I’m not a big fan of New Years, so rather than having people tell me to go out and drink and be merry, my friend Mark and I took off for a few days.
December 30 2011
We packed up the car with a tent and a bunch of food and headed off. We headed up the midlands highway, turned off at Melton Mowbray and drove over the central highlands, past the Great Lake and eventually got to Deloraine where we stopped at Red Cafe for a delicious lunch: Salt and Pepper Calamari Salad and Pumpkin & Prosciutto Pizza, and of course accompanied with a lovely glass of wine. Yummo!!
With our bellies full, we hit the road again and headed off to Mole Creek. We stopped here to do a tour of the Marakoopa Cave. I tried to do this tour with my cousin and her partner in January 2011, but it was flooded at the time. Marakoopa had some lovely rock formations, an underground river and much to my delight…glow worms!!!! The most stunning thing in the cave (glow worms aside) was ‘The Cathedral’.
After our tour we hopped back in the car and drove the last few hours to Cradle Mountain,. We checked in, found our allocated camping spot and set up the super amazing tent! After packing up we got out all our cooking gear and whipped up a delicious dinner of gnocchi with homemade rocket pesto.
December 31 2011
We had an early start to the day, meeting up with our Canyoning guides Leon and Nick at 0830. We thought it would be a great idea to end the year with a Canyoning expedition. We did the day trip to Dove Canyon with Cradle Mountain Canyons. The trip was roughly 8 hours.
We walked in to the Dove Canyon area and got kitted out in super thick warm wetsuits, wetsuit booties, wetsuit gloves etc in preparation for the chilly Tasmanian water. We started with a short abseil ending in a splash into the river below. From there we walked, swam and crab-walked our way down the canyon. We did some waterfall jumps (the biggest of which was 6 metres), slid off logs and waterfalls, and zoofed down some natural water slides.
All the different jumps started off a little scary, but as we got more into it we started getting more adventures with our jumps. Rather than stock standard straight-ish legs drops into the water we started doing some bombs and crazy things..it was so much fun! (at one stage I did a 3-4 metres bomb off a waterfall..it was great!!
Our guides were fantastic, both informative and fun! The group of people who were on the tour were also a fantastic crowd, all offering encouragement for those with a fear of heights. Canyoning was a rush!! Absolutely awesome and well worth it!!!
By the time we got back to the bus, I was completely knackered. So we enjoyed an ice cream to cool off in the hot weather (the river was freezing cold, but by the time we were out of the water and had dried off, it was a scorcher of a day) before heading to the tent for a wee little nap.
Our new years was exactly how I like it: good company, good dinner (vegie stir fry), a cuppa and an early night!!
January 1 2012
We started the day with a little sleep in, before getting up packing our daypacks and heading out to Dove Lake. Today was a day for a challenging bushwalk.
We started at Dove Lake, headed around Lake Lilla and Wombat Pool, up to Marions Lookout, across the plateau to Kitchen Hut, scrambled our way up to the very peak of Cradle Mountain, then headed along the Face Track before cutting down towards Lake Wilks and then finishing off a stretch of the Dove Lake Circuit. On a beautifully sunny (in other words, way too hot to be walking) day, with only a few short 10 minute breaks this walk took us 7.5hours and by the end of it I was EXHAUSTED!!!!
So in a bit more detail… it was quite a nice wander from our starting point to Wombat Pool, a lovely morning, clear blue skies and a nice light breeze. Along the path we came across a teeny tiny brown frog, but apart from the birds, not much wildlife. Wombat Pool had no wombats, and didn’t look like it was the shape of a wombat either…but still it was lovely and in the distance you could just see the tip of Cradle Mountain. Shortly after Wombat Pool the incline to Marions Lookout started..and I tell you what, it’s a hard slog!! It’s quite steep and on a hot day, very hard work. The view from the top was pretty speccy though! Our reward for getting this far, was to sit down for a few minutes and eat an apple.
From Marions Lookout to just past Kitchen Hut the walk was fairly flat. We had a great view of Cradle Mountain the whole way. Just past Kitchen Hut was where the hard work started. The rock scramble/climb to the peak. Basically we had to climb up and over huge piles of boulders. At the peak there was a teeny little valley to descend into before climbing again to the higher peak. At the higher peak I had a huge dummy spit and went back down to the lower peak almost immediately…my conquering of the mountain was destroyed by a plague of bugs that kept buzzing around me and landing on me..it was what nightmares are made of!!!!!
The reward we had saved ourselves for the higher peak, was put off to a bug free point, after descending to the lower peak we gave ourselves time to sit down, soak up the view and eat some lunch.
The decent was almost as hard as the climb up, and by the base of the summit we had certainly earned ourselves a melted freddo frog!! Not spending too much time on our butts, we headed down along the face track, it was crazy how overgrown this track was!! Part way along the Face Track we took another track that cut down to Lake Wilks, and then further down to the Dove Lake Circuit. The last section of the Dove Lake Circuit that we walked was all nice and even timber pathways…a great break from all the hard work my legs had been doing.
At the conclusion of our walk we sat on some rocks and put out feet in the ice cold lake. My feet were hot and sore, so it was a great moment of relief!
I’m very proud of myself for having completed such a massive walk, the biggest and hardest walk I have ever done. It was hard work but well worth it. Now that I have conquered Cradle Mountain, I have no intention to do it again! My muscles are still aching!!!!
By the time we got back to our campsite it was time for food and drink, so accompanied by a nice glass of wine, we cooked up a big pot of pasta!!!
January 2 2012
We started our morning with coffee, some breakfast and made a start to packing up our super awesome tent. By 0930 we were on the road home. We made one stop along the way, to go and check out Liffey Falls. Luckily it was a short 40 minute round trip walk (my poor legs could not have done much more than that!!). There were people EVERYWHERE, which was a bit of a downer, but on the whole the falls were lovely. It was definitely worth stopping and even though it hurt a little, I’m sure that it helped my sore muscles to get a little bit of a stretch.
The remainder of the drive home was fairly uneventful, I drove and sang along (badly) to last years “JJJ Hottest 100” and Mark got the chance to catch up on some sleep (Probably a good thing he was dozing and not listening to my singing!!).
The changing of the year was heaps of fun and full of challenges!! Happy New Year!!!