Monday, January 21, 2013

Where Ferns are Trees and Rock the Cradle‏

Greetings All,
We have spent the last 3 days exploring Tasmania. We flew from Sydney to Hobart the capital of Tasmania. As we flew in we could see the devastation caused by the recent bushfires. Many homes were destroyed. Our sympathies go out to those effected by these devastating fires. We picked up our rental car and drove about 2 hours to Mt. Field National Park. We did a circuit hike around Russell Falls, Horseshoe falls, the Tall Trees and Lady Baron Falls. Russell Falls are a major scenic attraction and were once featured on an Australian postage stamp. At this time of year the falls were not that impressive but a pretty place nonetheless.
 The trail was lined with vibrantly green tree ferns
and towering Swamp Gum Trees. The Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus regnans) is the tallest flowering plant in the world. The tallest recorded in Tasmania was 98 meters or 322 feet tall. It's difficult to capture how tall these trees are. You'll have to use me for scale.
We returned to the Park after dark to check out some glowworms near Russell Falls. Like fireflies they emit light but not enough to capture in a photo. The nocturnal marsupials, Tasmanian Pandemelon or Rufus Wallaby and Brushtail Possums were about. A mom possum and her baby posed for a nice photo.
The next day we drove up to Lake Dobson to visit the alpine region of the Park. We hiked past Pandani and Snow Gum trees
to a stunning viewpoint of Lake Seal below.
Here is a map of the hiking trails in the Lake Dobson area:
Our next stop in Tasmania was Cradle Mountain National Park. We visited this park 16 years ago and tried to climb Cradle Mountain. We had to turn back due to bad weather. We drove to the park from Strahan arriving around 10:30. The weather this time around was glorious. Even though the hike is 7-8 hours we had to go for the summit on a day like this. Our objective loomed over Dove Lake beckoning us to climb it.
The first part of the hike was easy on good trails up to Marions lookout then crossing a plateau towards the summit.
The final climb to the summit involved some scrambling up some large boulders. After a few ups and downs we finally arrived at the summit, success after 16 years!
It was actually easier coming down as we could skooch down on our butts.
It was a steep climb back down to Dove Lake but the park was kind enough to provide a chain to hang onto.
We arrived back at the car at 7:30 to catch the last rays of sunshine on the peak.
It was the perfect end to a perfect hike!
Below is a map of our route.  We did the Cradle Mountain Summit hike shown in red.
We hope all is well back home.
Peggy and Marc

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