What better way to get the most from your visit to Cradle Mountain than to enjoy one or more of the many possible walks? Whether you would prefer a shorter walk of around an hour or two, or are ready for one of the multiple-day walks like the magnificent Overland Track there is something just perfect for you to enjoy.
You don’t even have to head all the way out to the National Park to see Tasmania’s wilderness at its finest. Many of the area’s lodges and vacation retreats offer plenty of amazing scenery and nature trails on their grounds, which are suited to the various levels of a visitor’s experience and mobility.
Please remember that, while you are out and about, enjoying yourself on one of the many fine scenic trails the area has to offer, that you do not wander too far off the “beaten path”. You surely don’t want to get lost in the middle of untouched wilderness!
Depending on the season, the general climate in the area is subject to sudden shifts of temperature and precipitation, so be sure to bring warm clothes, sunscreen, and wet weather gear (perhaps a raincoat and galoshes) with you, just in case!
Remember that it’s up to you to leave the area as clean and pristine as possible for the benefit of those who come after you, so please be sure not to drop cigarette butts or other litter on the ground behind you. Carry a small rubbish bag with you. Remember, the woodland animals make their home here!
And, speaking of animals, please don’t feed the wildlife! For the same reasons you should never feed the bears at Yellowstone, you should never encourage the animals to form bad habits and lose their fear of mixing too close with humans.
Before undertaking any walks consider your fitness level, ensure you are dressed appropriately with particular attention to footwear and consult with National Park staff regarding any current seasonal issues.
The Overland Track
Stretching from Cradle Mountain to all the way to Lake St Clair is a six day, 65 kilometre walk that will let you see some of the most amazing scenery in Tasmania. Although it can be quite challenging, it is an experience you will not forget. You will witness beautiful waterfalls, a variety of different ecosystems, and all the wildlife you could ever hope to lay your eyes on. You’ll walk in the shadow of Tasmania’s highest mountain peak.
You’ll witness first hand the magical beauty of the rainforest located halfway up the mountain, as well as some of the oldest and most mysterious creeks and lakes in all of Australia. You may even see a koala or a wombat, cavorting about with their young!
On the 6th day, your journey will finish at the crystal blue waters of Lake St. Clair, Australia’s deepest lake. Indeed, the combination of astounding natural scenery and the physical endurance test one undergoes as they make the journey will leave you with a lifetime of memories and a true sense of having “achieved something” that very few others can boast of.
There are a number of shorter walks you can opt to take – all have spectacular views: some of the most popular are listed below.
The Dove Lake Circuit
This six kilometre walk takes about two hours to complete and goes around the lake and through some wonderful rainforest, and is one of Tasmania’s most famous nature walks. It is also known as, physically speaking, one of the most easily manageable short walks in the Cradle Mountain region. This feature makes it ideal for younger and less experienced nature walkers, as well as elder individuals who desire a bit of exercise but need to be careful they are not “overdoing it”.
Lasting just over 6 kilometres, the Dove Lake Circuit walk still manages to pack in quite a bit of variety in its relatively short duration. The flat featured, duckboard and gravel track is quite comfortable on one’s feet, and has been purposely designed to avoid grittiness and irregularity that could contribute to soreness. You’ll soon find yourself on the rocky crest of Cradle Mountain itself, which hovers enticingly above the track, daring you to ascend its majestic height.
Weather in the area is quite unpredictable, which is, of course, part of its challenge. It can change from sunny to snowy to rainy and back again in a matter of several hours, so be sure to bring adequate protection and provisions.
Indeed, depending on what conditions the weather brings on any given day, the face of Cradle Mountain can seem moody, mysterious, and foreboding, or, alternatively, quite friendly and inviting. On some days, its massive dolerite spire is completely invisible behind a dense, seemingly impenetrable, foggy haze.
As you wind your way to the very top of the mountain, you will discover as you climb, a great variety of terrain. You’ll see great golden sandy beaches, rough scrub grass, a waterfall or two, and, at the very centre of it all, a sight your eyes will not soon forget: the majestic Ballroom Rainforest! Your unbelieving eyes may think for a moment that they have seen a few of the “little people” carousing about amongst the age old, moss covered beechwood trees. All in all, the Dove Lake Circuit is a walk for the ages.
The Crater Lake Circuit
This is a relatively low altitude walk of around two hours duration that enables you to take in the beauty of the stunning Crater Lake: if you fancy a relaxing, refreshing quick walk about the area, but don’t feel like exerting yourself in the heat, or shivering as you walk through sleet or snow, you could always elect to try out the Crater Lake Circuit.
The Crater Lake Circuit is a brisk, easily navigable, 2 hour journey, perfect for those on their very first nature walk, as well as the seasoned professional who isn’t in a mood to put his skill set to the test this particular day.
It begins at the car park, conveniently located at Dove Lake. Trekkers follow the boardwalk past hazy, scrubby fields of button grass, which soon enough give way to the shore fronts of beautiful Lake Lilla. From there, you journey onward to Wombat Lake, perhaps pausing a moment or two to take in the sight of the cute, furry little creatures who gave the lake its name.
Onward and upward you climb, up the side of Cradle Mountain, enjoying the breathtaking scenery as your feet carry you along, enjoying the benefits of a level and very well graded pure gravel track. Roughly at the halfway point, you will be amazed as the terrain alters its face completely, for you have reached the rainforest!
Soon enough, you leave this beautiful tropical paradise behind you, as you ascend up to journey’s end: Crater Lake! Its pools of dark, mysterious waters and steeply sloping walls, carved by glacial ice back in the forgotten mists of another age, are your reward for making this short but sweet journey.
Cradle Mountain Summit: not to be taken lightly, a trek to the summit and back will take about eight hours to complete and provide you with breath taking panoramic views of the area.
It is possible to book portered walks and packages that include professional guides, accommodation and suitable waterproof clothing. The above listed treks are only some of the great variety of nature walks available to adventurous travelers. Why not come and see for yourself what this magical, mystical realm has to offer?