Land in Launceston or Devonport, put on your seat belt and head for the wilderness. It’s time to leave the city and head for wombat territory. At Cradle Mountain, there are some great family friendly options for overnighting in this alpine region. Nothing spells winter like a roaring fire and a cosy mountain cabin and you’ll find no shortage of warm and cosy cabins in Cradle Valley.
Come nightfall, head for the Devils@Cradle After Dark Night Feeding Tour. The tours are a chance to get up close to Tassie’s famed little carnivores and watch them feasting. It’s quite a spectacle and gives new meaning to the term ‘hangry’. When your kids are tired, hungry and a touch angry, spare a thought for Tassie devil mums. Manners don’t rate when it’s devil feeding time.. Stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.
If you wake to snow, treat your inner child to a morning snowball fight. To learn how the mountain was discovered and protected visit Waldheim Chalet. There’s plenty of history packed into the walls of this chalet, originally built between 1912 and the early 1920s. It was the vision of botanist Gustav Weindorfer who stood atop Cradle Mountain and declared it should be a national park for all people for all time.
A further short commute will take you to Dove Lake, the departure point for lots of day walks. If the children are little, the Dove Lake Circuit is a relatively flat sojourn that features temperate rainforest and a historic boat shed by the lake. It’ll take around two hours to complete.
A shorter option is the Enchanted Walk at about 30 minutes. This walk leaves from the bridge by the park entrance and features alpine pools, rainforest, waterfalls and sweeping moorland.
Before the kids fall into bed at night, take them out for a spotlighting tour followed by a rewarding hot meal at the lodge. There’s hearty steaks, kids’ favourites and smooth Tassie pinot for the grown-ups. After the kids are safely tucked in, use the park’s WiFi to check out Sixteen Legs, a movie made about the Tasmanian Cave Spider, your companion on tomorrow’s adventure. Stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.
Today, key Sheffield into the nav map. You’ll notice this colourful township has enough murals to inspire even the smallest backseat artist. Grab lunch here and some delectable fudge on the main strip.
With a few coins, your family can enter The Contraptuary at the World of Marbles. This unassuming little room is filled with odd contraptions and inventions that are befitting of this quirky community. Let the kids pick some marbles while you take a closer peek at glass-blown vases and marble runs.
If you happen across a piano sitting on the footpath, feel free to belt out a song. Don’t take your eyes off the main street or you’ll miss the man taking his pet alpaca for a walk. Sometimes he has his pet llama with him, instead. Spot the difference!
There’s also a lolly shop, a shell museum, craft, antiques, rare records and all manner of interesting finds in town. And just down the road at Tasmazia you’ll meet the Mayor of Lower Crackpot. Tackle his living maze and visit his tiny town.
Turn towards Mole Creek – it’s time to head underground. The climate never changes in the Mole Creek Caves, so stay wrapped up for the 9 degree temperature. There are three cave tours, each around 45 minutes. Perhaps an Underground Rivers and Glow Worms Tour piques the interest? Prepare to meet amazing critters, including the Tasmanian Cave Spider which has adapted to live without light. Some of these spiders are not found anywhere else in the world. There are stalactites, stalagmites, reflection pools and when kids turn down the volume, an eerie silence coming from abandoned river passages.
Don’t leave Mole Creek without a visit to Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary. The privately owned park has operated since 1979, and has the world’s biggest heritage population of Tasmanian devils. It also teems with other birds, marsupials and reptiles. Take an interactive tour or explore the park yourselves and find out why many wild animals in the region are drawn to this safe sanctuary.
From Mole Creek return to the airport and bid farewell to Tassie, until next time.