While visiting Cradle Mountain recently, we went to a wildlife sanctuary called Devils@Cradle. The sanctuary is home to Tasmania’s three largest carnivorous marsupials that are endangered in the wild – Tasmanian devils, Spotted-tailed quolls, and Eastern quolls. The sanctuary houses around 100 of these animals and is involved in the insurance population breeding programs.
The sanctuary is open everyday, day and night! They offer a number of different tours you can do or just walk around the sanctuary at your leisure. We went on the After Dark Feeding Tour, so we arrived around 4.45pm and were able to wander around the sanctuary at our leisure, and then joined the tour at 5.30pm.
Following are a couple of videos of quolls and devils being fed, so just a heads up that the videos contain these animals eating pieces of dead animals so it may not be something everyone would like to see.
Turn up the volume to hear what the keeper is saying, it makes for some educational and interesting listening. 🔊 👨🎓
Here are the Tassie devil boys feeding. Love the sniffing sounds they make!
Here they are again but they are getting more into their dinner now. Watch for the little tiff at the end!
And here are the Tassie devil girls feeding.
How undignified it must have been when the keeper picked that one up by the tail! 😀
Here is a Spotted tailed quoll being fed.
And here are the Eastern quolls being fed.
Devils@Cradle do magnificent work to help our endangered and unique animals and their set up at the sanctuary is simply fantastic and is a must to visit when at Cradle Mountain. Click here to visit their website and find out more.
You might even get taken in by the little devils (and quolls) and decide to “adopt” one (or two!) like I did.
Above are my adopted animals, Skylar the Tassie devil and Gaia the eastern quoll (the same black morph quoll seen in the above video). Adopting a devil or a quoll is a great way to help support the sanctuary and is very affordable too. You can see what your adopted animals get up to at the sanctuary by following Devils@Cradle on Facebook and Instagram (@devilsatcradle).
While spending a few days at Cradle Mountain now that covid-19 restrictions have eased, we decided to take on the Crater Lake Walk, which turned out to be my toughest walk yet.
We started the journey from Ronny Creek and walked the boardwalk to the signpost and turned off to follow the track to Crater Lake.
The landscape along this trail was spectacular, and as you go along you come across the Crater Falls, a series of waterfall cascades.
I found the track to be steep at times and there were also many steps.
The track opened up for awhile and we could look back to see Ronny Creek where we began the walk.
More pictures of the walking trail and landscape.
Eventually we arrived at Crater Lake.
After a rest, we ploughed onwards and upwards gaining height.
Finally we got to the top and were rewarded with this view of Crater Lake.
Behind us was more stunnning landscape. In the video below, from the left you see Ronny Creek, then Lake Lilla, then Dove Lake, and then you can see part of a walking track up to Marion’s Lookout. Change the video to full screen for the best viewing experience.
After taking a break to enjoy the awesome views, we then kept following the trail down to Wombat Pool.
Finally we made it to Wombat Pool where we stopped for lunch.
All too soon it was time to push on again, going down lots of steps to Lake Lilla then a rough track ending at Dove Lake.
And finally, one last photo of the old boatshed.
The Crater Lake circuit is a great walk although it was quite challenging for me, walking poles definitely helped on this trail. I noticed there are lots of fagus trees (Australia’s only native deciduous tree) along the trail around Crater Lake, so this would be a perfect spot to see the changing colours of the fagus leaves in autumn, a good reason to come back! 😀
As our covid-19 restrictions eased here in Tasmania, we had the opportunity to go away for a few days and got a bargain deal on some accommodation at Cradle Mountain. It was a great time to go, cold but not too cold, no snow but it didn’t rain either so we were lucky with the weather. And there weren’t many people around making it very pleasant to explore the walking trails.
On our first day we decided to do the Dove Lake Circuit.
Those of you who are regular followers of my blog may recall that I went to Cradle Mountain about a year ago by myself, and although it was a fantastic experience because it snowed, I wasn’t able to get a good look at Cradle Mountain because of all the cloud, rain and snow, so it was great to be able to get good views on this trip.
I also spotted this yellow throated honeyeater, endemic to Tasmania, and a first for me!
