The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is an absolute must if you’re visiting Tasmania. The park is home to the world-famous Overland Track; a trail which consists of 65km and six days of breathtaking hikes. But, if you’re looking for a little more brevity in your trek, without scrimping on a breathtaking hike, then the walk to summit Cradle Mountain is the perfect hiking option. Of course, from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, you’ll find an array of exceptional walks. But, for a true taste of what this incredible national park has to offer, there’s no better day trip spent here than hiking Cradle Mountain itself. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss what and where Cradle Mountain is in Tasmania. We’ll cover a little about Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and the types of park pass to buy for your visit. Then we’ll cover some hiking stats for Cradle Mountain and provide a map, before giving a brief description of the Cradle Mountain walk. Next, we’ll look at some alternative routes to summit Cradle Mountain, as well as some other fantastic hikes to do in the area. Lastly, we’ll take a quick look at some accommodation options, answer some FAQs and go through some packing essentials.

So, what and where is Cradle Mountain, Tasmania?

What Is Cradle Mountain?

Cradle Mountain is possibly the most well-known mountain in Tasmania, Australia. The jagged peaks of the recognisable mountain rise 1,545 metres above sea level, enjoying extensive views across Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Cradle Mountain is Tasmania’s sixth highest mountain, with the walk to its imposing summit attracting thousands of keen hikers every year. And of course, Dan and I, like yourselves, were no different.

In 1827 the explorer, Joseph Fossey, named Cradle Mountain because he thought it bore a similarity to a miner’s cradle. But of course, Cradle Mountain has been around much longer than any miner’s cradle. Geologists estimate that around 10,000 years ago, during the last ice age, glaciers eroded the rock underneath to form the impressive mountain we see today.

Where Is Cradle Mountain?

Cradle Mountain and its various summit walks can be found within the beautiful Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, in inner northwest Tasmania. The mountain itself occupies the northern end of the national park, towering over picture-perfect glacial lakes such as Dove Lake, which is the starting point for the summit walk to Cradle Mountain. 

Cradle Mountain can be reached very easily from the towns of Launceston and Devenport, making these popular destinations from which to walk. Even Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, isn’t totally out of the question as a starting point for hiking Cradle Mountain. Though, you’d have to be up for an early start as a day trip.

About Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park has held national park status since 1947. It’s located in the Central Highlands area of Tasmania and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service manage Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, which is open from 8am7pm in the summer (October-March) and 8.30am–4.30pm in the winter (April- Sep). This popular national park is packed full of walking trails, for every level of hiker. So if you’re staying for longer than a day, you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

There’s an abundance of wildlife to see in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, especially on the walk to Cradle Mountain. Dan and I were lucky to spot Echidnas and Wombats. You might get even luckier and spot some Tassie Devils too!

Tasmania National Parks Pass

To access Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, or any of Tasmania’s National Parks, you must obtain a parks pass. There are different options available, but we recommend the holiday pass. This gives you access to all of Tasmania’s national parks for 2 months, including Cradle Mountain. So, if you’re planning more hiking in Tasmania, other than just the summit walk to Cradle Mountain, this pass is perfect.

Passes can be purchased either online, at national park visitor centres, such as the Cradle Mountain Visitor Center, or at travel information centres. We purchased ours whilst passing through Port Arthur. Unfortunately, the park pass cannot be bought from the airport arrivals hall, which we thought was a shame.

You can look into which national park pass is best for you here, where you’ll find all up to date prices and pass options.

How to Get to Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

As mentioned, accessing Cradle Mountain and the wider Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is very easy from a number of major towns in Tasmania. Below, we’ll take a look at your route options for hiking Cradle Mountain from Hobart, Devonport and Launceston. There are no public transport options to Cradle Mountain. Instead, there’s the option for private shuttle and transfers, which we’ll also cover should you not have access to your own set of wheels.

If you don’t have a car, then we recommend hiring something. When hiring a car, we always get the ball rolling with a search on RentalCars.com. Booking a car with Rentalcars.com is easy and stress-free, plus they offer an unbeatable free cancellation policy too.

Hobart to Cradle Mountain

As the capital of Tasmania, it makes sense Hobart is a popular starting point for hiking Cradle Mountain. Indeed, Hobart is where Dan and I stayed before the walk to summit Cradle Mountain.

