Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by sirgaw
  • Things to Do
    by sirgaw
  • Things to Do
    by sirgaw

Most Recent Things to Do in Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park

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    Lake St Clair

    by sirgaw Written May 17, 2014

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    Time, sadly, was very short for our visit to Lake St Clair, which is Tasmania’s largest lake. We were en-route from Oyster Cove, south of Hobart to Queenstown and had a few stops along the way, but we just had to at least have a coffee and brief stroll to the lake from the excellent visitors centre.

    I did comment to a park employee (maybe ranger) that there should be a larger sign advising visitors parking their vehicle in the car park to be made much larger and at the entrance to the car park. I had a park pass and was unaware that I needed to display it on the dashboard of our rental car until AFTER I had parked and walked almost to the visitor centre – there might be a conspiracy theory to come – LOL. .

    The weather was turning quite cold and drizzle had set in. Regretfully, we were not prepared to spend too much time outdoors. Looking at the web site below there is an amazing array of walks that can be done from the area.
    Lake St Clair is also the terminating point for the famous 6 day 65 km Overland Track - Australia's premier long-distance walking track. Details can be viewed at http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=7771 On a shuttle bus in the Cradle Mountain area, a driver explained that there is an annual ‘fun run’ along the track and the best time is 7 hours. Not sure if that would be fun.

    IMPORTANT - you do need a Park Pass to enter - best suggestion is a Holiday Vehicle Parks Pass which costs $60 for up to 2 months travel and covers one vehicle and up to 8 passengers – see separate tip.

    Contact details below are for the ranger station at Lake St Clair..

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    Dove Lake Walk

    by sirgaw Updated May 17, 2014

    As said in the introduction page to Cradle Mountain, I really wanted to walk Dove Lake track. It is listed in various publications as easy to moderate and one guide even suggested ‘some bushwalking experience’. Having done the walk, I tend to agree with the latter.

    The guide books and even the path from the car park indicated that Dove Lake walk is a one way and clockwise, however the friendly and helpful owners of Cradle Mountain Highlander cabins suggested that we walk anti-clockwise. The reason given was that the tougher parts (read steep and rough in parts) were done first when visitors are still fresh. OK if that is the more logical way to do the walk, then with respect maybe the suggested direction by parks etc should be changed. As the weather conditions were raining, windy and quite cold, the day we walked the track there were few other ‘nut cases’ walking in the opposite direction. For much of the journey we had the track to ourselves, although we did stop and chat to people from China and Brazil and of course Aussies. It was interesting to share joint experiences with all of them.

    We had heeded all the warnings and had plenty of clothing. Lady Gaw counted 7 layers over her torso and 4 over arms. I had 3 over torso and arms. In hindsight (always a great teacher) my choice of a pair of jeans was not so good, as they are not waterproof and as a result, my legs did get quite damp and cold. I carried my compact digital camera in my parka pocket rather than attached to my belt as is my normal custom – it was just too cold and time consuming to pull up clothing to get to camera. I also had a pair of rubber gloves. Although not very well insulated, they did keep hands dry. As you can see in the last photo, Lady Gaw had a beanie, while I wore a wide brimmed hat. Just in case you can’t lip read, we are yelling out, “I bought a Jeep,” which is a popular TV commercial here in Australia.

    If you are intending to do Dove Lake walk, I strongly suggest that you heed all the warnings regarding VERY changeable weather conditions; get fit in the lead up to trip; take all spare clothing, snacks and water in a day (back) pack; you leave a note in the visitors book advising of your intending walk and don’t forget to complete it upon return; take a camera; finally ENJOY one of the worlds best short walks.

    Web site below is the link to the excellent publication, “60 Great Short Walks Tasmania – click onto Dove Lake Circuit. 2 other great publications are, ”Visitor Information – Cradle Mountain” and “Visitor Guide – Tasmania’s National Parks and Reserves.” Great on-line resource at http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=3297 . Contact details are for the excellent visitors centre,

    IMPORTANT - you do need a Park Pass to enter - best suggestion is a Holiday Vehicle Parks Pass which costs $60 for up to 2 months travel and covers one vehicle and up to 8 passengers..

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    Enchanted Walk

    by sirgaw Written May 17, 2014

    Across the road from the ranger’s station and beside Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is the short but great and well-named Enchanted Walk and suitable for almost everyone. There are a few steps which may limit those with mobility issues.