We also spied some cool looking fungi along the way.
This was the view looking back over the lake to the mountain near the end of the walking track.
Towards the end of the trail we started seeing some rocks with this colourful bright orange lichen.
The Dove Lake Circuit is about 6km and took about 3 hours, well worth it for the spectacular views of Cradle Mountain, seeing waterfalls, and enjoying some peace and tranquility. If you would like to see what Dove Lake looks like in snow, check out my earlier posts here and here.
And so we come to my final day of my incredible stay at Cradle Mountain. After an amazing day of plenty of snow the day before, today was blue skies and sunshine. And boy was it cold! I checked out of my cabin and since my bus home wasn’t due until later in the afternoon I decided to catch the shuttle bus back to Dove Lake to see it under clear skies.
It was so cold walking to the bus stop, the wind was freezing cold, and I even came across black ice for the first time, only noticing it when my feet started to slip on the road. While I was waiting for the bus, I checked my mobile phone out of curiosity for the current temperature.
For those of you who use Farenheit, the current temperature of -2 Celsius is the equivalent of 28 F and the “real feel” temperature of -9 Celsius is the equivalent of 15F.
No wonder it felt cold!!
I think everyone had the same idea as me because the shuttle bus filled quickly and almost everyone stayed on until the last stop at Dove Lake. But how beautiful does Cradle Mountain look topped with snow under blue skies and sunshine.
I didn’t walk very far this morning as it was just way too cold because of the wind, so I caught the next bus to Ronny Creek hoping to get one last glimpse of a wombat.
And yes, there were several wombats out in the sunshine! I found it quite peaceful watching these funny marsupials munching away without a care.
The mountains were topped with snow from yesterday.
While waiting for the shuttle bus, I came across these black currawongs, one of which tried to get inside my backpack when I had put it on the ground for a moment. I think he was looking for food or maybe somewhere warm! 😀
Back again on the shuttle bus and this time I went back to the Enchanted Walk for a new perspective in the sunshine.
It wasn’t far along the path that I stumbled upon a small group of Bennett’s wallabies warming up in the morning sun.
As I still had time to spare until my bus home arrived, I thought I could just about manage to fit in one final walk, and chose to do the King Billy Track. What a beautiful walk it was too.
I even came across a pademelon foraging.
Along the trail I saw this very large tree that had fallen down showing its roots.
You probably can’t judge how big this tree is until you see the roots in proportion to the boardwalk track. It’s gigantic!
At the end of this beautiful trail you can even see Cradle Mountain.
And so my Cradle Mountain adventure comes to an end. In just 6 days, I got to see spectacular landscapes, enjoy a multitude of walking trails, challenged myself, did some soul searching, saw lots of different birds and wildlife, fed a possum, a couple of currawongs and a few pademelons, I saw plenty of wombats, experienced cold like I never have before, and not just saw snow, but was in right among it as it fell. Cradle Mountain has captured my heart and will remain a special place for me.
I hope you have enjoyed my experiences at Cradle Mountain as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you. I highly recommend visiting this region should you ever travel to Tasmania, there is something for everyone here, young and old alike, and at anytime of year. Definitely a place worthy of your bucket list!
My fifth and second last day holidaying at Cradle Mountain was a truly magical experience and went far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
I decided to do the Dove Lake circuit and what a great decision it turned out to be!
The Dove Lake walk is 6km and takes you around the beautiful Dove Lake and is mostly boardwalk.
The day I went there, it was very cold and rainy, it had a great atmosphere!
As the trail got closer to the end, the most amazing thing happened.
It started to snow!!!
This was no snow flurry – it kept snowing and snowing and it wasn’t long before the scenery looked like this.
I finally got to see my winter wonderland! Not only did I get to see snow fall, and a lot of it, I ended up walking the last section of the trail in the snow because it didn’t stop!
Living in Australia, I have hardly had any experience with snow, especially seeing it fall from the sky, so this particular day was really exciting for me and even a bit emotional.
It was such an incredible and unforgettable experience. This memory will stay with me forever.
Seeing snow on the gum trees was amazing, it felt kind of paradoxical.
