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Cradle Mountain - Hiking

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Cradle Mountain - Hiking

When Is the Best Time 

Hiking in the Cradle Mountain National Park is very popular throughout the year. However, in the winter you have to deal with snow, and despite more pleasant temperatures in the summer, the weather is even more unpredictable. However, snow can also occur in December as it happened in 2019. During the summer Cradle is pretty busy with the highest accommodation rates.

Weather by Seasons

Winter (May-September)

Cradle Mountain covered in snow during winter

Snow in winter usually from July to September with an average daily temp of 6°C / 43°F. It can get even colder and freezing during the night (below 0°C / 32°F). The coldest months are July and August. Hiking can be difficult depending on the amount of snow. May and September are a little warmer.

Spring (October-November)

Cradle Mountain hiking trail to Marions Lookout in spring

Wildflowers are abundant during spring and early summer. Day temps range between 10°C-15°C / 50°F-59°F on average. But we already experienced snow in November and 0°C / 32°F while hiking.

Summer (December-February)

Cradle Mountain on a clear day during summer

More stable weather from December to April with warmer daily temps on average around 15°C-18°C / 59°F-64°F. The "warmest" months are January and February.  Less precipitation from January to March. However, the weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for 4 seasons in one day even during summer. If you like camping, be prepared for one-digit night temps throughout the year. Even during summer expect snow as well. If hiking the Overland Track carry warm clothes as well. In December 2019 three hikers suffered hypothermia. Luckily, all of them got rescued.

Autumn (March-April)

Cradle Mountain on a clear day in Autmn

In autumn from late April to May autumn colors are ranging from gold to deep red. Daily temps are around 10°C-15°C / 50°F-59°F on average. Nights are already freezing cold between 3°C-5°C / 37°F-41°F.

Top Tip for Cradle Mountain Hiking: Check the weather forecast and conditions before you venture into the National Park. Check out our Weather Link or stop by the visitor centre.

Avoiding Crowds

It's one of the most popular National Parks in Tassie. You almost don't experience any crowds in the low season during winter. During summer it's busy with visitors from around the world, especially at Dove Lake. Longer and more strenuous hikes are less frequented. Enjoy a more peaceful hike and start in the early morning. It gets less busy again in the late afternoon. The peak season lasts from October/November until April.

Hiking Trail on a boardwalk in the Cradle Mountain National Park

Top Tip for the Peak Season: Start your hike before dawn with headlights and enjoy a breathtaking sunrise from Marians Lookout. 
Shuttle Bus Service and Parking

There is one car park at Dove Lake and one at Ronny Creek. Arriving early is recommended. Otherwise, shuttle buses have to be taken from the Visitor Center or the Interpretation Center. For National Park Pass holders; the shuttle bus is for free. The last bus leaves Dove Lake in the afternoon. Due to the increasing numbers of visitors, new bus service also for people with disabilities was introduced in 2018. When these medium-sized buses operate from 8 am to 6 pm cars can't get to the parking. If you want to hike independently, you have to be at Dove Lake parking before 8 am.

Discover 
Hiking
AU
Where  
Australia, Tasmania, Cradle Mountain National Park
Review and Tips 

Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair declared as National Park in 1971. Part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area since 1982. In 1922 it was a Scenic Reserve only. It is estimated that millions of native King Billy pines were felled until the 70s. Logging was and still is a threat to the old grown forests in Tasmania. 

Snow in the Cradle Mountain National Park in November

We spent several days at Cradle Mountain National Park in February and a year later in November, and none was really sunny. We experienced different seasons in one day except for snow in February. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see Cradle Mountain once in five days and different seasons. Anyway this National Park is a very special place to get away from it all and even just misty and rainy it has a majestic beauty. If you haven’t been to Cradle, you haven’t been to Tassie.

Cradle Mountain webcam visibility

Hiking Trails
Dove Lake

Situated at an altitude of 940 m and nestled amongst the mountain peaks. A variety of trails all at appropriate ranges of difficulty start from here. These trails are well marked. 

  • The easy Dove Lake Circuit takes 2 hours and is roughly 6 km long.

    Dove Lake in the Cradle Mountain National Park
     
  • Crater Lake Circuit takes 2 hours and is roughly 6 km long. It's a good option for windy and rainy days.
    Wombat Pool in the Cradle Mountain National Park
     
  • Cradle Mountain Summit takes 7-8 hours and is about 13 km via Lake Lilla and Marions Lookout. There are different choices to return to Dove Lake car park.

    Marians Lookout in the Cradle Mountain National Park
Overland Track

Around 8.000 people walk the Overland Track each year. Due to the weather, the most famous season is from 1. October to 31. May. Hikers are required to walk from north to south. Booking in advance is essential for the peak season. The fee for adults is 200 $ plus National Park Pass fee. From 1. June to 30. September advanced booking isn’t necessary. You can hike in either direction, and you have to pay the National Park fee only. Anyway, hiking in winter is recommended for experienced hikers only. Expect heavy snow. Snowshoes are required. More information about the Overland track

Cradle Mountain Overland Track

Interpretation Center

Some Cradle walks start here; the short Enchanted trail to an old-growth rainforest, King Billy Walk, Pencil Pine Falls Rainforest Walk and the more challenging Dove Canyon Track. This trail takes about 2 hours along the Pencil Pine Falls, and Knyvet Falls with steep and rough climbing uphill back to the Cradle Valley Boardwalk. This hike is less popular with few hikers only. Often you can find wombats and pademelons around the Interpretation Center in the evening. 

A wombat walking on a boardwalk in the Cradle Mountain National Park
Check out where you can spot wildlife at Cradle

Helpful for Tasmania are the 60 short walks: number 29-32 are Cradle Mountain tracks.

What to Bring to Cradle
  • Clothes that you can layer on
  • A rainproof jacket 
  • Gloves and a woolen hat
  • Hiking Poles (depending on the trails you like to do)
  • Plenty of food and water
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Comments

Feb 11, 2017

Dove lake this summer, cradle mountain covered in clouds.

Feb 11, 2017

Cradle Mountain is one of my favourite places on Earth. This photo was taken in late October 2015, on Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain summit in the background. It's a family shot, and I'm happy to say that we all climbed the summit the day before the photo was taken.

To top it off, we were able to celebrate my son Henry's ninth birthday at the summit. My other son, Ezra, was eight. Reaching the peak is a challenge, but not impossible with kids.

If you're in Tasmania, and love National Parks, I'd strongly recommend a visit to Cradle Mountain!

Feb 12, 2017

It's a long time since I've been there

Feb 12, 2017

I visited in early February. The weather on that day was great but days either side were a bit cloudy, damp and sometimes windy so if you can check the weather forecasts and plan around that. There were many people there but not too many. It is an easy any lovely walk around Dove Lake with the surrounding mountains, especially Cradle Mountain itself. It is a more strenuous hike up to Marions Lookout but it is worth the effort with wonderful views of the mountains and lakes. The walk between Crater Lake and Ronny Creek is lovely and quite easy, often with wombats, echidnas and perhaps other creatures to be seen.

Feb 12, 2017

Great place down under

Feb 13, 2017

A friend and I visited in November 2015 and walked the Dove Lake circuit. We had been warned that we might not get to see Cradle Mountain but the weather was mostly good so our luck was in. We even got some rain so we even managed to get some cloudy shots as well. The walk itself was easy throughout although there was a little climb towards the end. Stunning landscapes and beautiful flora abound like this Tasmanian Waratah. Some other shots can be found here.

A word of warning: if you are taking a camera double the time for the walk!