    On a very well maintained board walk, the walk follows the river and crosses over on a bridge, through button grass meadows, through lichen and moss covered trees and ground and through a small forest

    Web site below is the link to the excellent publication, “60 Great Short Walks Tasmania – click onto Enchanted Walk. 2 other great publications are, ”Visitor Information – Cradle Mountain” and “Visitor Guide – Tasmania’s National Parks and Reserves.” Great on-line resource at http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=3297 . Contact details are for the excellent visitors centre.

    IMPORTANT - you do need a Park Pass to enter - best suggestion is a Holiday Vehicle Parks Pass which costs $60 for up to 2 months travel and covers one vehicle and up to 8 passengers.

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    Devils @ Cradle

    by sirgaw Updated May 17, 2014

    Apart from the all-important eating and drinking, there is not a lot to do after darkness has closed all the great walks around Cradle Mountain. One attraction that is better viewed after dark is Devils @ Cradle. Tasmanian Devils and their close relatives, the Eastern and Spotted quoll are nocturnal and carnivorous and therefore best seen when they are active..

    I thought the admission prices were quite expensive and ranges from children $10 for day admission to adults $27.50 for the night tour (we paid $22.50 each – senior/student and there are family prices, see web site for details).

    The tour started with a video screening and a short talk by one of the keepers – and a rare chance to briefly touch a Tassie Devil. They are about the size of a large house cat and sort of felt like patting a short haired dog. We were then led into the evening dark and chill (May 2014) and the keeper went into one of the largish enclosures with fur covered dinner for the devils. Not sure I would have liked being between the critters as they argued with banshee like screams while having a tug of war over the meaty spoils. Their sound does send shivers down the spine and I would hate to be out at night and hear them approach (see last image, which in reality is a joke fridge magnet.

    After seeing the devils we were led to other enclosures where the different quolls were pacing up, down and around, waiting very impatiently for their food. The keeper did keep up a commentary, but I did find it difficult to hear and I felt others were also having the same problem.

    There was none of the customary ‘thanks for coming’ from the keeper and we all just left. Although there are real problems with the health of wild Tassie Devils and the scourge of facial tumors, we felt that the keeper should have been a little more gracious to his paying guests, or maybe he’s been with devils for too long.

    Not quite true - see text
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    Belvoir (Rocky Mount) Lookout

    by sirgaw Written May 16, 2014

    If you are approaching Cradle Mountain from the west, approx 17 km along the Belvoir Road (C132) from the A10 that links Queenstown with Wynyard is a lookout on top of a hill. Sadly the signage is not very good and it is quite easy to miss. However it is a very worthwhile photo stopping point and particularly if you have a long lens for your camera.

    The track from the road to the lookout should be marked 4WD only and is a ‘steepish’ climb on foot of about 250 metres. In the absence of signs, our little car made it up the steep track - please don’t tell the rental car company.

    For those with GPS and other such gizmos, the coordinates are:
    41 deg 32” 23.61’ S
    145 deg 52” 05.54’ E

    My main photo of Cradle Mountain from the lookout is not very clear, however VT member iandsmith, who is a frequent visitor to the area has 2 excellent photos

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    Wombat Pool

    by iandsmith Updated Apr 3, 2013

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    After you pass Lake Lilla you come to the Wombat Pool, another delightful little mountain tarn at the bottom of Wombat Peak, en route to either Marion Lookout or Crater Lake.
    When I went past there the second time, about a year after the first, there were tadpoles literally, I suspect, by the million. They formed a black cloud across half the pond.

    Wombat Pool Wombat Pool from Wombat Peak Lovely vista Note the tadpoles
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    Cradle Mountain hikes.

    by Adelaide79 Written Feb 28, 2012

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    This could also be shared under "Off the beaten track" as it seems to be an untapped beauty.

    A short drive from Devonport through country roads, this place is amazing to see.

    There is plenty of hiking tracks to explore and it is very safe to hike as you are required to log in and log out of the hikes at each assemble point.

    The National Park also has a Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park as well as accommodation in chalet style cottages.

    It really is a wonderful way to spend a day in Tasmania.

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    Easy walk

    by iandsmith Written Nov 25, 2011

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    Right at the interpretation centre (not to be confused with the information centre) there's a neat short walk that's wheel chair friendly and you get to see a waterfall in less than ten minutes.
    It takes you to a remnant rainforest and then curls around to Pencil Pine Falls.
    The Intrepetation Centre has lots of interesting information, books and magazines and is well worth a stop.

