Cradle Mountain is Tasmania’s most popular tourist destination. It is visited by over 300,000 visitors a year, so be prepared for crowds. On a clear day, the scenery is spectacular.
It is at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, but be aware that you cannot get to Lake St Clair by a direct road from Cradle Mountain. Dove Lake is at the foot of the Mountain. The Visitor Centre and car park is 2 Km (1.2 Mi) from the park entrance, and a shuttle takes visitors to Dove Lake and the start of many walks. Walks range from the 20 minute Enchanted Walk to the 6 day Overland Track to Lake St Clair. Full information on the Day Walks around Dove Lake and the 6.5 hour walk to the summit of Cradle Mountain is available from the Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre is excellent, both in the information available, and in its gift shop.
History of Cradle Mountain
It took an immigrant to realize the potential. In 1900, a 26 year old Gustav Weindorfer arrived in Australia from Austria. He made his home in northern Tasmania in 1909. After hiking in to Cradle Mountain and being smitten by the scenery, he and his wife, Annie, purchased 200 acres of land next to Dove Lake and set up Waldheim Chalet. Annie died after a long illness in 1916, but Gustav lived at Waldheim (trans. “Forest Home”) until his death in 1932. During these years, Waldheim became a focus of hospitality at Cradle Mountain. His grave is near the rebuilt Waldheim Chalet. Basic accommodation is available near Waldheim, but visitors wishing comfort and luxury should stay at one of the hotels near the Visitor Centre. The best accommodation at Cradle Mountain is the Cradle Mountain Lodge. Cradle Mountain today is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Geography and Weather
Cradle Mountain is on an alpine plateau at an altitude of 934 metres (3,064 ft). Cradle Mountain (1,545 metres / 5,069 ft) is formed of dolerite columns, and Dove Lake is of glacial origin. It is about 2.5 hours drive to Cradle from Launceston, and about 5 hours from Hobart.
Here is the story on the weather at Cradle Mountain: Since it is on an elevated plateau and there is nothing to stop weather changes roaring in from the Great Southern Ocean to the west, the weather can change with frightening speed on any day. Check with the Visitors Centre for weather expectations while you are there. Of the 365 days in the year, you can expect 294 to be cloudy, leaving 71 days likely to be clear. On 54 days a year you can expect snow (winter mainly), and it can rain for at least a part of the day on 275 days. Be prepared to see Cradle Mountain in any weather on any day. Rainfall averages 168mm (74″) a year, with twice as much rain (snow) in winter when compared to summer. Average summer temperatures are a high of 19 C (66 F) and overnight low of 6 C (43 F). In winter you can expect average highs of 7 C (45 F) in the day and lows of 0 C (32 F) overnight. Pack a windproof, showerproof jacket and warm clothes
Map of Cradle Mountain
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Cradle Mountain