Day 148 – Cradle Mountain (and wombats)

Cold, cold, cold. And wet. Things weren’t looking great for today… Daylight savings meant that we didn’t wake until 7:30, but with the weather the way it was, there was no hurry to be anywhere.

20131008_RCH_3794 20131008_RCH_3796We drove to Cradle Mountain National Park because I thought that the day would clear up as it did yesterday. Along the way we had to cross a 900m mountain pass, and it was like driving in the clouds (novel, but not much to see…).

I thought that since we had time to kill waiting for the weather to improve I’d start pulling the car apart to find the answer to the lack of heating… Nothing like being cold as a motivator to do something about it. I pulled the dash apart as much as I could with our custom centre console, but it wasn’t enough to get to the heating equipment. At least with the dash apart I could hear the small motors controlling the air through the heater moving… Next attempt will be to flush the heater.

20131008_RCH_3800 20131008_RCH_3806Sure enough, as I started putting the car back together the sun started to break through the clouds. We had a quick lunch and by the time we’d caught the shuttle to the start of the walking trails by Dove Lake there were large swathes of blue sky overhead. I was a little star struck, as I was confronted with a scene that I’d seen so many times in photos, and was so eager to see with my own eyes one day. Best of all, I wasn’t disappointed – it was beautiful. I think Risa was sick of hearing me tell her how much I loved this mountain, and how I wished I could live here with this view. But, I meant it. Beaches and cities are nice, but I love mountains, especially when they are as rugged as this one. A friend that once visited (and photographed) this area joked that it is the most photographed boat shed in Australia, and he’s probably correct (mostly because I haven’t seen many other boat sheds in such prominent positions).

20131008_RCH_3810We started walking around the lake, but when I saw a turnoff for Marion Lookout, I convinced Risa that we should go that way. Little did either of realise just how hard and how long this trail was… I think if she’d known at the start she’d have refused. It was incredibly steep and it seemed to go on for 45 minutes. But, we kept taking small breaks and eventually made it to the top. The only problem was I can’t be satisfied until I’ve reached the end. This lookout wasn’t enough, so after Risa had had a short rest, we continued closer to Cradle Mountain.

20131008_RCH_381820131008_RCH_3839 20131008_RCH_386620131008_RCH_3821 20131008_RCH_3826 20131008_RCH_3830Now that we’d climbed to nearly 1300m it was fairly easy walking along alpine plains. There were countless small water holes filled with incredibly clear water from the freshly melted snow. And, speaking of snow, there were quite a few pockets of it up there. We had to have a play since it’s been a while since we were last in the snow (and the first time for Risa in the southern hemisphere).

20131008_RCH_3862We continued walking towards the mountain, continually wondering what was over the next rise. I could have followed it all day, and I would have too if Risa hadn’t been there. But, she was getting tired and hungry, and it wasn’t fair to drag her all around the mountain. She’d already done a good job getting this far. …though, the trail to the summit was tantalisingly close… I could see a rest shelter not too far in the distance, and my inner thoughts were how to convince Risa to wait there while I go climb to the top of the mountain… But, I knew that it was silly, as I didn’t have any food, and while the weather was currently fine, I knew that it could turn quite rapidly and we didn’t have the right gear to be stuck on a mountain in Tasmania during bad weather. I have decided that if I regain fitness I want to do the entire weeklong Overland Track one day (and not invite Risa).

20131008_RCH_3876We turned around and took a slight detour on the return leg after Marion Lookout. Rather than return to where we started at Dove Lake, we continued towards Ronny Creek via Crater Lake, where we found another boat shed! Not quite as magic location, but there was still something really beautiful about it.

20131008_RCH_3886 20131008_RCH_3893 20131008_RCH_3890 20131008_RCH_3896After walking along exposed trails for most of the afternoon it was amazing to suddenly find ourselves within a beautiful mossy forest. It was also rather temperate in this little pocket. Oh, and the Cradle Falls were pretty, but you can probably see that already.

20131008_RCH_3900On the way down we’d noticed lots of these lumps of poo by the side of the trail. By a process of elimination we’d decided it was from a wombat. The further we travelled down the more of it we’d see.

20131008_RCH_3906 20131008_RCH_3907…until we finally caught sight of one about 30m away. Then another less than 10m away. We walked towards it as quietly as we could, trying our best not to spook it. It seemed not to care that we were there, until it did and it ran to safety underneath the boardwalk. We waited a while for it to poke it’s head back out, but no luck. We were so happy to have seen a wombat in the wild.

20131008_RCH_3911 20131008_RCH_3931 20131008_RCH_3935After those initial two, we must have seen another twenty wombats on this plain! It was incredible how many were in this area, and how tame they were. Some of them even came so close to us that we could give them a pat (exciting, but not the nicest feeling fur).

We returned to the car five hours after we left it, which was quite a bit longer than I thought we’d be gone. We were tired, but still on a high from the day we’d just had.

20131008_RCH_3941But, it wasn’t over yet! We had one more small hike near the car park through more mossy forest with more beautiful waterfalls.

20131008_RCH_3949 20131008_RCH_3950We travelled for an hour and found a beautiful place to camp right on the edge of Mackintosh Dam. It’s just us and the frogs/wallabies/stars tonight, and that’s how I like it.

147日目  10月 8日(火) クレイドル山とウォンバット!!!

今日は、クレイドルマウンテンというタスマニアでも1、2を争う大人気の場所を探検! タスマニアを訪れる 1/4の観光客が訪れるそうです。

到着時は、お天気があまりよくなく、小雨模様でしたが、ロスはヒーターの修理、私はブログを書いたりしながら天気の回復を待ちました。

ちょうど散策を開始しようとしていたお昼ごろに天気が回復!

