It’s wild and ancient beauty means you need to plan in advance, and be equipped for all extremes when hiking, camping, canyoning or adventuring on the water.
Rising majestically from the icy glacier waters of Dove Lake, Lake Willis and Crater Lake, Cradle Mountain is a place of wild and ancient beauty, suspended in a pristine ruggedness that is seemingly untouched by time.
A scenic two hour drive from Launceston, Cradle Mountain offers a variety of breathtaking hikes - from an easy 20 minute stroll through the alpine heath, to a more robust climb up through the ancient pines for a rewarding view of the jagged Jurassic formations from Marion's Lookout. For the truly intrepid traveller, Cradle Mountain is also the gateway of the six day Overland Track walk to Lake St. Clair, famous around the world for its spectacular scenery.
If walking isn't your style, Cradle Mountain offers a range of alternate ways to take in her beauty. Try a three hour canyoning experience down the Lost World Canyon on the upper reaches of the Dove River. Or enjoy the wild grasslands, rainforests and native wildlife whilst you roam the mountain carefree on horseback. If your adventurous spirit craves a little more adrenaline, the Cradle also offers some exhilarating tracks for mountain biking or quad bike adventures.
Cradle Mountain is on every traveller's bucket list for good reason. It offers something for the most adventurous, to those who simply want to feast their eyes and absorb the grandeur of the mountain ranges and surrounding majestic, glassy waters.
It’s wild and ancient beauty means you need to plan in advance, and be equipped for all extremes when hiking, camping, canyoning or adventuring on the water. A camera is essential; the panoramic scenery will literally take your breath away. When you're done hiking, take your experience to new highs and explore the Cradle peaks in a helicopter!
Hike the Cradle
If you’d like to explore the Cradle’s ancient wilderness on foot, there are walks for all abilities. Choose a leisurely stroll along the 20 minute Enchanted Walk, or make a day of it and tackle the summit, taking in the spectacular 360 degree views of Dove Lake and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mount Ossa. Families with children may prefer to take an intermediate walk such as the Dove Lake Circuit (2hrs) or Crater Falls, Crater Lake and Wombat Pool (2-3 hrs).
For visitors seeking a complete wilderness adventure, the world famous Overland Track to Lake St. Clair is a six day trek through glacially-carved valleys, ancient rainforests, fragrant eucalyptus forests, golden buttongrass moorlands and sweeping alpine meadows. Worthwhile side trips include waterfalls and the conquest of Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt. Ossa (1617 m). Considered Australia’s premier alpine walk, the 65kms of the Overland Track is both physically challenging and rewarding.
Canyoning adventurers can journey down Cradle Mountain’s quartz gorges and icy streams, enveloped by rising walls of buttongrass and ancient Kind Billy pine, scrambling over Jurassic rock for an incredibly intimate experience with the rugged wilderness of the Cradle.
There are guided tours which allow you to enjoy this remote and wondrous environment regardless of your experience or agility. Beginners can travel the Lost World Canyon along the upper section of Tasmania’s Dove River, while the Leven Canyon offers slightly more challenging route through deep underground caves and down a breathtaking cascade of waterfalls. Adrenalin junkies craving more of a challenge can opt for an exhilarating adventure down Dove Canyon - a thrilling combination of slides, jumps and abseils inside a 50 metre deep quartzite canyon. Research all the necessary safety gear in advance, or opt for a guided tour with registered operators.
An experience not to pass up is a visit to the Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary on Cradle Mountain. Being nocturnal, the elusive carnivorous marsupials are often hard to spot in the wild, though you may hear their shrieking calls throughout the quiet forests. The Sanctuary, which runs conservation and educational programs, is therefore the perfect place to meet the little locals and even take part in one of their night time feeding tours. You may even be lucky enough to touch one… but remember to be careful of those sharp little teeth!
Horse Riding and Quad Biking
Cradle Mountain horse riding and quad bike tours are available, offering scenic experiences on two beginner level trails. Enjoy the wild grandeur of the Vale of Belvoir conservation area, on the edge of the Cradle Mountain World Heritage site, as you travel comfortably on either four legs or four wheels!
