Cradle Mountaineering

Cradle Mountain is one of Tasmania’s most visited tourist destinations and home to the 65km long Overland Track,  Australia’s premier multi-day hike. It is World Heritage rated country and is closely guarded by boom gates with flashing amber lights, lots of ‘do not’ signs, a shuttle bus service to prevent congestion, an expensive caravan park and some of the most spectacular and remote scenery in Tassie. Its an odd juxtaposition.

Cradle Mountain peak reflected in Dove Lake

Cradle Mountain peak reflected in Dove Lake

After hearing recently that the Park Rangers had had to temporarily close the gates due to too many visitors we were, at first, a little hesitant about going to Cradle Mountain at all. Our day started with an entertaining 15 minutes waiting in a queue to get shuttle bus tickets from the Ranger while we watched the mayhem around us. First were the Melbourne couple, complete with bright pink sneakers and full make-up who’d forgotten to bring any water or sunscreen and wanted to “borrow” some from the ranger. Then there were a pack of Asians, wearing thongs, who were keen to do some serious hiking up the rocky slopes. And then there was the queue jumper who asked the flustered Ranger if she could ‘get away’ with not taking her tent or any water on a hike out to one of the remote mountain huts for the night. “That’s how people die up there” was the reply.  Enough said.  This place has stunning, remote scenery with access to some challenging walking tracks which are all subject to fickle, quick and extreme changes in weather, including snow in summer time. A few weeks ago two people died on the same night on the Overland Track, one from ‘exposure’ to the elements.

The view from Crater Peak (three lakes - Dove Lake, Lake Wombat )nd Crater Lake.

The view from Crater Peak (three lakes viewpoint – Dove Lake, Wombat Lake and Crater Lake).

Crater Falls

Crater Falls

Despite our initial concerns however we ended up spending two great days in glorious weather tramping around a number of the designated walking tracks. We completed the 6km long Dove Lake Circuit first which meanders around the lower levels of Cradle Mountain. The next day we tackled the 12km Crater Lake walk up to Marion’s Lookout, looping back around near Kitchen Hut and up to the steep Crater Peak where we had stunning views for miles across this mountainous country. The walk passes through dense rainforest and the pristine Crater Falls before reaching the steep walls of the lake carved by glacial ice. Its the kind of place that gets you hooked and we’ll be back to tackle the slopes of the Cradle Mountain summit next… as long as it doesn’t snow.

The Cradle Mountain wombat locals

The Cradle Mountain wombat locals


 

 

 

 

 

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