Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tasmanian reflections: Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain, at the northern end of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The national park covers 161,000 hectares and includes the 65km Overland track, which allows walkers to travel through the park from Cradle Mountain in the north to Lake St Clair in the south.

The Cradle Mountain area was a highlight of our two weeks away, and whilst different to what I was expecting (in a way I struggle to articulate), really was incredibly beautiful.

The national park itself is set slightly away from the accommodation options and visitors centre, and there is no town or focal point in the vicinity. There is also no phone reception for most mobile phones, making it  feel a world away from day-to-day life.

We stayed in a self-catering cabin (Cradle Mountain Highlanders Cottages), which was heated beautifully by a pot belly fire, and used the free Parks and Wildlife service shuttle bus to travel from there to the national park area.

Cradle Mountain Highlanders Cottage

On our first full day in the area, we woke to sunshine and frost - perfect walking weather - and embarked on a 'moderate' grade, 3 hour walk encompassing Crater Lake and Wombat Pool and then returning to Dove Lake.

A wombat welcomed us as we set off...

Traversing through scrub...

and then forest...

to ultimately reach this...

Crater Lake, carved by ice during the ice ages.


On the next day, we did the easier and shorter Dove Lake circuit, which was less dramatic but still impressive.

Fruit, snack bars (for me) and biscuits (for Mr Bite) came on our walks, and stopping to rest and re-fuel in the middle of a forest, or on top of a mountain, was certainly enjoyable.

Being winter, we also tended to have places to ourselves - a distinct advantage and one that made the cold temperatures worthwhile!

Have you been to any national parks that have stuck in your memory? Or even taken any multi-day walks?


  1. gorgeous photos - brings back my visit there many years ago - I remember the old moss covered trees delighted me - but we were complete amateurs and could have got more out of the experience

  2. We spent our honeymoon at Cradle Mountain, so lots of wonderful memories to your pictures. Although when we were there it was all white.
    One of my favourite places, ever.

  3. Stunning photos, especially of Crater Lake. Have always wanted to explore Tassie including Cradle Mountain but never get around to it because the weather puts us off. The most beautiful parks I have been to were in the Top End, Litchfield and especially Kakadu/Arnhem Land were full of wonderful walks to breathtaking places.

  4. I *think* my school group and I did the Dove Walk in Year 10! At least, I know we went to Cradle Mountain and I loved it. I also love how one could almost forget that it's winter, looking at your gorgeous photos!

  5. @Johanna GGG
    Us too, believe me! I was also amazed at how many people were on top of mountains with full camera equipment. I guess there is serious business in hiking and photography in such locations.

  6. @cityhippyfarmgirl
    What an amazing honeymoon location - and I'd imagine that being in white would have added to the atmosphere. The people who stayed in our cabin a few weeks prior to us noted in the guestbook that they got engaged there, so it must be a good romantic spot :)

  7. @Mel
    I think we were incredibly lucky with the weather - it would have been a different fortnight if it rained the whole time! Thanks for those park ideas too, as I have been to none but certainly want to make it to the more northern / central areas I'm yet to see. Great suggestions there :)

  8. @Hannah
    What a great school trip location - amazing. The Dove Lake walk sounds likely as a school based excursion, as it's the one promoted the most I think (it's mostly on boardwalk and so I think is environmentally and person friendly).

  9. The actual lake reminds me of MANY moons ago when I did an easy climb in Norway---deep, deep pools surrounded by craggy rocks and some brush. Fabulous!

    What an awesome trip! I love off-season travel for the exact reason that you get to enjoy it on your own terms, instead of battling crowds... what kind of camera are you using?

  10. @Stephanie @
    It's funny you should ask about my camera, as the holiday brought my desire for a new one to a head! It's a very old Sony point and click...I think I got it around 2001. 3x zoom and 6 megapixels and I don't know much else!

    Norway is definitely on list of places to visit too...good to know the scenery will impress me if I ever get there.


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