Cradle Mountain – All things to know when visiting Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is located at the northern end of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. It is renowned for its diverse landscape and flora.

Here, you can find tranquil glacial lakes, expansive button-grass moorlands, moss-covered rainforests, snow-capped mountain peaks, and abundant wildlife. 

Walking Tracks in Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain offers world-class walking tracks, from short strolls near the Ranger Station to multi-day Overland TrackOpens in a new tab. through the heart of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

Whichever you choose, you will be surrounded by the natural beauty of this wonderful park.

Shorter Walks Near Ranger Station / Interpretation Centre

The Enchanted Walk

The Enchanted Walk is one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.

It is a relatively flat, 20 minutes circular walk along Pencil Pine Creek (where I was lucky enough to spot a platypus at nightfall).

With ancient pencil pines and mossy forest, the Enchanted walk will provide you with a taste of Cradle Mountain, without putting on a sweat.

The Rainforest Walk

The Rainforest Walk is another easy and flat walk near the Ranger Station.

It only takes about 10 minutes to complete and will provide you with a view of Pencil Pine Falls.

Dove Canyon Circuit 

If you are up for more challenges, Dove Canyon Circuit could be an option.

The Dove Canyon Circuit is a 3 hours circular walk. It starts just opposite the gift shop.

Along this walk, you will get a close-up view of Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls, while being surrounded by pristine rainforest.

However, this track can be steep and rocky in certain sections, which may not suit everyone’s taste.

In saying that, you can always follow the boardwalk to Knyvet Falls, before taking the same way back to avoid a long steep hike. This return walk to and from Knyvet Falls will take about 45 minutes instead.

Mossy Forest in Cradle Mountain
Mossy Forest in Cradle Mountain

Walking Tracks Near Dove Lake

Dove Lake Circuit

Dove Lake is a stunning glacial lake, nestled at the foot of Cradle Mountain. Because of its prime location, Dove Lake offers one of the best views of Cradle Mountain Summit.

The Dove Lake Circuit is a 6km circular walk around Dove Lake, which starts and ends at the Dove Lake Carpark. It is a mostly flat and well-maintained walk, with boardwalks covering the majority of this track.

This circular walk takes about 2-3 hours to complete, depending on fitness level. You can explore this walk from either direction, but a clockwise direction is much suggested.

Hansons Peak

When walking clockwise along Dove Lake Circuit, the first track that branches out (on your left-hand side) is the track towards Hansons Peak.

With Dove Lake already sitting at an elevation of 939 metres, the hike to Hansons Peak (1185 metres in elevation) does not seem to be that difficult on paper.

However, as you get closer to the peak, the track becomes very steep with sections of large boulders. You will need help from those chains along this track to scramble up.

Once arrived at Hansons Peak, you will have a full glance at the picturesque Dove Lake, with Cradle Mountain in the background.

After Hansons peak, you can either return to Dove Lake Circuit from the same track you just scrambled up from (1 hour one way, depending on fitness level) or continue this clockwise circular walk from the top of these mountain peaks. 

If you continue this walk clockwise from Hansons Peak, you will walk past the beautiful Twisted Lake, before taking Face Track near the Rangers Hut.

Face Track

Face Track is directly beneath Cradle Mountain Summit. This track does have sections of steep climbs and loose rocks. However, this is a key ‘intersection’ connecting many different tracks and lookouts.

By following Face Track clockwise, you can head over to Lake Wilks, before heading down to Dove Lake Circuit.

Alternatively, if you are up for more challenges, you can head towards the Kitchen Hut.

From Kitchen Hut, you will have the choice of either hiking up to Cradle Mountain Summit, or continuing this clockwise walk towards Marions Lookout. 

Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain
Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain Summit

If you are feeling adventurous, Cradle Mountain Summit may be for you.

At an elevation of 1545 metres, the hike to Cradle Mountain Summits is a 2-3 hours steep scramble from Kitchen Hut.

From Dove Lake Carpark, it will take around 6-8 hours for a return trip to Cradle Mountain Summit, depending on fitness level and the routes taken.

