Cradle Mountain National Park is one of those places that makes Tasmania a must visit place all on its own. It is raw, untouched and beautiful.
The area itself is situated 90Km away from Devonport, where if you are arriving from “Mainland” Australia by the Spirit of Tasmania ferry you will dock. If you are arriving by plane then the two main airports used are either Launceston, which is 150kms away or Hobart, the state’s capital city, which is just over 300kms away. If arriving into Hobart I have a separate blog post on “5 Must Do Items” in or close to Hobart.
To arrive at Cradle Mountain National Park from any of these areas will require either hiring a car (if you haven’t brought your own) or booking an organised tour or shuttle bus. The drives from all three destinations will be different but certainly not boring, they will provide plenty of places to stop and take stunning pictures even before arriving at your destination of Cradle Mountain.
Once you have arrived at the National Park you will either need to get a car pass for the duration of your stay or leave your vehicle at the information centre and catch the free shuttle bus in, this service is included in your Parks admission fee.
There are many walks you can choose from and no matter what your walking experience is, there will be one to suit you. The most popular and one of the more leisurely walks are around Dove Lake. This is the place all the Instagram, postcard and google pictures get taken from and I’m sure if you have decided to visit Cradle Mountain National Park to start with you know the exact pictures I’m talking about.
The walk is made up of a combination of well-maintained gravel paths or boardwalk areas that wrap around Dove Lake itself. The walk is reasonably flat with one or two sections of climbing or handmade stairs. If you take your time and are in no rush most people of any fitness levels can complete this stunning walk and enjoy the beautiful nature on offer. It can take anywhere from 1 to 5 hours to complete this loop track, depending on how many photo stop’s you make, your overall fitness level and if you decide to stop anywhere for an isolated picnic brunch, lunch or afternoon snack.
If for some reason you can’t or don’t have time to complete the loop circuit walk, then from the parking spot you can walk a short distance to your right-hand side and still manage to take one of the iconic shots of this area that is printed on all the postcards.
For the more experienced hikers, there is plenty of day and even overnight hikes to choose from with the most famous being the Overland Track. This hike brings people from all over the world to the area such is its reputation. The Overland Track takes a little bit more organising as it’s a one-way track rather than a loop circuit. It takes 5 to 6 days to complete the 65km journey and is one track that I would love to do but still haven’t managed to tick off.
It has been voted the number 1 walking track in Australia by CNN travel
If you plan to take on this track, please do your research of the conditions and the expected weather during your trip but also remember that this is the mountains and conditions can change multiple times in a day. Be prepared for all conditions, pack the right hiking and safety equipment, inform a friend or family member of your schedule and sign-in on the register before taking off for this walk. Safety in these areas is something to take extremely seriously so you can enjoy your experience to the highest level.
While you are in Cradle Mountain National Park keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife in the area. Wombats, possums, kangaroo and wallabies, deer, bird life and Tasmanian devils are just some of the animals you will have the chance to see.
If Tasmanian devils are something that interests you more, be sure to check out the sanctuary for these animals. Here is where lots of research and breeding is being done to ensure these animals are around for the future generations and not lost to the horrible facial tumour disease. There are also many tours you can do while in the National Park including a wildlife spotting trip.
If a day trip is not enough time for you and you want to spend a night or more away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and crowds then why not stay in one of the great accommodation places on offer. These range from the luxurious options of Cradle Mountain Lodge and Lemonthyme Lodge which both boast great room options and dining experiences. Some rooms even have their own spa you can enjoy in privacy while surrounded by nature, or if luxury doesn’t quite fit in with your travel budget then there are other options like a backpacker’s which has the option of a dorm or private rooms.
If you are travelling down to Tasmania and don’t make time to visit Cradle Mountain National Park, then in my personal opinion you have made a slight misjudgement in your itinerary. It might seem a little out of the way but as mentioned before the drive or trip to there itself is also a rewarding experience.
While you are in “Tassie” be sure to also check out some of the other hidden and not so hidden gems on offer. What are they? Find out.
If you are wanting to see the most of Tasmania then why not look at doing a multi-day tour around this great Australian state. It is one of the easiest ways to ensure you will tick off all the important areas the state has to offer without the stress or hassle of driving yourself.
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Happy Travels, Brodie