The Cradle Mountain national park is well known for its beauty. The breathtaking landscape with the walking tracks, that lead you to different mountain lakes, lookouts with stunning vistas and some demanding summits. But there is also a beast living in the Cradle Mountain national park. It’s called the weather and it can be very nasty and dangerous. We have experienced both while hiking in the Cradle Mountain National Park. The beauty and the beast.
The Cradle Mountain national park is Tasmania’s most visited national park and famous for its beautiful alpine landscape and the many walks. One of the most famous walks is the Overland Track that takes about six days. We do not have the necessary equipment to do overnight walks so we do concentrate on tracks that we can do in a day. We love hiking in the Cradle Mountain National Park.
Short walk around the Dove Lake in the Cradle Mountain National Park
On our first day it’s already pretty cold at the car park and we pack an extra jumper into our backpacks. From the car park at the entrance to the park, there is a free shuttle bus that takes us to the Dove Lake, where we want to do the Dove Lake circle track. The time we arrive at the Dove Lake it’s starting to get very cloudy, the wind is strong and the waves on the Dove Lake bigger than we would have expected. The Cradle Mountain is partly covered in clouds and we can already see, that it will not be a very nice day.
We start our walk around the Dove Lake. On the glacier rock, that got transported here by ancient glaciers, we even have a little bit of sun shining through the clouds. The further we get, the stronger and colder the wind gets and now we can already see the first rain clouds drifting over the Cradle Mountain. Luckily we have our rain jackets with us and in the mean time we are wearing five layers of clothes but the wind feels still very cold. Along the Dove Lake circuit we find the old boat shed where we hide from a heavy shower.
Back from the Dove Lake circuit walk we feel wet and cold and have experienced enough of the beast of the Cradle Mountain. We hop into the shuttle bus and in here it’s nice and cosy. The heating is on and the warm air starts to dry our clothes. At the ranger station, which is about 10 kilometres further down the valley, we hop off the bus because we want to do a few shorter walks.
Short walks in the Cradle Mountain National Park
The weather is a bit better here and so we do the Enchanted Walk and the King Billy Walk that leads us through a beautiful section of rainforest.
The hike up to the summit of the Cradle Mountain
On our second day in the Cradle Mountain national park, the beauty has pushed the beast away and the whole world has changed dramatically. There are no clouds in the sky, the sun is shining and it is nice and warm. These are the perfect conditions for a longer walk. We take the shuttle bus to the Dove Lake. We can almost not believe how the conditions have changed compared to yesterday. The Dove Lake is flat like a mirror, there are no clouds in the sky and the mountain air is extremely clear.
We are happy that we came back and start the walk to the Cradle Mountain summit. Instead of five layers, today we only wear a T-Shirt and that’s enough. It’s still important to bring a backpack with a jacket because the weather conditions can change very fast. It’s also important to bring sunscreen, a hat and enough drinking water and food. For a beautiful day like today, it’s also important to bring a camera with enough space on the memory and a fully loaded battery.
After half an hour along the Dove Lake, we leave the Dove Lake circuit track and head up to Lake Wilks. From Lake Wilks the Lake Wilks Track starts to climb steep up to the Face Track that follows the face of Cradle Mountain to the start of the Cradle Mountain Summit Track. All the tracks are very well marked and with the map that we got in the visitor centre it’s no problem to navigate.
The Cradle Mountain Summit Track starts steep and gets even steeper on the way to the summit. Only the first part is a well formed track, then I have to start climbing over big rocks and I have to be very careful that I do not slip on the flat surfaces of the rocks. Unfortunately, Reni has not enough energy today and so we decide that she is waiting for me along the track.
After one hour of a strenuous climb over many rocks and over crevasses I reach the summit of Cradle Mountain. I’m happy that I have made it and enjoy the breathtaking vistas over the landscape of the Cradle Mountain national park with its many peaks and mountain lakes.
After a short break and a energy bar I start the way back down. On the way I pass some hikers that are afraid to climb over the big rocks. The Cradle Mountain Summit track is steep and you have to climb over big rocks. It’s strenuous and it’s exposed to wind and rain. I would not recommend to tackling the track in bad weather conditions or with rain, when the rocks are wet and slippery. After all it is an alpine environment. The conditions can be harsh and can change dramatically in minutes. The beast of the Cradle Mountain is around.
On the way I pick up Reni and we have our lunch together. Strengthened we continue along the Overlander Track. We pass by the Crater Lake, the Wombat Pool and Lake Lilla. The last part of the track is on a boardwalk that travels across a plain of button grass moorland.
Only minutes before we reach the bus station at Ronny Creek we spot our first Wombat. It’s very common to spot Wombats on this plain in the late afternoon. That’s the perfect end of a perfect day of hiking through the Cradle Mountain national park.Today, we only saw the beauty of the Cradle Mountain national park. But be aware, the beast is always lurking around, so be prepared.
In the visitor centres of Tasmania you can get a booklet that is called “60 Great Short Walks Tasmania”. This is the perfect brochure for hikers. It gives you a good overview of the many walks you can do in Tasmania. We have don about half of the walks and liked all of them. Want to read more about hiking in Tasmania?
There are many different possibilities for hiking in the Cradle Mountain National Park. What is your favorite hike in the Cradle Mountain National Park?