    Remnant rainforest The rainforest remnants Moss on a log Pancil Pine Falls
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    The descent

    by iandsmith Updated Nov 25, 2011

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    From my notes:
    I decided to take the direct descent to Dove Lake, a red warning sign cautioned “track steep and rough” when it should have said “very steep and very rough”. I thought coming up from the Crater Lake side had been bad but this so-called track was one of the worst I’d been on. Still, I had a smile on my face when I met a group of Asians on their way up when I was near the bottom. “Glad I’m heading in the other direction”, I said as we passed and cautioned them to remove some of their overclothes because they’d be sweating very soon. They were smiling then, I knew they wouldn’t be in 5 minutes time.

    It is seriously steep going down to Dove Lake The ascent from Crater Lake side Looking down to Lake Lilla Dove Lake and the start of the descent Heading down from Marion
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    Marion Lookout

    by iandsmith Written Nov 25, 2011

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    Continuing notes from my walk:
    I retreated to the main trail and started the climb to Marion Lookout. It was steep, or so I thought, then I got to the chains and the snow depth markers and I found out what “steep” really meant. After more than one pause Cradle Mountain finally peeped over the crest and I was there at this lookout I’d so wanted to get to. While the view wasn’t shabby, the memory of Cradle Lake lingered and I knew the effort I’d made to get here before the weather closed in for the next few days hadn’t been in vain.
    I met my first walker of the day 10 minutes later. This knowledgeable man told me three things I didn’t know; the Devonport Show was on, it was a public holiday in the north and, today was Friday.

    Warning: the track up from Dove Lake is seriously steep

    Cradle Mountain from Marion Lookout Main carpark from Marion Lookout Track to Marion Lookout from Dove Lake Looking down to Dove Lake from the track
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    Crater Lake

    by iandsmith Written Nov 25, 2011

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    This is an extract from my journal of the day:
    The whole time I descended I was in awe; here was a lake to rival any in Australia for stunning scenery on a grand scale, right up there with Lake Judd, Lake Pedder and Dove Lake. The presence of massive rock outcrops rising sheer from the waters and ghostly skeletons of long dead trees with tortured limbs askew in all directions made certain of that. The boatshed at the end merely added to the lustre of this, a finishing touch on a masterpiece.

    Early morning Crater Lake View from the Marion Lookout Track Abstract Crater Lake Crater Lake Boat House at Crater Lake
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    The loop

    by iandsmith Updated Nov 25, 2011

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    There are so many trails in the park that it's hard to choose which one to do. Apart from the Dove Lake circuit this is one of the more popular.
    There are a couple of loops that start out heading west, one over Marion Lookout and the other past Waldheim.
    The NPWS map on the internet is erroneous because it doesn't show the link to Lake Lilla from Dove Lake carpark.

    Lake Lilla at dawn The trail past Lake Lilla Lake Lilla
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    The Lookout

    by iandsmith Written Nov 25, 2011

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    Should you come or leave the park from the west then you'll pass a lookout. From this vantage point you'll not only see Cradle Mountain but the equally spectacular Barn Bluff. The latter is often walked to by dedicated bushwalkers but the average tourist is usually blissfully unaware that it even exists.
    The lookout is definitely worth a stop as it also gives you an idea of the layout of the land.

    Cradle Mountain panorama Barn Bluff
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    Dove Lake

    by iandsmith Written Nov 25, 2011

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    The number one thing that people do here is walk around Dove Lake. This world famous excursion of two hours on a loop track around the lake is the second easiest of the many walks in this fabulous park.
    Two things always appear in photographs apart from the lake itself, they are Cradle Mountain and the boatshed, the latter possibly the most photographed boatshed in the whole world for all I know.
    The walk is easy though there are a few steps here and there so you won't be going around in a wheelchair.

    The iconic boat house on Dove Lake Cradle Mountains (second from left)
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    Take a walk!

    by ATXtraveler Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Whether you are looking for a 20 minute stroll, or a 5 day trek through the mountains, this place really does have a little of everything.

    We drove into the Cradle Mountain Park on the north side, and parked at the Cradle Mountain Lodge, where we had lunch, and then took the 20 minute Enchanted Walk. It was just long enough to work off a little of the lunch, and was very easy. There are 20 walks ranging from 20 minutes up to the 5 day Overland Pass.

    If you need any more information on the walks available, check the link below.

    Cradle Mountain
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