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Travel guide Cradle Mountain

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Cradle Mountain

Rising 1545 metres above sea level, and towering over Dove Lake, Lake Wilks and Crater Lake, Cradle Mountain was aptly named in 1827 by surveyor Joseph Fossey. Formed by millennia of glacial sculpting, this unique peak is part of the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, within the vast Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Despite its popularity among outdoor enthusiasts, artists, athletes, families, couples and tour groups, it is easy to find your own space to explore, reflect, and rejuvenate. 

Things To Do
The most important items you’ll need to pack in your bag are good walking boots and a camera, because Cradle Mountain is all about the scenery and enjoying life in the Tasmanian wilderness. With that in mind, make sure you stop into the Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre soon after you arrive. You will find loads of great information about walking tracks and tours, as well as knowledgeable staff to offer suggestions.

If you’re feeling really adventurous (and fit) you might consider taking the famous Overland Track – but it will take you six days to complete. Most people would enjoy the many smaller walks available, ranging from 10 minutes (nice and flat) to 8 hours (with a steep climb). There are also several wheelchair accessible paths.

Here are some ideas to try while you’re in the area:
1. Arrange for a gourmet picnic basket with delicious local wine to be assembled at your place of accommodation (most places offer this as a service in the area) and set off to a tranquil lake and enjoy good food with a view.
2. Pay for a fishing license at a local bait shop, and head out to a lake for some trout fishing. Boats are readily available for renting.
3. Summit Cradle Mountain. It’s a full day’s trek for fit bushwalkers and it’s essential for safety reasons to let the rangers know before you set out.
4. Head to Lake St Clair Visitors Centre for information about Australia’s deepest lake, also formed by glaciers. Lake St Clair has scenic walking tracks for all levels of ability.
5. Check out the many ranger-led activities available at the visitors centres. Learn about the history, flora and fauna of the area through slide shows and live presentations.
6. Seek out the waterfalls – Tasmania has many of these cascading wonders and they are the perfect place to take photos of your friends and family.
7. Head over to Cradle Mountain Lodge and arrange a native animal night viewing tour. You may discover that the Tasmanian Devil doesn’t actually spin…
8. Hire a bike (or bring your own) and coast along a mountain path (check at the visitors centres first to learn which paths are appropriate).
9. Remember to allow plenty of time for enjoying your cabin, lodge, chalet, or bed and breakfast. The region is known for its warm, relaxing atmosphere.
10. During the summer holidays, Cradle Mountain Lodge has a special children’s program with many fascinating and educational activities. Contact the Lodge for more information.

When to go
Summer is an ideal time to visit Cradle Mountain, offering visitors refreshing breezes as a respite from the hot temperatures found on the mainland. Autumn is spectacular, as there are countless deciduous trees painting the landscape with brightly coloured leaves. Spring is also lovely, with blooming wildflowers throughout the region.

How to get there
Upon arriving in Tasmania by either air or ferry, consider hiring a car to get around. Cradle Mountain is at least an hour’s drive from most cities, and regardless of which direction you start from, a drive through Tasmania is varied and beautiful. A car is also useful to get to the many lakes, waterfalls, and walking trails in the area.

If a car is not part of your holiday plans, it is possible to take a bus from the major cities, but you’ll need to arrange it before you arrive. Contact the Visitors Centre listed below for more information.

You won’t find boring chain hotels near Cradle Mountain – every place you can rest your head is extraordinary and an experience in itself. For example, there is the adult’s only paradise of Cradle Chalet Boutique Luxury Lodge – set in the Tasmanian wilderness; this four-star lodge has only eight rooms to ensure that guests can enjoy the serenity.  Families, couples and friends will enjoy the beauty of the Alpine Wilderness Retreat Cabin, which offers private wilderness walks, cozy rooms and a claw-foot bath to soak in after a day of hiking.

In contrast, if you want to revel with other Tassie travelers and enjoy the excitement of being right in the action, Voyagers Cradle Mountain Lodge is the place to be, boasting many interesting activities on site.

Check out all of TakeABreak’s Cradle Mountain accommodation offerings to find the perfect break for you and your traveling companions.

Ideal length of visit
Many visitors consider Cradle Mountain to be an invigorating two or three-day break, and most include it as part of a trip around Tasmania. However, if bushwalking and rejuvenating in quaint chalets and lodges is your dream escape, consider booking a longer stay.

Further information
Be sure to check out the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre when you arrive, and call 03 6492 1110 if you have questions beforehand.

Discover Tasmania offers tourism information about Cradle Mountain and other towns, attractions, and parks throughout Tasmania.

About the Author

Kylie-Jane Degeling is a freelance writer who has lived in


, Yulara (



Alice Springs



, as well as five different countries throughout the world. After backpacking around Australia, she worked as a tour guide in Central Australia, before training for her Commercial Pilot License and working as a flight instructor, scenic flight and charter pilot. She later worked as a travelling IT trainer for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which involved spending time in each of their 16 District Offices around the country on a rotating basis.

Having experienced Australia as a backpacker, tour guide, pilot and business traveller, Kylie now enjoys family holidays with her husband Alex, and children Jezzy and Jordan. She says, “I have been lucky to see Australia from a variety of perspectives, and as a travel writer can use this experience to inspire others to find holidays they would enjoy.”  Kylie currently works as a travel writer in addition to being a government writer and columnist for two parenting magazines.

About the author
Find out more about Kylie at http://bit.ly/h_experts

More accomodation in North Tasmania
Launceston | Tamar Valley | Westbury | Devonport | Cradle Mountain | Paper Beach | Port Sorell | Tullah | Deloraine | Elizabeth Town | Loongana | Latrobe | Mole Creek | George Town | Greens Beach | Ulverstone | Hadspen | King Island | Beauty Point | Blackwood Creek | Melrose TAS | Legana | Beechford | Newnham | Preolenna | Sulphur Creek | Windmill Hill | Clarence Point | Brooklyn | Cape Portland | Epping | Gawler | Illawarra | Kelvin Grove | Norwood | Perth | Prospect | St Leonards | Surrey Hills | Wilmot |

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  The cradle mountain is frequently climbed by the tourists, virtually year round. Most of the area around the mountain has a large number of day walks, as well as being one terminus of the Overland Track. It is a strenuous return hike from the Dove Lake car park. Climb up to the rocky part of the mountain involves scrambling over the large boulders for several 100 meters.
Posted on Jan 05 2011 at 16:24

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