Over breakfast we decided to walk around the lake to the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre. As a way of understanding our immediate surroundings. Weather was forecast to be unsettled and we surmised we could head back to shelter should it overtake us. We were well rugged up.
This is the terrain we walked along most of the way. It was windy and sometimes hard walking in the sand but the track was marked and easy to follow. Footsteps in the sand indicated others had ventured out before us but we didn’t see anyone going in the same direction as us.
The cafe was warm and a coffee and cake welcome. We stayed long enough to dry out and to have a very ordinary lunch. All the while serious bush walkers who had completed the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain were arriving, greeting each other like seasoned campaigners. There was thigh deep snow in places along the track which had made the walk challenging and the day before walkers had been confined by the rangers to the hut shelters as conditions were too dangerous to continue. Having experienced it, we had a better understanding of how quickly the weather can change here and how people could be caught unawares. All the people we saw were kitted out in appropriate clothing and walking gear.
After about an hour we collected Walking Notes from the information centre. They were very informative. Lake St Clair is the deepest freshwater lake in Australia. It was formed from the gouging effect of the ice and the whole area is a result of glaciation. The tracks fanning out from the Centre are made up of rocks dropped by a melting glacier ten to twenty thousand years ago.
This was the Watersmeet Nature Trail; an easy three and a half kilometre round trip. It follows an old road constructed to allow for limited logging after bushfires in the nineteen sixties. Given the weather it was all very wet underfoot and overhead. We eventually got to the place that gives the track its name – Watersmeet – where the Hugel and Cuvier Rivers combine before feeding into Lake St Claire. It was a thundering meeting of the waters.
We then took another track leading to Platypus Bay. This was a thirty minute return walk to Watersmeet. We were very impressed with the walking infrastructure we encountered, both around the lake and on these two small walks.
Although we didn’t see any platypus. The best time is early morning or late afternoon but I think you’d have to be lucky to catch them. Signs advise you to be quiet and there are viewing places that show people where best to look.
The weather was turning again as we continued on to a beach area where you can see the remains of a barge that was used in the construction of the hydro electric scheme on the lake (I wonder if that means the Pump House?). It was towed here in 1955 and has now rotted away making the beach treacherous for swimmers. No swimming in this weather!
No more photos on the return trip. Too cold and rainy. And too tired. We walked fourteen kilometres over the course of the day.
After a lovely warming dinner at the Shore House we returned to our room where later in the night I tried to capture the snow falling against our windows. My little video doesn’t do justice to the atmospherics of the stormy night.