Tasmania island (65,022 sq.km.) is of around the same size as Sri Lanka (67,655 sq.km.) or approximately twice the size of Taiwan (35,883 sq.km.) The whole island got only around half million inhabitants mostly descendants of western settlers. Somehow the first settlements by the Aborigines don’t appear to have created any impressive remains, much the same as on Australia’s mainland. There are no big cities in Tasmania. The largest city, Hobart, is 25 times smaller than Sydney (in terms of population). This basic information gives a guidance of what can be expected from Tasmania.
Our stay in Tasmania was only 7 days. Although the island we did not expect it to have so many attractions. Being in Tasmania means enjoying the pure nature and the peaceful environment. Travelers like us can find plenty of nature as half of the island is protected as World Heritage, wilderness areas or other reserves. The other half mostly consist of farming and agriculture lands. Agriculture is one of the main sources of income of Tasmania, but the number one income contributor is still the mining. While over 80% of Australia’s mainland is barren desert and the only fertile land is on along the coastlines, the whole island of Tasmania appears to among the most verdant that can be found in Australia.
We were at Cradle Mountain- Lake St. Clair National Park, which is one of the most famous tourist sites in Tasmania. There are some nice attractions and activities in the National Park such as Mount Ossa (the tallest mountain in Tasmania) and Cradle Mountain: a beautiful mountain and surrounding area with many walking tracks. It is among the highlights of the tourist attractions in Tasmania.
Cradle Mountain is the fifth highest mountain in Tasmania (1,545 meters). It is a dolerite capped mountain that was sculpted by glacier gouged around 10,000 years ago, as all other mountains around the island. The mountain was named by Joseph Fossey, an English born land surveyor, in 1821 based on the peak’s resemblance to a baby cradle. This place was set aside as a scenic reserve and wildlife sanctuary in 1922 and finally became a national Park in 1971.
Dove Lake is a beautiful corrie lake located at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. It is possible to drive directly into the lake on a good sealed road. However, the parking space is limited so visitors are advised to park at the Cradle Mountains and Lake St. Clair National Park Visitor Centre located 10 km from the lake and to take the Dove Lake shuttle bus from there (included in the national park fee).
We had limited time to explore the whole island and moreover I don’t like walking too far (activities such as climbing mountains or jungle walking are not my cup of tea, I would prefer a nice comfortable sign-seeing tour instead) so we selected one of the shorter walks: the Dove Lake Circuit.
Dove Lake is one of the best places to spot the beautiful shape of Cradle Mountain over the water. Like every other lake around this region it was formed by glacial ice over 20,000 years ago. Its water is still and crystal clear. The site is very beautiful with unique ancient plants such as Richea scoparia, Gleichenia alpine, Eucalyptus coccifera (Tasmanian snow gum), Decidous beech (Fagus) and Pandani. Some of these plants can only be found in Tasmania.
The Dove Lake Circuit is an enchanted 6 km scenic walking track parallel to the lake. A quick walk around the track without any steep climbing takes just 2 hours. Unfortunately, I stopped to take some many pictures along the way that it took us over 3 hours to complete the track.
The Dove Lake Boatshed is located just around 300 meters walk from the Dove Lake Parking. It was built in 1940 by Lionel Connell, the first ranger at Cradle Mountain. It is a nice place for taking pictures of the lake and the mountain.
Over all, this place is the closest to a “New Zealand vibe” that I could experience in Tasmania. An extraordinary nature experience which was more worth spending time on than all other places I have visited in the whole island. I could have walked further as there are many other beautiful spots that I have seen from other travel pictures and would have liked to see with my own eyes. I still regret that I didn’t spend more time here.
*** For those who enjoy walking there is a walking track up the hill that leads to the view point of Crater Lake (Marions Lookout) and other attractions on the way but for me it was more than enough just walking around the Dove lake. For those who would like to capture good pictures of the Cradle Mountain rather than walking a lot I recommend taking the track to the first view point and then walk back straight to the parking instead to taking the Dove Lake circuit. Actually I believe that some of the best pictures can be taken already from the parking.