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Australia - 2005-03-17 - 4 - Cradle Mountain National Park - Spectacular Nature (Page 6)

Grant & I arrived at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Center around 1pm. After we talked to them about what walks we could do & got checked into our hostel we took the shuttle they provide into the park. One thing that struck me was how the road was one lane in several places going back to the stops. It was a really interesting ride as when vehicles would meet each other one would have to stop to let the other one pass. Also when a tree would fall into the road, they would just section off that part of the road & not move it. I was surprised on both accounts considering the traffic the park incurs. We took the shuttle all the way to the last stop (Dove Lake). By the time we got to our stop it was around 2:30 or 3, which made us know we didn't have a lot of time to due the walks planned & we would have to move really fast. The view from the car park alone is breath taking. Dove Lake is beautiful in its own right, but when combined with the mountain backdrop it makes for some great viewing & pictures. We walked the track around Dove Lake first to get some different views of everything. Around the lake we saw many different plants (some off which the bus driver had talked about). At the first boat shed which was most of the way around the lake we headed towards the Wombat Pools. On the way there we saw a lake that was reflecting the sky like a mirror, so I had to take a bunch of pictures of that. We also saw our first non-bird wildlife, which was a wallaby (page 3). It seemed quite surprised to see us, but it watched us for a while, before hopping away. We also saw Grant's first skink. After going past the Wombat Pools we headed towards the lookout at the top of that mountain. Once at that lookout I took my first 360 degree panoramic picture (page 4). When you look at it closely you will see that the very left & right are the same. I thought that was really sweet, even though it was tough to get right. After getting to the lookout we started on the Overland track back towards the upper car park. Along the way we saw a stream, waterfalls & a tree that only grows along a stream. Within 200 meters (approx. 600 feet) of the end of the trail we spotted our first Wombat. Other than Tasmanian Devil, the Wombat had been highest on my list of animals to see. It was really docile, just eating along, but it was very cool. After watching it for a little while we strolled to the car park and caught on of the late buses. It was a lot of at times difficult walking, but the scenery was simply incredible. After being on the bus for about 2 minutes we saw a wombat & a wallaby eating along side the road, we stopped to watch them from the bus for a little while. Cradle Mountain National Park has to be another of my top 5 national parks. It has such diversity, so many animals & beautiful scenery.

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