After an absolutely thrilling day full of the best snow experiences I could ever have hoped for, I caught the shuttle bus back to my cabin, and of course everyone on the bus was talking about the snow. Even the driver said how wonderful it was and he was glad we got to see Cradle Mountain in all its glory.
My next post will be my last day at Cradle Mountain and it could not have been more opposite than today was!
After my last post 6 months ago, I decided to take a break from blogging as I had some issues that required dealing with concerning work as well as a few other personal issues, but I didn’t expect to be away for so long. But now things are going well again and I feel more motivated to get back into my blog and share my Tasmanian experiences with you.
Even though it has been some time, I thought I would pick up where I left off, continuing my adventure to Cradle Mountain last year.
On this fourth day at Cradle Mountain, I had walked the Cradle Valley Boardwalk (see my last post about that walk here) and then decided to walk from Ronny Creek to Waldheim, and I am so glad that I did!
The short walk to Waldheim led me to the historic Waldheim chalet.
This is a rebuilt chalet originally built by Gustav and Kate Weindorfer in 1912. The Weindorfers are famous for promoting and opening up the Cradle Mountain area for tourists.
Next to the chalet was the Weindorfers Forest walk, a short but enchanting nature trail with lots of tall trees and bright green moss.
By the time I had returned to the Waldheim Chalet, it started to snow!
A bit of snow wasn’t going to stop this waddling wombat I spied from the shelter of the chalet!
I managed to get a good photo of that wombat too, I dashed over to take a photo before it disappeared. How cute is it!!
As I walked back along the track to Ronny Creek to catch the shuttle bus, I saw more wombats!
When I reached my cabin late in the afternoon after a very tiring but enjoyable long walk today, there were a few pademelons hanging around wanting a feed. This one seemed to be pretty hungry! 😀
Not long afterwards, it snowed at my cabin!
I also spotted this cute pademelon sitting out the front of my cabin getting snowed on.
Well, this was such a wonderful day I didn’t think it could get any better. Little did I know what was in store for me the next day! 😉
Continuing on with my adventure at Cradle Mountain recently, this day was a great one for walking.
I decided to do the Cradle Valley Boardwalk starting from the Ranger Station and finishing at Ronny Creek seeing as I had already done the last section via Lake Lilla the day before, making it about a 5.5 km walk.
The boardwalk started out in a beautiful mossy green forest then opened up to big skies and wide landscapes.
It was raining on and off but it was so quiet. It was really pleasant listening to the occasional bird call and the sound of rain falling softly. It felt like I was in another world.
Every now and then, there would be a short path to a kind of lookout area with a seat to rest on.
There was even a sun shower!
Someone’s home by the boardwalk.
I spent a bit of time at this next spot. I tried to find the source of the unfamiliar birdcalls, but the rain and grey skies made it quite difficult.
I did get a quick video of one bird, but can’t make out what it could be. Anyone got any ideas what it might be?
Back on the main track again and it started snowing! You can even hear a black currawong calling at the end of the video.
I saw quite a few black currawongs along this track today. Here’s just one.
This next bit of the track felt like I was in a ghostly tree graveyard.
The track then became more closed in with forest.
Just after I spied a sign saying I was at a spot called Snake Hill (and looking around me wondering if it was appropriately named!) I saw a wombat run across the track in front of me and hide like a statue in the bushes near the track!
And just a few metres on, I saw a very casual Bennett’s wallaby munching grass.
Here he is enjoying his grass.
Not long after, the sun came out and some blue sky appeared. It was amazing how the landscape looked so different.
I crossed a bridge over a river and saw some interesting fungi.
And then I came across an obstacle – a huge tree had fallen on the boardwalk and damaged it quite a bit.
I was only minutes away from my destination of Ronny Creek, so luckily I was able to squeeze under the fallen tree trunk and scramble to the other side. Although, now that I think about it, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea in case the tree moved and fell on me. 🤔
And here’s another black currawong I saw coming in to Ronny Creek. I love the look on his face!
At Ronny Creek, the sun disappeared and it became cold and bleak again.
