I felt like a little kid getting on an aircraft for the first time in over a year. Overseas for Melburnians is only an hour away and, Covid or not, we're pretty lucky to have one of the more beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Wildernesses so close. We had lunch at MONA, and went through the gallery which has grown impressively since we were last there.
Then a two hour drive to Lake St Clair and the fabulous hotel at Pumphouse Point, which has been fitted into an abandoned 40s hydroelectric facility at the end of a long jetty. Lit up red at night against the mist and bleakness of a Tasmanian early winter, it really is incredibly atmospheric. Whilst it's quite communal, with shared dining, we were surprised to find that we were the only real walkers in a place where there's not much else to do unless you're there for the trout.
We caught the ferry to Echo Point on the second day and walked all the way back through the amazing primordial lakeside forest trail to Cynthia Bay with a beachside picnic halfway in pretty feral weather. However we were luckier the next day and climbed up high alpine moors to Mt Rufus for lunch on the early winter summit snowdrifts, then back the long way along the lesser walked path, down to Shadow lake through glacial tarns of cushionbush, snow-gum and pandani communities, and the most incredible cloud forests, which almost felt like we were walking though an ocean of coral gardens, with single ancient myrtles carrying entire ecosystems of species. A very big day out, but one of the more incredible day-walks I've ever done in Tas: it would make an insanely beautiful ski tour in the right conditions. I even got Marie-Laure trail running over the last ten kilometres to ensure we were back in time for sunset and dinner.
A good warm up for the Western Arthurs in November with Balti!
Apologies for all the photos, it was too beautiful.