Profile – Friends of the Penguin Cradle Trail
Perhaps lesser known than its popular rival experiences, the Penguin Cradle Trail is a 76-km bush walk from the seaside town of Penguin through to Cradle Mountain. It primarily follows the valley of the Leven River, taking in the Dial Range and is a 5-7 day adventure, with the option to hop on and off at certain places. The trail is designed for experienced bush walkers, and can be combined with the Overland Track for a fabulous wilderness experience totalling around 2 weeks. In early April this year the Wildcare Friends of the Penguin Cradle Trail hosted a celebration of 40 years since the trail was established. The Wildcare Friends of Penguin Cradle Trail formed in 2014, and together with the North West Walking Club, (working under a Parks and Wildlife permit system) over 2500 hours of work has been performed on the track alone, allowing it to remain open for all to enjoy.
The Friends of the Penguin Cradle Trail operate cooperatively alongside the Parks and Wildlife Service, Resource Management and Conservation Division of DPIPWE, private landholders and the Department of Environment as well as recreational groups such as the North West Walking Club.
According to Branch President Greig Clarke; “It’s wonderful to celebrate the work done by the dedicated members of the North West Walking Club, who had the vision and will to construct the track in the first instance, the ongoing work of all volunteers and land managers guiding and supporting us since then.”
Greig says funding from donations to the Wildcare Gift Fund has been pivotal. “Without the support from the Patricia Dukes Foundation it wouldn’t have been possible to achieve the list of completed tasks, and the state of the track would be much worse, impacting on the experience offered to bush walkers who visit from within Australia and overseas”.
These generous grants from the Patricia Dukes Foundation have allowed many upgrades including replacing marker poles on the Black Bluff Range near Cradle Mountain. 18 kms of track needed 600 poles which required hiring several helicopters to drop poles and then for volunteers to hike in to set them up. Floods in 2016 had also caused significant damage to the trail.
This grant also enabled the group to produce the Penguin Cradle Trail Map and Notes pack. Greig believes it is an essential item for anyone contemplating this unique experience. It is available here and includes five A3 maps that detail each section including campsite information, history, flora, fauna, geology as well as times and distance. The money made from the sale of these packs helps the volunteers conduct further necessary work.
The Wildcare Friends of the Penguin Cradle Trail holds regular working bees which all Wildcare members are welcome to attend. Find out more here.