It had been a crappy week when it came to weather.
Cold winds, lots of rain, clouds covering the skies without the chance of any blue in the near future. Vicky and I had made due – kayaking and enjoying our time in Corinna nonetheless. But as we pulled out of Rosebery and drive the hundred or so kilometres to Cradle Mountain, we prayed for something better.
And oh my God it worked!
By the time we drove along the dusty dirt road and parked next to the visitor centre, the sun was ablaze in the sky and there wasn’t as cloud for miles! What a perfect day!
What a perfect day to hike around Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain is one of the tourist “Highlights” in Tasmania, and it isn’t hard to see why! The entire park is a World Heritage Site, meaning the entire site is protected as well as the animals within it. It’s also the start of the world-famous Overland Track – a six day trek that takes you through Cradle Mountain, and down to Mt. St Claire. I plan to complete this trek on my own in the next year, when I return to Tasmania with a caravan.
Parking at the visitor centre, you walk through the doors and you’re instantly greeted by the friendly rangers, who are willing to help you pick out a track to hike. There’s about a dozen hikes to choose from, anything from a 10 minute wander to a 6 hour hike up a mountain, depending on the amount of time you have and your fitness level.
Personally, Vicky and I chose a medium levelled track that ended up taking us about 4 hours or so to finish (it was supposed to be 3 hours, but I enjoy stopping to
rest take photos).
There’s a shuttle bus that takes you to your preferred hike start (there are 3 different start and end posts), and it will also bring you back to the visitor centre when you’re finished. You can also drive to the posts, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the roads are very narrow and very windy, and you’ll have to squeeze past the buses taking everyone else. Just leave your car at the visitor centre like everyone else.
TIP: when you start your hike, always remember to register at the post by filling in the information in the provided book. This is as safety precaution – so that the rangers know how many people are going into the bush and how many have back – if you go missing they will know to look for you, and know which track you were planning to take. Please, please register.
After registering for the hike, the walk begins. Like I said, there are a couple different ones to choose from, but we had chosen a couple paths that linked together to form one longer hike. I would highly recommend the trek we ended up choosing, although there is a point climbing up the mountain that you must hold onto a chain and clamber up and over rocks to get up. I saw a couple fit seniors climbing, so it should be alright for anyone with a decent fitness. I mean I made it up…
The Trek Vicky and I Took
Ronny Creek > Cradle Falls > Crater Lake > Marions Look Out > Wombat Pool > Lake Lila > Lake Dove
Starting at Ronny Creek, a boardwalk took Vicky and I through a beautiful valley rolling with little hills, rocks and a small creek. Wandering along the boardwalk in the sunshine was beautiful, albeit incredibly hot (it was at this moment I remembered I was still in Australia). Wandering up the hill we reached Weindorfers Forest walk, where we were instantly greeted with cooler temperatures and the sound of the rushing water from the nearby, glorious Cradle Falls.
Another boardwalk took us to Crater Lake – a picturesque lake with a cute wooden hut on the side of it. You could literally stand there for hours taking photos from all kinds of different angles (which I tried to do, but I was prodded along by an eager Vicky).
And then the real work starts.
I enjoy hiking. I really do. That is until I’m actually having to climb of the side of a mountain. I quickly grew to detest stairs, which seemed to be everywhere. But on we went. Up and up and up. I wouldn’t even let myself take a photo the entire time, not until we got to the point of Marion’s Look Out.
And the worst part? You get to the top of one peak, and you think you’ve made it. Then there’s a little sign that says “Marion’s Look Out: 20 Minutes” followed by a sigh of frustration, and an onward trod up to the peak. And as I said before, the lovely chain to help climb up a particularly steep section.
But oh my goodness was the sweat worth it!
The view was 360 degrees all around you, with a glorious view of Cradle Mountain and Little Horn, as well as a view to Lake Lila, Lake Dove and Crater Lake.
The break was long. The photos were many. The feeling of triumph was amazing.
And then we had to clamber back down.
I actually feel like going down is harder than going up – you always have to watch where you place your feet, watch that you won’t slip down and be careful on how you hold your weight as you grip that piece of chain, jumping from rock to rock to get back onto the track.
The walk down to Wombat Pool was a nice relaxing one (more freakin’ steps of course) although sadly there were no wombats to be seen… And then past Lake Lila and up to Lake Dove to catch the bus back.
There is a photo post which has been installed (I giggled) where you’re supposed to put your iPhone or Android on top to take a photo of the scenery of Marions Look Out, Lake Dove and Cradle Mountain, upload it to Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/whatever with a hashtag. This was my photo:
And that was a day!
It took us around 4 hours to hike the entire thing (less if there weren’t as many photos) and I dearly wish we had had more time to stay a couple more days. I would have loved to hike every track there, and the guest houses at some of the resorts looked adorable. There is also a night bus tour that takes you around to see some Tasmanian Devils as well as other native and protected Tasmanian wildlife in the park.
Next time, before the Overland Track.
How To Get There:
Cradle Mountain (other than walking along on the Overland Track) is accessible by car (but there is a dirt road to get you to the visitor centre, so be careful if you have a rental), and there are bus companies that will transfer you to Cradle Mountain from Devonport. You can read more information here.
Like I said earlier in the post, you can drive your car straight down to the posts, but because of the road conditions I wouldn’t recommend it. Park at the visitor centre and take the small shuttle bus down to the hiking post.
There is a National Park pass that you MUST purchase in order to hike around Cradle Mountain.
The cost is $16 per hiker, and the passes must be displayed in your car windshield. Also, you won’t be able to get on the bus without it.
Bring twice the water you think you’re going to need, especially if it’s a hot day. You never know what might happen, and the last thing you want is to get dehydrated.
Bring a good backpack with proper support to keep your hands free. Keep your camera in it, your food and you’re water while you’re walking to stay balanced and be able to grab if needed.
Taking photos is a great excuse for having to take a breather.
To learn more about Cradle Mountain, click here
Have you ever been to Cradle Mountain? How was the weather when you went? Or have you done the full Overland Track, and would you reccomend me to complete it? Let me know in the comments section below!