Everyone raves about Cradle Mountain..."You must see it!" they gush. The people we booked the accommodation with demanded that we stay two nights. It surely had to be a special place. We arrived not knowing what to expect and found this little fella about to cross the road. Well 'little' would be stretching it. He looked just under a metre long and was was very fat! For non Aussies he is a Wombat, and reading the Wiki link, I was surprised to find that he is endangered. I always thought there were heaps of them and that they are pests in some areas. Poor little bugger.
Before I go any further, I had better explain that Cradle Mountain is a pristine wilderness is a World Heritage Area. It was snowing the night before and was very cold and windy.
Moving on, being the kind of folk that we are (undercover spies) we decided not to spend the $60 required to enter the National Park. (We were outlaying a small fortune for some very average accommodation and weren't in a generous mood. Plus the cranky old lady at the cafe wouldn't make me a pot of tea. Also of course, and most importantly it is always best not to leave a paper trail whilst on a mission!)
We nonchalantly drove through to the boom gates. By sheer dumb luck they were being fixed, and so the technician waved us through. Stopping at the first car park halfway into the park, we got out of the car to experience the wilderness for a few minutes. We were about to jump back into the car due to the chill factor, when a NPWL (National Parks and Wildlife) vehicle entered said carpark. What could we do! If we jumped into the car and skedaddled, the Officer would be suspicious. Instead we acted casual. Talked jovially to a few hikers, commented on the frigid cold, and tried to look relaxed, while all the while walking like robots and casting furtive eyes towards the vehicle.
We eventually continued on our way having aroused no suspicions. (because we are excellent spies)Driving into the final carpark we were shocked to see three NPWL vehicles parked already. Again we couldn't arouse any suspicions. So, out we trot, looking for all the world that we didn't have a care in the world.
Look closely, I have a disguise on!
Now I am afraid I am a bit of a princess. I can't stay at the beach for long as I get very bad ear-aches and the same applies to the freezing Arctic winds that were blowing that day. We couldn't leave though. Who pays $60 to spend five minutes in a carpark! That is not normal tourist behaviour. We had to look normal but stay within sight of the car. So off we trek up the mountain path.
Looking back on it, I had quite a marvellous sensory experience (apart from the pain of a thousand needles in my ears.) I have been in snow before, but this was different. Quite majestic. I know what Heidi and Peter felt.
We eventually made our escape, passing through the boom gates. The technician was still trying to fix them. Sparky wanted to stop and help, but sadly, couldn't because the first rule of Spycraft is : Do not draw attention to yourself.
After a hearty soup at The Lodge we proceeded to practise our Spycraft on a couple of lovely walks around the ground. The Enchanted Walk looked like something from a fairy forest, whilst the King Billy Walk was straight out of Lord of the Rings. It was so quite and green and mossy. Perfect for a Hobbit or an Elf to quietly lay in wait...and then pounce!
There were no op-shops on the mountain, so I can't show you any booty, but I did pick up this little Clarice Cliff plate (from the 50's) recently from the Lismore Carboot Market for a dollar. Funny, I loved it so much, I didn't even look at its markings until the other day. It gave me such a thrill to own a Clarice Cliff even though it isn't her expensive stuff!