Saturday 10/3/18 to Sunday 18/3/18
How lovely it was to get to Nan’s place at Somerset. We spent a few days here just relaxing, having some outings, chatting and enjoying the time. Nan has so many stories to tell about my great grandparents and other relatives, who mostly lived in the north west of Tasmania. It seems they were an adventurous lot with a great deal of pioneer spirit.
We did an overnight excursion out to Marrawah which, beside being a beautiful and rich dairy farm region, is also known for its surf beach. The next morning we travelled south along the west coast to join the Tarkine Drive. Lots of rugged and interesting scenery along the way. We looped back up to Trowutta and walked through a mystical tree fern forest to the arch. We then headed back to Somerset, noting the beautiful soil and rich farm land along the way.
After having another night at Nan’s we set off, headed for Cradle Mountain. Drove through Don and the apple growing area of Spreyton to Sheffield, town of murals. Continuing on we decided to camp at Gowrie Park for the night.
It took about an hour to drive to Cradle Mountain the next morning. The day was overcast with drizzly rain. We got the shuttle bus from the Visitor Centre to Dove Lake and walked the circuit. They get an enormous amount of visitors at Cradle Mountain every day. Over Christmas time we were told that it was common to have in excess of 2,500 people visit per day. They have a well organised system to prevent congestion of vehicles at the popular walking spots.
The Dove Lake circuit was beautiful. If anything the light, misty rain made it even more so. Many of the trees and plants have an ancient feel to them reminiscent of “Lord of the Rings”. And indeed we were told that some of these trees were thousands of years old. In fact, 60% of the vegetation found at Cradle Mountain is not found anywhere else on the planet. Can clearly see why there is so much effort in preserving this place whilst also allowing people in to enjoy and appreciate it.
Beautiful though the hike was, it was also cold! We decided to stay overnight at the Discovery Camp at Cradle Mountain and take advantage of hot showers to thaw out and also extend our stay so that we could do some more walks the next day.
The following day was different again weather wise. No rain, could clearly see the mountains and the air was warmer. So glad we got to experience both days.
Leaving Cradle Mountain we drove south into mining country. Mines rich in a variety of minerals operate in these areas. A lot of great history to this region. We stopped at Zeehan and stayed at the Bush Camp. In the late 1800’s, Zeehan was the third largest town in Tasmania with a population of 10,000. Whilst still a mining town, the population today is only around 700. The beautiful old buildings from it’s hey day are still there but are mostly empty. The Saturday afternoon we arrived, the place had the feel of a ghost town. Not a person to be seen anywhere.
The Zeehan Bush Camp is terrific in that it has conveniences such as showers and a laundry and an excellent camp kitchen. It boasts a wood fire, big dining table and lounges as well as the kitchen – all very cosy. The weather turned bad that night with rain and incredible wind gusts tunnelling through the valley. Anything left outside – camp chairs etc – was sent flying. However the decision was made to stay another day and attend to some practicalities, such as clothes washing, and to enjoy some down time in front of a fire. It turned out to be a good decision with increasing rain the next day and even hail.
On the way to GOWRIE PARK