The track climbs through interspersing Alpine Eucalyptus and Myrtle forest, finishing on the buttongrass heath at the top of The Speeler Plain offer a breathtaking view of the Cradle in all its magnificence opens up across a dramatic horizon.
Safety gear is provided by the tour operators, though you should pack your own appropriate clothing and footgear to suit the weather forecast and season.
Tasmania is home to some of the best wine-growing conditions in the world. With cooler temperatures almost year round these regions gain a long growing season which allows flavours to reach optimum fruition. There are vineyards not that far from Cradle Mountain; so if you’re into wine, good entertainment or just simply a relaxing afternoon with friends you should check out what’s on offer at each of these premium locations.
Ghost Rock Vineyard
They claim to grow and serve some of the freshest produce on the planet; and create wine made with some of the most sought after wine-grapes in the country! This statement alone makes us want to go there… how about you?
Ghost Rock vineyard is a 5-star James Halliday winery. With four separate vineyard blocks, it is home to Hundred Acres – a synergy between this beautiful produce and amazing wine that compliments such. Ghost Rock’s winemaker, Justin Arnold is son of the Ghost Rock founder’s and is extremey passionate about what he does; Justin’s wife Alicia Peardon was CEO of Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food program for over 5 years before moving to Tasmania to establish Hundred Acres; and they are also home to Tasmania’s chef of the year – Phil Piper and his wife Tameeka.
Frogmore Creek Vineyard
Their philosophy of “let the fruit do the talking” is characterised by providing wines that are made with only a little additional intervention, to provide a subtle complexity and enhancement of the natural fruit flavours.
They have two vineyards; Campania Vineyard and Cambridge Vineyard. Both based in the Coal River Valley in Southern Tasmania. Cambridge Vineyard and more importantly the restaurant overlooks the picturesque Barilla Bay providing a stunning backdrop to enjoy some beautiful cuisine and wine to match. The 45 acres of Campania Vineyard is made up of 27 different blocks, vines are planted in different areas, all with very different altitudes and varying soil structures giving unique characteristics to all. You will find here: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Reisling varieties.
Lake Barrington Vineyard
This is one of the oldest vineyards in Tasmania; it was established in 1984 and is also one of the most picturesque vineyards in Tasmania. It overlooks the beautiful Lake Barrington and has breathtaking views of Mount Roland.
Tasmanian sparkling wine is now being recognised as world class and the Lake Barrington vineyard is one of the few Australian vineyards exclusively dedicated to making sparkling wine. There are four main methods of producing sparkling wine; this vineyard uses the traditional method or mèthode champenoise. With this method the effervescence is produced by secondary fermentation in the bottle and it needs at least 4 years, preferably longer, to develop.
Their cellar door is open November through to April. They will open during winter by appointment and they are available all year round for private bookings.
Barringwood Estate Vineyard
This vineyard gained a 5-star rating in James Halliday’s 2013, 2014 & 2015 Australian Wine Companion publications. They create multi-awarding winning wines and are consistently among Tasmania’s best!
They use a combination of vine training systems; the vertical shoot positioned trellising and a modified Scott Henry training system. The use of vine training systems is primarily aimed to assist in canopy management, but can also provide additional benefits depending on the system chosen. At Barringwood Estate, they hand prune, hand pick and use preventative management strategies for pests and diseases to minimise the use of chemicals.
Their wine can be purchased at their cellar door, as well as online and at food and wine festivals throughout the state.
Cradle Mountain accommodation options range from luxury chalets and lodges, caravanning and camping grounds or remote camping sites that offer travelers fewer (if any) facilities, but firsthand experience of the region’s grandeur that can only be experienced from sleeping outdoors.
Camping and cabin fees apply for short and long term stays in the national parks. Dogs are not allowed, and to protect the environment, the usual take in/take out rule applies to rubbish.
Caravan parks and camping grounds offer great options for those seeking ready facilities or a break from sleeping under the stars.