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!

Late Afternoon Walk At The Coombabah Lakelands Mangrove Boardwalk

Recently we visited the Coombabah Lakelands Mangrove Boardwalk And Birdhide – the short mangrove boardwalk on Shelter Road just before you get to The Animal Welfare League.

Not having been there before, we thought we would do a quick visit so we can see what there is and organise a longer stay another time.

We went on a late Sunday winter’s afternoon, and it looked quite promising when we saw several kangaroos eating grass along the roadside before we even got to the car park. We were the only ones there so it was nice and quite and still, although at first you can hear dogs barking at the animal shelter, but this noise quickly disappeared once you got deeper along the track.

The track is an easy walk with lots of informative signs along the way. I even saw this picture of a possum painted on the track.

The track is well looked after, asphalt all the way to the boardwalk and only about 500 metres. At the end is a bird hide.

 

The tide was still going out when we got there, so although we didn’t get to see any wader birds, I did spy this little bird in a tree near the hide. I have never seen one of these before and it took me awhile to look it up and find out what it is – a grey strike thrush. A first for me!

We spent some time just sitting and looking from the hide but apart from the occasional white ibis, there weren’t any other birds to be seen.

I did see this incredibly large striped mosquito, I have no idea what it is, so if you know what it is please let me know!

There was a small bit of mangrove where the water had receded and there were lots of holes in the mud, so I think you would probably see numerous small crabs at low tide. This was all I could see at the time –

On the way back to the car was when we had the most action. First, we saw a brush turkey.

Then we saw kangaroos, and lots of them! There were a couple on the edge of the mangrove and they had muddy paws and legs. They were quite close to the track and didn’t seem perturbed by us in the slightest.

Back on the asphalt track we came across numerous kangaroos, all eastern greys. We even saw one rather large muscly fellow who watched us warily from the forest.

 

Considering we were there for only an hour, we were happy seeing all the kangaroo activity and how close the animals were. Next time we will plan to head there at low tide and hope to observe more water birds.

I recommend this walk if you’re looking for a comfortable easy flat walk, especially if you have a pram, stroller or wheelchair, and you want to see some different forest environments and a bit of wildlife, all while being hidden away in an easy to get to place on the Gold Coast. Don’t forget the insect repellent!