Cradle Mountain is the pinnacle of natural beauty and a must-visit place for all Aussies. Here’s how to see Cradle Mountain and all its majesty in a single day.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for this land for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
Welcome to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Tucked away in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is a place where ancient rainforests and deep river gorges meet mountain tops crowned with snow.
Beautiful, serene and almost entirely untouched, the Cradle Mountain region of Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park in Northern Tasmania is a wild alpine wonderland that has become iconic for its unique landscapes.
While it’s impossible to explore the entire region in a weekend, you can tick off some of the essential experiences within a 24 hour window.
Hikes Around Cradle Mountain
From short and easy to long and legendary – like the 6-day 80km Overland Track – there are many enjoyable and easily accessible walking tracks at Cradle Mountain.
Duration: 2-3 hr
For those short on time, the Dove Lake Circuit Walk is where you can see some of the region’s most famous sights, such as Dove Lake Boathouse.
The 6km Dove Lake circuit walk takes around 2-3 hours and starts at Dove Lake car park. Views of the infamous mountain and glacial lake are plentiful, matched only by the vast variety of native plants and vegetation that border the picturesque boardwalk. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a wombat – the area’s full of them!
Waldheim Chalet & Weindorfers Forest Walk
Duration: 30 min
Connected, these two walks offer some of the most beautiful and enchanting vignettes in Cradle Mountain. Waldheim Chalet is accessed via a detour at the start of the Overland Track which begins at Ronny Creek car park.
From the Overland Track, there are signs that direct you to Waldheim’s Chalet, a 20–30-minute walk along boardwalk that offers seemingly endless views of undulating landscapes and mountain ridges. Once there, you can investigate the 1912 chalet that was once home to Gustav Weindorfer, and learn about his role in establishing the area for tourism.
Right beside the chalet is Weindorfers Forest Walk, a fairy tale forest path filled with soft moss, stretching trees, and adorable fungi. This short 750m circuit is home to King Billy pines, pandani and Tasmania’s renowned deciduous beech, otherwise known as Fagus, which turns a beguiling shade of orange in autumn.
Enchanted Walk & Rainforest Walk
Duration: 45 min
Less of a hike and more of a short stroll that you can complete before heading indoors for dinner, these neighbouring walks are accessed next to Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.
The Enchanted Walk is just 1.1km and entirely flat, the boardwalk beginning at the Pencil Pine Creek bridge crossing, then quickly canopied by rainforest, where you can spot wombats, pademelons and other native wildlife.
The Rainforest Walk, a 400m circuit, offers close up encounters with cool temperate rainforest, pencil pines, myrtle and views of Pencil Pines Falls.
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
Where to Spot Animals Around Cradle Mountain
The area’s renowned for its flourishing population of wombats, and they’re most often spotted at dusk in the Enchanted Walk and Rainforest Walk areas, as well as along the Overland Track, Ronny Creek car park, and Dove Lake.
You can also spot possums, echidnas and pademelons in the same areas – but be sure to never touch or feed the animals, and abide by local signage.
Devils at Cradle is a wildlife conservation facility home to Tasmanian devils as well as Eastern and Spotted-tail quolls. The sanctuary is dedicated to saving the native populations of both species and welcomes guests daily to get to know their residents a little better.
Here, you can experience animal encounters, see day and night-time feedings and get to know Tassie’s most famous animal. General entry starts from $25 per adult.
While Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is one of the most well-known accommodation options in the area, you can also find lodgings at Cradle Mountain Hotel, Discovery Holiday Parks, Cradle Mountain Highlander Cottages, and Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village – all of which are located within the same vicinity of the entry point to the park proper.
Alternatively, for those keen to stay right inside the park, Waldheim Cabins is an affordable option right next to Waldheim Chalet.
Where to Eat & Drink Around Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain is a remote area and there aren’t many places to buy snacks or food aside from the hotels, so be sure to stock up before you leave the major cities.
That being said, you can find yourself some mighty fine fare and enjoy it beside a roaring fireplace at Tavern Bar & Bistro, a public restaurant located within Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge that serves up a variety of hearty meals and Tassie beverages – complete with an outdoor area made for mingling.
Cradle Mountain is a rugged alpine area, and the weather can change drastically and unexpectedly at any time of the year. You’ll need to pack:
- Comfy hiking shoes
- Warm layers such as thermal tees, a fleece jumper, insulated jacket
- At least one waterproof jacket
- Long pants
- Plenty of water and a snack for the long walks
- A map of the area
- An up-to-date weather report
- A first aid kit, just in case
How To Get There
Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park in Northern Tasmania is accessible by car, and you’ll want to head towards the northern end of the park to enjoy Cradle Mountain proper.
It’s a 1.5 hour drive from Devonport and 2.5 hours from Launceston via Sheffield. Take the C136 and C132 to the park entrance.
Please note! There’s no direct road link through Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park to join the two ends of the park – so be sure you’re headed in the right direction!
Good to Know Before You Go
Public car access is restricted in the park, so once you reach Cradle Mountain, you’ll need to check in at Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, where they can advise you on your planned walks and provide you with a map.
You’ll also need to purchase a National Parks Pass ($25pp) which gives you free and unlimited access to the shuttle bus which runs all day, every day between the visitor centre, Snake Hill, Ronny Creek car park, and Dove Lake.