Monday, 24 April 2017

4 days in Tasmania - Launceston to Cradle Mountain (Day 1)

Tasmania is hands down my favourite road trip destination in Australia. There is stunning scenery everywhere you go, wildlife, pristine bush walks and national parks - all within close driving distance, which is a bonus as it's relatively quick drive to the next destination. 

Also, with the frequent great airfares to Tassie, it's a no-brainer for a girl's long weekend away. We catch a Friday morning flight to Launceston at ridiculous o'clock (the downside to these discount flights) 


Launceston to Cradle Mountain - approx 2 hour drive
The benefit of getting such an early flight is that you can make the most of your day, which means we were able to squeeze in a few bush walks on the first day at Cradle Mountain. 

But first thing is coffee, so we make a pit stop at Launceston. The cafes here are not comparable to Hobart (in my opinion) and the first coffees we bought from a highly rated cafe, which we had to wait 15 minutes for, were absolutely terrible. Luckily, some quick googling finds us Amelia Espresso, and it saves the day with great coffee. 

If you plan on cooking, pick some groceries on the drive in as the shopping is quite limited once you reach the Cradle Mountain area, Deloraine or Sheffield are good options for stocking up food supplies. Be prepared to lose phone reception completely if you aren't with Telstra - don't worry, you won't miss it with all the beautiful scenery around!

Cradle Mountain accomodation

There's a handful of accomodation located within the Cradle Mountain area, including:

Cradle Mountain walks
A valid parks pass is required prior to entering the national park. There's also a Cradle shuttle bus that departs from the Visitors Centre, which is highly recommended during the peak season as parking is limited. During September, it's not too bad so we decide to drive to the start of the Dove Lake loop; it's a 10 minute drive down a narrow and windy road, and there's plenty of parking around. 

Dove Lake circuit
The Dove Lake loop is an easy 5.7km circuit and a good one to start with. Despite it being the easiest and most accessible Cradle Mountain walk, the scenery is absolutely stunning throughout the walk. It rained a little during our walk which added a misty atmosphere and a gigantic rainbow.


Dove Lake circuit 



Toward the southern end of the circuit, you'll enter a spectacular cool temperate rainforest called the Ballroom Forest. It's strewn with myrtle-beech trees and everything is covered by moss, which gives the most stunning effect.

Ballroom Forest


The Ballroom Forest is mostly boardwalk, which makes for easy walking. A lot of the boardwalks in Cradle Mountain are covered by meshing to prevent slipping. Continue on the circuit, back toward the car park and you'll reach the iconic boat shed, built in 1940 by Cradle Mountain's first ranger, Lionel Connell. 

Cradle Mountain short walks
We also did a few short walks before dusk, hoping to spot some wombats. The short walks listed here are some good ones to do if you have limited time available/want to pair these with some longer ones.  

Enchanted walk

Pencil Pine cascades

Start of the Overland track


Wombat Pool 

With a cheeky missing L from the sign, it actually sums up the experience quite well as you can find the square shaped wombat poos every few steps you take around here.

For dinner, we head to the casual Tavern Bar & Bistro, located at the Cradle Mountain Lodge. There's an open log fire and it's a cosy and welcoming refuge after braving the rainy cold for hours. 

The menu is pretty standard and nothing special, but is still satisfying after a long day. Don't have super high expectations as dining options are limited around this area.

We opted for vego fare, we order the pull apart bread, pumpkin soup and cheese platter to have with a couple of well earned wines.

Cheese and herb pull apart bread with olive oil

Roasted pumpkin soup, chive sour cream and charred sourdough

Cheese platter

The cheesy pull apart bread is served fresh from the oven and is a massive portion. The staff are lovely here (the norm in Tassie from our experiences) and were happy replace our semi-eaten blue cheese with one more to our liking.

We head back to our accomodation for a hot chocolate at the lounge bar adjacent to the Hellyes Restaurant. There's another warming fire here and a whole stack of boardgames, perfect way to end the night!


Tavern Bar & Bistro
Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge 
4038 Cradle Mountain Rd

Stay tuned for my post on Day 2 of this Tassie trip, or check out my other Tasmania posts here:

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