On our way south we passed thru Sheffield and discovered another little gem, a Fruit and Veges shop tucked away in a side alley next to the gas station, kinda opposite the tourist information and the IGA. This shop has great produce and does real fruit ice cream, what more could you wish for? ☺ 🍦
Apart from that, not much to see until we reached the caves. Unfortunately they’re only accessible by guided tour but 19 AUD per person per cave seemed a bit too much for our feeling so we skipped and opted instead for a walk to some falls ca 12km south of Mole Creek. It was the right decision, nice forest and beautiful falls, noone else around.
Mole Creek itself is dying, that’s clear to see. We stayed at the Mole Creek Guest House, which is nice enough, but something was lacking. Heart, love, I dunno, sth like that. The breakfast was an insult, a long table full of plastic crap, and the toast was still in the packaging. I mean, they sure mean well, but to me it’s like throwing scraps to a dog. Also no one around. Which again is not a big deal but does not create a feeling of warmth and welcome if you know what I mean.
The Pepperberry Cafe is in the same building, but apparently has different proprietors. We had a pizza there on Saturday night and it was surprisingly good! Except for the cheese, but that’s a countrywide disease. 😁 I’d asked them for a hot pizza and after several warnings they agreed and hell yeah, hot it was. Lovely! A milkshake was called for and found to be delicious as well.
The first thing we did when we got into town was go to the tourist information to enquire about the status of the road to Walls of Jerusalem NP, which had been damaged by flooding in May. Bad news for us, the road is still closed and will remain closed for a long long time. And there is no alternative access short of helicopter or a six or seven day hike. 😔 Another local told me that the cost of repairing the damage is in the millions so it’s doubtful whether they will reopen it at all. Too bad for us, this would’ve been the hiking highlight of our trip, but probably very good for the delicate alpine environment in the park, less boots trampling around. The lady at the tourist info also recommended that on our way back from the falls hike we stop at nearby Chudleigh (8km from Mole Creek) where local honey and derived products are made, including ice cream. So we did only to discover that they are closed on Saturdays. Always. Have. Been. Shouldn’t she have known? Nevermind, this prompted me to re-check all the other information she’d given us, but unfortunately that turned out to be correct.
So the next day we took off without breakfast and drove to Deloraine to have late breakfast / early lunch at the Deloraine Deli, which was ok. Not great, but not bad either. They had only one salad on the menu and it had chicken in it. So I asked them to leave out the chicken and they did. But still charged me the full price. Hmm. Nevermind. Nothing to write home about.
We then looped back to Cradle Mountain and for there early, because if we can’t get to Walls of Jerusalem, Cradle sure is the next big thing. We got lucky again and could check into our Highlander Cottage early and decided to take advantage of the great weather, taking off immediately for a leg stretcher to Dove Canyon. Well worth the effort, beautiful little warm up walk!