Mt BARN BLUFF is a huge, cone shaped peak south of Cradle Mountain in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. It rises to a massive 1560 metres. Those who can climb it are given a vast panoramic view of the many peaks of Central Tasmania, as well as a great view of the southern face of Cradle Mountain and the vast chasm of the nearby Fury Gorge. It is the first major landmark seen by hikers walking the famous Overland Track between Cradle Mountain in the north and Lake St Clair in the south.
Visiting Barn Bluff requires you to park at the CRADLE MOUNTAIN Visitor Centre and register your intentions, as this is a walk into the wilderness. It is only for experience bush walkers with full cold weather clothing, tents, food and water.
You then take the shuttle bus to the Ronny Creek car park. Very fit people can walk the 27 kilometres to Barn Bluff, plus the 27 kilometres back to Ronny Creek in a day, but most people camp overnight at Waterfall Gully near Barn Bluff. The next day from Waterfall Gully they visit Barn Bluff and then return to Ronny Creek.
There are 2 possible routes south to Barn Bluff. The first is to simply follow the Overland Track, which starts at Ronny Creek. It passes east of Crater Lake and then climbs Marions Lookout. From here you get to see awesome views of Dove Lake and the northern face of Cradle Mountain. The Overland Track then flows south to the Kitchen Hut. This is one of a number of emergency shelters.
An easier but less interesting route is to start at Ronny Creek and walk south on the Overland Track, until you reach the Horse Track. It flows east of Crater Lake and continues, until it reaches the Overland Track again at the same Kitchen Hut. The distance is about the same with the advantage that the Horse Track avoids the very steep climb up to Marions Lookout.
From the Kitchen Hut you then follow the Overland Track south past the awesome sight of Weindorfers Tower, then Smithies Peak, then Bensons Peak, then the cliffs of the Cradle Cirque, you then pass the side track to Barn Bluff to reach the Waterfall Valley Hut. Note that Waterfall Valley is south of the side track to Barn Bluff. The Waterfall Valley Hut includes a camping area and a toilet. If you have time after you unpack, you can visit the Waterfall Valley Falls, which are just south of the hut.
The next day you take your packs the short distance north to the Barn Bluff side track. Some hikers drop their packs at this point and collect them on their return from Barn Bluff. This is a personal decision. I personally prefer never to be separated from my cold weather clothing. The first kilometre of the side track is easy, but the last section involves a climb up to the summit of Barn Bluff. The track up is very rocky, steep and potentially dangerous, but when you reach the summit the views are simply awesome. Those contemplating climbing Barn Bluff should allow themselves at least 5 hours of daylight for the return walk to Ronny Creek.
View Region Central Mountains of Tasmania in a larger map
FACILITIES: Barn Bluff is way out in the wilderness of the Central Highlands, so come prepared. The only facilities on the Overland Track are emergency huts. These are the Kitchen Hut south of Crater Lake and the Waterfall Valley Hut near Barn Bluff. If you are unfortunate enough to be caught out in the wilderness by bad weather, then you must make your way to either of these huts and shelter there, until the weather improves. It is very dangerous to attempt to walk any distance in a blizzard or in fog.
There are also emergency shelters at the Dove Lake and Ronny Creek car parks. There is a tourist shop and cafe at the Cradle Mountain park entrance. There is some accommodation and a restaurant at the Waldheim Chalet. There is also some accommodation in the area close to CRADLE MOUNTAIN. There is more accommodation at SHEFFIELD. The nearest shopping precinct is at SHEFFIELD
TOURIST information is available at the first building at the park entrance. This is called the of the Cradle Information and Shuttle Bus Service. One kilometre to the south is the second building called the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and Ranger Station. Those going on the OVERLAND Track must register here. The tourist information telephone numbers are (03) 6492 1133 and (030) 6492 1110 or contact www.parks.tas.gov.au
There are only a small number of car park places at Lake Dove and Ronny Creek. When these are full the boom gate will refuse to open. It is thus a good idea to leave your car at the visitor centre and take the regular shuttle buses to the car parks at Dove Lake and Ronny Creek. The Cradle Mountain area is also dangerous for cars, when it is snowing. The Cradle Mountain transit service telephone is (03) 6492 1590 or contact www.wildernessgallery.com.au
ROUTES: To reach Barn Bluff, you must first reach Cradle Mountain. The usual way to CRADLE MOUNTAIN is via SHEFFIELD, which is located west of the A1 Bass Highway near DEVONPORT. From Sheffield you drive to the south west on C136, which becomes C132. You then turn south to Cradle Mountain at the signed road and drive to the visitor centre.
Cradle Mountain can also be approached from the west via ROSEBERY. Drive north from Tullah towards Waratah, until you reach C136. You then turn east onto C136, which leads on to Cradle Mountain Road.
