Day 30 - 23rd October
Lilydale to Cradle Mountain
Distance Travelled - 226 km
Woke up at about 8.45 am and got up ready to pack the car and head off to Cradle Mountain. The packing went without any hiccoughs and after having had breakfast I departed at about half nine.
I had planned a few little stops on the way, the first of which was at Westbury. The stop here was 2 fold. One was to look at the gallery of John Temple and the other was to look at a wood carving exhibition located in 3 different sites within the town. First stop was the gallery, opening time 10 am. My time at the gallery 10.15 am. Gallery closed. Continued on to the wood carving exhibition. Nellie Payne was the artist in profile., born in 1865 in Westbury, the 12th of 14 children. Nellie started her carving in 1906 after studying at the School of Art, Goldsmith's College, University of London. She continued carving into her 90's with one of her last pieces being finished in 1953. According to one of the volunteers helping run the exhibition she completed 209 pieces of work that they know of, and many of them are not small. She carved many dower chests (what many of us now know as glory boxes) as well as things like a pulpit for her local church, a magnificent cupboard for a school and an amazing screen dedicated to her 7 deceased sisters which is in the local church as well. I imagine many months of work went into each of these items, if not longer.
After having looked at the various exhibits and coming out totally in awe of her work, I headed back to the gallery to see if it was open yet. It was and I had a wander through. There were some very nice photos but after having a chat with the photographer I left somewhat disappointed. He was nowhere near as friendly or talkative or interested as David Murphy in Stanley and I felt a little let down that such a well known Tasmanian photographer was not more willing to chat about his work.
I left the gallery and headed on to the next planned stop, not far down the road at Deloraine. I had been told by a few people that I have met that Deloraine is worth a look so I dutifully proceeded to look around. It has some interesting shops and buildings and it's big claim to fame is the annual craft fair which is on next weekend. After strolling for about an hour, including grabbing a bit of lunch I continued the drive through to Sheffield.
Sheffield is known for it's murals and they look very good. Each year there is a mural competition held in the town with various artists being invited to enter the mural competition. They have a week to complete their mural on a given theme (I think). Spent some time in the visitor centre and then did the final leg to Cradle Mountain.
Drove through to the Dove Lake car park and set off on the circuit walk which was absolutely stunning. Some breathtaking views, gorgeous scenery and tranquil surroundings all made the 2 hour walk seem to pass by very quickly. I got back to the car park, changed the lens on my camera and walked back about 10 minutes to the boat shed. A couple were there having wedding shots done as I walked passed the first time and they graciously gave me permission to take a quick snap. I spent about 2 hours at the boat shed just watching the scenery and taking a few shots as the light subtly changed, hoping to get that magical moment when all the elements combine to make a stunning visual scene. I don't think it quite got to that today but I certainly enjoyed my time there, walking out at about 6.45 pm.
Leaving the National Park, I went off in search of a place to camp hoping to find one not too far away as I would like to make a very early start to my photography tomorrow. Eventually found somewhere suitable about 25 minutes from the Dove Lake car park near the Moina Tavern. Had tea and wrote the blog before sorting photos and setting up for the night's slumber. Tomorrow I will make an early start and then see what else inspires me photographically for the remainder of the day and decide then what is in store for tomorrow night and Sunday.
Day 31 - 24th October
Cradle Mountain to O'Neill's creek campsite
Distance Travelled - 86.9 km
Ignored the alarm when it went off at 5 am but dutifully arose after the first snooze at 5.15 am. Dressed, packed and was on the road by 5.25 am. Drove the 30 or so km back to Cradle Mountain and walked down to the boat shed and was in place to start photography by just after 6 am. It was a very pleasant way to start the day - pity this type of start to the day can't happen several hours later in the morning.
Spent a while taking photos and then went for a walk along the Dove Lake Circuit. It was very peaceful and I didn't see any other walkers whilst I was out. Went through the Ballroom Forest section of the walk and continued on past the half way mark before turning around and going back, stopping in the Ballroom Forest to take some photos. After satisfying my photographic hunger I walked back to the car and had breakfast at about 8.30 am.
After breakfast I headed back down to the boat shed to see if the changing sun had improved the scene for photography - it had not. I continued on back to the Ballroom Forest and and past, and decided to start up a steep section of a different path towards one of the lakes. After about half an hour or so of solid, steep scrambling over rocks and tree roots on a what was a very scratchy path I managed to twist my ankle reasonably well so decided to turn around and head back to the car in case it decided to deteriorate too much and make walking difficult.
I got back to the car without issue and sat for a while and read while I rested the ankle. About 11 am I decided to head off to the visitor centre and have a look around there. Grabbed some lunch whilst I was there and then headed over to the nearby Tasmanian Devil sanctuary - Devils@Cradle and have a look through there. Spent a couple of hours wandering around (well more time standing still trying to take photos than wandering) and after accumulating about 100 shots decide to head off.
The drive from Cradle Mountain to the campsite was uneventful but a pleasant meander, watching the country side and enjoying the scenery as it passed me by. Upon reaching camp I set up the solar panel and then spent a couple of luxurious hours sitting in the sun reading and relaxing. Went for a bit of a stroll to test the ankle and was very happy with the mobility and lack of any pain.
Eventually got around to setting up the tent and then started downloading a massive amount of photos (a new record) and then began the delightful task of stitching some panoramas together and sorting out junk photos form slightly better ones. Took a break and read for a while, enjoying the late afternoon sun and then did a few more photos before organising and eating tea.
After tea I went for a short half hour walk along a track from the campsite that basically follows a small stream off into the forest. Took a few more photos and then returned ready to start finalising things for the night's sleep and then started on the blog and finishing photos.
Tomorrow I will drive to Stanley and look at a few things there again before starting the drive back to Lilydale, camping at Rocky Cape again and getting back to Michelle and Shane's on Monday.