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Great Bays of Fire

12th January 2012

Meet the lovely Lodge Manager of Cradle Mountain Huts, Bec Crowe. From star-gazing to walks in the wildlife, she shares why she loves her job and the tranquility of Tasmania.

I grew up in country Victoria and studied Outdoor Education and Teaching at university. I had always felt a real passion for the natural environment and loved spending time exploring some of the great places Australia has to offer. I also really enjoy being able to share these locations, by show people around. When I first visited Tasmania 4 years ago, I knew there was something really special about this state, and couldn’t wait to get back to do some more travelling. The diversity and natural beauty of the island is amazing. I moved here as soon as I finished university and just love it.

The lodge is an exceptionally unique workplace. It sits perched on a hill overlooking the ocean and all you can see for miles are the waves, sand, red rocks and coastal scrub. With no other buildings or people in sight its pretty special waking up to that view every morning.  At night, you can lay back in bed and look at the stars.

I like the feeling of being completely off the grid too. Here at the lodge, we catch all our rainwater, run on solar and gas power and bring in fresh supplies of local produce daily. The place really encourages people to relax and get back to basics. Guests get to turn off their mobiles, forget about cooking and cleaning and trying to remember the million little jobs they have to do. Instead, they just go for a stroll down to the beach, read a book in front of the fire, swim in the ocean, try another piece of cake… It’s a nice feeling being able to facilitate that for them.

It's impossible to get bored out here and no trip is ever the same. There is always something new washed up on the beach, different animal tracks in the sand and new flowers blossoming. For example, in the last couple of months we have been seeing plenty of whales cruising down South. Everyone drops what they are doing and rushes out to the front deck to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures. If we’re lucky, the whales will put on a real show, splashing, breaching and showing off their new calves.  I don’t know of many other places where you get to do that at work.

I also enjoy the huge range of people I get to meet working here. Almost everyday we meet a new group of guests arriving at the lodge. I love to watch their faces as they come up onto the front deck and see the view behind them for the first time. There is also a real sense of achievement, as they have just walked for two days to arrive at the lodge. Meeting so many people each day, you are bound to hear interesting stories of travel, adventures and history. I’ve definitely felt privileged to meet some of our guests out here.

I was looking for some guiding work over Summer when I first moved to Tassie in 2008. A friend suggested Bay of Fires, which sounded intriguing, as I hadn’t spent much time on the North East coast of Tassie. I was blown away by the scenery and solitude on my first trip, it really didn’t feel like work hiking along the beach enjoying the beautiful weather and landscape. I worked for two seasons guiding and then was lucky enough to be offered the position of Lodge Manager, meaning I would get to live full time at the beach and oversee the lodge and field operations side of the walk. I have now spent the last year working as the Lodge Manager with my partner Will, and am going into my fourth year working for the company.

I’ve had a lot of great tours, but one moment that really stands out, was in Summer a couple of years ago. My fellow guide and I were walking along the beach on the second morning of the tour when we spotted an Australasian Gannet, a large sea bird, hopelessly tangled in a fishing lure. It had got both its feet and beak caught in the lure and was flapping around on the beach very distressed. We managed to catch it and remove the lure from its beak and one foot, but it was so badly tangled in the other foot that we didn’t think we could do any more to help it. That’s when two of our guests (who just happened to be surgeons) jumped in to help. With a little bit of improvised beach surgery they had the bird free in no time.  The bird then hopped off back to the water. It was a pretty rewarding moment for the whole group.

My other favourite story involves a tour group of 10 women, lots of red wine and some interesting dance moves, but I’ll save that for another time…

We are pretty settled here at the moment, so we focus a lot of time looking at ways to improve the walk and expand our knowledge of the local environment. Aside from that, we are always trying to find more time to keep exploring Tassie.  Even though it’s a small island, the list of places to visit, walks to do and rivers to paddle just keeps on growing.

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