Ovarian Cancer Australia Tasmania 2022: Adventure Blog
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Day 1 - Tuesday, 5 April 2022
Today the OCA team met at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Launceston, donned our teal t-shirts, and met our 3 wondering guides before setting off to Cradle Mountain. On route, we stopped for coffee in Sheffield, town of murals, and then stopped again shortly after to allow an echidna to ramble across the road!
Once at the entrance to the national park, we caught the shuttle bus to Ronny Creek and began our trek across the boardwalk, where we spotted several wombats grazing in the grassland. We walked up to Waldheim, and learned about Gustav Weindorfer, who was the unofficial founder of tourism, and who encouraged visitors to Cradle Mountain. One of our guides, Holly, also treated us to some information about the trees around us, such as the King Billy Pine, and where their interesting names came from.
We then headed back down the boardwalk, and spent the next two hours walking up and through woodlands to the Interpretation Centre and Ranger Station, the end of our walk today. Here, we saw a model of Cradle Mountain and looked from above at what the week has in store for us. It has been a good day to ease into our adventure and get to know one another and our walking paces.
We arrived at our accommodation, ate a hearty pasta dinner, and then to bed for an early night, ready for a more challenging hike tomorrow.
Day 2 - Wednesday, 6 April 2022
We tackled a harder section of Cradle Mountain today, starting with Hansons Peak. This was a challenging but rewarding climb, which included pulling yourself up sheer rock face by a chain rope. There were some moments where we thought we couldn’t do it, but the moment we reached the summit of the peak, we realised it was all worth it for the incredible views of Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain.
We stopped for morning tea at the summit as the weather was clear and not too windy, and then headed down to a nearby emergency shelter to learn more about the various huts in Cradle Mountain National Park and why they are so necessary. We had lunch at the shelter, and then descended, managing to catch views of the Twisted Lakes.
The path back to where we began was often difficult, and we climbed more rocks, used tree roots as a natural ladder, and stopped regularly to catch our breath and regroup. One of our wondering participants, Mary, has won the award for quickest recover after losing her footing on a particularly slippery rock – she came away ensuring all of us were more careful with our steps.
As we came back to the beginning of our walk, we spotted another echidna on the path, looking for some dinner! We stopped to watch him for a while before finishing up with a final snack and heading home for a hot shower and a delicious roast dinner.
Day 3 - Thursday, 7 April 2022
Awaking to clear skies and golden sunshine, our guides have told us that today was the day to take on the trek to Marion's Lookout. Whilst waiting for our guides to do some paperwork for us, we spotted ANOTHER echidna! The spiky little creature has become the spirit animal for the Teal Tassie Trek. We started at the Waldheim Bathhouse and trekked up an incline, through cool, magical rainforest and onwards to Crater Lake. Here we had morning tea at the Boat Shed, enjoying the view of the deep dark waters. A little further up the track, two of our group split off to walk Wombat Pool Track, winding back down Lake Lilla Track and up to the Interpretation Centre and Ranger Station.
The rest of us continued the incredibly steep ascent to Marion's Lookout, experiencing yet another chain rope, although the way was not as sheer this time. At Marion's Lookout, the view was stunning and we stopped for multiple pictures and to re-hydrate.
Then we walked up and down the ridge to Kitchen Hut, which was originally built where hikers stopped to refill their water in the creek before the ascent to Cradle Mountains’ summit. We fittingly ate our lunch here whilst one of our guides, Gary, explained to us the formations of Cradle Mountain.
After lunch, it was time to start heading down to Waldheim. We took the Horse Track, a path that winds slowly back down, with large steps and rocks to tackle. On completing the hike for the day, we stopped for some well-deserved tea and biscuits, massaged our sore feet and thighs, and returned to our accommodation for curry and a presentation from Jane, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Australia. Today we have had lots of discussions within the group about our reasons for supporting OCA and it has been quite an emotional day.
Day 4 - Friday, 8 April 2022
This was our last full day of trekking and the guides had a few more gentle and relaxing options for us to choose from. We started by walking the loop of Dove Lake, an easy-going trek with lots of boardwalk and beautiful views throughout. The route also passed through rainforest and the gorgeous Ballroom Forest. So many people passing us today were interested in what the group was raising funds for and everyone was proud of the team for being so close to $100,000 raised for Ovarian Cancer Australia.
Just before we stopped for a break, we saw yet another echidna looking for its’ lunch, and admired its’ persistence. We stopped at the boat shed for a snack and water break and took lots of group photos with the stunning backdrop of Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain. The team were excited to be all together and completing an easier walk after the challenge of Marion's Lookout yesterday. We set off back down to Ronny Creek, feeling emotional about all we have achieved this week, and how proud our friends and family will be for completing this challenge.
Just before lunch, as we returned to the boardwalk we started with on Day 1, a mother and babby wombat were sighted, both unbothered by us. Encouraged by their chomping of the grass, we went off to have a picnic lunch at Ronny Creek, shooing away the currawongs who wanted a taste too.
The team were then offered the choice of two walks. Some took the Enchanted Walk and then the King Billy Walk, whilst others who wanted a bit more of a challenge took another circuit. Then we all joined together again at the Cradle Mountain Lodge Tavern and Bar for an afternoon tea break, the same place where we would have dinner later in the night.
We have had a cheerful and happy evening together, full of laughter and delicious food, and speeches from Jane and some of the other ladies on the trek. The guides briefed us for tomorrow morning, our last day together.
Day 5 - Saturday, 9 April 2022
The team woke up with bags already packed, ate our breakfast, and then piled back into the vans, ready for our last little walk before heading home. We drove out of Cradle Mountain National Park and to Westmorland Falls at Mole Creek. Today was the first day it has rained, so our little 2 hour walk was slippery and wet underfoot.
We admired the incredible waterfall, had a quick snack, and then hiked back to the vans for lunch. Many of the group have become interested in fungi, as both Holly and Gary have been pointing out impressive mushrooms in the damp environment. We have lots of pictures of huge fungi to enjoy!
Back at the vans, it was bittersweet to know that this was our last lunch all together, but the positivity of the guides after a long few days trekking really uplifted us all. Once ready, we hopped back in the vans, and our guides drove us to Launceston, to tearfully say goodbye to each other. The whole team are already interested in OCA’s next big trek!