Working our way west  ( anticlockwise ) since arriving, Tasmania’s northern attractions were left for last. No particular reason for travelling this way other than the fact that it left Cradle Mountain for the end of our trip and potentially in a better weather pattern – or so we had hoped. It’s definitely one of Tassie’s “biggies” in terms of attractions but it is notoriously weather sensitive

Leaving Pyengana, we came down from the hills through Derby, Scottsdale and on to the coast at Bridport, one of Tassie’s favourite holiday destinations. A very touristy town with a great beach, it looked like the kind of place locals come with their families for a beach holiday. Not being beach weather during our time there it seemed a bit pointless to stay, so on we travelled to historic George Town.  Despite the historical connection, our main reason for visiting was to pop in and see an old school friend who’d recently relocated there – wonderful to catch up with Nick and we agreed neither of us had changed at all in the 45 years since we were at school together !

Above, Jeff and Nick- a great, though short, visit while in George Town.

Launceston sits just below George Town and is Tassie’s second largest city. We used its excellent shopping options to replace some kitchen ware and also took in its downtown sites and its big tourist draw, Cataract Gorge. Following some recent overcast weather, Launceston was on its best behaviour while we were there !

Cataract Gorge, Launceston.
Selfie, Cataract Gorge, Launceston.
I did mention shopping – hard to keep Lois out of the baby stores, especially in the bigger cities.

Just west of “Launy” ( as locals call it ) is the Kentish region of Tasmania – including the delightful towns ( and myriad attractions ) of Deloraine, Railton, Mole Creek and Sheffield, so the next few days were spent exploring between the group of them ( they are only 20-30 kms apart ). Deloraine probably the pick of the bunch for us – spotting a ( generally hard to find ) platypus on the Meander River was a real treat, as was the drive to ( and hike from ) nearby Liffey Falls.

The tranquil Meander River, Deloraine. Generally a good spot to see notoriously shy platypuses, just as the sun sets.

Near Liffey Falls, the “Big Tree”.
Liffey Falls, Deloraine.
Us, Liffey Falls.
Beautiful flora, Liffey Falls.
Creative garden “art”, Sheffield.

Mural, Sheffield ( which bills itself as the “mural city”).

If Wineglass Bay was the star of the east coast, undoubtedly Cradle Mountain National Park is the gem of the north. Arguably Tasmania’s top attraction ( certainly one of its top few ) “Cradle”, like the Franklin wilderness, is World Heritage listed. Its hikes and walks are legendary with choices to suit all levels of fitness and interest. Crater Lake, Dove Lake and Lilla Lake are probably the most popular at the north end of the park ( where we entered ) and the hikes that connect them all are indeed pristine. Surprisingly, some of the very short hikes close to the Visitor Centre were equally impressive – our mindset is generally that you have to hike far to see the best, but it’s not so at Cradle Mountain. That said, die hards can tackle the 8 day Overland Trek (and plenty were ! ) but it was a bit outside our capability given the equipment that we ( don’t ) carry ! Not just lots of flora at Cradle but some impressive fauna as well with lots of wallabies, kangaroos, eagles, wombats, and ( of course ) snakes. Tassie only has 3 species but all are venomous – we managed a close up of 3 Black Tiger snakes on the way to Dove Lake. Enough for us !

The weather just did not look good as we approached the park.
View of “The Boathouse” on Dove Lake, the day we arrived. Cradle Mountain not even visible. Fortunately the weather improved two days later, our patience ultimately being generously rewarded.
We bussed up to Dove Lake when we arrived, despite the rain and cloud. Miserable conditions but Cradle Mountain was still just visible.
Section of steps, Cradle Mtn NP.

Red fungi, Cradle Mountain N P.
Pretty creek, Enchanted Forest Walk, Cradle Mountain N.P.
A type of lichen growing on a host tree, Cradle Mountain NP.
On the way to Dove Lake ( Cradle Mountain NP ), noticed these three Black Tiger snakes by the side of the road. Tasmania only has 3 kinds of snakes but ALL are venomous. Best avoided !
Yellow fungi, near Crater Lake.
Lois, taking a rest.
Jeff, taking a break.

The forest had a rich covering of moss.
On day 3 it all came together – finally, blue sky and sunshine ! View across Lilla Lake with Cradle Mountain visible in behind.
Picturesque Wombat Pool, with Cradle Mountain visible as a backdrop.
View of Crater Lake on day 3.. Pristine.
Lois, on one of the rockier, steeper sections of the hike to Crater Lake.
A very fuzzy view ( shot at long distance with only an iPhone ) but the wombat is clearly visible, foraging on grass.
The overlanding vehicle you own when money is no object ! A very impressive rig, ready to take on the world parked at Cradle Mountain just as we were leaving.

After 3 days at Cradle, and with our return ferry to the mainland just days away, we made our way ( indirectly ) back to the ferry town of Devonport, travelling first through Waratah, then up to the north coast via Burnie, Penguin and Ulverstone. The fine weather continued giving us a wonderful final memory of Tasmania. Having spent almost 5 weeks here, we can truly say it’s a great state to visit, it’s easy to navigate and, after the huge distances of Queensland and Western Australia, it’s refreshingly easy ( and usually quick ) to go from A to B ( we met a couple bikers who lapped the island in a week ). As such, you can cover a lot of ground in a short time.

Beautiful waterfalls at the quiet town of Waratah on the way out of Cradle Mountain.
Parked up in Devonport waiting for the ferry back to Geelong and met James and Jaime, a New Zealand couple who had just shipped their truck camper over from Auckland. Only the 4th foreign registered vehicle we have encountered so far in Oz.

We now sail back to Geelong and begin preparations for leaving Australia 😔😔. In fact, when I say “begin” the word is a bit of a misnomer since we have ( for the past little while) already been exploring shipping routes out of the county. We are often asked “when are we going back” but in fact we have never wanted to simply return to North America – the question then, was “Where to next ?” Nothing firm yet but stay tuned for developments !

Will certainly miss “Tassie” – it has been everything we expected and in some cases more. The weather was a bit wobbly early on but we managed some great days where it mattered most and in the last few days it was consistently great. We leave with wonderful memories of places and people, but we are also happy to be getting back to the mainland. There is, at this stage of our journey, much to do !

Till next week…..