I really enjoyed trekking the Cradle Valley Boardwalk. There was lots to see, different wildlife, little tracks detouring to the river, it rained, it snowed and was sunny for awhile. It was so peaceful walking on this path, it was blissful solitude. I never saw another person the entire time.
As this is quite a long post, I’ll continue my day’s walking in my next post. I decided to continue the walk from Ronny Creek to Waldheim and finally check out what was there. And it was definitely worth it!
Another cold and rainy day at Cradle Mountain, but when you’re on holidays, you still get out there among it and do the things you came to do.
On this day, I decided to do the track to Lake Lilla. My day’s walking involved a start from Ronny Creek to follow the track to Lake Lilla, about 3 km, and then I took the turn off to Wombat Pool, another 1 km, then walked on to Dove Lake, a further 2.7 km.
I started off from the boardwalk at Ronny Creek revisiting part of the same route I took yesterday, even spying a lone wombat close to the track.
I even saw some turbo chooks (native hens). They really do remind me of chickens!
Then I took the turn off to Lake Lilla.
I spotted this interesting bush along the way, but I don’t know what it is. If anyone knows, let me know.
As rain showers came and went, the scenery changed along the way. At first, there was lots of button grass along the boardwalk.
Button grass is endemic to south eastern Australia and grows in tussocks in peat, and Tasmania has the largest peatlands in the southern hemisphere (another thing I learnt while on holiday!).
Then suddenly, the boardwalk ended and a track appeared. It became quite narrow. Here it’s less than half a metre wide.
I spotted the occasional banksia tree. One tree had a pair of green rosellas but they took off just as I got my camera out.
This path was not only narrow it was unforgiving. With all the rain, the track was wet and sometimes slippery, and occasionally a tree branch had fallen across the track which required clambering over, very carefully. I was so thankful I had good waterproof walking boots! It was incredibly quiet, just the sound of the rain and the occasional bird call, and the gusts of wind blowing the tops of the trees.
There was plenty of this interesting coral lichen around.
Another type of lichen often seen on trees.
I was beginning to feel this track would never end!
While walking along this track, I was very conscious of the fact that I was out there by myself. There was no internet or mobile phone reception out here. And as I had been walking for ages and still had not come across another person, it could be a very long wait for help if needed. I went slower than usual so I didn’t slip and fall or twist an ankle – didn’t want to ruin my holiday! I’m glad I registered my walk in the log book at the bus stop. I can see why it’s important to do this, as you never know what can happen.
Finally, I made it to Lake Lilla. I couldn’t see the lake yet but I could hear people’s voices so I started to feel relieved I made it all that way in one piece.
I decided to push on to see Wombat Pool, even though I cringed when I saw this – stairs, and many of them, going up, up and up!
I don’t like stairs at the best of times, especially when there are no handrails, so it was a great effort on my part to continue on. The rain kept on coming in waves, and the further on I went, the colder and windier it became.
But I’m sure you’ll agree that view of Lake Lilla was worth the climb!
Made it to Wombat Pool! Now to get to Dove Lake and get the shuttle bus back to the cabin for a well earned rest.
I thought going down the stairs would be easy, but it wasn’t, especially with the rain coming down. I stopped to chat with an elderly English gentleman who had walked from Marion’s Lookout, and he had the right idea using walking poles. Note to self – get walking poles before my next trip to Cradle Mountain!
Last look at Lake Lilla just before getting to the Dove Lake car park for the shuttle bus.
Spotted some pinky-red berries along the way back to the bus. Not sure what they are exactly.
When I finally made it back to my holiday cabin, I was more than ready to put my feet up and have a rest, but then I heard some birds twittering right out of the front so of course I had to go and have a looksee. There were several tiny little birds flitting about under the bushes right outside the cabin. They moved so fast I couldn’t get any photos, so took some video.
The first one is, I think, a thornbill of some kind. If anyone can identify it for me, it would be appreciated.
And this one is of a different little bird, not sure what this one is, maybe a scrubtit? If you can identify this bird as well for me, that would be great.
Well, this was quite an adventurous day!
Keep an eye out for my next post for more Cradle Mountain adventures! 🙂