It’s a pretty awful morning when we wake up. It’s raining and the temperature is pretty low. Things don’t get much better when we end up being half an hour late for leaving when 3 members of our group don’t appear and we can’t locate them.
Cradle Mountain is situated about 2 1/2 hours away from Strahan, in the North of the National Park. Sadly, the weather has cut off the higher walk, so we can choose between a boardwalk trek or a hike around Dove Lake. I choose to go to Dove Lake since it was supposedly the better of the two.
Dove Lake is situated just under Cradle Mountain, which gets its name from its unique shape. It has two large points, and a collection of rocks inbetween that make the shape of a baby – essentially creating a baby in a cradle.
Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t improved, and its almost impossible to see the famous mountain. So instead we get to enjoy the lake, which is still impressive despite the bad weather. There’s a great outcropping just 15 minutes into the trip which gives you a great overview.
Thankfully, it takes about 2 hours to get through the entire walk, and eventually, the weather picks up every now and then, just long enough to clear the sky and give us a view.
The walk itself is pretty fantastic too. Its mostly flat so doesn’t take much effort, and the area reminds me a lot of the Scottish highlands with the mountains and the marshy lowlands. However, when you drop into the forests, it becomes rather ethereal. The colours and the sizes of plant life just don’t seem natural, and more something out of a fantasy novel. Well worth seeing.
We leave the Park around 2pm, and 40 minutes later roll into Sheffield, a very small town in the shadow of some very high mountain peaks. The most obvious difference is definitely the weather – the rain is gone, and instead we have beautiful sunshine with a slightly chilly breeze.
Sheffield is small, but it does have one claim to fame. The town’s walls are covered in murals depicting the towns history and daily life. They are everywhere.
It also has a pretty great fudge shop, and I managed to split a a sample platter with 2 other girls before deciding not to splurge, and headed off to check out another famous shop – the marble shop.
This small building creates glass marbles and ornaments, and in the back has a small room filled with contraptions that move via marbles and winding machines. I only had about ten minutes before I had to rush back to the bus, so didn’t get to enjoy them as much as I would have liked, but still worth seeing. It’s really too bad we only had 50 minutes in Sheffield – really need a few hours to appreciate the town.
Another hour had us at our nights lodgings – Tasmania’s other large city, Launceston. This town has quite the rivalry with Hobart, with both towns considering the other to be full of crazies. Personally, from what little I saw I prefer Hobart, as Launceston seems to be mostly restaurants and food halls rather than an actual town. Great if you’re hungry, less if you’re just looking around.