Saturday, 8 June 2013

Tasmania Day 4: Kelso -> Mt Field National Park

Our retro caravan with annexe
I got up early-ish and went for a quick sunrise walk then came back and started on the packing and tidying up – amazing how far our stuff can spread in just 2 days!  

Heading south we took the riverside road towards Launceston which was beautiful in the early morning sun – reminded us of some of our lakeside drives in Switzerland and Italy, although with smaller mountains and less stone houses or chalets.

Bridge at Ross
Looking for somewhere to stop for lunch and hoping for a supermarket to top up supplies before we went up the mountain, we came off the highway at Ross. No supermarket but full of gorgeous stone buildings and a beautiful old bridge, so a perfect place for a lunch stop. We ate, played on and around the bridge, and eventually got moving again – remembering that the sun sets early in Tasmania (4:45 on the coast, and earlier in the mountains) so we really wanted to get up to the cabin before it was close to dark. We skirted Hobart without finding a supermarket, luckily there was one in New Norfolk so we stopped there for supplies and somehow jammed them all in to our very full car. Then on to Mt Field National Park.

We found the key taped to the door of the Visitors Centre as we arrived after 3pm, then headed up the mountain – 16km of winding road through a variety of bushland – tall eucalypt forest and tree ferns then sub-alpine forest with a mix in the middle. We were kind of hoping that we’d be the only ones at the huts so were a little bit disappointed to see fires burning in 2 others when we arrived, but then it was nice to have someone to say hi as we got out of the car – the huts are pretty isolated so it might have felt weird arriving to an empty area.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the inside of the huts all sealed – lino floors and plastered walls – I’d been expecting wooden plank walls and floors so suddenly my fears about the cold evaporated somewhat – and I was right, with the wood fire going it often became too hot in the hut without opening doors and windows. So it  had very basic facilities – just a sink with cold water, a (very good) wood fireplace, a table with benches, and 3 double bunks with vinyl mattresses , no electricity– but it was cosy and warm and comfortable with the fire on.  The toilets were at the other end of the hut precinct and were compost toilets and they didn’t smell too bad, everyone was happy to use them. Our hut was the end one, and opened up onto beautiful low scrub and rocks with little pools of water scattered throughout.  A Bennetts Wallaby was hanging around near our hut and we saw her joey later.
Walking back to Eucalypt Hut just before dark

Liam, Caitlin and I went for a quick walk through the scrub before it became completely dark, it was pretty cool walking through this bowl with mountains all around.  Back to the hut (it was hard to find the path through the bushes) for dinner and setting everything up, and it was dark before we knew it. We went for a night walk up the road a little further but didn’t see any animals, it was fun to be out at night and the stars were amazing!  There were possums around the hut and one of them helped himself to a container of rice milk that we left on the porch for a few minutes. Oops! We had a reasonably early night – harder to stay up late when there’s not much light – we had torches and lanterns but it really felt like bedtime.

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