre, which had information and displays on the geography, history, plant and animal life of the Cradle Mountain area. We played and read and watched a video and pored over the 3D map of the area. Once we’d had our fill of the Centre, we headed out to do the Enchanted Forest walk – a short walk either side of a river, with waterfalls, mossy trees and logs, fungi. There were 3 man made tunnels for the kids to climb through, which were painted inside with scenes of animals and plants of the area, along with the names of all the animals.
|The Enchanted Forest|
At 5pm we headed out again to go to the Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary just down the road, to see a night time feeding. The guy doing the presentation really knew his stuff about Tasmanian Devils – it was different to other animal tours I’ve done, he wasn’t all bubbly and entertaining, he was there to share information about Tasmanian Devils and the risks to their survival. I learnt heaps. We were able to pat a Devil, and then watch them feeding in groups which was much more exciting than the individual Devil we’d seen fed earlier in our trip. We also saw quolls being fed – I think quolls are my new favourite animal.
We arrived back at the cabin and watched TV, ate a very late dinner, and went to bed as soon as we could!