Thursday, 6 February 2014

Tasmania Trip - Day 13

Day 13 - 6/2/2014 - Devonport to Cradle Mountain


Well all I can say is that we were glad that we had a cabin!  It allowed us to relax as much as possible.  We had our own shower and toilet, and when things got rough it was good to be lying down in a comfortable bed with a TV to distract you!  The trip wasn’t too bad for the first few hours crossing Port Phillip Bay, but after we went through the heads, that was when things started getting interesting.


We didn’t pass through the heads until about 10pm ish so the first few hours were relatively calm, but after that you could tell that we had hit the swell.  We were on deck 7 out of 11  and our windows were constantly getting a drenching from the waves hitting the bow of the ship and then 5 or seconds later you would hear the spray hit the windows and run down the front of the ship.  I couldn’t photograph it because it was too dark.  You would hear the bang of the wave against the hull, and when looking out the window, you could see a white sheet of water against the sky, and then a few seconds later the water would drench the window that you were looking out.  The ferry was moving up and down so much that it was a bit difficult walking around.  Luckily we had had our showers earlier when we were in the calm water of Port Phillip Bay!  Even when you were lying in bed it felt like you were on a roller coaster with your stomach dropping all of the time.


Here are some stats on the ferry.


We managed to get a couple of hours sleep just as we were nearing Tasmania as the land protected the path of travel a bit.  We had a wake up call via the loudspeaker at 5:30am, just as we were docking in Devonport.  We didn’t have a deep sleep but at least were rested.  At 6am they called for people to start heading down to certain car decks.  Luckily we were in the first group.


A tight fit!

We were one of the first few vehicles off at 6:30am.  On the way out we had to stop and pick up our portable butane gas bottles from security.  Gas bottles are ok as long as they are plumbed into the vehicle, ie the camper, but we had a small portable cooker for emergencies so the canisters that it used had to be all secured in a separate are for the trip.


After working out where we were and how to get out of town, the first stop was the town of Sheffield to restock on fruit and veggies as you can’t bring anything into Tasmania due to the quarantine laws.  We arrived at about 7:30am so we had about half an hour to fill in so we wandered the main street looking at all of the paintings on the side of the buildings.  It was a shame that it was early and nothing was open.






After the shop at Sheffield the next stop was O’Neils Creek picnic reserve for breakfast.  This link has some photos becuase I didn’t think to take any at the time :-( http://www.caravancaravan.com.au/entity/oneills-creek-picnic-reserve-camping-area/tas




From there it was on to Cradle Mountain.  As we started climbing into the mountains, the scenery reminded us a lot of the Snowy Mountains area.




Finally some nice cool weather!
We arrived at the Cradle Mountain Big 4 right on 10am but we couldn’t check in because there were people still on our site.  So to fill in time we explored the visitors center at the national parks entrance and worked how the shuttle buses to Dove Lake worked.  There is only limited parking available between the info centre and Dove Lake and it is all controlled by a boom gate.  If there are no spaces available then it won’t let you in.  When you see how busy it gets you can see why they run shuttle buses from the info centre to Dove Lake as it is unbelieveable how many tourists there are!  It would be absolute pandemonium if they all tried to drive and park at Dove Lake!


We eventually were able to check in at 11am.  It was a nice bushy camp ground and not like your typical van park all jammed in side by side.






At your site you had to hang a tag with your surname and checkout date.  Jodie noticed the names of the campers was Backash.  This wasn’t a very common surname and the only place that Jodie had heard this name before was in Cloncurry, where some of her relatives lived.  And sure enough the Backash’s that we were camped beside were in fact from Cloncurry and the good friends of her relatives!  Small world!


After lunch we headed back to the info centre to catch a shuttle bus to Dove Lake.  We didn’t do the whole Dove Lake circuit because we were still tired from the lack of sleep the night before on the ferry.  The day had also warmed up quite a bit and we weren't really prepared for a hot walk.  We only went as far as the Boat shed in one direction and Glacier Rock the other.


Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain and the Boat Shed
Click on the image to get a bigger version of the photo
On top of Glacier Rock looking to Cradle Mountain
People on top of Marions Lookout - where we were going to walk to the following day!
Looking back at the Boat shed from Glacier Rock
We returned to camp early afternoon and had a bit of a rest before dinner to help recover from the lack of sleep the night before.  We had an early dinner but it felt strange cooking in broad daylight at about 6:30pm.  Due to the daylight saving and being further south, meant it didn’t get to dusk until about 9:00pm and fully dark until about 10:30pm!


After dinner, I headed back to Dove Lake to try some early evening photos of Cradle Mountain and the Boatshed, just as the sun was setting at about 8:30pm.  Unfortunately the clouds also started to roll in at this time.  A German guy that we had met when we were at the Boatshed earlier in the afternoon was still there!  He had been taking photos, or least patiently waiting for the hoards of inconsiderate tourists to move out of frame, all afternoon.







I finally decided to pack up my gear at around 10pm as the cloud cover was getting quite heavy and the temperature was really starting to drop.  The German guy had already left and I was the only one left at Dove Lake.  It was quite eerie being the only person there in the dark.  It was only about a 600m walk back to the car park on a well formed track, but in the dark with only a small headlight it felt a lot longer!


Just after I had climbed into bed back at camp, we heard a rustling around our bin.  When we got up to investigate we found a mother and her baby possum raiding the bin.  They had proceeded to rip apart the bag to get at its contents.  We had thrown out a baked potato that was a couple of days old that was still wrapped in al foil.  The mother possum had managed to unwrap some of the al foil and was having a good old much on the potato.  It isn’t good for the native animals to eat human food so Jodie entered into a tug-of-war with the possum to try and prise it out of it claws.  It wasn’t giving up the potato without a fight but eventually Jodie won the battle!

Mum and not so small baby possum!

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