Wombat hunting

Because the weather was rubbish, we’d planned an early dinner and an evening in front of the telly… or so I thought. At about 5 o’clock, John suggested we went out at dusk looking for wombats. I wasn’t sure how likely we were to see them in the cold and wet. Wouldn’t they just stay warm and snug in their burrows? We did a bit of research and decided it was worth a try. We’re going on a wombat hunt!

John had read that we were most likely to see wombats at Ronnie Creek, about 10k up the road into the Cradle Mountain reserve. We put our warm and waterproof kit back on… now pretty much dry after the morning’s exploits… and grabbed our head torches and jumped into the car. John took his time, driving carefully, aware that dusk was approaching and the animals would be coming out to feed.

We parked up as it was starting to get dark and wandered up the board walk at the start of the Overland Track at Ronnie Creek. There was nobody else about and I admitted to being a bit scared of meeting wombats in the dark! We hadnt gone very far when we spotted our first wombat waddling up the hill not far away. When we looked around we saw several others too, a bit further away. By the time I got my camera out, they were a bit far away but John spotted one close to the board walk, in the distance. Once I agreed it was moving and wasn’t just a rock, we walked slowly and quietly towards it.

He didn’t move! This was definitely the Willie Wombat we’d been talking about finding! He stayed close to the board walk, munching his dinner as I took photos. It was quite difficult to get the camera settings right because it was quite dark by now, but he didn’t seem to mind me faffing around. It soon got too dark to see any of the wombats further away, and we decided to leave Willie in peace and make our way back to the car. What a lovely experience! Willie and his friends were very cute!

As John was driving slowly back towards the hotel, he spotted a pair of eyes looking at him near the verge. He stopped with the pademelon in the headlights. It watched us suspiciously but didn’t move as we watched and took photos. I also noticed a wombat eating on the verge nearby and took his picture. This was great! We spotted some more pademelons and larger wallabies too, but they bounced away and wouldn’t wait to have their photos taken! I’m so glad we made the effort and went out in the cold rain to see them.

Today we’re driving back to Richard and Rachel’s in Margate, which I expect will take about 5 or 6 hours. So far, after leaving the beautiful mountains, we’ve passed some interesting places; for example, Sheffield, nothing like Sheffield in England, and known for its murals, and Railton where there was lots of topiary, including a cow in a field, people standing at the war memorial, a kangaroo and an elephant. With a long drive ahead, John didn’t seem keen to stop so, unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos.

We’ve now stopped for lunch and are debating whether to visit Brickendon Estate nearby, one of Tasmania’s earliest farming estates, settled by one of the convicts sent over here. However, I suspect both of us would rather get back to Margate. We’ve got another adventure ahead tomorrow as we head to Mount Field with Richard, and stay in a lodge there… a rather more basic one than the luxury cabin we’ve just enjoyed in Cradle Mountain!

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