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Mt Field National Park to Queenstown

Via Lake St Clair National Park, the Wall in the Wilderness, and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

Mt Field NP - Lake St Clair

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  • Nice rolling hills farmland, with forest as you get higher and closer towards Derwent River and Lake Saint Claire National Park.
  • Good to see some regrowth slowly occurring after the previous seasons fires.
  • Interesting detour into Tarraleah to see the canals and penstocks (large water pipes for hydroelectricity).
  • Before seeing the signs for Tarraleah, we drove over a large canal and were rather surprised to see one in that location. Only really used to seeing canals for irrigation purposes before.
  • Watch out for wildlife!! We ran over a wallaby or small kangaroo going down a windy section of road at dusk. No damage to the van thankfully, but reckon we would've killed the roo.
  • Finally got to Lake St Clair well after dark.

Lake Saint Clair National Park

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  • We were hoping there'd be a similar self-service set up for camping here, as there had been at Mt Field.
  • No such luck! All buildings were well and truly shut, with the only real information I could find regarding late accommodation, telling us that keys for cabins would be left in the box provided for late arrivals.
  • Considering we hadn't rung ahead to say we were even coming, there obviously wouldn't be any keys for us! Plus, we weren't wanting a cabin anyway.
  • Another couple in a similar situation to us, said they'd rung earlier, and been told to find a site and pay $50 in the morning. Figured we may as well do the same.
  • The whole campsite area was fairly large, and unfortunately.... all amenities (2 blocks in different areas) were well and truly locked!
  • So yes, bush toilets for us that night. Thankfully, Sonia didn't mind and was quite happy to do her wee's under a tree, despite the cold.
  • Toddlers, cold wet ground, bush toileting under trees... This's one spot where gumboots really come into their own!! Sonia was able to squat without pants on, and not have to worry about getting her pants or feet wet. If wee accidentally got onto her boots, no problem! Just wash it off!!
  • I woke early, considerably feeling the need for a wash. Not really wanting to do a camp style wash in the bush (Couldn't use the van - would've woken the kids and Clancy!), I decided I may as well see if the toilets up near the information centre were open. And yes they were! Yay!!
  • I found hot water available in the disabled toilet handbasin, so with my trusty plug, flannel and towel... a nice quick warm wash was had by me!
  • Back to the van in time to greet waking kids and start the hopefully improved morning routine. (Result = Yes, definitely improved!).
  • Finally, a walk down to look at the lake and distant mountains, then back into the van to see the Wall in the Wilderness.
  • So our hints and tips for Saint Clair National Park Campground in winter...

1. Plan more time - looked like there could be some really nice walks and things to see/do.
2. If you're thinking of arriving late to camp there, and are willing for the possible price tag, Ring Ahead!

Wall in the Wilderness

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  • This was amazing!! The artist's an awesome wood carver.
  • Things looked so real. Clancy and I had to double check ourselves, looking at the long coat he'd carved, hanging up beside the entrance door! It took a bit to realise it wasn't real.
  • You aren't allowed to take any photo's, which is explained really well on numerous signs. But they do have books and other things you can buy if you want.
  • Apparently the artist does not like misbehaved children (stated on numerous signs!), so we had a bit of fun trying to keep Sonia calm and quiet, when all she really wanted to do was touch everything. Understandable for a kid her age.

Derwent Bridge to Queenstown through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

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After me Dad!

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and.... Peeka Boo!!

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  • Really nice drive through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, seeing some varying landscapes - dryer forests, grasslands, rainforests
  • We only stopped quickly at King William Saddle and Surprise Valley for some photo's, as the kids were nicely asleep at that stage. From memory, I think you may only be able to stop at the Surprise Valley lookout if you're heading west.
  • Stopped longer at the Franklin River Nature Trail to enjoy the walk through the bush and beside the river, and have some lunch - Picnic tables and toilets available.
  • Nelson Falls are also well worth the time to stop and have a look at. A really nice board walk through rainforest to the wonderful falls. - Toilets were available here as well.
  • Both the Franklin River Nature Trail, and the Nelson Falls Nature Trail, were nice short easy flat walks suitable for prams, and for Sonia to run relatively free.
  • Kids were fast asleep again once back on the road, so quite a few scenery photo's were taken on the move for the rest of the way into Queenstown.

