Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain National Park

Resuming our tour of Tasmania’s wild and beautiful places after a break, here’s our walk around Dove Lake, under the ramparts of Cradle Mountain (map).

Tasmania is not very big, especially to Queenslanders like us, but Cradle Mountain is as hard to get to as Strahan, and for similar reasons: it’s at the end of several hours’ drive into wild country whether you start from Hobart or Launceston. Launceston is the closer of the two but the trip still takes a couple of hours – down the highway towards Burnie, then through Sheffield, past Mt Roland and up into the northern edge of the highlands. It’s worth the effort.

The entry-point to the park is a big new visitor centre with a carpark to match. Free shuttle buses run from it all day to Dove Lake, the end of their run, with stops at accommodation, walking tracks and the ranger centre.

We fitted the Dove Lake walk and two shorter walks (Enchanted and Waldheim) into the two long half-days we had there. Another day would have been nice, but I’ve already said that about several other places we saw, so I guess we really needed a longer holiday.

Dove Lake

The Dove Lake circuit is deservedly popular, being long enough to count as a ‘real’ walk but short enough to do in a day and without specialised gear. Continue reading “Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain National Park”

Zeehan and Queenstown

We stopped in Zeehan on our way from Cradle Mountain to Strahan, and passed through Queenstown on our way from Strahan back to Hobart.

The two towns have similar histories, having prospered – boomed, in fact – because of mining in the late nineteenth century but dwindled during the twentieth. In this they resemble Charters Towers and Ravenswood in the Townsville hinterland, and all four towns have public buildings out of all proportion to their current population.

Zeehan PO and Grand Hotel
Zeehan Post Office (foreground) and Grand Hotel and Theatre

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Strahan and Macquarie Harbour

A North-South line through Hobart and Launceston divides Tasmania fairly accurately into the settled East and the wild West. The West is wetter and far more mountainous, and much of it is wilderness (and long may it remain so!). Macquarie Harbour opens onto the middle of the West coast and was one of the most isolated outposts of the early colony. Its main township, Strahan, did well enough from fishing and timber-getting to survive but is still a tiny spot of humanity in a world of mountains, water and trees.

Strahan

Strahan is now a pretty little town strung along the northern coast of Macquarie Harbour. Fishing and timber are still important but tourism, exemplified by day-long harbour tours on big catamarans, has become a major activity.

strahan beach
Looking along the Macquarie Harbout beach from Strahan caravan park towards the centre of town

Continue reading “Strahan and Macquarie Harbour”