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Tasmania by car? Safety First!

26 January 2012 No Comment

Drive in TasmaniaIn light of a number of recent incidents involving the unpredictable roads in our area, I’d like to draw your attention to a simple, but ridiculously effective trick to put you in good stead on your journey  around Tasmania and Cradle by car: drive carefully.

There are two ways in to Cradle Mountain by car. You can find step by step directions for either of these on the Directions page of this website. It is extremely important to be aware that both of these routes are windy, unpredictable, and potentially very dangerous for those who don’t know the roads and/or aren’t familiar with Tasmanian roads in general.

Our fantastic Parks and Wildlife crew, along with McDermott’s Coaches, introduced a very important initiative two summers ago – a free shuttle bus service in and out of the National Park, running all day, every day, all year round. The road to Dove Lake is sealed, but it is understandably narrow and can prove difficult to navigate safely, particularly for the many visitors who travel in hire cars. This service also provides the opportunity to minimise the environmental impact vehicles can have on our delicate ecosystem.  The service runs from approximately 8am to 7pm from the Visitor Information Centre and Café. The huge car park is free for you to leave your vehicle in for as long as is necessary, all you need to access your free bus ticket is a valid National Parks Pass for CMNP.

The road home to Cradle from my native North West Coast has become something of a wildlife minefield, due to it being baby season at the moment. I counted 4 devils within 1 kilometre on Wednesday evening, all alive, but all crossing the road without looking! I lost count of the wallabies and saw two mother-with-baby pairs of possums. Not only is it important that we preserve our wildlife by making every effort not to hit them, but if we do hit them, they often pay us back. Hot tip: wombats and radiators don’t get along.

Once, I asked a guest if they had enjoyed seeing our native wildlife. ‘Yes’, they replied, ‘however, most of it was dead on the side of the road.’ Any Tasmanian will attest to the fact that road-kill is not isolated to the more rural areas of the state, and is not a rare occurrence. Anecdotally it is suggested that the more road-kill in an area, the healthier the local animal population. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it doesn’t provide visitors to the state with a warm welcome, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, it is something that is difficult to avoid, but the slower you drive, the better you’ll be for the animals and potentially your radiator.

Last week one of our receptionists turned rescuer when two guests who were booked to stay in our hotel ran their hire car directly into a tree. Apparently, the sun was in the driver’s eyes. The car was totalled, and they walked away unscathed, much to our surprise. Not the ideal start to their holiday.

Tasmania is awe-inspiring, and Cradle Mountain is a must see. Make it a highlight, not the low point of your trip. All you have to do is (you guessed it): drive carefully.

Koby Blizzard works on Cradle Mountain and enjoys observing the world around her. She loves all things Cradle and Tasmania and enjoys sharing her thoughts and tips about travelling around Tasmania here.

Image: Leo Laporta via Flickr

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