Crater Falls was really our waterfalling excuse to do the two-hour return track to Crater Lake. It turned out that Julie and I only went to the waterfall and back, which was a 4km return track that took us a little over an hour to finish. The waterfall itself featured a narrow chute that plunged about 5m into some shady forest cover that contrasted from the wide expanse of brown tussock grasslands that was reminiscent of the type of scenery found in the volcanic Central Plateau of the New Zealand's North Island. Even though we didn't make it all the way to Crater Lake (which in hindsight we probably should have done), nearby was the scenic Dove Lake, which was the lake that fronted the uniquely-shaped Cradle Mountain.
The hike started from the Ronny Creek Trailhead and began by passing through a wide field of tussock grasslands. Some parts of the track were on boardwalk while other parts were on dirt from the blazed track itself. Flanking much of the track amongst the shurbs were mats of yellow and orange wildflowers that were in bloom during our visit in November 2006. We also saw some interesting birds cautiously keeping an eye on us as we were passing by.
For the first 15 minutes, the track would remain open and surrounded by grass. However, the terrain eventually gave way to small groves of forest as the track started ascending. The tree cover was welcome from the nearly cloudless skies during our visit. Eventually, the undulating track would bring us right to Crater Falls where we took our photos then turned back. Since the hike was now mostly downhill (albeit gradually), the return hike was a breeze.
When we returned to the car and headed back to the Cradle Mountain Lodge, we made a visit to the nearby Dove Lake at the end of the Cradle Valley Road. And after having our fill of the lake views towards Cradle Mountain, we then drove back to the Cradle Mountain Lodge where we saw a wombat along the way!
The nearest starting point that we took was from the Ronny Creek Trailhead, which was the car park before the last one at Dove Lake (about 7km south of the Cradle Valley Vistor Centre or 5.3km south of the Cradle Mountain Lodge along Cradle Valley Rd in the settlement of Cradle Mountain).
The end of Cradle Valley Rd at Dove Lake was about 2km further south of the Ronny Creek Trailhead.
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