The next morning we defrosted with some instant coffee and finished the drive to Cradle Mountain. The day was glorious which was so lucky because I read that 9/10 days in Cradle Country are wet. With the protection of wool, down and wind gear we set off. The climb was substantial and soon enough we were peeling off layers. The hike around Dove Lake was truly one of the prettiest I have done AND a great workout. To top it off, the deciduous trees were as bright orange as the text books promised.
Our hike lasted several hours and included some treacherous parts through snow and ice just to keep it interesting. By five o’clock we were back at the Cradle Cafe sipping a cold beer per tradition. The only problem with the otherwise perfect day was our tent conundrum. I flipped through the guidebook hoping a solution would pop out at me. I’ll be honest, as much as I enjoy the respect garnered from roughing it, I didn’t want to freeze in the Cruiser again. Luckily neither did Carlos or Jason. We drove around a bit looking for a cheap room to share and in the third spot we found a cabin that fit the bill. I whipped up some mac and cheese (with fancy cheese and broccoli of course) and this time we cuddled on a warm bed to watch a bad movie before retiring for the night.
On Tuesday we decided to make the most of our location in the northern part of Tasmania and drive to Launceston. Hobartians are inexplicably prejudice towards the “Second City” so I have always had low expectations for Launie. Nevertheless, it is the second biggest city in the state so I figured we ought to check it out. Turns out, it’s adorable. There’s a huge gorge right in the middle of town called Cataract Gorge and after a nice lunch by the water we set off to check it out. It’s really beautiful and the phenomenon that this park is right smack in the middle of the city made me like it all the more. Our map of Tasmania is nearly full with all of the spots we have visited and I am so glad that we were able to fit in Cradle Mountain and Launceston before heading out next month.