February 13, 2023
6 mins Read
Walking in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a bucket-list item for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With bushland burgeoning with botanical life and landscapes jewelled with crystalline lakes, it’s no wonder why the walks in Cradle Mountain have a reputation as some of Australia’s most picturesque. If you’re ready to lace up your hiking boots and explore the unrivalled natural beauty that Tasmania has to offer, check out these iconic Cradle Mountain walks that are suitable for every fitness level.
Difficulty: easy + access friendly
Duration: 10 mins
Starting just outside the Cradle Mountain Visitor’s Centre, this walk meanders through a cool temperate rainforest that showcases the diversity of Cradle Mountain’s botanical life. You’ll walk among fragrant Myrtle and towering Pencil Pines until you reach the lovely lookout point over Pencil Pine falls. Easy, accessible and short – the rainforest walk is the perfect introduction to the beauty of Cradle Mountain’s bushland surroundings.
Duration: 20 mins
This short but majestic walk certainly lives up to its name. Wander along the banks of the slow-flowing Pencil Pine River, through button grass moorlands and mossy forests. The Enchanted Walk is great for spotting wildlife, so keep an eye out for the resident wombats and pademelons that like to hang out along the trail. If you’re in luck, you might glimpse a platypus playing in the river if you head down at dawn or dusk. Although it’s just 1km, the Enchanted Walk has a reputation as one of Cradle Mountain’s best walks.
Duration: 3 hours
The rugged peaks of Cradle Mountain hanging over the crystal waters of Dove Lake are the postcard-perfect image of Tasmania. The Dove Lake Circuit offers a pleasant stroll that keeps these iconic landmarks in view. The trail is fringed by beautiful forest and plenty of vantage points for incredible vistas of Cradle Mountain over the lake. The Dove Lake circuit is the quintessential Cradle Mountain walk, so it’s certainly not one you want to miss!
Duration: 3 hours
This beautiful boardwalk snakes through golden grasslands and moorlands peppered with luscious tussocks of button grass. You’ll walk through the open countryside, stopping off at waterfalls and crossing over rushing creeks. Stretching from Ronny Creek to the Cradle Mountain Visitor’s Centre, the Cradle Valley Board Walk offers a wonderful introduction to the pristine wilderness contained within Cradle Valley.
Duration: 3-4 hours
This walk in the southern end of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park combines a ferry ride from Lake St Clair Visitors Centre to Echo Point, where hikers can walk the lakeside trail back. The trail will take you through a luscious rainforest, offering incredible views across the lake where the towering Mount Ida frames the shores. The walk coincides with the last leg of the Overland Track – offering a picturesque yet not-too-strenuous sample of the iconic hike.
Duration: 2 hours
Watch marvellous views over Dove Lake unfold as you embark on the climb up to Marion’s Lookout from the Dove Lake circuit. Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be met with a breathtaking vantage point to admire the rocky peaks of Cradle Mountain. Once you’re done taking it all in, walk back via Wombat pool, which will bring you past sparkling lakes and down into picturesque plains peppered with button grass and Eucalypts.
Duration: 8 hours
What better way to experience the iconic peak than an expedition to Cradle Mountain’s summit? You’ll be treated to marvellous views from Hanson’s Peak and Marion’s lookout as you ascend. Keep going toward the historic Kitchen Hut, a charming mountain shelter perfect to rest in and admire the magnificent scenery. After a scramble up Cradle Mountain, you’ll be rewarded with truly epic panoramas. On one side, you’ll see the crystalline Dove Lake and the verdant landscapes that lie beyond. On the other, you’ll gaze into the heart of the Central Highlands, where the renowned Overland Track continues.
Cradle Mountain is a great destination year-round – each season offers something unique. The most popular time to hike in Cradle Mountain is during the glorious summer months between December and February when the days are warm and rainfall is at a minimum. In autumn, you can experience the forest flushed with warm golden hues – if you’re prepared to dress for cooler and wetter weather. Winter in Cradle Mountain – and anywhere in Tasmania for that matter – is nothing short of show-stopping, with snow-capped peaks that make the mountains appear even more magical. During winter, it’s best to check conditions if you’re planning on a short walk, but serious trekking is not recommendable. Spring has plenty of rainy days, but if you don’t mind the wet weather, you’ll be rewarded with blooming valleys and lots of wildlife sightings.
The walks in Cradle Mountain have varying degrees of difficulty, so make sure you select a hike that corresponds with your fitness level. It’s important to be adequately prepared with equipment and information before you head out hiking in Cradle Mountain. Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services is a great resource for hiking safety and a packing list to help you prepare. We have also rounded up our top picks of Cradle Mountain accommodation options that put you close to the walking trails – and they have the added bonus of offering great dining options too, so you can refuel after all that walking.
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