Cradle Coast Tours is a north west Tasmanian tour company based in Ulverstone. I joined one of their Cradle Mountain tours recently, eagerly looking forward to immersing myself in the whole experience. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Our tour started in Ulverstone where Howard Smith (who owns and runs the business) met me. As we were a small group for the day, Howard showed me to his sumptuous Jaguar where I climbed in and enjoyed the comfort and luxury of leather seats and the other added extras you get in a prestige car.
Our first stop was Devonport, where we drove up to the Bluff Lighthouse to enjoy the surrounding views across Bass Strait, as well as up and down the picture perfect coastline on a beautiful, clear blue-sky day.
After Devonport we moved on to the community of Latrobe where you can visit Anvers Chocolates for a taste treat and then take in the feel of this small country town while enjoying the places of interest along the main street. We visited pretty Bells Parade where there are many beautiful old English deciduous trees growing. They put on a spectacular display in autumn and when mirrored on Latrobe inlet it’s just stunning and great for photo opportunities. The Axeman’s Hall of Fame is situated here too; it was here that the first world wood chopping championship was staged in 1891. You can also keep an eye out for the platypus that frequent this part of the Mersey River.
After we left Latrobe we drove to Sheffield via Railton and stopped to look at the topiaries this town is known for. Along the way Howard informed us of the history and interesting facts of each town and region. Howard has a knowledgeable but relaxed and humorous style; helping us understand the areas we were travelling through. This is something you really only get from someone who is a local and has lived and worked in the area for many years.
Next stop was Sheffield, the town of murals where we stopped for morning tea and a look around at the murals and other interesting features of the town. Sheffield is a charming, old-fashioned town, where the majestic Mount Roland sits perfectly framed behind it. During the tour, photographers have an opportunity to capture the beauty of Mount Roland with a stop at one of the great viewing points along the road. We then travelled through the ever-changing landscapes of West Kentish, Roland, Promised Land, Staverton and Cethana.
From the Coast to Cradle Mountain
The next part of our journey was the road to the iconic and much-loved Cradle Mountain, which is part of Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness area. The scenery along here is absolutely stunning and breathtaking as you slowly climb up to the sub alpine elevation.
Cradle Mountain attracts visitors from around the world who come to appreciate its rugged nunatak peaks, great walks and the beauty of Dove Lake. We entered Cradle Mountain National Park and then drove down to Dove Lake admiring the view along the way; then we got out to absorb the magnificence of it all.
We have Gustav Weindorfer, an Austrian naturalist and conservationist, to thank for saving this wonderful place; he saw the need to save this special area for future generations. After we soaked up the beauty of Dove Lake and surrounds we detoured to have a look at Waldheim Chalet, the home of Gustav and Kate Weindorfer. The original chalet, which was built in 1912, was demolished in 1974 as it had become structurally unsound. In 1976 a replica was built using traditional techniques.
Lunch at Cradle Mountain: Howard Smith
After looking at Waldheim Chalet and listening to Howard’s interesting information about the Weindorfers we headed over to Cradle Mountain Lodge for lunch. The interior of this beautiful building is very warm and welcoming with log fires blazing, wood panelled walls and soft comfortable sofas and chairs scattered around. A place where you could easily curl up with a good book or just relax for a while. We sat down in the dining area of the Tavern Bar and Bistro and tucked into a scrumptious lunch while enjoying the roaring wood fire nearby. I had the Cradle Burger, which was more than enough to ease my hunger. After we ate and sat and talked for awhile we went for a walk around the Lodge and spotted a platypus in one of the water holes nearby.
We also took the Enchanted Walk that starts behind the Lodge and is a 20-minute, easy circular trail. It follows the beautiful Pencil Pine River through a wide range of vegetation and there are many opportunities for great photos. You may also be lucky to see a wombat or two out feeding. I didn’t get to see any wombats this time but there were plenty of wombat droppings around so they are definitely out and about in that area. Our walk ended back at the Lodge and unfortunately in no time at all we had to leave this remarkably untamed and beautiful place.
Cradle Mountain Back to the Coast
Our drive back took in Moina and along through Erriba and then onto Wilmot where we enjoyed driving past the many novelty mailboxes along the way. Wilmot is the town where G.J. Coles started his first store. Forth was our last town before we headed back along the highway to Ulverstone.
Cradle Coast Tours offer a good range of guided tour options or you can plan your own guided tour with local expert Howard, who can help advise you on the best options. Cradle Coast Tours have four full day tours, which are approximately 7 to 8 hours in length. These tours are the…
All have pick up/return from your accommodation in Devonport, Ulverstone or Burnie. Tours accommodate as few as two and no more than seven guests. If you are looking for an easy-going, relaxed tour with a knowledgeable and friendly guide… Cradle Coast Tours is the one for you. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Howard and Cradle Coast Tours; it was a fantastic day out.
Michelle was a guest of Cradle Coast Tours on behalf of Think Tasmania. For more information visit the website, or contact Howard Smith on 6425 5854 or 0407 335 925. You can also follow Cradle Coast Tours on Facebook.
Michelle Kneipp Pegler writes a blog called Leven River Farm as well as articles like this about the north west coast region of Tasmania. If you’d like Michelle to visit you, please contact Think Tasmania.