Cradle Mountain Holidays & Travel Guide Cradle Mountain Holidays & Travel Guide

The ultimate travel guide toCradle Mountain

Despite being only the sixth highest mountain in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain with its jagged contours, tufts of button grass and still, glacial lakes that reflect towering, ancient pines, is easily one of the state’s most iconic sights. Here you can spot platypus, echidnas and, if you’re lucky, a Tasmanian devil as you hike one of its many trails. For a real adventure, embark on the Overland Track, a 65-kilometre-long trek that’ll see you traversing the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area over a total of six days. And when you’re done walking, there’s plenty else to do and see here. Clip up to canyon in the park’s waterfalls, relax your tired legs in an outdoor spa or settle in for a three-course meal featuring Tasmania’s finest local produce. In search of adventure with a side of serenity? Cradle Mountain fits the bill.

Getting to Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a four-hour drive from Hobart and a two-hour drive from Launceston. To get to Cradle Mountain itself, you’ll need to park at Dove Lake, Ronny Creek, Waldheim or the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and Transit Terminal and either start the walk from there or take the Dove Lake Shuttle Bus, included in the park entrance fee.

 

The best time to visit Cradle Mountain is from December to March when the area experiences the least amount of rainfall. The average temperature in summer is roughly 18 degrees Celsius. And while the average temperature is 7 degrees in winter, at night, they can drop to below zero. Snow is common from July to September, particularly at the mountaintops where the chillier temperature means it sticks to the ground.

Top things to do at Cradle Mountain

Walks & Hikes

One of the best features of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is its sheer amount of hikes – there’s one to suit every fitness level.

 

The Cradle Mountain Summit Walk is a 12.8-kilometre steep circuit trail with stops at Hansons Peak, Marions Lookout and Dove Lake Boatshed along the way. For views of the lake itself instead, opt for the six-kilometre-long Dove Lake Circuit, which undulates around the glacially carved lake it’s named after, as well as along the foot of Cradle Mountain. Crater Lake (5.7 kilometres) winds past Crater Lake, Lake Lilla and Wombat Pool.

 

It’s Overland Track, however, that steals the show. Taking six days and stretching for 65 kilometres from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, it’s considered one of Australia’s premier alpine walks and welcomes approximately 9,000 visitors each year. The walk, which can be done on your own, with a group or on a guided tour, requires careful planning, as well as an Overland Track Pass.

Activities & Adventure

Not keen on walking trails? You can also horse ride at Cradle Mountain, Kimberley or Bakers Beach; talk a guided fly fishing trip (September to April) with RiverFly 1864; hop on a ferry or scenic cruise with Lake St Clair Lodge; or join a chopper tour with Cradle Mountain Helicopters for aerial views of the park.

 

In the warmer months, hire a bike to cruise around the park; explore its canyons and waterfalls with Cradle Mountain Canyons or simply throw together a picnic or barbecue near the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and enjoy it while you take in the park’s stillness.

Attractions & Relaxation

Visit conservation facility Devils@Cradle at the entrance to the park to see endangered Tasmanian devils and their closely related spotted-tail and eastern quolls. The sanctuary’s After Dark Feeding Tours lets you see these nocturnal creatures in their prime: at night.

 

Also worth visiting is Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery, a 12-room art museum displaying installations, exhibitions and films, mostly made by Tasmanian artists, and Waldheim Chalet, a home built in 1912 that provides visitors with an insight into the early history of the Cradle Mountain area. After a day of walking, soothe your achy muscles with a treatment at Waldheim Alpine Spa, nestled into Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.

Best Places to stay near Cradle Mountain

Lodges & Cabins

With no actual town in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, hotels, lodges and cabins can be scattered in and around it. Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is the only on-mountain luxury accommodation. With a cosy lobby and lounge set around a crackling fire, special tours including a Wildlife Spotting Drive Tour and its Waldheim Alpine Spa, the lodge itself offers an experience of its own.

 

Cradle Mountain Love Shack is a self-contained alpine cabin. Cradle Mountain Highlander Cottages is a family-owned hotel with cabins built using Tasmanian timber to complement their bushland surrounding. And Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village has self-contained apartments to suit everyone from solo travellers to families.

Spas & Resorts

A 45-minute drive from the park is Eagles Nest Retreat, a day spa and overnight lodge. Book in for a soak in its indoors or outdoors spas or for a yoga class or massage. Silver Ridge Retreat, also a 45-minute drive from the park, has cabins and cottages equipped with wood heaters and an indoor heated pool. Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat, a 30-minute drive from the park, boasts self-contained cabins and suites, as well as restaurant Whispering Woods.

Camping

Before you decide to camp in Cradle Mountain, keep in mind that even in summer, temperatures at night can drop severely. That said, if you come prepared, camping can be a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the remote wilderness of Cradle Mountain.

 

Discovery Park – Cradle Mountain is the starting point for several walks, including the Overland Track. Lake St Clair Tourist Park has campsites, as well as a café and restaurant. Don’t want to bring a tent? Book into Lake St Clair Tourist Park’s bunkhouse or one of the eight cabins at nearby Waldheim Cabins and you’ll only need to bring your own bedding.

Best restaurants & cafes near Cradle Mountain

If you’re staying in one of Cradle Mountain’s many self-contained apartments, take advantage of its kitchen facilities by doing a food shop in towns Wynyard, Somerset or Devonport beforehand.

 

Highland Restaurant in Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge serves Modern Australian on a set two- or three-course menu. Also inside the lodge is casual eatery Tavern Bar & Bistro, where you can dig into pizzas, pasta and pub classics. Hellyers Lodge, inside Cradle Mountain Wildnerness Village, prides itself on its local produce ingredients. And Altitude Restaurant, tucked into Cradle Mountain Hotel, also uses locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant’s Mountain Rock Experience is available for dinner and will see you receiving your meal cooking on a 400 degree Celsius volcanic stone, a technique that sears in the juices and nutrients of the meat or seafood, giving it extra flavour.

 

Tours and packages for Cradle Mountain

While Cradle Mountain’s walks can be undertaken on your own, many of them can be done on a guided tour. Cradle Mountain Tours has half-day and full-day tours of the park, departing from Launceston. McDermott’s Coaches also has tours leaving from Launceston. Book its two-day Cradle Mountain Experience, which includes its Night Spotting Tour, when you can get up close and personal with the area’s nocturnal wildlife. Cradle Mountain Helicopters, next to Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, organises scenic flights ranging from 10 minutes to 100 and transfer flights to other parts of Tasmania.

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