Tasmania in winter is a clear-skied delight. In Launceston, dawn breaks in cool, pastel hues. Lilac skies, ribboned with mist, hover above the frost-lined banks of the Esk River, and despite the hum of traffic stirring, it is peaceful. We are setting off to Cradle Mountain National Park, located a few hours south. It’s been eight years since I last visited, and I can barely sit still as we watch farmland pass by the bus windows.
Cradle Mountain does not disappoint. It welcomes us with rain, with sun, with mist and low-slung cloud, with snow crisp on the ground, and with wombats, wallabies, pademelons and currawongs. It suddenly feels like four days will pass far too swiftly.
Our first day takes us along the Cradle Valley boardwalk, where alpine coral fern and beautiful buttongrass moorland dominate. We follow the windswept path beyond Ronny Creek, up through a small pandani grove to the beautiful Waldheim Chalet. The wind rattles the pandani, and it sounds like rain.
Our last day, we walk around Dove Lake. The old forests are thick with beech, sassafras, king billy pine and pencil pine, each decked in lichen, liverworts and mosses. We are lucky enough to see some late Nothofagus gunnii still clinging to its golden autumn colours. As we complete the Dove Lake Circuit, rain glosses the quartzite in a milky glaze, and a rainbow arches out of the mist. Remarkably, our feet are reasonably dry.
The above entry is taken from my travel notebooks. I kept notes in my Field Notes journal during the day, when it was too damp, windy or cold to stop and sketch. A lot of the sketching was completed back in the cabin each night, with notes transcribed from my journal.
The full journal will be available to my patrons at the end of this month. A short version will be available in my website portfolio in the near future!