Cradle Mountain Day 4 – Blissful Solitude

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!

Cradle Mountain Day 3 – Up For A Challenge

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.

Walker registration at the Ronny Creek bus stop

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.

Wombat by the boardwalk at Ronny Creek

I even saw some turbo chooks (native hens). They really do remind me of chickens!

Then I took the turn off to Lake Lilla.

There’s always someone wanting to joke around with signs ….

I spotted this interesting bush along the way, but I don’t know what it is. If anyone knows, let me know.

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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!).

Button grass moorlands

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!

Just a small section of the never ending steps to Wombat Pool. The rope rail was only for a short section.

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.

Looking down from the top onto Lake Lilla.

But I’m sure you’ll agree that view of Lake Lilla was worth the climb!

Wombat Pool. Must be the same joker mucking around with the signs …..

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!

The descent from Wombat Pool

Last look at Lake Lilla just before getting to the Dove Lake car park for the shuttle bus.

Lake Lilla from the walking track to Dove Lake car park

Spotted some pinky-red berries along the way back to the bus. Not sure what they are exactly.

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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! 🙂

 

Cradle Mountain Day 2 – The More You Look The More You Find (Furry Things)

After an exciting first day to my holiday at Cradle Mountain, I was pumped to discover what awaited me the next day. And I wasn’t disappointed!

My friends at work told me to make sure to visit a place called Ronny Creek and guaranteed that I would see plenty of wombats there. Well, they weren’t wrong!

Ronny Creek and the beginning of the famous Overland Track
Black currawong

After registering my walk at the shelter, watched by this wet black currawong, I headed off to see if I could find some wombats.

It was only after a few minutes walk that I stopped to take in my surroundings and get some photos. It was so quiet, just the occasional bird call and the constant, soft babbling of the little streams meandering around the boardwalk.

Then a movement caught my eye near my feet!

So close I almost missed it!!

This wombat was too interested in eating and couldn’t care less what I was doing, so I took a video of him.

This would have to be my best wombat encounter ever!

And then I started looking around more closely, and what do you know – wombats were everywhere! They blend in so well with their environment they can be difficult to spot, but once you start looking for them, they just seem to pop up out of nowhere!

Looking back to the bus stop
Another wombat close by

Wombats are nocturnal creatures however on days that are rainy and overcast they will often come out of their burrow in search if more grass to eat.

I decided to walk on to Waldheim and see what was there. The whole track was about 1 km long but it took me ages, because, you know, animals! 🙂

After only a few minutes walking, this happened!

It snowed! Only briefly, but wow, it was great! Freezing cold, but great! 😀

 

Pandani palms in the foreground and button grass behind them

The pandani palms in the photo above are only found in Tasmania and are the largest heath plant in the world. They are found in sub alpine environments, which is what the Cradle Mountain area is. These plants survive the cold conditions because their old leaves remain on the trunk to provide insulation. (You can see that my holiday was also educational lol)

The sun made a very brief appearance along the way.

Pandani palms

And yes, there were more wombats to see on the way to Waldheim!

Most of the wombats seen were busily munching grass oblivious to what was going on around them, but a few times I spied one of the move.

A wombat burrow – quite a big one!
Looking back from Waldheim the way I came

As it was getting late, since I was taking so long watching wombats, I decided to turn around and head back so I didn’t miss the last shuttle bus, otherwise it was going to be a very, very long walk back to the cabin!  But I knew I could come back another day and explore what was at Waldheim further.

And more wombats were spotted all the way back to the bus stop. They were probably the same ones I saw before.

It was really exciting that not only were there plenty of wombats to see at Ronny Creek, but that they were often close to the boardwalk making it easy to watch them and take pictures of them. Although it was difficult to see their faces as they were eating and heading away from the boardwalk, so much of the time you just saw their back end!

Here’s a wombat having a scratch!

The most common sight at Ronny Creek – wombat butts!
Waiting for the shuttle bus which you can just see on the back left.

Back at the cabin in the late afternoon, I was looking forward to a rest after an exciting day of wombat spotting, but I got distracted when several pademelons turned up. They are just too cute for their own good!

Pademelons around my holiday cabin

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Pademelons around my holiday cabin

I also saw this Forest Raven in a tree near the cabin.

Forest Raven

And these two black currawongs turned up looking for a feed. They also got some apple to eat like the pademelons.

Black currawongs

That poor bird with the extra long beak! I don’t know why it’s like that. It’s been around for a fair while too, as I noticed several visitors had written in the cabin’s guestbook since 2016 about a black currawong with a long beak (I needed some reading material one night lol).

I took a video of how the bird has adjusted to eating with its extra long beak.

As if all that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, I discovered that night what had been making some mysterious noises the night before. I had just settled in for the night when the noises started again, so I threw on my coat and boots, turned on the outside light and opened the door to find a rather startled brushtail possum!

Of course, I raided my bag of apples again and gave him a few pieces. He wasn’t tame enough to hand feed but he looked like he enjoyed the treat.

What an eventful day!

My next post will be about a walking track that was well out of my comfort zone! 🙂

Cradle Mountain Day 1 – First Impressions

I recently went on an amazing holiday to the beautiful wilderness area of Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. This region is well known around the world for its stunning scenery and famous walking tracks and is one of Australia’s most visited places, by overseas tourists and Australians alike. This was my first ever trip to Cradle Mountain.

Red marker shows location of Cradle Mountain

I spent 6 glorious days at Cradle Mountain and would have loved to have stayed longer. I booked into “The Bushman’s Hut” at Highlanders Cottages and I was spoiled for friendly customer service, gorgeous scenery, wildlife at my cabin door, and a perfect location to easily catch the shuttle bus to get to and from the walks.

