A hearty lunch at the Cradle Mountain Cafe followed by a snooze, perked us up from the disappointing horse riding experience. The sky had cleared considerably so we decided to attempt the 2 hour Dove Lake Circuit walk. This 6 km track would take us round Dove Lake, pass the Glacier Rock, the towering spires of Cradle Mountain, through the Ballroom Forest, pass a boatshed built by the first ranger at the mountain and back to the car park.
In the short 15 mins drive from our cottage to the Dove Lake car park, the weather changed. By the time we parked our van, it was drizzling. We were hoping the rain clouds would pass quickly but to our surprise, it started to rain ice! Again! This time the girls were so excited that they got off the van to play in the falling ice. As sudden as the ice came, it left. At last, we could go trekking!
This was the view at the start of the walking trail. You could see the Glacier Rock on the top left, protruding from the bush land. And of course Cradle Mountain, where one of the peaks was hidden in the clouds.
A closer view of Cradle Mountain and finally, blue skies.
We were getting closer to our first check-point, Glacier Rock, when the clouds came in again. There goes the view of the mountain.
I was feeling pretty edgy while walking on the path leading to Glacier Rock. Somehow it seemed like snakes would slither out of the bushes any moment.
Glacier Rock in sight! Just a little bit more and we would be standing on top.
We were finally on top of Glacier Rock. The picture above shows the view directly opposite. At that time, we wondered how long it would take us to reach there. The picture below shows a clear shot of Cradle Mountain taken from the Rock.
The trail after climbing down from Glacier Rock was no longer bush land but through the forest. The sun was out but it was nice and cool under the shade of the trees.
We walked for what seemed like an eternity in the forest. There were times when we wanted to give up and turn back, out of concern for our 8 year old who was exhausted from walking over an hour. But we figured that since we were already half-way through, might as well press on and complete the circuit. At long last we emerged from the forest and found ourselves right in front of Cradle Mountain! It was a sight to behold – two majestic peaks with numerous waterfalls cascading down. It was a pity my sister’s Casio Exilim could only capture the magnificent view in parts.
With the mountain behind us, we entered the Ballroom Forest where almost everything is covered with moss. It was supposed to feel magical and enchanting, as though mystical creatures were about. Sadly, it was not the case for me. Looking at the moss gave me goosebumps and I could not wait to get out of the forest.
We were finally out and turning back, we took a beautiful shot of the snow speckled mountain. It was a great achievement to have walked around the lake and find ourselves on the opposite side looking at Glacier Rock.
The path began to go downhill. And right then, it started raining. At first it was water. Guess what came next? Ice. Yet again. Except this time it was not fun anymore. Everyone was tired and wanted to reach the end point quickly. But the ice made the path slippery, so we had to walk carefully, slowing down our pace considerably. The brochure at the beginning of this post mentioned that wind, rain and snow can occur in any month. For us, we experienced all three within our 3 hour walk. On hindsight, it was a rather fascinating experience although at that time, we were more bothered about our aching legs, soggy feet and rumbling tummies.
A last look at Cradle Mountain before heading into bush land for the final leg.
We could sense our white van beckoning us to come. The end was in sight.
At last, we were back where we started. We took an hour more than the estimated time but it felt great to have completed the circuit. As we took a picture of the sign, someone in the group joked that the Overland Track is a walk of no return since no time was stated on the board. That comment alarmed my younger girl and she exclaimed how glad she was we did not choose it. Such innocence.