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Posted by Goannaray 10:03 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls mountains lakes queenstown rainforest tasmania river creek campground toddlers wall_in_the_wilderness derwent_bridge lyell_highway nelson_falls lake_st_clair 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Cradle Mountain and Gowrie Park

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

  • Cradle Mountain Accommodation

Considering the volume of wet gear we had from splashing our way to and from Montezuma falls, we decided we'd pay a bit extra that night and camp in one of the cabins available at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village. They'd come up the cheapest after a quick call to the Sheffield Information Centre. Doing this would hopefully allow us to wash the mud out of everything, and then get it all as dry as possible... including the pram and our shoes/boots! Washing everything in the shower, then hanging everything in front of heaters overnight, we partially succeeded. We managed to get the pram dry enough to use the following day, but both my boots and Sonia's shoes still needed a bit more dry heat. So onto the van's dashboard in the sun (as much as we were likely to get!) they went for the next few days.

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We woke to a lovely clear morning, and headed into the information centre to see what we could feasibly do that day. As we had a regular sized van (length and width), and two young children (one close enough to still be considered a baby), they said we could take our vehicle through the boom gates and all the way up to the Dove Lake carpark. Otherwise we would have had to leave the campervan in the parking lot at the information centre, and catch the shuttle bus service.

Understandably so as we found out on our return trip. The road in to Dove Lake is rather narrow (mostly single lane) with plenty of blind corners, and few wider areas for passing. Some really nice scenery and views to see along the way though. Going in was ok, as we were relatively early and nearly all traffic was also heading in to the lake at that time. Coming back out... there was a lot more traffic going in both directions causing you to constantly be on the lookout for oncoming traffic, and also places to pull over to allow each other to pass. It would've been crazy if we'd had a wider or longer vehicle.

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Interesting stones

The view across Dove Lake to Cradle Mountain is stunning! We were very lucky with only a few clouds in the sky for the time that we were up there. Reading the signs and maps detailing the walks available, and standing at the edge of the carpark looking towards the mountain, we decided that walking to Glacier Rock would be the best option for us. A shorter, flatter, easier walk. The pram once again got delegated to Kaden, while Sonia managed the distance walking there and back reasonably well. There were some steps leading up to and past the rock, which Clancy, Kaden and the pram handled ok (plus a few hints from me after the Montezuma Falls walk experience!), but otherwise a nice short, easy walk for all involved.

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As soon as we got near the rock, I once again made sure Sonia's hand was held especially well. All she wanted to do, was jump in puddles, and jump off any slightly higher point. Not quite the safest thing when there's a decent sized cliff nearby! Despite this, the views were once again amazing! Definitely worth a return visit for longer walks if we ever get the chance.

  • Walks near the park entrance

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Come on Dad!

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Starting at the bridge between the park entrance and Cradle Mountain Lodge, is the Enchanted Walk. A boardwalk well suited to young children and prams. It meanders along beside the Pencil Pine River, with a few side detours involving fun tunnels and pictures for kids (and kids at heart!). I enjoyed seeing the differences in vegetation types, and managed to spot a wombat in the distance, and several wallabies near the track. No platypus sightings for us in this river either unfortunately. But yes, a nice, well thought out short walk.

The track to Pencil Pine Falls, and Knyvet Falls starting opposite the Cradle Mountain Lodge, is also a boardwalk, but involves quite a few steps after the initial viewable flat section. We took Kaden in the pram down to Pencil Pine Falls, but then folded it and left it beside the track for the return trip, before continuing onto Knyvet Falls.

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Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin passed us on the way down to Pencil Pine Falls, where we met up again and swapped camera's for family shots with the waterfall, before they continued back along the track to Knyvet Falls. I wouldn't have recognised them if Clancy hadn't said anything to me later. And no, we didn't acknowledge to them that we knew who they were, figuring they might like some anonymity.

The boardwalk section between Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls was also really nice with numerous little rivulets and waterfalls running down the nearby slopes and under the boardwalk. This resulted in frequent pointing and cries of 'Wart Fall' from Sonia! She also enjoyed being able to run along the zig-zag walkway, jumping up and down the frequent steps (even after accidentally sliding off the boardwalk at one stage!).

  • Gowrie Park

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We were hoping to explore Tasmazia the following day, so after looking at a map, decided we'd camp at the Gowrie Park Wilderness Village that night. On the way, we detoured in to the dam at Lake Cethana, and then up to the lookout point on Olivers Road beside the Mount Roland Regional Reserve. Where we were rewarded with a nice view over the surrounding hills and valleys.

On arrival to Gowrie Park Wilderness Village (we hadn't rung ahead), we were informed that we were in luck. Apparently the campground would normally have been shut at this time of year, but this year was different. More tourists continued to trickle through, warranting them staying open for longer into the winter season. They had a small but decent enclosed kitchen, the cheapest laundry we'd seen so far, pademelons hopping around everywhere, and pay showers.

Posted by Goannaray 22:04 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls mountains lakes trees winter view wildlife tasmania panorama cradle_mountain toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

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