Admittedly, if you’re planning on the walk to Cradle Mountain on the same day as leaving from Hobart, you’re looking at a very early start. The drive time is around four hours and covers 296km. Dan and I left Hobart at around 4am to arrive at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre for an 8am start. It was worth it to beat the crowds, but understandably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Devenport to Cradle Mountain

Devenport is a much closer drive away from Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. At around 78km away, the drive from Devenport to Cradle Mountain takes around 1.5 hours to drive. That means a few extra hours in bed rather than the early get up from Hobart.

Launceston to Cradle Mountain

Launceston lies east of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and takes around 2 hours to drive to. Again, the 141km drive is much closer than that of Hobart and is a great base from which to day trip a Cradle Mountain walk.

Bus Launceston/Devenport to Cradle Mountain

There are no mainstream public transport options from Launceston or Devenport to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. McDermott’s Coaches are a private transfer company operating a daily service to the Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre. But, return services seem to only operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. So, you’ll have to plan accordingly if hiking Cradle Mountain via private transport from Launceston. Additionally, the bus service timetable may not suit a day trip, so you might have to consider an overnight stay if travelling by bus from Launceston to Cradle Mountain. You can find more information about McDermott’s Coaches here.

E-guide also offers transfers between Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and a majority of Tasmanian towns such as Launceston, Davenport, Sheffield and Hobart. You can enquire with them here. Kinetic Buses (AKA RedLine Buses) operate a great service too, and you can check timetables here.

It’s worth noting, you’ll find the use of private transfers much more expensive than car hire. If you’re planning to explore more of Tasmania, other than just Cradle Mountain, then a hire car might be the better option.

Cradle Mountain Park Pass

If you haven’t already obtained a Tasmania National Park Pass before arrival, or you simply just want a day pass for Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, then you can purchase one from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre.

Cradle Mountain Shuttle Bus

After arriving at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, you’ll then need to get to the trailhead for the hike at Dove Lake. From the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre car park, there’s a shuttle bus running to and from Dove Lake to begin hiking Cradle Mountain. The shuttle operating hours typically run from 8.30am–6pm. During this time, there is no access to drive the road to the lake in private vehicles. The bus is your only option unless you choose to walk the extra kilometres. You can, however, drive outside of these times to Dove Lake Car Park. The park is looking to encourage bus usage though. Bus tickets are needed to board the shuttle. These can be obtained, for free, in the visitor centre by showing your park pass.

The shuttle bus drivers are absolute champions. They’re super knowledgeable of the area and will slow down or stop when interesting wildlife is spotted. It makes the whole drive from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre to Dove Lake an integral part of the day’s hiking.

The Cradle Mountain Walk Overview

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park has an array of day hikes for all abilities. But of course, to summit Cradle Mountain itself is hard to beat. The Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre provides an excellent map to showcase the different walking routes to summit Cradle Mountain and the various points at which they meet up along the way. So do check it out. This means you’re free to follow the example routes they provide or, if you’re feeling adventurous, map out your own. Our guide to the full day walk to Cradle Mountain takes in the Dove Lake Circuit before ascending to the summit. The hike to Cradle Mountain takes 5-7 hours, covers 11km and has a moderate 590m of elevation gain.

Dove Lake Circuit Walk to Cradle Mountain

The Dove Lake Circuit walk to Cradle Mountain in Tasmania comes highly rated, with a recommendation to walk the loop in a clockwise direction. When you begin the hike from Dove Lake Car Park, you’ll notice hiking clockwise takes you in the opposite direction to the sign postings for the Cradle Mountain summit. Don’t worry. All of the routes do seem to meet up and cross over at various points.

We thoroughly enjoyed joining these two circuits together and highly recommend you do the same.

Cradle Mountain Map & Hiking Preview

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 11km
  • Time: 5-6 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 590m
  • Difficulty: Grade 4
  • Trailhead: Dove Lake Car Park

Difficulty graded by Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service using the Australian Walking Track Grading System.

Unfortunately, we didn’t record our own trail navigation on this occasion. The above map shows the trail we did, only we followed the eastern side of Dove Lake, not the western as shown. Otherwise, the rest is the same from the Lake Wilks Track onwards.