インフォメーションセンターに車を停めて、無料のシャトルバスに乗りました。

この辺りのいくつもの湖の中でも1番大きなDove Lakeという湖の側でバスを下車。

この湖には、古いボート小屋があり、これはタスマニアを訪れる人々が必ず撮る写真の1枚です。   ロスも何枚も撮っていました。
湖は、とても透明ですが、木々の成分で紅茶のような色をしています。

そして湖の奥には、いくつものゴツゴツと尖った岩の頂上をしたクレイドル山が見えるなんとも壮大な景色です。 山の高い部分には、雪が! 最近いつ雪が降ったのかとドライバーさんに聞いた所、なんと先週の火曜日だとか。
どうりで寒いわけねー。

当初は、湖の周囲を回るトラックを散策する予定でしたが、Marions Lookoutという展望コースへ変更。

これは、クレイドル山の頂上へいく途中の登山で、Lookout(展望)なんて書かれているからすぐ登れると思いきや、これがなかなか大変。

距離も思ったより長く、急な岩をチェーンを使って上がっていくパートもあったりと、なかなか久々のハイキングの為途中何度も休憩。

クレイドル山と周囲の湖、遠くの山並みを見渡せるこのトラックの頂上に到着。 お天気にも恵まれて最高の景色を満喫できました。

このクレイドル山、尖った山並みがなんだかロードオブザリングにでてくる山みたい。

当初の目的地について気づいたのが、雪が意外とここから遠くない所にある。

山好き、雪好きのロス、これを見逃すことはできず、もう少し先まで行きたいとの事。。

この先は、クレイドル山の頂上を目指す為のトラックがまだ先へ続いています。

先ほど登ってきたトラックとは違い、そこまで急な登りではなさそうなので、じゃあもう少し行ってみようかと先へ進んでみました。

周りは、背の低い木や、草と石が広がり、景色は、360°。

いくつかの雪解けでできた水たまりや小川をこえ、ようやくオーストラリアで初めての雪にご対面!

春のザラメの雪!  この旅で雪がみれるかはそこまで期待していなかったので、突然のご対面に感動。

そして気づいたのが、28年の人生の中で、1年半以上雪を見ていないのは人生で最長!

やっぱ道産子。 どこへ行っても、雪から逃れられない運命のようです。

ちょっとはしゃいでスニーカー スキーもしちちゃったり笑

その先ももう少し、もう少しと進むうちに、クレイドル山の山小屋の側まできてしまいましたが、この先もかなり長く、食料、体力もそこまでないので、山頂へは登らず。  ロスくんかなり行きたそうでしたが、先は長いしね。

帰りは、別の湖クレーター湖と滝が見れるルートでバスを下車した場所とは別の場所へ戻るルートを散策。

急だけれど、ほぼすべて下りで、かなりらくちん。 滝の辺りは、いままで歩いてきた乾燥した木々や草の景色とは一転し、例温帯雨林の森に。

木々の緑と草の緑の他にも、岩や木々にびっしりと生息した様々なコケのおかげで、ふつうの森よりももっと緑が濃いとてもきれいな場所で、ここも北海道のようだねとロスとなつかしく感心していました。

その小さな緑のエリアを通り抜けると、今度はひらけた草原が広がっていました。

途中いくつも見かけた、なにかの糞は、あのウォンバトのものではないかと推測。

先を進めば進む程、うんちがあちこちにある笑

いつかいつかと目を凝らしながらボードウォークを歩いていると、前方についにウォンバットさん発見!

大興奮ながらそーっっと近づいてみようとしたら何と私たちのすぐ横にもいたー!!

手が届きそうな距離でふつーに草をむしゃむしゃ食べている。  写真もいくつかとったけど、そのうちさっとボードウォークの下に隠れちゃいました。

生で野生のウォンバットちゃんを見れて幸せー♡

先を進むとなんと100mもしない度に、あちこちにウォンバットさん達がいるー!!

中には、むしゃむしゃ草を食べながら、なんとなーくこっちに近づいてくるものも。  でもすっとまたボードウォークの下に。  ほどよく人間なれし、程よく警戒しているようです。 けど、ちょっと触らせてくれちゃったウォンバットさんもいました。 ほんとは、触っちゃダメだけどね!!
あまりにも近くてかわいすぎた、、、

彼らは、思ったよりかなりずんぐりしていて、まるまるしてあったかそう笑毛は、けっこう硬めでした。

ご飯食べ過ぎたのか、仰向けでぐが〜と寝ているやつもおりました。

私たちの足音に気づき、しまった!!!とばかりに起き上がるも、私たちの姿を見て、あ、何だ人間か。 と言った感じでまたドタン!と寝始めたし笑

帰りのシャトルバスからも見れたし、インフォメーションセンターのすぐ側にもいたし、夕方は比較的たくさん見る事ができるようです。

1日の終わりにこんなにたくさんのウォンバットさんたちを見られて本当に良かった〜。

今日は、国立公園から1時間ほどのダム湖でキャンプです。  明日は、どんな仲間に会えるかなー♡

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2 responses

  1. Awesome! I just stumbled across your blog, and I am so excited to check it out. My husband and I plan to travel to Australia sometime soon, and your posts will be a great resource in planning. You got some incredible photos of your experience here. I had no idea wombats were so cute. Thanks for sharing!

    October 9, 2013 at 13:31

    • PEKOiSM

      Hi, Alison. Thanks for the compliments – I’m chuffed that you enjoyed it. It was our first time seeing wild wombats, and I too was surprised at how cute they were! Good luck with your trip planning, it’s been the holiday of our lives so far.

      October 12, 2013 at 08:48

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