To attempt this hike, you need to have a hiking experience, with a good fitness level. Waterproof and windproof clothing, sturdy trekking shoes, food, and water will also need to be prepared for this long hike.

Although there is a lot of planning and hard work involved, you will be rewarded with an impressive panoramic view of Dove Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Marions Lookout

Marions Lookout offers a spectacular view of Dove Lake, Crater Lake, and Cradle Mountain. It is a great additional hike from the Kitchen Hut, after visiting Hansons Peak and/or Cradle Mountain Summit. 

From Dove Lake Circuit, the quickest way to this lookout is to use Marions Lookout Link Track. However, this will be a 1-hour long, rough and steep climb (one-way).

Alternatively, you can follow Lake Lilla and Wombat Pool Track, before using part of the Overland Track to walk towards Marions Lookout. Although this route is longer, it is much easier and gentler on the legs.

Dove Lake Boat Shed

Towards the end of your clockwise walk around Dove Lake, you will be greeted by a picturesque view of the famous Dove Lake Boat Shed. 

Located along the beautiful Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain as a backdrop, this picture-postcard view of the boatshed is truly rewarding after a long hike.

Conveniently, if you are pressed for time, you can take a 15-minute anticlockwise walk from Dove Lake Carpark, for a perfect photo of this charming boat shed.

Dove Lake Boat Shed
Dove Lake Boat Shed


There is abundant wildlife in Cradle Mountain.

You can easily spot echidnas along the walking tracks during the day.

Around dusk or dawn, wombats and wallabies will be out and about everywhere in Cradle Mountain. You can easily spot them by taking a leisure stroll near the Ranger Station.

Platypus can also be spotted from the rivers and lakes, around dusk or dawn.

Cradle Mountain is also home to the famous Tasmanian Devil, which you can get a close-up encounter with, from Devils @ Cradle Wildlife Park.

A Wombat Minding Its Own Business Near Peppers
A Wombat Minding Its Own Business Near Peppers

How to Get There

​​​​​​​​​​​Cradle Mountain is located at the northern end of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Although Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair Opens in a new tab.together form the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, there is no direct road linking the two ends of the park.

If you wish to drive from Lake St Clair to Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, it will take you about 3 hours via QueenstownOpens in a new tab.

From LauncestonOpens in a new tab., it is a 2 hours drive to the visitor centre.

From the North West, it is a roughly 1-hour drive from Sheffield; and a 1.5-hour drive from Devenport and Burnie. 

From the West Coast, it is about 1.5 hours drive from Queenstown; and 2 hours drive from Strahan.

When it comes to Coles Bay Opens in a new tab.and HobartOpens in a new tab., it will take around 4 hours to reach the visitor centre.

Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre

The visitor centreOpens in a new tab. is open from 9 am to 4 pm. It is the first few facilities you will see on your drive into the park (on the left-hand side when driving in).

Here, you can get your park pass, shuttle bus ticket, and a free park map all sorted. The friendly staff can also provide you with a range of information on suggested activities and walking tracks within the park.

The Check-in counter for the Overland Track is located in the visitor centre as well. You can also find a souvenir store, restrooms, and a cafe in this visitor centre.

Entrance Fee

A valid national park pass is required to enter Cradle Mountain. This park pass will give you access to Cradle Mountain and its free shuttle bus service.

The park pass can be purchased from the visitor centre. It is AUD$25 per adult for a Daily Pass.

You can also purchase a Holiday Pass for AUD$80 per vehicle or AUD$40 per person instead. This Holiday Pass will be valid for 2 months, across all of Tasmania’s national parks.

Shuttle Bus

A shuttle bus service has been introduced to Cradle Mountain to protect and preserve this wonderful park. This service is free with a valid park pass.

It operates between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm from April to September, and 8:00 am to 6:00 pm from October to March.

The shuttle bus departs every 15 minutes from the visitor centre. It will also stop at the Ranger Station and Ronny Creek, before arriving at Dove Lake.

