Friday 6 February 2015
After packing my bags, I loaded up the car. Joe and Phil were busy preparing their campervan for a trip to Hobart for the weekend. After expressing my thanks for their hospitality, I headed off towards Cradle Mountain Lake Saint Clair National Park. The drive was simple: navigate to Highway 1, then follow the signs for Cradle Mountain.
I parked at the visitor centre and headed for the shuttle bus, just missing one. The next arrived about 15 minutes later and I settled in for the 20 minute drive to Dove Lake. I did note several spots in the car park, so it may be worth driving up to the boom gate at Ranger Station and trying your luck to be able to drive up. If there are no spots, you can probably park at the Ranger Station and join the next shuttle bus. The only issue with the shuttle is that the last bus departs Dove Lake at 1720, so you need to ensure that you are back in time or you will have a long walk back down the road!
I registered my walk and headed off on the southern side of the lake.
Mount Campbell VK7/CH-039 1240 m 10 points Not previously activated
Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park VKFF-117
From Dove Lake, head around the southern walking track and then take the left branch heading to Hanson Peak. The track climbs steadily with a few short steeper sections until you reach a saddle at the foot of Mount Campbell. The main track continues on, and the track to Mount Campbell requires a U-turn to start the climb. The track steepens and has many false leads. Keep a close eye on the small cairns and track markers. The total route is about 2.2 km each way, with a climb of 310 m vertical – the last 200 m vertical occurring in around 500 m horizontally. The climb requires some 3-point climbing techniques in places. The final 150 m is relatively flat. I set up close to the summit cairn.
Rob VK3EK was first in the log this time, followed by Andrew VK3BQ/m in Wilsons Promontory NP. I worked 12 stations on 40 m prior to trying 30 m, for a single contact. 20 m yield two contacts, 17 m had three, including a VK6, three on 15 m, one on 12 m, two on 10 m and a final three on 40 m before I packed up and headed back down. The false leads on the return trip to the saddle need considerable care in places.
I arrived back at Dove Lake at around 1600 and waited for around 20 minutes for the shuttle bus. Back at the visitor centre, I loaded up and headed off to the north, destination Rocky Cape Tavern via a drive through the Hellyer Gorge.
The Rocky Cape Tavern offers free camping, with a powered site costing only $10 per night. There is a charge of $3 per person for the use of the toilets and showers, plus a $10 key deposit. They also have a small number of motel rooms and some small single rooms. The meal was excellent!