Lake Lilla and Crater Lake

Posted Sunday 26th April 2015

After spending the morning walking around Dove Lake in the rain, we had returned to the car to eat our lunch out of the cold, cold wind. It also gave us a chance to dry and clean our cameras, which had suffered in the rain.

Our walk for the afternoon was Crater Lake via Lake Lilla, returning via Crater Falls. As we set off Cradle Mountain looked imposing as it appeared out of the cloud.

After a short walk along the western shore of Dove Lake we took the side track for Lake Lilla, and straight away there were great views of both lakes. Dove Lake sits 12 m higher than Lake Lilla, though the difference seemed even more pronounced to the eye.

Dove Lake can just be seen centre left.

A walker stands atop Marions Lookout.

Lake Lilla looks beautiful, with its dark waters fringed by beech and pine. For walkers like us used to mainland Australia, the sheer quantity of lakes in this area was fantastic.

From up on the hillside, the track descended gradually to meet the lake at its outlet: a rocky shelf where the water spills out and down Lilla Creek.

After passing the end of Lake Lilla the track started climbing which gave us a view of the two lakes lined up together, with Mt Campbell and Hansons Peak behind.

About a third of the way up the climb we reached Wombat Pool, a lovely little lake with clumps of pines around its shore.

We continued our climb. Below us there were lakes and pools everywhere.

An unnamed tarn and Dove Lake.

Wombat Pool with Ronny Creek further down the valley.

It felt a little odd climbing a hill to reach the next lake, but that’s the situation we found ourselves in.

We reached the ridge and joined the Overland Track near Wombat Peak. Crater Lake was below us, nestled in a deep valley with steep walls. It does resemble a volcanic crater, though it was, of course, created by glacial action. The water appeared almost black, perhaps caused by the depth of the lake (60 m).

The track now descended towards the northern end of the lake. Down in the shelter of the valley the beech trees were turning yellow and the pines were laden with cones.

The track reached the lake at its bottom end where a boat shed is located. It is built in the same charming style as the one on Dove Lake, just a little more modest, and has a view right up the lake.

After a short break we continued on down the valley. The track follows Crater Creek in open country with expansive views to the north. I knew from the map that there were waterfalls nearby, but didn’t know what to expect and there was nothing in sight. But then the track dived into a pocket of forest…

In a moment we were in dark, moss-covered forest. Crater Creek descended through the valley in a series of pretty waterfalls and cascades which continued on for a good distance. It was far nicer than I had expected, and I couldn’t help spending quite a while taking photos (just as well LS is so patient…). It felt like we’d stumbled into Tolkien’s Middle Earth…

The forest came to an end and we burst out into the open again. The track continued gently downhill, with views along valleys filled with buttongrass and pandani.

Close to Ronny Creek we reached the four-way junction at the creek crossing. That was as near as we got to Ronny Creek — we turned right and headed back up to Lake Lilla.

As we climbed back up towards the lake, Cradle Mountain gradually came back into view. When we reached Lake Lilla we stopped to take a proper selfie.

We left Lake Lilla and headed back up the hillside to Dove Lake, once again enjoying the spectacular views of the two lakes and Cradle Mountain. We had some pleasant sunshine to finish our walk, which was quite a contrast to what we had experienced in the morning.

Our walk had covered about 7·25 km and taken a bit over 3 hours, though we certainly hadn’t hurried. It had stayed cold all day with the temperature only up to 6°C. But the forecast for the next day was much better, so we made our plans accordingly…