We’ve been on our month-long road trip for just over two weeks. We left Gulargambone on the 26th of Feb. After a day driving to Cooma and a chilly night camped at nearby Badja Reserve, we drove up to Kosciuszko National Park to begin a few days of hiking.
First up was the Main Range Walk, a 22km loop which includes the summit of Mt Kosciuszko. After we figured out how to fit all of our freshly acquired food into our virgin hiking packs, we finally got underway before lunch. We were pretty slow to get into the rhythm of things and only hiked around 8km before choosing perhaps our most picturesque camping spot to date.
After a cold night (though no match for our extensive camping gear) we were up early to walk the final 14km, summiting and then having an early lunch in Seamans Hut before enjoying the steady downhill gradient for the final 6-7km. We returned with more than half of the food we packed, a good lesson in efficient packing. It’s a beautiful walk and we recommend it to everyone.
That afternoon we did a short 5 km walk along the Snowy River, startled a snake on the return walk, and then camped at nearby Island Bend. Over the next few days we travelled through Tumut, Glenrowan, Cathedral Ranges, Warburton, and then Lentil As Anything in Melbourne for lunch. Our extremely sore calf muscles wouldn’t have let us do any more hiking that week even if we’d wanted to. We were supposed to meet some friends, but their ride to Melbourne didn’t turn up in time, so we found ourselves holed up in our tent in a dodgy caravan park, where there was almost as many cars without number plates as permanent residents sleeping in tents around us.
The final day of our week long journey to Tasmania was spent sitting on board the Spirit of Tasmania. We passed the time eating, playing cards, reading, sleeping and generally moving towards Devonport. On arrival we picked up our friend Michael who had flown down earlier in the day. By the time we shopped, ate, and drove to nearby Leven Canyon it was late and cold and we were glad to rest.
Our first two days in Tasmania were fairly relaxed. We drove to Stanley and did a short hike around the top of ‘The Nut’, which was better than expected with quite dense vegetation growing on top of it. We then drove to Julius River Reserve, our favourite campsite from last time we were in Tassie (this place is packed full of beautiful free camping spots), and spent a night there. Next day we drove to Arthur River, otherwise know as ‘The End Of The World’, but didn’t find it all that interesting. More to our liking was a trip down the Western Explorer, with stunning scenery all the way. We had lunch in the funky little outpost of Corinna, and drove for a couple more hours to Vale of Belvoir Conservation Area, where we camped not far from Cradle Mountain.
Now it was time for the most anticipated day of our trip, Cradle Mountain. We arrived at 8:30, started our hike at 9:30, and ended up spending 8 hours on the move. The target was the summit of Cradle Mountain. The first few hours involved hiking up the the plateau, and after a slow ascent of the boulders of Cradle Mountain itself, we finally made it. The views to the south were incredible. Once we got off the mountain it was a bit of a dash back down around Dove Lake to make sure we didn’t miss the last shuttle bus back to our car, but we made it with plenty of time to spare. We drove out and found a nearby lake to camp at.
Next on the agenda was the Walls of Jerusalem. We’d been told by a fellow camper a couple of days previously that the road in was closed, and after we drove to Sheffield this was confirmed at the information centre. We were told there was no alternative way in, but we went to a cafe and did some googling, and found that we could still get in from the east by driving up onto the Central Plateau. It was an extra 10km of hiking (40 in total), but we had spare time so we drove to Liewenna, and left our car at the end of 20km of dirt roads to begin our hike.
We started at 4pm, and by 7 we’d walked almost 10km and had chosen a nice campsite by a lake. Little did we know that we’d already taken a wrong turn by this point also. The next morning we continued on our path, and by the end of two hours we knew for sure that we were heading in the totally wrong direction, South instead of North-West. A chat with some hikers we found confirmed this, and they gave us a spare map to avoid similar mistakes. We turned around, but by the time we got back on the right path we’d lost half a day and added 10km to an already long hike, so we decided we’d leave the Walls for next time. We camped in a beautiful spot at Lake Fanny, and then hiked out in the morning.
We got out at midday on Friday, drove to Lake St Clair, and spent the weekend exploring the area between there and Queenstown whilst recovering from 4 straight days of hiking 10+kms. We’re now almost halfway through our month long road trip, as well as halfway through Michaels two weeks with us in Tassie, and we’ve already begun making the most of our remaining time.
Tell you about it next time.