Dove Lake Car Park

After hitching a ride on the shuttle bus from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, you’ll alight at Dove Lake Car Park. The hike begins by following the Dove Lake Circuit track to the lefthand side of Dove Lake. You’ll pass incredible viewpoints like Glacier Rock as you make your way all the way to the far side of the lake, a little past Honeymoon Island

The trail consists of boardwalk and gravel pathways. It’s fairly level as you skirt the edges of Dove Lake. We had such wonderful morning conditions. Dove Lake was serenely still, creating a beautiful mirror reflection of our feat to come Cradle Mountain. Its flat top is instantly as recognisable from the water reflection as it is looking directly at it. Speed hiking was easy in this section, for obvious flat reasons. 

What’s speed hiking? There’s no hard or fast rule, essentially it’s moving at a quicker rate than normal. The flat or downhill sections will be covered at pace, perhaps, on occasion, breaking into a light jog. Whereas the uphill sections of a hike will be tougher and exert more energy as you push yourself harder than normal. But remember, speed hiking is not trail running. It is not competitive or about finishing in a certain time. It’s mostly about the ability to cover more area.

At the far end of Dove Lake is where the climb begins. Here, you’ll join the Lake Wilks track. Although not the traditional route to the summit, this combination of trails is still a popular option. The guys at Tracks Less Travelled did the same.

Woman dressed in black, with a blue rucksack and her back to the camera stares across a still lake. The mountains in the hazy distance are reflected int the water. The sky is clear. This is Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
Mirror views of Cradle Mountain & Little Horn

Lake Wilks Track

From the far end of Dove Lake, you’ll turn right onto Lake Wilks Track. It’s signposted. From here the hike becomes quite steep as you ascend this section of the trail to Cradle Mountain. The views become ever wider reaching with every step you take, and so the effort constantly feels rewarding. As you navigate the rocky switchbacks, you’ll come across a couple of wide openings. Be sure to stop here, refuel and take in the lofty views back down over Dove Lake to your right, and a slightly more elevated Lake Wilks to your left. 

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Along the Wilks Track overlooking Lake Wilks & Dove Lake

Joining the Face Track

At the top of Lake Wilks track, you’ll join the Face Track. You’ll walk along this rim towards Kitchen Hut at the base of the final summit walk to Cradle Mountain. The Face Track enjoys a slight easing of incline, and views up towards Cradle Mountain summit are excellent. You’ll follow the Face Track pretty much all the way to Kitchen Hut, where you’ll find the final signpost to Cradle Mountain summit.

Kitchen Hut to Cradle Mountain Summit

This is where the Summit Track begins. Aside from the signpost, the summit track path is the only trail leading off in the direction of Cradle Mountain, so not easily missed.

The summit track is the only route to the top of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain, so if you don’t start early, you’ll meet a lot of people converging at this point having taken other routes to this final summit section. Basically, it can get quite busy from here.

The initial Cradle Mountain summit walk follows a sand gravel path that turns into stone steps. It’s a tough slog, with the purpose-laid path slowly disappearing into a free-climbing boulder section. It’s as exhilarating as it is technical. So, the rock scrambling begins.

Get Ready for a Rock Scramble

The mountainside is steep and exposed, so take care. There are red poles littered intermittently through the boulder field to reference the route – always keep these in sight. The last few hundred metres of the hike turn into a continuous scramble over the large boulders. And sadly, don’t be fooled into thinking when you reach the top of this section, you’re there. You’re very much not. This is a false peak. The rock scramble descends slightly into a small valley close to the summit of Cradle Mountain, before ascending back up the other side. Then, you have made it!

Bear in mind, this final section of hiking Cradle Mountain gets quite technical and takes a lot of effort. Concentration and care are your main focus. At peak footfall times, I imagine there to be a lot of waiting on the mountainside to let people pass and vice versa. We experienced this a little on the way back down as more and more people joined the track. Luckily, we’d started early enough in the day to not have this problem on our way up. And I’m glad we did.

