ICONIC CRADLE MOUNTAIN-LAKE ST CLAIR NP
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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TUESDAY MARCH 2 2010
Mileage @ Lake St. Clair NP: 12237 kms
Weather: minimum 2 degrees, maximum 13 degrees
Staying at Lake St. Clair Cynthia Bay campground $25pn
Tuesday was a leisurely morning after a late rising, partly because it was so cold and mainly because it was great to have a sleep in. We spent some time at the Information Centre, enjoying the log fire and collecting maps for our walks. We watched the backpackers arriving from the 6 day 80 km Overland hike and most were smiling!
This national park is so famous now, that it is a symbol almost of Tasmania's wilderness; we thought the facilities very worn out and badly maintained at the camp ground and they were managed privately! But the environment is special and once you get away from the camp, there is a feeling of real nature. The area was declared World Heritage in 1982.
We completed all the short walks around the camp, Watersmeet, Platypus Bay and Larmairremener and they were lovely!
We spent time at Lake St Clair, the deepest lake in Australia; it is moody and grey on this cool overcast day and we needed to keep the three layers of clothing on for the whole day. The lake is surrounded by mountain ranges, craggy peaks and thick rainforest. The Big River tribe occupied the area pre white habitation and called the lake "sleeping water".
A large number of fires have swept through the park and we guessed that is why there were so many fallen and dead trees scattered around.
On Wednesday we tackled the Mt Rufus track, 16kms return. It’s a steady climb up and a knee stressing journey down. You actually climb 700metres to reach an altitude of 1416 metres at the summit and wow! You feel like you are on top of the world. This must have the best mountain top views in Tassie!
There are layers and layers of mountain ranges stretching into the distance all around you. And below, the lakes are blue and impressive
The sky was cloudless and the temperature reached 25 degrees, very unusual at this time of the year. First you go through a peppermint gum forest that smells gorgeous, past button grass plains and then as you go higher you get into the sub alpine vegetation with snow gums and pretty little gardens. Our favourite pandani made an appearance here and there!
A tiger snake gave us a huge fright as it looked like it was going to go straight at us but it eventually turned off the track into the bush. Sheila, out in front moved so fast you could hardly see her. This made us nervous and very cautious for a while but we recovered and did not encounter another.
We sat for an hour on the summit having lunch and comparing notes with other hikers, today mostly international travellers. In winter the spot would be covered in snow.
This was indeed a very special experience and we felt happy but pretty tired by the time we arrived back at camp, 7 hours later. A relaxing hot shower, some tasty pasta and life was sweet!