1/ Barn Bluff is massive, cone shaped peak 27 kilometres south of the visitor centre of Cradle Mountain. It is 1560 metres high, so that from its summit a climber can see a vast panorama of the peaks of the Central Highlands of Tasmania. It is the first major landmark seen by hikers on the famous Overland Track between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair. This gallery shows scenes taken by our club on a winter visit in 2014.
2/ All visits to Barn Bluff start at Cradle Mountain. This photo shows the Cradle Mountain above Lake Dove. It is showing its classic colours and awesome reflections. Unfortunately, it shows these colours on 12% of the time. The best time to photograph it is in the morning. A further problem is that the weather can change rapidly in the Central Highlands, so that no visitor can be certain of what they will see on any particular day.
3/ This journey to Barn Bluff began at the Dove Lake car park. From here the group walked west to join the Lake Lilla Track. They then past Lake Lilla to join the famous Overland Track. This lovely image shows Lake Lilla. It looks towards the south east and the Little Horn of the Cradle. On the left you can see Hansons Peak and below it is a slither of Lake Dove.
4/The Lake Lilla Track then joins the Overland Track at Crater Lake. This image shows the southern shore of Crater Lake.
5/ The Overland Track then enters a relatively flat are called the Cradle Plateau. This image looks across the Cradle Plateau towards the west.
6/ Some 7 kilometres south of the Dove Lake car park at the junction of the Overland and Face tracks is the Kitchen Hut. This is one of a number of emergency shelters. There is a cooking stove, a heater, bed spaces and a toilet at the Kitchen Hut.
7/ From the Cradle Plateau you see this magnificent view of Cradle Mountain, when you look towards the east. The right half of the Cradle is called Weindorfers Tower. It stretches to the south to become Smith Peak, which is 1550 metres high.
8/ When you walk another kilometre to the south you see this inspiring view of a very distant Barn Bluff to the south.
9/ As you walk further south you then see to your east Bensons Peak. This jagged wall rises 100 metres and is preceded by a field of scree.
10/ This view looks north across the Cradle Plateau back to Smithies Peak.
11/ This image shows the Overland Track near Waterfall Gully. It looks towards the south west. There are 2 emergency huts at Waterfall Gully. There is a new one and an old one. There is also camping and a toilet. Our group slept here before walking to Barn Bluff the next day.
12/ To go to Barn Bluff our group had to walk back north from Waterfall Gully to meet the Barn Bluff side track. The summit of Barn Bluff is 1.5 kilometres down this side track. As you approach Barn Bluff you see to the west the enormous chasm of Fury Gorge.
13/ Barn Bluff dominates the southern sky as you approach it.
14/ This view shows the last kilometre of the track before Barn Bluff.
15/ Barn Bluff is 1560 metres above sea level. To reach the summit you must ascend 350 metres up a steep rocky track.
16/ This image shows Barn Bluff just before the track became very steep.
17/ This view looks towards the summit of Barn Bluff.
18/ This view shows a closer view of the dolerite columns that make up Barn Bluff.
19/ This is the view from the summit of Barn Bluff, when you look towards the south east. These are the peaks of the Central Highlands that the walkers on the Overland Track see as they walk south towards Lake St Clair.
20/ This image shows hills to the south west of Barn Bluff.
21/ From the summit of Barn Bluff our group then turned north to go home. They rejoined the Overland Track and near the Kitchen Hut, they turned east to join the Lake Rodway Track. This was because they intended to visit the attractions on the eastern side of Lake Dove. This is an image of Lake Rodway. Beyond it to the left is part of Weindorfers Tower, while to the right is the Little Horn.
22/ This view looks across Lake Rodway towards Weindorfers Tower on the left and the Little Horn on the right.
23/ This image captured from Lake Rodway looks towards the south west towards Smithies Peak.
24/ Our group then walked north towards the Little Horn and ascended it. The Cradle is frequently covered in cloud and this what you see when you are in a cloud. You must be very careful not to lose sight of your trail.
25/ This is the view from the Little Horn looking west towards Weindorfers Tower. It is a truly awesome experience to ascend the Little Horn.
26/ This is the view from the Little Horn looking north towards Lake Dove. The end of the walk is the car park at the top of this lake. The more adventurous climbers ascend the pinnacle on the left to get the highest view possible from the Little Horn.
1/ This gallery of photos shows a visit that our club made to Barn Bluff in the summer of 2013. The visit started at the Dove Lake car park from where you can see this classic view of Cradle Mountain. To the left is the Little Horn and to the right is Weindorfers Towers. On the return journey our group made a side trip to the Little Horn and climbed it to its highest point.
2/ The journey began by taking the Lake Lilla Track. This track wends to the west to join the famous Overland Track. This image shows Lake Lilla. Beyond it is a slither of Lake Dove and above Lake Dove in the centre is Hansons Peak. Our group also visited Hansons Peak on the return journey.
