Kitchen Hut, Cradle Mountain

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. dsc00659

[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.
Distance Approx 11.5km
Grade Easy. ~400m total ascent.
Season/s All year round; may be challenging/difficult in winter
Map TasMap “Cradle Mountain Day Walks”
Resources Day Walks Tasmania (book) has track notes for this walk

map-kitchenhut

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