Man in yellow t shirt and blue shorts scrambles up the huge boulders to the summit of Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. The ascent is steep and the rocks have patches of grass growing on them. The sky overhead is clear and blue. It is a very sunny day.
Cradle Mountain summit scramble

Cradle Mountain Summit

The views from the summit of Cradle Mountain are breathtaking. As the summit is somewhat flat, you’re surrounded by a sort of rocky plateau that’s sitting high in the sky. Like a floating island if you will. There are two clear vantage points in which to capture your summit photographs. These will be easy to spot as they’ll always be fellow hikers hovering about them. The vastness of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is splayed out in every direction. What a truly wonderful reward for your hiking efforts.

Cradle Mountain summit is the perfect place to crack out a packed lunch. Let’s face it, you’ve earned it hiking up there. Be warned though, once you’ve stopped moving, and the sweat on your back begins to cool, it does start to get chilly. And quickly. If you want to hang around at the summit for a while, which you should given how much you put into getting there, then make sure you have some warm clothes to put on.

Given the difficulty and technicality of this final scramble, we were very much surprised to encounter a fellow hiker covering this track barefoot. The mind boggles. Or perhaps he knows something we don’t. Either way, please don’t do this. We recommend wearing appropriate footwear, like a good pair of hiking boots. On this occasion though, we hiked in trainers, which were sufficient for the dry conditions of the day.

Summit to Marions Lookout

The same amount of hiking concentration is needed descending the boulder field of Cradle Mountain. Especially when navigating around fellow hikers. But, once back down to the start of the summit track to Cradle Mountain, you’ll take the Overland Track back down to Marions Lookout. This is traditionally the route you would take up to the summit if you weren’t combining it with the Dove Lake Circuit. 

Marions Lookout makes an excellent spot to take another break, providing new and equally awesome views of Cradle Mountain, Little Horn and the rest of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Indeed, the panoramic views are ridiculously good. You’ll even spot Lake Lilla and Dove Lake down below. We managed to pick up the speed hiking again, which obviously feels a little easier on the legs coming downhill too. A welcome relief.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park summit walk
Cradle Mountain summit

Marions Lookout to the Dove Lake Boatshed

From here, continue the descent via Wombat Pool, Lake Lilla and then finish the circuit at the Boat Shed on the northern edges of Dove Lake. Now you can enjoy the views of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania once more across the beautiful lake.

Our entire hike, including breaks and photography opportunities, took around 6 hours. Once finished it’s easy enough to jump on the shuttle bus at Dove Lake car park, and head back to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre.

A panoramic shot from Marion's lookout. A woman stands in the centre of the image, surveying the vast landscape in front of her. There is one large lake in the centre of the image and a smaller one on the left hand side. The landscape around the lakes is mountainous and very picturesque. The sky is blue and the sun is shining.
Marion’s lookout

As previously mentioned, there’s plenty of wildlife to be seen in this national park. I saw my very first Echidna as we walked past Wombat Pool. He was attempting a little dig in the solid ground. And I mean, SOLID. I’m not sure what his thought process was for trying to burrow into stone, but he was entertaining to watch and very cute all the same.

Hiking Recap

Hiking Cradle Mountain and enjoying a day in the beautiful Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is easily one of the best things to do in Tasmania. Do we wish we’d been able to have longer than just a day here? Sure. So by that notion, if you can spend longer here, then do. But, if you only have a day, like us, then we can wholeheartedly recommend hiking this same route. You’ll leave the park with a real sense of accomplishment and feeling extremely content. But be warned…you’ll be left wanting more. So, back to Tasmania sometime in the future, it is!

Other Routes to Cradle Mountain

Certainly, the walk to summit Cradle Mountain can be done via many different routes, not just via the Dove Lake Circuit and the Lake Wilks Track as we’ve described. Below, we’ll take a look at a few alternatives.

