Apologies for the long wait between posts, I've just not had the time to get out for much photography. That said, I had planned this Cradle Mountain way back in May and finally, it has come about.
I had 3 photography goals for this trip:
1. To capture the fantastic landscape of Cradle Mountain,
2. To capture the diverse wildlife at Cradle Mountain, namely birds, wombats, echidnas, and perhaps even a platypus,
3. To capture the night sky at Cradle Mountain, i.e. the milky way and maybe even the Aurora Australis.
In the lead up to my trip, I was getting pretty excited because a returning coronal hole on the sun meant possible auroral conditions. With it being a new moon period as well, the combination of the milky way and aurora would have been perfectly awesome. Alas, it was not meant to be as the weather forecast for Cradle Mountain during my trip was rain, rain and more rain, and maybe even snow. So, I only managed 2 out of 3 of my photography goals. But more on that later. Now, onto my Cradle Mountain adventure!
Friday 25 Oct:
I collected my rental car after arriving at Launceston Airport around 1pm and started the 2.5 hour drive to Cradle Mountain. The Tasmanian landscape on the trip between Launceston and Cradle Mountain was fantastic, with lush green fields and tall forests and if I had had more time, I would have ended up stopping in many places along the way. The reason for the rush was because I needed to get to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre before they closed to redeem my Tasmanian Parks Pass which I had pre-purchased. Also, the weather forecast called for rain later in the evening, so I wanted to arrive early enough to hopefully get a few photos while Cradle Mountain was still visible. Around 50 minutes into the drive, I stopped at the town of Deloraine for a late lunch and to purchase provisions, due to the lack of a supermarket at Cradle Mountain, and all the accommodation places carrying very minimal groceries.
I arrived at Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre around 4pm, managed to get my vehicle pass and shuttle bus tickets. Unfortunately, the last bus into and out of Dove Lake was at 5pm and 5:30pm respectively, and since I didn’t want to be rushed, I decided to wait until 6pm, when the road to Dove Lake is open to personal vehicles, to go in. That done, I checked into my cosy studio cabin at the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village. As the name suggests, the cabins are surrounded by wilderness, and views from the balcony showed plenty of moss and lichen covered trees and shrubs. Pretty soon, some of the “wilderness”, in the form of a Black Currawong, came to visit.
6pm came around and off I went on my drive to Dove Lake. By then, the sky was pretty cloudy and rain was imminent. Along the way I got distracted by a couple of wombats and some Tasmanian Nativehens at Ronny Creek. I finally managed to arrive at Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain was still visible, so I managed to get a few shots of the peak from different vantage points. Sunset was pretty dismal; it was cold, and the wind was starting to pick up, so I packed up for the night and returned to my warm cabin. And as forecasted, the heavens opened and it rained the whole night.