Hike Cradle Mountain Guide – the Heart of Tasmania
Cradle Mountain is undeniably one of Australia’s most beautiful national parks. There is a variety of hiking trails that pass next to beautiful alpine lakes and majestic mountains. It doesn’t matter if you come here for a legendary Overland Track, or a pleasant 2h walk around Dove Lake… You will find the views captivating and immerse yourself in the area’s ever-changing scenery. You will walk along side wallabies, wombats and possums as you trek across the valley. Without a doubt the Cradle Mountain National Park is a place of exceptional natural beauty in the heart of incredible Tasmania. Beauty which we will help you discover in this Hike Cradle Mountain guide.
Entering the park
The entrance to the park is possible only by a bus departing every 10 min from the Visitors Centre or Interpretation Centre (if you are staying in Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge). Leave your car in the parking lot, get your tickets and hop on the bus.
↬ Note : If you purchased the Holiday Pass before, you still must collect the entry tickets at the Visitors Center.
The electric bus will take you 6km inside of the park. There are 3 drop off (and pick up) locations: Snake Hill, Ronny Creek and Dove Lake. If you choose to walk instead of taking the bus, it will take you 3h to reach Dove Lake.
↬ Note : In this article, we will guide you through the ultimate one day hike experience of the Cradle Mountain. If you stay here for a few days, you can take your time and do hikes one by one. Here’s a link to our 1 day hike trail on google map as seen right under.
Dove Lake Circuit
This 6km track is surely one of the best walks in Tasmania. Drop off at the bus last stop and let the wooden path guide you around Dove Lake. It passes directly beneath the impressive Cradle Mountain, providing stunning views along the whole walk. Walk this trail clockwise, making your first stop at Glacier Rock.
↬ IMPORTANT : Before starting your hike, stop at the Visitors Registration to sign in your names, contact number, date and hour of beginning of your hike. As well as your intended walking tracks. It’s important that you leave all this information. Don’t forget also to sign after completing your hike too. Rangers check this informations to make sure that nobody is lost.
Continue the way around the lake, stopping multiple times to take in this beautiful scenery.
At the end of the Dove Lake Circuit make a stop at the cute Boat Shed. It’s the perfect place for your next insta pic ?
Lake Lilla and Wombat Pool
Continue your hike in Cradle Mountain National Park. Past the Boat Shed take a left on the path (direction Overland Track via Wombat Pool) and walk on the Lake Lilla Track. Just after few minutes, you will have a view on another beautiful mountain lake, the Lake Lilla.
↬ TIP : If you are fit and ready for a climb, you can take a shortcut via Marions Lookout Link Track. Be prepared for high elevation and rocky steep trail.
Passing the lake, take left again, walking onto the Wombat Pool Track. The path will start elevating soon. At all time, the track is very well constructed and maintained. The boardwalk is even and there are steps leading you uphill.
Take a small break at the Wombat Pool. This is also a perfect place to refill your water bottles thanks to Grayl. Note that there is no possibility to do it again until your way back from Marion’s Lookout.
Reach Wombat Peak at 1105m elevation and take a left reaching the Crater Lake. At this point, you will join the famous Overland Track. Stop at the viewpoint on your left. You should not miss it, as it provides amazing views on 3 lakes: Dove, Lilla and Wombat Pool. Save your strength as the hardest part of the hike is just in front of you.
Past the viewpoint, the path leads only up. At the bottom of the mountain there are some carved steps, but past this, the trail is steep and can be slippery. Take your time, the elevation rises abruptly here. However, this part doesn’t last long. It’s only about 20 min before you will reach your destination: Marion’s Lookout.
The sore muscles will ache a bit less when you will finally get a glance at the impressive views below and around you. It’s the highest point of this hike located at 1223m. Even in mid summer there might be some snow around ❄️
Take your time on the top. Rest and enjoy those astonishing views. Once you are ready, head back the same way onto the rest of your Cradle Mountain hike with the help of this guide. Walk slow: the rocks can be slippery.
Continue your way down turning left and walking along the Crater Lake. From here the way leads only down, no more steep elevations. Pass the Boat Shed and walk along a stream on your left.
Soon you will enter an ancient rainforests and see the beautiful Crater Falls.
Exiting the rainforest you will find yourself in an amazing landscape of golden buttongrass moorlands. The boardwalk will lead you across the valley. Look on the sides. Cute wombats like to wander around this flat scenery.
Once you reach the Ronny Creak carpark, remember to sign your names in the book saying that you safely completed your hike. Then wait for the next bus back to the Visitor’s Center.
You’ve just completed your 12km hike with the help of our Cradle Mountain Guide; around 300m steep elevation, or a 130 floors ! ?
Enchanted Forest is one of Tasmania’s great short walks. It’s only 20 min boardwalk leading through a beautiful rainforest along a creek. The path is truly magical and a must while visiting Cradle National Park. If you are staying at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, the Enchanted Forest walk in located right at its edge. Otherwise, hop off the bus at the Interpretation Centre. The entrance to the Enchanted Forest is just 2 min away.
Getting to Cradle National Park
The best way is to drive. If you are following our Tasmania Road Trip Guide, it will be the last stop on your itinerary.
Getting around Cradle National Park
Private vehicle access between the visitor centre and Dove Lake (along Dove Lake Road) is not permitted during shuttle bus operating times. If you are visiting only for a day, leave your car at the Visitors Centre and take the bus to the park from there. Inside of the park follow the hiking trails.
If you choose to stay inside of the park, Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is the best choice. You can leave your car in the parking lot in front of the lodge and take the bus from the Interpretation Center.
The bus operating hours:
- 8:30AM – 4:30PM daily from 1st April to 30th September
- 8:00AM – 6:00PM daily from 1st October to 31st March
Entrance fee to Cradle National Park
You can purchase the tickets at Visitors Centre or at the reception of Peppers Mountain Lodge.
Daily Pass to Cradle National Park costs 16,5 AUD (10 EUR) adult and 8,25 AUD (5EUR) for kids between 5-17, including the shuttle bus.
Alternatively you can purchase the Holiday Pass – valid for up to 8 weeks for 60 AUD per vehicle (up to 8 people) or 30 AUD per person.
If you purchased the Holiday Pass before, remember that you must still collect the ticket to the park in the Visitors Centre.
What to take
- Wear comfortable shoes. For boardwalks only, sport shoes will be fine. Hiking boots are advised for Marions Lookout Link Track.
- Wear layers. Depending what time you choose to visit in, it might be warm, or extremely cold. Even in mid summer (we visited on a very sunny day in December) it gets chilly, specially because of the cold winds. Even with the strong midday heat of the sun we wore sweaters and warm jackets.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses and take sunscreen. Take light rain coat, just in case.
- Pack some food and snacks. It will be long day and there are no restaurants/shops in the park. Take light lunch, like sandwiches, bananas, protein snacks. Make sure to collect all your rubbish and take it back with you. There are no trash bins in the park.
- Most importantly: take enough water. Once again: we cannot recommend the Grayl Bottle enough. It allows you to filter the water from lake and stream. It means that you don’t have to carry at least 1,5L of water per person from the beginning. You refill your reusable bottles along the way.
Where to stay
It would be a shame to explore this beautiful scenery for only a single day.
Arrive the day before and stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, providing the ultimate wilderness luxury.