Monday, 11 January 2016

Hiking with the Grandkids

Warming Up

With a spell of brilliant weather coinciding with the arrival of Asha and Zavier, our two precious grandchildren, we set off for Cradle Mountain to share with them for the first time a small corner of the wonderful Tasmanian World Heritage Area.

After a night camping at Penstock Lagoon on the Central Plateau we headed towards Cradle, stopping along the way to enjoy the beautiful short walk to Pine Lake on the northeast edge of the plateau. Next was a little detour to Liffey Falls ...

Liffey Falls

... before we eventually arrived at Cradle and set up camp. It was such a glorious day we thought we should shoot off to Dove Lake for the 6.0 kilometre circuit that circumnavigates the lake. Carpé Diem! (You never know what weather tomorrow will bring in Tasmania, especially in the mountains.)

The next day started a little overcast so we headed off on the Cradle Valley Boardwalk from Ronny Creek to the interpretation centre, followed  by  the Enchanted Walk. So, in a couple of days we'd given the "little 'uns" a tour of 3 of Tassie's 60 Great Short Walks and another lovely worthy contender.

The Main Event


The forecast for the morrow was excellent so we thought we'd head off from the start of the Overland Track at Ronny Creek ...

At the start of the Overland Track
... up past Crater Lake with the idea of going as far as Kitchen Hut if four little legs were going well enough.  We paused along the way for Zae to  have a look at the map ...

Zae studies the map

... before continuing along through button grass ...

Striding out

The track enters a fantastic bit of rainforest along the creek that drains Crater Lake, ascending past a series of small cataracts dubbed Crater Falls ...

Crater Falls
A bit of mixed forest and more button grass follows before the track arrives at the northern end of Crater Lake, where we paused for a little snack ...

Snack time at Crater Lake
After walking through the forest along the lake, which features Pencil Pines and Tasmanian Waratah, we left the Crater Lake Circuit (yet another of our Great Short Walks) and struck out for Marion's Lookout. The kids did find the ascent up the chains to the lookout a bit of a struggle and were happy to rest and enjoy a few treats and a bit of a play ...

Getting to grips with Quartzite

.

With the day being so fine I was very keen to get the two of them along as far as Kitchen Hut if they were up for it. Zae was a bit uncertain about whether he wanted to continue but was persuaded to give it a go. It was so good to be able to share with the two of them the wonderful views across the plateau towards Cradle and the mighty Barn Bluff in the distance ...



The exposed nature of the plateau means that only very low shrubs and ground-hugging heath up there. Up close and personal, the beauty in the minutiae is revealed ...


A child's eye view
Asha and Zae were very pleased to arrive at Kitchen Hut and Asha obliged her Nana by going up to the second floor for a photo ...

Asha enjoying the view from the top floor

After a good long rest and lots of food, rather than retracing our steps, we decided to descend to Dove Lake via the Face Track and Lake Wilks. The kids loved the scrambling up and down along the Face Track and the steep descent to Lake Wilks, especially the bit along the chains ...

Descending towards Lake Wilks

... which they found a lot easier than the chained section going up to Marion's Lookout.

Another rest and then a lovely descent from Lake Wilks through more rainforest ...

Forest punctuated by Dicksonia Antartica

... took us to Dove Lake and a lovely little beach where Asha had a paddle ...

Asha has a paddle
We decided we didn't really need to walk back to our starting point at Ronny Creek, what with the free shuttle bus running like clockwork as it does.

So the day done and dusted, here is a Google view of our route ...



Di used Mapometer to get a gradient profile of our route and it looks something like this ...

Gradient Profile of our walk
Google Earth also tells us that we did about 700 metres of elevation gain and 680 metres of descent. We were very proud of our grandkids doing such a great walk, especially as they don't get very much opportunity to do this sort of stuff with us, living as they do so far away in an urban environment, and we are really looking forward to their next visit!

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