Private vehicle access is not permitted during shuttle bus operating hours. Currently, private vehicles are also not allowed to park at Dove Lake Carpark, due to ongoing construction. You can however park at Ronny Creek and walk around 2km to Dove Lake. This construction is estimated to finish by March 2022.

Short Walks near the Ranger Station
Short Walks near the Ranger Station

Where to Eat in Cradle Mountain

Restaurants and bars are available from all the hotels within Cradle Mountain. However, they are not all open to non-hotel guests.

Here is a list of dining options for non-hotel guests in Cradle Mountain:



  • Tavern Bar & BistroOpens in a new tab. from Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.
  • Elements Cafe near the visitor centre.


Where to Shop in Cradle Mountain

When it comes to groceries, the options are limited in Cradle Mountain.

There is a small gift shop near Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. As the name suggests, it mainly sells souvenirs, with only limited basic supplies, snacks, and drinks available.

In terms of petrol, there is a 24 hours petrol station near Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, and it accepts cards only. However, for your peace of mind, make sure you fill up the tank before visiting.

Cradle Mountain Summit & Dove Lake
Cradle Mountain Summit & Dove Lake

Where to Stay in Cradle Mountain

There is a range of accommodations to choose from, within Cradle Mountain.

You can stay at hotels, such as Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge (higher price range) and Cradle Mountain Hotel (mid-range hotel); self-contained chalet at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village; or cabins at Discovery Parks and Cradle Mountain Highlanders Cottages.

Having said that, because of its prime location, the costs for accommodations within Cradle Mountain are generally more expensive than outside of the park. If you don’t mind the extra commute to and from the park, many cheaper accommodations are available around Sheffield and Tullah.

However, driving on country roads at dusk or dawn can be challenging, especially when most of Tasmania’s wildlife is nocturnal.

If driving at dusk or dawn, please be very careful, slow down, and share the road.

  • Check out accommodations in Cradle Mountain on Booking.comOpens in a new tab.
  • Check out accommodations in Sheffield on Booking.comOpens in a new tab. – 50 minutes drive
  • Check out accommodations in Tullah on – 40 minutes drive
  • Check out accommodations in Queenstown on Booking.comOpens in a new tab.  – 90 minutes drive


Winter is the wettest month in Cradle Mountain, with snow commonly seen from July to September. Nonetheless, Cradle Mountain also get snow at any time of the year, even in December.

The weather also changes relatively quick and frequent in Tasmania’s alpine regions. Hence, be sure to prepare waterproof and windproof clothing with sturdy trekking shoes when visiting.

In addition, the views near Dove Lake are very weather dependent. If arriving on a cloudy day, you may not get much of a view even from the summit.

Attempting to hike up the summit can be very dangerous on wet and windy days as well.

Hence, it is always important to check the weather forecast, before heading up Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain Summit.

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

How Long to Spend in Cradle Mountain?

We stayed for 2 nights in Cradle Mountain, which I believe is an ideal length of stay.

With 2 nights, we had a full day to explore the longer tracks near Dove Lake. With the two half days, we used them to explore those shorter walks near the Ranger Station. At night time, we went on short walks around the Ranger Station and our hotel for wildlife spotting, which was very rewarding.

If interested, you can also join a night-time feeding tour at Devils @ Cradle, for a close encounter with the Tasmanian Devils.

Can You Visit Cradle Mountain in One Day? 

You can certainly visit Cradle Mountain in only a day. However, it may be a rushed trip and physically demanding.

There are different ways to visit Cradle Mountain for only a day.

You can visit those short walks near the Ranger Station for a taste of this wonderful park; or take a shuttle bus/ drive up to Dove Lake for a closer view of Cradle Mountain Summit +/- some short walks around Dove Lake.

If the summit is on your bucket list, you can also attempt the summit on your day trip to Cradle Mountain.

Having said that, it will be a long and steep climb up the summit, which requires tracking experience and a good fitness level. Be sure to also arrive early in the morning, and be prepared for a minimally 6-8 hours (return) long hike, from Dove Lake to the summit.

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