A planned hike to Barn Bluff is thwarted by bad weather, and becomes a misty walk to Kitchen Hut!
Arriving late the previous evening in Cradle Mountain, I’ve booked one of the basic Waldheim Cabins which are inside the park so I can get an early start the following morning. The evening is clear, and while taking some night shots from Lake Dove, I capture the faint glow of the Aurora Australis (southern lights) – the only time I’ve seen them in Tasmania.
Unfortunately, the next morning is very overcast and misty, as I set off very early by torch-light from the Ronny Creek car park. Shortly after the Overland Track boardwalk ends and I veer right onto the Horse Track, I follow a wombat who leads the way up the Overland Track, seemingly unaware of my presence (or just preferring to stick to the well-made track).
By the time I reach the plateau, there’s a combination of sleet and rain (not exactly sure which, but it’s both painful when it hits your face and very cold). I reach Kitchen Hut, where I take shelter and warm up a little, while I consider my options… It’s now getting light, but visibility is very limited and there’s not much chance of a view fro Barn Bluff (or Cradle Mountain, which I can’t even see from the hut).
I head back, this time taking the Overland Track.
It remains misty, with limited visibility. I can just see the other side of Lake Dove from Marion’s Lookout, below.
Descending to Crater Lake, I pass the old boat shed.
Crater Falls is more impressive than usual though from the overnight rain. It’s only a 5m drop, but surrounded by moss and lichen as it cascades down next to the path.
Photo stops aside, it’s a quick descent to the car and breakfast at Cradle Mountain lodge! It’s been a short three-hour walk (including half an hour trying to warm up in Kitchens Hut) and I’m back at Ronny Creek by 9am.
[Just over a year later, I’m more successful in my attempt, and reach Barn Bluff on a day that starts almost as overcast, but clears up in time!]
|Location||Ronny Creek car park near the end of Dove Lake Road.
Cradle Mountain National Park is about 2.5 hours from Launceston, via Sheffield or Mole Creek.
|Grade||Easy. ~400m total ascent.|
|Season/s||All year round; may be challenging/difficult in winter|
|Map||TasMap “Cradle Mountain Day Walks”|