The 90 Km Overland Track runs the entire length of the Cradle Mountain Lakes St Clair National Park, from Waldheim Chalet and finishing at Cynthia Bay on Lake St Clair.
Waterfall Valley a days walk from Cradle Valley, is most rewarding. There are two routes which can be taken, passing either side of Cradle Mtn. In poor weather take the sheltered route around the eastern side of Cradle Mtn., while in fine weather the western side is an option if wishing to climb the peak. They are both scenic routes, quite different to each other. The eastern route goes through alpine forest and a scattering of lakes. After several hours the two routes meet up on the exposed Cradle Cirque. Your at the back of Cradle Mtn. Here the stunning Barn Bluff is to the south west. Its not a difficult mountain to climb, if you have time, but better left as a half day trip from Waterfall Valley.
At Cradle Cirque there are a large concentration of cushion plant colonies, while hardy, don't stand on them since they are hundreds of years old and rare. It is a welcome relief that only half an hour away is the excellent Waterfall Valley hut. Here there is tank water, toilets and heating while enough bed space for large groups. One should spend two nights here as a base, if you want to climb Barn Bluff, and take a stroll about all the waterfalls. There is a succession of variously named and majestic waterfalls cascading their way towards the edge of this limestone high plain.
Waterfall Valley is definately an overnight trip, thus making it inaccessible to day trippers. The Overland Track should only be done by fit and well prepared walkers, as the weather can be severe. A three day loop walk can be made for those pressed with time, taking both of the walking routes. Arriving back at the departure point of Cradle Valley.
Park authorities are now charging AU$100 to walk the Overland Track. Also one can only walk from Cradle Valley in the southernly direction! Fortunately these rules and fees only apply from October to April.
On leaving Lake St. Clair, there is some beautiful mountain scenery.
* Stop at Donaghy"s Lookout....
* Nelson waterfalls, (only a short 20minute easy walk, ) ....
* Lake Burbury, (a beautiful colour and a good fishing spot) .....
* and on the hill before heading into Queenstown.
The mountains around Queenstown are now getting Trees and shrubs on them, different to the last time I visited, when there was absolutely nothing.
Queenstown, is really different, I think you either love it, or hate it!
Queenstown is the largest town on Tasmania's West Coast, and is the home of the Mt Lyell Mining & Railway Company and the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
I have visited several times, and Queenstown is changing.
The township of Queenstown was originally developed to service the booming copper fields of Mt Lyell, with the original town built adjacent to the huge smelters of the old Mt Lyell Co. This town was Named Penghana, but in 1896 ......much of it was destroyed by a bush fire.
The new township of Queenstown then quickly developed a kilometre down the Queen River Valley around the new ABT Railway Station.
Now days, Queenstown covers most of the Queen River Valley, has a population around 3000 people who are mostly employed in the mining industry in the nearby mines of Rosebery, Renison Bell, Henty Gold Mine and Mt Lyell, (now Copper Mines of Tasmania), and Tourism Related Business's.
I have done a "mines tour" here, this was interesting, and I see that they are still available.
We were going to do the West Coast Wilderness Railway trip, but it was not running the day we were there. I know people that have done it, and they said it was good, it has also received good reviews. It is a 35 Km Rack and Pinion Railway running from Queenstown to Strahan. The railway uses the fully restored 100 year old Steam Loco's that ran on the original rail line that was built for the Mt Lyell Mining & Railway Company.
Queenstown, is a mining town, and I think you either love it....or hate it!
Hobart To Queenstown 250 Kms ......Allow for around 4 Hrs Drive
Cradle Mountain To Queenstown 123 Kms .......Allow for around 1.5 Hrs Drive
Heading to Queenstown via the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, we came across the ghost towns of Linda and Gormanston, both of which were large communities during the early mining booms.
Once past Gormanston the road becomes narrow and windy, so drive slow and carefully. This area is where spectacular views of the surrounding barren hills of Queenstown begin. Once over Gormanston hill there is a lookout on your left which takes in views of Queenstown and the Queen River Valley.
We stopped here and took some photos, and admired the different colours in the Mountains.
If you haven't read about the barren landscape, then when you 1st see it, you would wonder what on earth has happened here! The 1st time I saw the Mountains, it was what I imagined the moon would look like! Now, Trees are once again growing.
Well, what did happen you may ask?
The barren landscape was brought about by years of destruction and pollution. The bald hills are the result of the copper mining that was done here over 73 years. The sulphurous residue from the Mount Lyall Copper Mine stripped the earth of everything living and left a grey and brown sludge over the surrounding hills and plains, and when the heavy rains came, the remaining topsoil was washed away.
Trees were logged to fuel the furnaces in the early years.
This is what man did!
Remember is driving to Queenstown, the roads can be covered in ice and snow during winter and right up to early December.
Located at Derwent Bridge near Lake St. Clair, this is a 40 minute uphill walk from the Lyell Highway which takes you to Queenstown.
On a rocky outcrop, the views are spectacular of Frenchman's Cap, Franklin Valley, Collingwood river and Mountain ranges.
Not a hard walk, even though uphill. In Summer, watch out for Tiger Snakes, we saw one.
If you want to walk to Frenchman's Cap, it is classified as "challenging."
On our drive along the Lyell Highway through the largely undeveloped Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, we saw a sign that said to the Nelson Falls, so of course, we had to stop and go for a look!
The walk to them is lovely in itself, it is on a boardwalk, through Rainforest, with lovely big Tree ferns and a cascading creek. There are two viewing decks from which to see the water tumbling over in this pretty area.
The walk is short, about 20mins return, and it is worth stopping to have a look at them.
Situated between Derwent Bridge and Queenstown
Lake Burbury is a man made lake on the King River, built in the early 1990's as part of Tasmania's Hydro Electricity Scheme.
It was named after Stanley Burbury, the first Australian born Governor of Tasmania. Now, it is well stocked with Trout and is one of the best fishing spots about with both brown and rainbow trout in abundance.
It is a huge 33 square-mile lake, in a very nice situation, which has boat launching, picnic and barbecue facilities. The camping ground is basic, but looked ok, would have been a nice spot for some peace & quiet, and for being with Nature!
just 15 minutes east of Queenstown
Located at Miners Siding are bronze sculptures depicting 21 facets of the evolution of the Mt Lyell Mines and surounding areas over a 100years.
There are three main parts....(1) Ten Decades of Man and Mining (2) Miners Sunday
(3) Jumbo Drill Display
Miners Sunday (see photo's)...... depicts an early miner and his family on the day of rest.
The Jumbo Drill Display features a Bronze Statue of a miner, operating the drill.
Located in Queenstown
The next time I went to do the Crater Lake walk I actually completed it with my partner, Lorraine, and we were fairly tired at the end.
After a couple of hours and climbing Mount Marion we went past Crater Lake and on down to the waterfalls below it. They're not huge, just a small stream coming from the lake, but they break the trip up a little and there's a small section of rainforest with a seat where you can pause at the nicest spot.
Cradle Mountain is the starting point of the famous Overland Track. I did not do this but let me rout you to a tip given by another VTer who did:
Take precautions and come prepared for this 10 days journey across from what I heard, a most rugged but beautiful stetch of Tasmania. The last time I was there, there was a poster placed out on a notice board about a missing trekker. Trekkers who intend to do the hike are strongly advised to sign in and sign out at the respective ranger stations (even if it means a small solitary shack with a ranger log inside).
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