Day hike across the face of Cradle Mountain
We experienced a walk that took us beneath huge slabs of Dolerite towering into the sky, weaving around lakes that filled the creators and the base of the mountain and with the trail surrounded by native flora, some of which is only found in Tasmania.
Cradle Mountain is impressive. It was formed hundreds of millions of years ago by magma cooling beneath the Earth’s surface. Among the end of an ice age, glaciers tore away the Earth’s crust weaker rock, leaving these giants exposed.
Cradle Mountain National Park is about a two hour drive west of Launceston.
You’ll need to head to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Information centre before entering the park. This is where you can buy a park ticket for $16.50, leave your car and catch a shuttle bus to the base of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake.
There are loads of short and longer walks. Some can be done with-in 30 minutes, others go for seven days.
We were on a guided hiking tour with Tasmanian Safaris, so we had the upper hand in having a local expert that could tailor a hiking trail to what we wanted.
Looking for a challenge but not wanting to push ourselves and instead enjoy the views and plant life, while exploring the area with less people around, our guide came up with an incredible trail that ticked all of the boxes.
From the car park, almost all people turn right at the lake and walk straight to the base of Cradle Mountain then queue and walk single file up to the summit – this wasn’t for us.
We turned left and headed around Dove Lake but via the ridge that sits behind it.
The track had plenty of nice flat parts, but to get to them required some really steep sections. All of the steep bits of the track were only for short distances and there were chains to help you climb the harder parts.
The views of Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the back ground get better the further you go.
The trail got pretty steep.
Between the harder sections are nice long, flat board walks and stone trails. With all of the recovery time between the steep parts, it allows a lot of different fitness levels to conquer this hiking trail, if you’ve got the will!
Eventually the track makes it up onto the face of Cradle Mountain, just below the Dolemite rock towers and goes right along this to the base of the track to the summit.
Once you get to the end of this part, it’s where the traffic picks up. The track comes to a junction. Turning right completes the circuit following the top of the ridge all of the way back to the car park or left will lead you to the Cradle Mountain summit.
People hiking to the summit usually go straight from the car park to this point then up, where as we followed a trail around the other side of the lake and then came around to the base of the summit.
We continued the circuit and bypassed the summit.
The walk became super easy, pretty much following a board walk for about 1.5 hours. There is one really steep part, but it also has a chain to help you get down it safely.