It isn’t the highest peak in Tasmania (Mount Ossa is), but it’s certainly one of the most recognisable. And the great news is that Cradle Mountain – quite apart from being one of the most spectacular – is also one of the most accessible peaks. It’s situated in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, which is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. You can drive all the way there and there are stacks of accommodation options.
“The absolute crowning glory of Tassie’s wilderness.” – Suzi Petkovski
This huge, alpine wilderness area is a hiker’s heaven. All sorts of walks are on offer around the mountain (and its famous partner, Lake Dove). The skyline traverse of Cradle, which follows only the highest pinnacles from the Eastern Little Horn to its summit, is a trophy walk and a very strenuous all-day climb.
Dress warmly when you visit Cradle, and don’t expect the mountain to show you her beauty every day. This is alpine country, and Cradle Mountain has its own, very local weather system. Try to get out of bed and experience one of Tasmania’s natural highlights by watching the sun rise over the mountain from the car park at Dove Lake. Getting there is part of the fun; drive very slowly, for the road will be choc-a-block with wildlife. For more, see ‘Walk Australia’s Greatest Bushwalk’.
Did you know?
Gustaf Weindorfer, an Austrian-born naturalist who made the area his home and life’s work, named Mount Kate in Cradle Valley after his wife. Cradle Mountain was named by explorer Joseph Fossey in 1827.
How to get there
Regular flights are available from all Australian capital cities to Launceston with Jetstar or Virgin Blue, to Devonport with Qantaslink or Rex and to Hobart with Qantas or Virgin Blue.
Car rental is available through all major car rental companies in airport or city locations from Launceston (2.5 hours), Burnie (1.5 hours) and Devonport (1.5 hours).
Tassie Link operates coach services from Devonport and Launceston airports.
The “Spirit of Tasmania” sails daily between Melbourne and Devonport.
Best time to go
Anytime, but always be prepared for cold, wet weather.
Website of the Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania
Official website of Tourism Tasmania
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.