Cradle Mountain Activities and Adventures
Things to do:
Walks in and around Cradle Mountain. Visitors who decide to stay at one of the many accommodation options can enjoy the short Enchanted Walk along the Pencil Pine River.
At night time the nocturnal animals which inhabit the park – the Tasmanian devil and possums – come to the Cradle Mountain Lodge. There are also pademelons and Bennet’s wallabies in the area.
It is possible, according to the season, to take day walks to Cradle Mountain and Crater Lake, to go alpine skiing (although there are no lifts or ski facilities), to swim in the lakes (if you are an iceberg), to climb Cradle Mountain or to take lengthy walks through the park.
The most popular walks include Mount Campbell (about 3 hours), Hansons Peak (about 3 hours), Twisted Lakes (3-4 hours), Lake Rodway (5 hours), Lake Lilla (1 hour) and the Ballroom Forest (3 hours).
Cradle Mountain Summit (5 1/2 hours return)
The quickest route is up the steep side to Marions Lookout from Dove lake and back via Wombat Pool. The track is steep but offers little difficulty for the experienced walker. It should not be attempted in poor weather as it can become icy and exposed.
From Kitchen hut, the return trip from the summit is about 2 hours via a route marked by cairns and red paint marks on the rocks. There is a considerable amount of scrambling over huge dolorite boulders.
The summit is marked by a direction table which identifies major features in the magnificent views over much of northern Tasmania.
An easier route is leaving from Ronny creek along the Overland Track, onto the Horse Track past Crater Peak and back the same way. This will add about an hour.
Half Day Walks
Marion’s lookout (2 1/2 hours)
The scenic route to Marions Lookout is via Lake Lilla and Wombat Pool. The most direct route is past the boat shed and straight up the steep side – and it is steep.
Hansons Peak (3 1/2 hours return)
Take the left side of Dove Lake up to Hansons Peak, along the Face Track down to Lake Wilks and return via the Ballroom Forest and along the right hand side of Dove Lake (it is quite steep up Hansons peak and down past Lake Wilks)
Crater Peak (2 1/2 hours return)
From Ronny Creek car park follow the Overland Track and on to the Horse Track and return.
You can also continue to the junction before Kitchen Hut and back via Marions lookout down past Crater Lake, Crater Falls and back to the Ronny Creek car park (this will take about 4 1/2 hours).
Dove Canyon Track Bush (3 hours)
Leave from near the Cradle Mountain Lodge along the Pencil Pine River past Knyvet Falls then up the deep gorge of the canyon past myrtle rainforest areas up on to the buttongrass plains open forest, past Quailes Hill and back to the Cradle Mountain Road and a 700 metre walk to the visitor centre.
Short walks around
Pencil Pine Falls and Rainforest Walk: 20 minute circuit walk around Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre
Enchanted Walk: 20 minute circuit walk starting from the bridge at the entrance to the National Park.
Knyvet Falls Walk: 40 minutes return walk starting across the road from the Lodge
King Billy Walk: starts from Cradle Mountain Lodge car park. Ancient king billy pine trees are encountered on this walk.
Waldheim and Weindorfers Forest Walk: a 20 minute circuit starting from the historic Waldheim Chalet. A glimpse into Gustav Weindorfers’s pioneering life at Cradle can be seen at Waldheim Chalet.
Lake Lilla Walk: 30 minutes return walk from the Dove Lake car park
Cradle Valley Board Walk: Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre to Dove Lake, about 2.75 hours in total. The walk can be divided into three sections; Visitor Centre to Snake Hill (1 hour), Snake Hill to Ronny Creek (45 minutes) and Ronny Creek to Dove Lake visa Lake Lilla (1 hour).
Warnings for Walkers
It is worth remembering that this is an area of great danger to the unwary and the unprepared walker. It is so easy to underestimate the dangers of mountain weather. It is possible, in the space of a few minutes, for the weather to turn from a sunny day to rain and sleet. The dangers of wind chill are such that the mountain has claimed many victims of hypothermia.
It is sensible to check the weather conditions with the rangers and to study the ‘How is the weather in Cradle Valley today?’ placard which is located at the Lake Dove car park, take suitable clothing and equipment even if you are taking a short day walk and for anything other than a short walk Register in the Log Book at Cradle Valley or Dove Lake .
For those who still resist such warnings the memorial on the edge of Lake Dove to Ewan McLeod Scott who died in 1965 is worth a few moments of reflection. Scott was with a party of schoolboys who were caught by the weather in the area. Scott managed to save all the schoolboys but in the process he died from hypothermia.