We had planned to squeeze as many highlights as possible into a five-day road trip in an attempt to sum up the essence of the island. Our first stop was Cradle Mountain, just for one night. The drive to Cradle in parts could have been a drive through the English countryside, with beautiful green rolling hills and old stone farmhouses. Only the gum trees gave it away.
As we ascended the mountain we wound through tall pine and eucalypt forests, which gradually gave way to more shrub like plant life dotted with flashes of red and yellow wildflowers called ‘mountain rockets’.
When we arrived at Cradle Mountain itself it was a clear day. Dove Lake was still and smooth, ripples gently lapping at the pebble beaches dotted around its border. Grey craggy rocks and mountains push out of the dense forest, and at the far end of the lake Cradle Mountain rises above them all like a magnificent centerpiece.
We spent the afternoon at Dove Lake enjoying the spectacular view, strolling around the lake circuit walk and admiring the old boat shed that sits so photogenically off to the right of the mountain. While there were a lot of other tourists similarly enjoying the sights when I looked out across the lake I felt like I was in another world. A beautiful, untouched natural world we were all just there to admire.
As the sun was setting and most of the other tourists were leaving the park for the day we headed around the circuit walk around Dove Lake. While we strolled along a spotted quoll hopped out onto the track in front of us. While we stopped dead to watch, he ambled along as if he wasn’t the slightest bit interested in walkers and disappeared back into the bushes.
The quoll may have been indifferent to us, but the wildlife around the mountain was one of the most special things about it. Wombats, wallabies, an eagle and even a possible platypus sighting only added to the wild and untouched feel of the place.
Our eventful afternoon was followed with a relaxing evening back at the Cradle Mountain Hotel. A hot tub, a spa, a dining area that seems to sit up in the trees… everything you could possibly want after bush walking all day. Not to mention a Tassie whisky winter night cap from the bar to warm the cockles.
The following morning we set out early with the plan to photograph Cradle Mountain at sunrise, only to find it had disappeared into a curtain of fog. Dove Lake was a stormy grey colour instead of the shiny blue of the day before and the feel of the place was much more wild and windswept.
It was as if the mountain was in a different mood.