We were back at the Sydney airport New Year’s Day to catch a midafternoon hour and a half flight to Launceston, Tasmania. After picking up the rental car in Launceston, the four of us struck out for Cradle Mountain National Park and the lodge nearby where we had reservations for two nights. Miles and miles of fertile, green farmland covered in early summer crops gave way to pasture after pasture filled with peacefully grazing sheep and cattle. Before long, the farmland gave way to rolling hills, then we began to see jagged mountains covered with lush green forests. I know parts of Australia are desert, but not here. This looks like a cool rainforest; in fact, I believe it might be called a temperate rainforest. Before long, wombats and wallabies were running across the winding mountain roads, which only whetted our appetites to see the local fauna.
The lodge we have booked is just outside the national park. It is quite remote and rustic. We’ve gone from Shangri-La to shabby lodge, from multi-course dinners with Veuve Clicquot to wood-fired oven pizzas with cold local Tassie beer. Both are fine with us. Our room at the Shangri-La overlooked the vast city of Sydney with sounds of a city full of life far below our windows. Our little cabin at Cradle Mountain has a deck overlooking the vast wilderness with only the sound of birdsong and a nearby brook. We stayed warm with a fire in the wood stove. Our days here have been warm but when the sun sets, there is a chill in the air.
It was nice to get out and take a few short hikes. Below is a picture of Dove Lake, one of our hikes. But the wildlife is a big reason we came here and we were so happy to see these beautiful animals since many of them are quite exotic to us.