Tasmania - Cradle Mountain

My three day tour left me in Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania. If I remember correctly, Tasmania has roughly 500,000 people and 200,000 of them live in Hobart, followed by 100,000 in Launceston. Anyway, I had a free day in Launceston before I took a day tour to Cradle Mountain. I ended up staying at Launceston Backpackers with some other people from the tour. Oh, it also happened to be my birthday that day. I hadn't made a big deal about it, just mentioned it once to one person. I stepped out to the bottle shop to get two birthday beers (Boag's), and when I came back there were 5 other people from the tour at dinner table singing Happy Birthday to me. How nice!

It took a few hours to drive to Cradle Mountain from Launceston. The guide gave us some insight into the questionable lumber industry practices here, as well as a good deal about the effect of climate change on the agriculture and climate of Tasmania. For me, very interesting, but for others maybe not. The weather was cloudy and very cold in the morning. I was beginning to think I might not have brought enough clothes, but as we started climbing I started shedding layers. The guide was sick, so he sent our crew of 9 up to Marion Lookout on our own. We walked for half an hour to the first lookout. It was nice but not amazing. As I started to continue up the mountain with 2 other travelers, we were called back by a young American/British couple in our group who insisted that that little lookout was where we should stop and that we had to turn around and head back to the carpark. Whatever, I expressed my reluctance because I was not about to travel all the way to Cradle Mountain and not reach the proper lookout. It's supposed to take more than and hour to reach the lookout, and we'd only walked half an hour. Not to mention we had left one girl half way down the mountain because she couldn't climb any further on account of her asthma. In the end, we continued climbing and finally reached Marion Lookout and had lunch there with an amazing view of Cradle Mountain. Sorry for the boring story...now look at pictures.

This was the a lot of the plains look like at the moment. There are some drought problems, but Tasmania isn't as severe. The grass looks dry, but the soil underneath is still moist apparently.

There's more to this...After lunch, the American/British couple had to go back and fetch the asthmatic girl they had left half way up the mountain. The rest of us took a quicker route down the mountain to meet our guide in the carpark. When we reached the carpark, the guide pointed us to a wombat on a nearby hill munching in the grass. And we had just missed seeing a platypus but a few minutes. So, while we waited for the couple to return with the asthmatic girl, a few of us went looking for wombats. We got really close to a wombat den and it let us get pretty close. Oh how cute! On the way back to the car, I found two leeches on my leg. Gross.

I like this one because you can see its mouth. That's wombat poop. There's wombat and tasmanian devil poop all over the trails.