Driving from Stanley to Cradle Mountain you have to go nearly all the way back to Burnie and then cut in due south. The drive takes about two and a half hours. Once you get to Cradle Mountain you can park your car, pay your entrance fee and take one of the regular buses down to Dove Lake to start your preferred hike. There are a lot of longer ones but we chose the circuit around the lake; it’s best to do it clockwise.
The people we met walking around counter-clockwise were met with derisive sneers and glares. Not really. We had a perfect day for the walk and it was quite lovely and picturesque. There are a number of uphill sections near the end so be aware of that. All in all I think it’s a must do if you are planning a trip around Tasmania.
We chose Sheffield due it’s proximity to Cradle Mountain although it’s still roughly an hour’s drive away. We would have stayed nearer Cradle Mountain but all hotels were booked out during the Christmas period. The drive to Sheffield does see some steep twisty roads so be warned (hairpin bends going uphill). We stayed at the Sheffield Motor Inn (see my Trip Advisor review here) which was adequate for the night. Sheffield doesn’t have a lot going for it apart from the many wall murals around; it’s pretty much a one road town.
The only option for dinner the evening we were there was at the Sheffield Hotel across the road from the Motor Inn. Which was fine. Other than that not much to see or do here. There is a curious curios shop beside the Sheffield Hotel run by an equally curious man. We didn’t go in but had fun eavesdropping on the interactions he was having with his customers.
Tamar Valley River Cruise
Another short one hour(ish) drive from Sheffield we decided to stay in the Grindelwald region in the Tamar Valley at the Aspect Tamar Valley Resort (my TripAdvisor review here). I didn’t really see the appeal of the place for people apart from the inclusive aspects of the resort itself; kid’s fun areas, pool, golf, mini-golf, restaurant, and shops. To get in to Launceston proper takes a lot of money and a taxi ride of around 25 minutes. Which we had to do. Both ways. There is an hourly bus but times didn’t work out. We nipped in to take an afternoon river cruise with Tamar River Cruises. It was a really nice and relaxing cruise with lots of seabirds, scenery, and jellyfish to see!
On board there was free flow coffee and a wine and Boag’s beer tasting and we finished up by heading up Cataract Gorge a little bit. All in all, probably one of the things you must do when in the region.
The fourth and final part of our Tasmania trip is up next finishing up with Richmond and Hobart!