Cradle Mountain is the main reason why I wanted to visit Tasmania. It’s Overland Track was considered as one of the 10 best walks in the world by Lonely Planet (Source: Here). It’s a 65km of wilderness from Cradle Mountain National Park to Lake St. Clair National Park. It was suggested that the track should be done in 6 days and so that’s why I scheduled our trip to be 9 days long.
Little did I know that you should register and pay $180 (woah!) and there are only a limited number of walkers allowed to start the track per day. They explained that the fee and controlling the number of walkers allows them to preserve the national park. I had to asked Andrew first if it’s ok for him to pay $180 to be able to walk for 6 days (sounds ridculous, right?). He said he doesn’t mind, so I tried to book the walk. Because our trip falls on the Easter holiday, there were no more slots on any day that we can start the walk. I was so devastated! How can a mountain be fully booked?! I’m sure it can accommodate 2 more extra walkers. We’re even going to bring our own tent! I didn’t have any other choice but to be contented on just doing some walks in the park and hoping that on my next Tassie trip, I’ll be able to do the Overland Track.
Weather was on our side o the 2 days that we were in Cradle Mountain, and maybe because we already used up all our bad luck when we tipped our van (see story here). So for our 5th day, we waited until 10AM until we could get our new rented car. We couldn’t book another campervan, we just settled for a small Nissan Micra which turned out to be perfect when drove through the mountains.
We arrived at the National Park past 1AM, passed through the Information Center to present the pass we bought from Freycinet National Park. Entrance fee to Cradle Mountain alone is $16.50 per adult. We bought the pass for $60 for 1 vehicle (max 4 adults per vehicle) and it covered all Tasmania’s national parks. It also included the use of shuttle bus inside the Cradle Mountain National Park.
The park is so big and even 5 days won;t be enough to do all the walks. Because we only had that afternoon and the morning of the next day, we just did the famous walks: Dove Lake Circuit (to see the Cradle Mountain), the Enchanted Walk (because our shuttle bus driver said that no one should leave Cradle Mountain without doing that walk, and it’s just 30 minutes) and one of the boarded walks (because I think it’s cool to have kilometers of boarded path).
Dove Lake Circuit
The walk is around the Dove lake and is about 6km long. It was suggested to allow 2 hours to finish, and to start the walk from the left hand side and walk clockwise around the lake. If you don’t have enough time, I suggest that you walk to the left until the Glacier Rock go back to the parking lot, and head towards the right until the boat shed. You will save a lot of time, and you will still see the highlights of this track. But of course, if you have time, there are several things to see at the middle of the track. We even stopped for a Chorizo Wrap break under one of the trees.
We did this walk the morning of our 5th day. This walk starts and ends at the Interpretation Center which is the 1st stop of the shuttle service. We finished it in 30 mins, with some stops to take photos.
Boarded Walk from Interpretation Center to Snake Hill
Since we were already at the interpretation center, we started on the boarded walk from there. The feeling of being in the middle of grassland made me feel like we’re Jack and Jill (went up the fill to fetch a pail of water..). Haha! But it was really beautiful!
We had to leave Cradle around lunch time because the drive to our next destination would take us around 5 hours. I’m saving the peak of the Cradle Mountain on my next visit when I’ll do the complete Overland Track!
Official website of Cradle Mountain National Park – click here
More information about Overland Track – click here