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Journeys : August September 2009
In Tasmania today Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain through a curtain of tree ferns, out of which soars the forest. The clouds sit gently on the rugged peaks that rise vertically into the sky. The temperature doesn’t even reach double figures – that’s what makes this such a magical winter destination. A The weather’s clear and calm as we head to Dove Lake. We stop briefly to observe a wombat foraging on the roadside, not at all worried that we’re taking photos of him. We gear up and start our three-hour return walk to Marions Lookout. It’s a steep ascent and the air is noticeably colder as we reach the top. Pockets of snow lie scattered on the plateau and the view is breathtaking. Nestled amongst the trees, our cabin at BIG4’s Cradle Mountain Discovery Holiday Park is a welcome sight. It’s late afternoon and the air is cold enough to see our breath rise into the fading sunlight. We fire up the heater, wrap our hands around a mug of hot chocolate then head off for a Wildlife Spotlight Tour. We meet our hosts Stuart and Claire at Cradle Mountain Chateau and leave the comfort of armchairs by a roaring fire to board the 4WD bus. At Ronny Creek we follow a boardwalk through alpine vegetation and encounter abundant wildlife – wombats, wallabies, pademelons and possums – all wandering unconcerned within metres of us. We return to our warm cabin for hot soup, crusty bread and a soak in the spa – a perfect end to a wonderful day. We awake to rain but a waterproof layer over the polar fleece ensures we stay dry on the Enchanted Walk. It’s an easy twenty minute boardwalk stroll through moss-covered trees and cascading waterfalls – if you’re lucky you may even see a platypus. Sheep, snow and sea birds Lindy George s we approach Cradle Mountain, the moss-lined road snakes its way Just the other side of Bothwell, we drove through the largest flock of sheep I’ve ever seen – at least they knew where they were going! Bay of Fires Leaving Cradle Mountain we head to Launceston and our next BIG4 Discovery Holiday Park at Hadspen. Only ten minutes from the city, it’s a perfect base for exploring the Tamar Valley Wine Route. Tastings of delicious wines at Jansz Vineyards in the Pipers River region, east of the Tamar, keeps me entertained – now’s the moment to hand the car keys to ‘he who did not partake in wine tasting’ then head back to the city for dinner and another soak in the spa. It’s breakfast on the run as we leave Launceston and head towards St Helens, driving over the Sideling to Scottsdale then on through the Weldborough Pass to the Pyengana Dairy Company for some cheese tasting. We stock up on traditional cheddar and decadent chocolate ice cream before continuing on to St Helens and the Bay of Fires. After the long drive, it’s a welcome break to walk across lichen-splashed rocks to an expanse of deserted beach. The water is turquoise blue and the sand pure white, even on this overcast day. All we hear are waves crashing to shore and the call of sea birds. We could stay all day, but black clouds are rolling in, so we head to the BIG4 St Helens Caravan Park. Cabin at BIG4 Cradle Mountain Discovery Holiday Park Our well-appointed cabin has a heat pump, flat-screen TV and comfortable recliners – just what we need after a day on the road. After a restful night, we leave St Helens, returning home to Hobart along the East Coast. On our four-day winter break we’ve travelled over 1200 kilometres, climbed mountain peaks, walked ocean beaches and inhaled some of the cleanest air in the world. We’ve visited some great attractions – but there are so many more to see! BIG4 has eleven holiday parks across nine locations in Tasmania. For bookings and information call BIG4 on 1300 738 044 or check www.big4.com.au August / September 09 45 Tourism Tasmania and Sean McInerney Tourism Tasmania and Glenn Gibson Peter George
June July 2009
October November 2009