  • Marions Lookout: you can hike via Marions Lookout on the way to summit Cradle Mountain. Head the opposite way around Dove Lake as described in this post, heading past the Boat Shed. From here, join the steep trail on the Marions Lookout Link Track to get to the viewpoint, continuing along the Overland Track to the summit.
  • Hansons Peak: this slightly longer looper hike ascends above the eastern side of Dove Lake, towards Hansons Peak. You’ll follow the Lake Rodway Track, passing the Twisted Lakes on your left, before joining the Face Track and then the Summit Track.
  • Ronny Creek: you might choose to begin your Cradle Mountain walk from the Ronny Creek Car Park. From Ronny Creek you can join the Overland Track past Crater Falls and Crater Lake, passing Marions Lookout before heading to Kitchen Hut and then onwards to Cradle Mountain summit.
  • Lake Lilla Track: from Ronny Creek, you can also walk via the Lake Lilla Track. Once you reach Lake Lilla, you can either join the Wombat Track to the above-mentioned route via the Overland Track. Alternatively, you can join the Marions Lookout Link Track or continue around the western shores of Dove Lake and join the Lake Wilks Track, as we did in this guide.
  • Overland Track: if you’re up for a truly memorable hike, you might consider the Overland Track. The 6 days one way, 65km trail is incredible in its own right. But, you could also consider adding on the out and back to Cradle Mountain too.
Map of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park walks
Cradle Mountain Map

Other Walks at Cradle Mountain

Aside from hiking up Cradle Mountain itself, there are plenty of other Cradle Mountain hikes and short walks. Let’s take a look at a few:

Dove Lake
Distance: 6km
Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy
The lovely 6.5km walk around Dove Lake is a very pictureque and relaxing trail. Indeed, it’s a great introduction to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

Pencil Pine Rainforest Walk
Distance: 0.5km
Time: 10 mins
Difficulty: Easy
This short boardwalk track leads to the wonderful Pencil Pine Falls and is doable for all ages and abilities.

Enchanted Forest Walk
Distance: 1km
Time: 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy
A fantastic family friendly short walk where you might just spot a wombat or two!

Cradle Valley Boardwalk
Distance: 12km
Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy
A beautiful buttongrass boardwalk trail through Cradle Mountain wilderness. The scenery is breathtaking!

Crater Lake Circuit
Distance: 6km
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
A moderate walk around the alpine lakes of Cradle Mountain, including Dove Lake, Lilla Lake, Wombat Pool and Crater Lake.

King Billy Pine Walk
Distance:
1.9km
Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
This excellent short boardwalk trail enjoys the company of the incredible King Billy trees which are nearly 1,500 years old.

When Is the Best Time for Hiking Cradle Mountain, Australia

Outside of winter, which brings its own set of hiking challenges, Cradle Mountain is a delight to hike any other time of year. The summer months are undoubtedly the best times to hike Cradle Mountain. You’ll be better guaranteed good weather and longer daylight hours for hiking. With that being said, summer also brings the busiest trails and so spring and autumn could be more favourable.

It’s not unusual to see snow in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, especially at the peak of Cradle Mountain. This makes the boulder section a little more problematic. Snow can often cover the sharp drops of any craggy edges, not to mention freezing ice making the rocks and their steep ascent extremely slippery. To that end, I would leave hiking Cradle Mountain in the winter to those with snow mountaineering experience, and the expertise to use specialist equipment.

You should always check the Cradle Mountain Weather before setting out on the summit walk. You can check the forecast here. In addition, the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre can advise on conditions for hiking too.

Accommodation in Cradle Mountain

As far as beautiful places to stay in Tassie go, I’m not sure they come much better than Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the best hotel options, as well as cover some camping options for those who love the wild.

Hotels Cradle Mountain

Let’s take a look at some of the best budget, mid-range and luxury hotel/lodge accommodation options in Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain Discovery Park – Budget

The basic but cosy cabins at the Cradle Mountain Discovery Park have everything you need for a comfortable stay in the national park. There’s free parking, which is super convenient and the on-site tour desk can arrange guided walks in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

Cradle Mountain Highlanders – Mid-Range

The self-catering facilities at Cradle Mountain Highlanders offer seclusion and a place to unwind. Particularly good after a walk up Cradle Mountain. Cradle Mountain Highlanders have a communal barbecue area and laundry facilities and is conveniently located close to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre shuttle terminus.

Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge – Luxury

Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is located on the edge of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and features a selection of luxury log cabins. Guests at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge can enjoy the Waldheim Alpine Spa and two on-site restaurants. Many walks in Cradle Mountain can be accessed straight from the accommodation, and the lodge can even arrange tours and activities for you.

