Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park (north)

You gaze at the immensity of the wilderness stretching around you: the mystical Dove Lake, the famous Cradle Mountain reaching to the sky, its peaks wreathed in mist…The peace, quiet and beauty are indescribable. Even your kids are silent and awed. This trip, away from television, telephones, crowds and computers, is immersing you all in the simple pleasure and beauty of nature. You’ve seen wombats, wallabies and possums, and now, soft white snowflakes start drifting down.

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Contact details

Via Cradle Mountain Rd; Visitor Centre (03) 6492 1110 or (03) 6492 1133

Don't Miss

■ The short, easy walks near the ranger station. The Enchanted Walk takes you along the banks of Pencil Pine River, where you can try to spot platypus. The Waterfalls Walk leads to Pencil Pine Falls – a spectacular but very chilly swimming spot – and Knyvet Falls. The Rainforest Walk only takes about ten minutes and gives you a view of the Pencil Pine Falls.

■ The animals – keep your eyes open for echidnas, wombats and pademelons, especially in the early morning or evening. There are also numerous birds.
■ The walk around Dove Lake (about two hours). You take a track from the Dove Lake carpark and travel clockwise on a raised boardwalk around the lake. You’ll pass quartzite beaches with sparkly (prickly) sand, and a much-photographed old boat shed, before a short uphill climb for views back across the lake.
■ The boardwalk that runs all the way from the ranger station to Dove Lake. The full walk takes about two hours one way, but if you get tired you can hop on the shuttle bus (purchase tickets in advance).
Devils@Cradle, located about 500 metres from the entrance to the park.

Fabulous Facts

Millions of years ago, Tasmania was part of a super continent, Gondwana, and was attached not only to mainland Australia, but to South America, New Zealand, Africa, India and Antarctica. Many ancient plants you’ll see in Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park, such as deciduous beech trees, and the King Billy pines and pencil pines, bear evidence of these Gondwanan origins. In 1982, the park became part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Insider Tips

■ Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park covers a vast area. Cradle Mountain is in the northern section of the park and there is no direct link to Lake St Clair (south).

■ Take care when you drive around the park, especially at night, as many animals share the road with you.
■ Before entering the park, stop at the visitor centre to pick up information, buy tickets and board the shuttle bus. Visitors are encouraged to leave their cars here and make use of the shuttle service (extra cost) to Lake Dove and other destinations en route to reduce traffic in the park.
■ The ranger station, located within the park, has toilets, picnic shelters, electric barbecues and safe drinking water. Any water from other sources needs to be treated before drinking.
■ There is a cafe next door to the visitor centre, and meals are also available at Cradle Mountain Lodge.
■ Rangers run guided activities in summer, departing from the ranger station. Ask for details at the visitor centre.
■ There can be rain, sleet, snow or driving winds at any time of the year. Weather conditions are generally most stable in late summer or autumn.
■ Staying overnight in the park gives you a greater chance to spot animals, which are more active at night.
■ Tasmanian National Parks have entry fees. If you plan to visit several national parks, keep costs down by purchasing a Holiday Pass, available from visitor centres.

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