November 21st, 2009
We left the east coast to head inland in direction of Launceston, Tasmania's second largest settlement after Hobart. We decided to spend to days in Launceston to be able to visit the Cradle Mountain National Park and drive back to Hobart the second day without feeling like we had to hurry.
Launceston has a lot of shops and after a long drive on Tasmania's east coast it's the first main city where you'll find some civilisation:)
Launceston itself is worth a visit eventhough we didn't spend a lot of time in town because we drove off to Cradle Mountain in the western part of Tasmania.
You simply can not visit Tasmania without visiting Cradle Mountain and its one of those turistic places like Wineglass Bay where everybody meets and takes their pictures. You can park your car either at the Bus Terminal/ Car Park where you can also buy your entrance fee ( 16, 50 AUD pp ) and grap a bite to eat or decide to drive the 20 minutes ride into the park yourself and then park your car at one of the parks lookouts.
We decided to park our car at the terminal and take the Cradle Mountain shuttle to Dove Lake. The shuttle leaves every 15 minutes untill 7 pm so if you just want to hike around Dove Lake or do some of the other hikes you should be all right.
The Dove Lake circuit walk takes up to 2 hours for a 6 km walk and is probably the most popular walk. We even spotted some families with their backpacking kids doing the walk but I would not bringing your kids on this 6 km hike. Especially because the first part of the walk has this perfectly designed boardwalk to walk on but on your return the path gets pretty rocky and steep.
We were very lucky with the wether at Cradle Mountain as usually it rains 7 days out of ten (!) and we couldn't have had more sunshine. For other days you might want to follow the parks advise to bring some heavier clothing as you will be in the mountains and it can get really chilly. On a at least 32 degrees day Cradle Mountain still had a tip of snow to show even if most of it had all ready melted.
After a 2 hour hike around the lake ( There are picnic areas and tables so it's a good idea to bring some fruit and drinks if you need to take a break during the walk ) we headed back to the carpark by shuttle. Don't forget to register and sign out at the beginning and end of every hike. This way you'll be sure somebody will come and look for you if you fall off Cradle Mountain :)
At the carpark you'll find a restaurant where you can buy some basic meals like boxed salads and sandwiches or a plate of chips and nuggets.
We got back around 4 pm and booked for the Devils @ Cradle night feeding tour. Devils @ Cradle is a conservation park for Tasmanian Devils that specialises in education for turists and offers a great space for the Tasmanian Devils to run around in. This tour is truly to reccomend and if you decide to go on a 5.30 pm or 8.30 pm devil feeding tour you surely won't regret it.
Not only will you get to see and hug some baby Tasmanian Devils but you will have more then enough time to witness the feeding time. Besides Tasmanian Devils the park has a group of quolls as both animals are endangered species and can only be protected in conservation parks like this one. Both the quoll as the tasmian devil have gone extinct on the main land because of the introduction of the red fox and the dingo in Australia.
Devils @ Cradle is probably the only park in Tasmania where you will not only learn a lot about the animal but also get to witness their movements and behaviour from upclose.
Did you enjoy Cradle Mountain National Park and their Tasmanian Devils and have you been on a holiday in Launceston, Australia?
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