Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Lake St Clair Visitor Centre
Directions - Located two and a half hours north west of Hobart, take the Brooker Hwy north and follow the signs for New Norfolk. Cross the River Derwent at New Norfolk and then follow the Lyall Highway north west all the way to Derwent Bridge. Turn onto Lake St Clair Road and follow this all the way to the car park for the Lake St Clair Lodge. The walk trails all start from the same location a short distance west of the lodge.
The Hike - Lake St Clair is one of the places that I was really looking forward to when Candy and Hal sent through the proposed itinerary for our Tasmania road trip. As the finishing point for the Overland Track, this glacial lake in the central highlands is a really pretty spot and home to a variety of walks. Our journey from Lake Pedder in the morning involved a stop off at the Creepy Crawly Nature Trail and Tarraleah Falls to break things up a bit and was a relaxing way to get to this idyllic wilderness location. As we left Tarraleah it started to lightly snow and at first I thought it was sleet but as we got out of the car at the Lake St Clair Lodge, it was confirmed to be snow and that had us very excited.
This was the first time Caris had seen snow in her life and for me it would be the first snowfall I had been in since a trip to England in 1996. Staying at the Lake St Clair Lodge, we found Candy and Hal and checked into our cabin that would be home for the next few days. I immediately wanted to have a bit of an exploration of the area to get my bearings so went for a short walk on the edge of the lake with Hal where I was amazed at the views looking towards the distant mountains and across the water to Pumphouse Point (which was sadly fully booked when Candy and Hal were booking accommodation). That afternoon we enjoyed the warmth of the lodge and planned what we were going to do during our stay here. Waking up the next day and heading to breakfast at the lodge, we were treated to a winter wonderland as the cold snap that was forecast had turned the place white and more was forecast to fall over the course of the day. The Lake St Clair Lodge is a really nice place with a cosy yet imposing feel to it, almost like a North American hunting lodge.
As a buffet breakfast was included with the rooms, we used the mornings over a plate of potatoes, eggs and baked beans as a way to plan ahead for the day. Thanks to the inclement weather forecast for the rest of the day, it was suggested we tackle one of the shorter walks on offer. Excited to hike in the snow for the first time in my life, we headed back to the cabin to change into appropriate gear and on the way Caris and Hal decided to engage in a snowball fight (it ended up being a draw). With thermals, jumpers, beanies, gloves and rain jackets on, we walked along the edge of the lake towards the starting point for all the walk trails in the area. The lodge had a nice dusting of snow by this point and with more falling along with some rain, it would be a challenge to keep my camera dry. After a bit of faffing by Hal trying to adjust his gaiters, we eventually got moving towards the information cabin on the track leading in and out of the lodge area. The Platypus Bay walk is basically the Watersmeet Track out to the river crossing and then a small loop on the edge of the bay before doubling back. We ended up adding in another loop section to head towards the lake to liven things up, making a nice twin loop arrangement.