When you plan your Tasmania tourism experience make a note to visit the Great Western Tiers. Even if for just half a day. Here is why.
All tourist brochures about Tasmania encourage you to spend time in the region.
And they are absolutely right.
If you want a place to relax, unwind, take it easy, trawl art and souvenirs boutiques and try organic food you can't go wrong with this beautiful area.
But we were in a rush and just wanted a quick peek while visiting the other popular attractions. Here's what we did.
The main goal here was to visit the famous Cradle Mountain. Click on the thumb image on the right to read more about it.
The second goal was to see as much as possible in the little time available, which was just the one day.
Cradle Mountain is a 2 and half hours drive from Launceston via Deloraine and Sheffield. But we took the scenic route from Deloraine via Mole Creek and stopped here and there which made the driving time much longer but so much worthier.
It took us over 3 hours between Deloraine and the Cradle National Park. Plus the 30 minutes from Launceston to Deloraine. We went back via Sheffield.
Deloraine welcomed us with a beautiful lake, populated with swans and ducks, and with lovely, colourful cottages near it. If we wanted to stay overnight that's where we would have chosen our accommodation.
But we were on the run, drove into the town and stopped at the Visitor Centre.
The first thing that caught our eyes was Malua. The second was the rack full of brochures inside the centre.
So who is Malua?
The inscription in front of the visitor centre says it is the most amazing horse to come out of Tasmania. And one to set benchmarks for future racing horses as they are compared to Malua's prowess. It is considered Australia's most versatile racehorse ever. That is why it has its own memorial in his birth town, Deloraine.
His impressive tally includes winning Australia's most important races and cups in 1884 and 1886.
That's not a cup, it's a big kettle off the road between Deloraine and Chudleigh
We browsed the brochures and decided we needed at least one week to see the Cradle Country. But with the couple of hours available we drove to Chudleigh (past the honey farm) and Mole Creek and then took the C138 (Olivers Road) tourist drive.
Here's the sign showing that you can turn to the right to visit the King Solomons Caves or continue and then turn left to enter the Mole Creek Karst National Park and go to Devils Gullet, Lake Mackenzie or further on, to the Walls of Jerusalem. Or you could pop into a farm to buy fresh eggs.
No turns (or eggs) for us. We just kept going straight ahead. But stopped at two lookouts.
Mersey Valley Olivers Road lookout
The first one was the Mersey Valley Olivers Road scenic lookout from where we could see the backdrop of the Great Western Tiers, with its bluffs (Stacks Bluff 1527 m, Quamby Bluff 1226 m, Drys Bluff 1297 m, Western Bluff, Standard Hill, Mother Cummings Peak, Legges Tor).
Round Mountain scenic lookout
The second, a bit further away, was Round Mountain lookout. Next to it there's a hiking track to Mt Claude summit.
We're not really into climbing, so we had a look at the map, saw some interesting names there, such as Paradise, Promised Land and Nowhere Else and thought we might catch a glimpse of what is going on in those places.
Paradise was not that close - we gave it a miss but Promised Land did not seem too far.
So instead of continuing the road to Cradle Mountain we turned right on C140 and discovered the Lake Barrington and its rowing course.
Lake Barrington rowing course
The Lake Barrington hosted the world rowing championships in 1990. It is a base for various water sports, if you are into it and have your own equipment. We are not into it and didn't have any boat with us. When we visited the lake, it looked a bit lonely.
To get to Lake Barrington you need to go to Promised Land first. Where you can get a great view of Mount Roland.
While you are in Promised Land you could also visit Tasmazia, which is a maze complex, apparently the largest in the world. Get lost in its mazes and walk around the dwarf buildings of the model village built on a lavender farm.
We definitely need to come back to complete this Tasmania tourism experience.
From Promised Land to Cradle Mountain there's another hour to drive (about 50 km) to get to the spectacularly desolate road into the national park. The bare trees are a stunning contrast to Tassie's lush, green vegetation.
Click on the images below to see more options for spending a holiday in Tassie:Cataract Gorge in Launceston