Posted by: Talie Morrison | January 27, 2009

Cradle Mountain/The Overland Track

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The Overland Track, more commonly known as the Cradle Mountain Track, is AWESOME!   So I guess that is the end of my blog……

……  oh, well, maybe not 🙂 .    To quote the map:   “Rugged mountain ranges, alpine gardens , waterfalls, temperate rainforests and unique wildlife;  Welcome to the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, one of Tasmania’s most famous natural areas. …..Walkers cross where glaciers melted long ago ….. The undulating path takes you through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. ….. island’s landmass has been internationally recognized for outstanding natural and cultural values.   Plants animals and rock strata testify that this land was once part of the super continent, Gondwana.”   And it was all that and more.   

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(A rather poor picture of the profile, but it gives you the idea of the topography.)

It is a 65 km hike (that’s without the “extra” side trips along the way), usually taking 5 to 6 nights.   There are huts along the way, but with the numbers of hikers on the track, you are not guaranteed a place in a hut, so it is required that you take your own tent.    So all that being said – off we go…..

With all the scratches on my legs from my last adventure (3 days prior to this trip), I felt like I was carrying the medicine chest along with my gear!   There were some of the deeper scratches that I was concerned about, so I took lots of betadine, and antibiotic ointment, etc.   I even got some great stuff called “Medi-honey”.   It smelled good enough to eat and did a great job of helping to heal my “wounds”!   

I put together my “transport” at the beginning of the journey – the Overland is a “point to point” hike, so I needed to leave my little rental car at the end of the hike and then take transport to the start of the track.   That entailed leaving Lake St. Clair at 11 am on the 17th, going by bus to Hobart, switching to another bus and going to Launceston where I spent that night in a “backpackers lodge”.   The next morning, I took a 3rd bus to the start of the track at Cradle Mountain.   With all the transport, I didn’t get started actually hiking till noon.  

I was a little concerned since the first part of the hike is the biggest elevation gain and I wanted to be able to climb Cradle Mountain if possible.    Well “all things are possible” and I was able to climb the Mountain in absolutely beautiful weather!  

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This was the view of Cradle from along the way – 

 

 

 
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This was some of the “bouldering” on the climb up the mountain – just like Colorado!  

 

 

 

 

img_1527Now that’s a “monument” on top! 

And then I even made it to the hut in time to get a spot inside with a group of about 12 Australian Bushwalkers (from the mainland).   All along the track I was happy to see so many Australians enjoying the track – there weren’t as many foreign tourists as I had expected.  

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The Waterfall Valley Hut

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I won’t bore you with a day by day, step by step epistle of the hike – but just let me thrown in some spectacular photos (as if you were there) of some of the highlights along the way.   I took 5 days to do the hike (I was prepared for 6 – but the last day was raining, so I just went on out that day) – I did all the side hikes (except for 1) and then did an extra valley, Pine Valley, with an extra hike up there.   It was a lovely trip to some lovely country and I had an awesome time!  

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 Wallabys, Echinas, Wombats, different birds, Quolls – lots of fun wildlife!

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cradle-9 This was my favorite hut: the New Pelion Hut.   Individual bunks make for a lovely night’s sleep! 

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The next peak I “bagged” was Mt. Ossa, which is the highest mountain in Tasmania.   The view from the top was STUNNING!   

cradle-11There was more boulder scrambling getting to the top (thanks, Steve Dobbin, for teaching me how to do that! :-)) But mostly these little side trips were “short and to the point” (pun intended!)  

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Remember “Mr. Tengu” – he is sitting on my shoulder on this peak.   And that’s Cradle Mountain in the distance above my head.   

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Along with the side trips to “bag a peak” – there were also some pretty spectacular waterfalls – and of course, I had to go see them too!   

cradle-14  D’Alton Falls

 

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                  Fergusson Falls

 

 

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                                                     Hartnett Falls

 

 

 

 

 

The final night I went up to Pine Valley and checked out a place called the Labyrinth.   It was interesting to see so many rocks and little lakes so high up.   

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So from the Labyrinth, I hiked down to Lake St. Clair and took a shuttle boat across the lake to finish the Overland Track.   I really enjoyed having the opportunity to walk through this beautiful part of Planet Earth!   Meeting so many awesome people who were doing the same thing, seeing such interesting and different flora and fauna!   

So the end of my Tasmanian adventure was spent with my new wonderful friends, Nijole and Robin – back at their beautiful and comfortable rented house outside Hobart.   And yesterday (the 26th) I flew from Hobart to Melbourne to Auckland and finally into Christchurch.  Seems like there isn’t anything down here that is “direct”!   Now I’m at Myles and Margaret’s and then I’ll head back off into the New Zealand bush – after a well earned massage tomorrow afternoon!   

 

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