Every trip has a bogey-bird or bogey-critter, something that should be easy to see but turns out to be elusive.
In the first half of our trip to Tassie, the King of Cubes was looking like a bogey-critter. We thought wombats would be everywhere, we expected to be tripping over them, but it was not to be. Of course we had seen (and indeed stroked) the orphan wombat at Bonorong Sanctuary, but that doesn’t really count. And we managed to see one in near darkness at Pumphouse Point, but the views and the photos were disappointing. Other than those two encounters, and the occasional bit of wombat poo, we’d seen nothing.
All that changed at Cradle Mountain. Here, by late afternoon, wombats were all over the place begging to be photographed. And of course Mrs P was happy to oblige, firing off more than 250 photos in the course of two viewing sessions spread across a couple of days. For example:
God bless digital photography! …
The best moment was when Mrs P was sitting on a slightly raised boardwalk to give her a different angle on the wombat she was snapping. The King of Cubes wasn’t bothered, engrossed as he was in nibbling grass.
The best grass, it seemed, was closer to Mrs P so he approached, unconcerned by her frantic clicking. Closer and closer he came, doggedly pursuing the most succulent blades. They were, it seemed, right between my wife’s legs; she did the splits, while still sitting and snapping, and the wombat inched forward.
But one of her legs was in the way, so with a deft shimmy of his shoulders he nudged it to one side so he could continue to browse unimpeded. It was an amazing sight, and for Mrs P an unforgettable experience to be so close to a wild animal that was totally unafraid of her.
The views of the King of Cubes were certainly worth waiting for. They are, without doubt, one of the cutest critters you could ever hope to encounter, a bit like a small tubby teddy bear, or maybe a miniature hairy hippo. The great sightings we had at Cradle Mountain more than made up for the earlier disappointments. What an animal. All hail the King of Cubes.