Small on the outside but big on the inside.
View from the cabin’s veranda.

I packed a fair bit in on my first day. It was a 3 hour coach journey to get there from Launceston, then once I settled into the cabin and unpacked, it was off to the Visitor Centre after a quick lunch to get my shuttle bus pass for the week and to start exploring. My first stop was the Ranger Station and Interpretation Centre, where you can walk around static displays about the walks, wildlife and history of the area. There was even a small theatre inside playing short films.

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Outside the Ranger Station, I spied a black currawong and finally discovered what was making that very strange noise I had been hearing since arriving.

My first walk was the Pencil Pine Falls Walking Track, a very short walk of only 500m but quite enjoyable with lots of nice green trees. Of course it took me longer to walk all the tracks during my stay as I kept stopping to taking photographs and observe animals and watch for new birds I had yet to discover!

Just a short walk away was another track called the Enchanted Walk, about a kilometre long and was exactly as its name implied – enchanting!

Afterwards I went back to the cabin and shortly thereafter I found this cutie at my door!

Pademelon

My friends at work had given me advance notice that there would be friendly and hungry pademelons around the cabins so I came prepared with a few apples. It turned out that every afternoon around the same time, there would be a few pademelons looking for a handout. I’m afraid they were too adorable to resist!

It was wonderful to get up so close to a pademelon, I think they are beautiful animals. I have only seen them at the local wetlands on my walks back home and certainly never get this close to one.

To finish off the day, right on dusk, I joined a small group of half a dozen people for a night tour of wildlife spotting. The tour lasted for around 2 hours and included animal spotting from the bus as well as a 20 minute walk around on a boardwalk to see what we could find.

Wombat spotted at Ronny Creek

This was exciting for me as I had never seen a wombat in the wild before. We ended up seeing at least 6 wombats that night along the boardwalk, a few of them quite close to the track. Our driver and guide, James, was great with his commentary and was quite informative and entertaining.

I was also stoked to spot this beautiful Bennett’s wallaby from the bus!

As well as spotting a few more wombats, pademelons, and another Bennett’s wallaby from the bus, we spied a number of brushtail possums, a few had joeys on their back, so cute! I caught this possum heading into the bush as it started snowing!

On the trip back to the various accommodations where the group members were staying, there were several snow flurries which was exciting for me, never having seen snow fall before.

This next video is a view from the bus with a sighting of a pademelon and some interesting information about them from our driver James.

What a first day at Cradle Mountain! Gorgeous mossy green forest walks, wildlife at my door, my first wild wombat sighting, and even a tantalising look at a bit of snow! I was filled with happiness and excitement at what the coming days would bring.

Keep an eye out for my next post to find out what furry creatures I encounter on my second day!

Down Brownfield Lane

Opposite the Riverside High School near Launceston is a small park and a lake. I couldn’t see any sign as to what it is called and maps don’t have a name for it either.  I visited there one afternoon and found there are quite a number of birds there. It’s a lovely country setting, the lake surrounded by trees, now starting to change colour in late autumn, and farmhouses and green paddocks abound up to the Tamar River with mountains in the distance.

Turbo chooks (Native Hens)
Although turbo chooks are waterbirds and often seen at the Wetlands, this was the first time I had seen one actually in the water.
Native Hen (Turbo Chook) These birds are only found in Tasmania and belong to the rail family.
One of a huge flock of sulphur crested cockatoos I often see flying around the area.
It wouldn’t be a park without a magpie!
This pair of galahs were spotted near the car park.
Couldn’t identify this duck. Anyone know?
Pacific black ducks.
Found these trying to be invisible on the lake edge among trees. Not sure what type of duck they are.
Wood ducks having a meeting
Eurasian coot

I was treated to a quick diving display from a Eurasian coot!

There were quite a lot of these Silver gulls around
An adult and a juvenile silver gull
Silver gulls chilling in the afternoon sun
A lone feral domestic goose was hanging out with its duck friends
He seemed quite friendly and at one point swam right up to me.
Find of the day! A yellow wattlebird. My first sighting of this bird, only found in Tasmania.

This park and lake are definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

 

 

Early Morning Views at the Wetlands

Hi everyone, I’m back again after a bit of a break. I had been acting in higher duties at work for the last few months and feeling very exhausted on the weekends due to longer working hours and stress, and didn’t really feel up to doing much. I’m back in my usual position now and everything is getting back to normal. I’m glad I kept on with my daily walks as much as I could, as I feel these helped keep me grounded, and I was able to see several beautiful sunrises. I thought I would share some of the early morning views on my walks over recent times.

At the entrance to the Wetlands.
Black swans sailing on the Tamar River with foggy remnants in the valley.
The moon was still up on this morning.
Black swans swimming in the early morning glow.
A chilly walk the morning after daylight savings time ended. The whitish patches on the board walk are ice!
A seagull lookout on the Tamar River.
Reeds tinted red and orange during sunrise.
My favourite photo.

 

All photos taken at Tamar Island Wetlands near Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

 

White Kangaroos!

A friend at work told me about a spot near my home where there were some white kangaroos, so of course I had to go take a look.

Sure enough, only minutes in the car from my house, I came across a property with a number of kangaroos including white ones, as well as a few emus.

I managed to see 4 white kangaroos, technically they are albino as they are white with pink eyes. I was able to capture 3 of them in one shot.

This particular one was enjoying a grooming session.

 

There were also some grey kangaroos there.

And I spotted a few emus.

I don’t know if these animals are free ranging and just like to hang out here, or whether they are being kept by the people who live there, but in any case, it was certainly a treat to spend some time watching them.