Camping Near Cradle Mountain

You’ll not be short of camping options in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Again, Discovery Parks is a great option and offers fantastic pitches and amenities. Vale of Belvoir Camp Ground also isn’t too far away, although you won’t find much in the way of amenities. Additionally, you’ll find Cradle Mountain Fishery & Camping along Cradle Mountain Road on the way towards the visitor centre. This campsite boasts a beautiful lakefront location and very reasonable rates for a night’s stay.

Wild Camping In Cradle Mountain

There are no free campsites in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and wild camping is not permitted.

Cradle Mountain Waldheim Cabins

The Cradle Mountain Waldheim Cabins offer a true wilderness experience for those wanting an authentic adventure in the outdoors. There are eight very comfortable cabins to choose from, with separate amenities blocks located close by. You can check here for information on pricing and bookings.

Other Things to Do in Cradle Mountain

  • Horse Riding Cradle Mountain: if your legs are a little worn out after hiking Cradle Mountain, you might consider a little exploring on horseback. You can read more information on horse riding in Cradle Mountain here.
  • Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery: the exhibitions on display at the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery are dedicated to championing artists, the wilderness and stories around Cradle Mountain, Tasmania.
  • Cradle Mountain Canyoning Tours: Cradle Mountain isn’t all walks and summit hikes, it’s canyons and waterfalls too! Dove Canyon and the Lost World Canyon are a couple of fantastic locations for natural waterslides, waterfall jumping and swimming. Discover more information here.

FAQs

Below we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions in regard to the Cradle Mountain walk and reaching the summit.

How Long Is the Cradle Mountain Walk?

The Cradle Mountain walk distance very much depends on which route to the summit you take. If completing via the Dove Lake Circuit, as we’ve described in this post, then you can expect hiking Cradle Mountain to take anywhere between 5–7 hours.

How Difficult Is the Cradle Mountain Walk?

Outside of the final summit run to Cradle Mountain, the trails are easy to follow, if just a little strenuous in parts as you climb higher up the mountainside. Due to the technical element of climbing through the boulder field as you near the summit of Cradle Mountian, we would rate the walk to Cradle Mountain as hard.

Can You do Cradle Mountain in a Day?

Absolutely. In fact, if you only have one day in which to discover the delights of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, then hiking Cradle Mountain is by far one of the best ways to enjoy it.

How Many Walks Are There in Cradle Mountain?

There are well over 20 different walks to do around Cradle Mountain. And if you count all the different variations there are in summitting Cradle Mountain alone, this grows considerably. Of course, spending a good few days here would enable you to hike as many of these as possible.

Five Hiking Gear Essentials

If you’re planning on spending the day hiking here, which we hope you are, then here are a few essentials we recommend and you may want to consider. For a more comprehensive packing list, please check out the Ultimate Packing Checklist. It’s a great general summary of everything you’d need for a trip. For even more information check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With.

Hiking Essential


Why do you need this?

See it in action


Although we hiked in trainers, these are our usual hiking boots which are very comfy and a great choice for hiking 


This camera is the best compact digital camera on the market. Lightweight, compact and durable, the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII takes high quality photos and 4K videos

Always pack a waterproof jacket, just in case!

A great day pack to fit all your full day hiking needs in

You can't beat a GoPro Hero when it comes to action cameras, and there's lots of action on the Cradle Mountain walk

You should also consider packing lunch, 2l water, sunscreen and a hat.

Bonus Tips

  • Arrive early: to enjoy a quieter park and even enjoy some sections of the hiking route to yourself.
  • Button Grass Plains: Cradle Mountain in Tasmania is one of the best places to see a number of rare and ancient plants of Gondwanan origins. These include the pretty Buttongrass, King Billy and Pencil Pine.
  • Dove Lake dip: why not have a quick swim and a cool down in the picturesque Dove Lake after conquering the walk to Cradle Mountain? I can’t think of a better way to round off a fantastic day of hiking in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
  • Park updates: you can check parks.tas.gov for more detailed information about the walk to Cradle Mountain, plus check their webcam for real-time weather updates.
  • Hike more of Tasmania: There is a wealth of trails to choose from in Tassie. For instance, another highly rated day hike is the Mt Murchison hike.
  • Cradle Mountain Tours: there are so many activities and tours on offer at Cradle Mountain. Get Your Guide has some fantastic options.

If you’ve enjoyed this post or found it useful in conquering Cradle Mountain, then please do feel free to share it.


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