We left Stanley the following morning and returned to Wynyard where we met up with Al and Viv in the tourist office. Armed with some good ideas of what to see we set off for Cradle Mountain in the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. This is the largest tract of protected land and in the 1980's was declared a World Heritage Site. It is one of the world's last great temperate wildernesses. There are a numerous walks of varying lengths and difficulties within the park but the greatest one is the 'Overlander' which goes from the Visitor's Centre at Cradle Mountain to the Visitors Centre at Lake St Clair and takes 8 to 10 days to complete. We were told it is the 2nd most popular long distance walk in the world. As Jeff and I only had 2 weeks to see the whole of Tasmania we gave that walk a miss and drove to the other end.
When we arrived in the evening it was a lovely night and we were able to camp in the visitors centre car park. We settled down for tea and a wombat came out of the bush and wandered around outside. Later we walked from the van past lots of wallabies to a conservation park to see Tasmanian Devils. These wild animals are suffering from facial tumours which are killing them off. This site, along with another one in Tasmania, is working to ensure the species survive.
The following morning it was like being at home, cold, wet and misty. We had to buy gloves before we could set off into the park. There is a shuttle bus that takes people up and down the park to save too much traffic spoiling the area. We caught this and went to the parks information centre where we watched a video telling us about the creation of the park from glaciers and of the plants and animals. Whilst watching the video the staff came into the room and dismantled the art exhibition around us. There was about 30 plus paintings and a lot of pottery. We sat there as all this was going on wondering if we were witnessing art thief's at work. There was nothing on the TV that evening so it must have been ok. Having sat in the warmth for as long as we could we ventured out to do some walking. To get us in the mood we undertook a 15 minute walk to look at Pencil Falls. Then it was back to the shuttle bus and up to Dove Lake, the largest Crater Lake in the park. We got there and could see very little apart from the rain coming down horizontally. However being the true Scots that we are we left the bus, ran to the edge of the lake, had a quick look and ran back to the bus shelter. Jeff took the photo's from there.
The bus arrived and we got on it as far as Ronnie's Creek. Being as this is what my ex boss at Rossie is called I had to get out and have a look, we walked back from here to the Visitors Centre, a distance of 3½ miles in intermittent showers. The rangers told us that snow was expected later that day so we decided to throw the towel in and leave. We travelled down the west coast to a place called Zeehan which is an old mining town and camped the night there. The next day we visited the local museum which was very interesting and informative with many old buildings and a theatre with a stage that made Jeff envious of not being able to perform. It not only gave a history of mining in the area but the rise and decline of the town. From here we travelled to Strahan, (pounced Strewen) where we had our lunch by the river, the sun was shining again.