Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Ever since I was a
small boy, growing up in a keen bush walking family Cradle Mountain
was heralded as the Holy Grail, the oasis, a land of such sweeping
grandeur it would bring tears to the eyes of all who beheld it.
Having visited many times over the years I must say that the reality
still lives up to those childhood dreams and expectations. The park
is without a doubt the most beautiful in Australia that I have seen.
Though the weather can
be temperamental and there are now such large queues flocking to
hike "The Overland Trail" that bookings and trail fees are essential
during peak times, the park remains full of that deeply penetrating
wonderland feel. Reflections abound with many a "tarn" dappling the
landscape. Unique Pencil Pines and Pandanis grow amongst towering cliffs and deep valleys filled
with crystal clear blue lakes. It is truly a spectacular place just
to stand, breath and exist.
For day walkers access
to Dove Lake (pictured left) is easy, with a sealed road right to
the lake shore. More serious hikers wanting to strike out for the likes
Bluff, Mt Ossa (Tasmania's highest peak), and on to Lake St.
Claire will need to allow three or four days walking in a good
climate. While there are huts, a tent must still be taken in case of
crowding or weather issues. For those who like their nature
experience less bold or lack the fitness I'm told private companies
offer guided treks with more up market accommodation along the
trial, hot meals, your packs carried for you, etc.
Mountain National Park would have to be the cream of the crop for
hikers who visit from all over the world. For a less crowed
alternative, try the Walls Of Jerusalem National Park, an equally picturesque trek.
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