3/ This is another view of Lake Lilla. It shows the lovely reflections that you often see on Tasmania Lakes. To the left are ancient pencil pine trees. In the centre of the image you can just see the Little Horn poking out above the trees. A bit further to the west the Lake Lilla Track joins the famous Overland Track.
4/ The next landmark is on the Overland Track and it is Marions Lookout. Reaching the lookout involves ascending 200 metres. The last section is so steep that a chain has been added to help climbers. Note that this climber is wearing shorts, but in his large pack he has both food and cold weather clothing.
5/ This is the spectacular view that you see, when you look south from Marions Lookout. Below is the southern shore of Lake Dove and above it is the majestic Cradle.
6/ This is the view to the north east of Marions Lookout. To the right is Mount Campbell and to the left, at the top of Lake Dove, is the Lake Dove car park from where the walk began.
7/ Just to the west of Marions Lookout are the steep cliffs of Crater Lake.
8/ We then walked south to the Kitchen Hut. This is one of a number of emergency shelters on the various tracks. There is also a toilet at the Kitchen Hut.
9/ The group then continued to walk south from the Kitchen Hut past Weindorfers Tower on the left towards Smithies Peak on the right.
10/ They crossed a flat area called the Cradle Plateau. When you look towards the east, you see this majestic view of Cradle Mountain.
11/ Further south on the Overland Track the group got there first looked at a distant Barn Bluff.
12/ As you approach Barn Bluff you see the vast chasm of Fury Gorge. At this point we diverged east onto the short Waterfall Valley track to camp at Waterfall Valley.
13/ The next morning our group approached the majestic peak of Barn Bluff.
14/ This view shows the Barn Bluff approach track just before it began to rapidly ascend. Our group then had the difficult task of ascending the 300 metres to the summit of Barn Bluff.
15/ This is the summit of Barn Bluff. The views from here were simply awesome.
16/ Looking to the south from the Barn Bluff summit you see Lake Will.
17/ Looking to the east from the Barn Bluff summit you see these hills.
18/ Looking to the north from the Barn Bluff summit you see the Bluff Cirque and Waterfall Valley. In the distance is Cradle Mountain.
19/ We also saw a beautiful rainbow. Our group now turned back to return. We again walked north on the Overland Track, but we now turned east onto the Lake Rodway track to reach the Scott Kilvert Hut at Lake Rodway. We intended to see other sights on the return trip to Cradle Mountain.
20/ This is the Scott Kilvert Hut at Lake Rodway. It was built by volunteers in 1966 after the tragic death of a teacher and a student in a blizzard near this point. The construction materials had to be carried by hand 10 kilometres from the Dove Lake car park. There is also a toilet and camping at the Scott Kilvert Hut.
21/ This image shows a tent near the Scott Kilvert Hut at Lake Rodway. The last rays of the sun are lighting up the near by cliffs.
22/ This image shows beautiful reflections, as the sun sets on Lake Rodway.
23/ This image shows the lovely reflections and mist that we saw that morning at Lake Rodway.
24/ This is another view of the mist and reflections that we saw that morning at Lake Rodway. The next day we trekked north to the south face of Cradle Mountain.
25/ This image looks west at the Little Horn of Cradle Mountain. Our group intended to ascended the 300 metres from the track to the summit of the first peak, called the Little Horn.
26/ This is the daunting view of the Little Horn that our group saw as they ascended it.
27/ Here you see the view from the summit of the Little Horn. Beyond is Lake Dove and to the left is Lake Lilla. One intrepid female walker has climbed the pinnacle.
28/ This is the view from the summit of the Little Horn. Many walkers have a list of peaks that they intend to climb. It is quite an achievement to do this, but you need to be fit and with the right group on the right day. This lady was an experienced climber and she was climbing with other experience climbers. In 2015 a lone and unprepared Japanese climber perished on this same peak.
29/ Looking down from the Little Horn you can see Lake Wilks. It is at the base of Weindorfers Tower. Lake Wilks is about 100 metres above Lake Dove, which is in the chasm to the right.
30/ This is the full view of Lake Dove that you see from the Little Horn. At the top you can see a distant Lake Lilla. The track that you can see is the Lake Dove circuit that most tourist walk.
31/ This image looks west from the Little Horn to Weindorfers Tower. Some climbers cross the spur on the right to reach the summit of Weindorfers Tower.
32/ This image looks down 200 metres from the Little Horn to the Rangers Hut below.
33/ The group then followed the Lake Hanson Track on the eastern side of Lake Dove. This image was taken on Hansons Peak. It looks towards the south west at the Cradle. Lake Dove is to the right.
34/ This image looks towards the north east from Hansons Peak. The smaller lake is called Twisted Lake and beyond it is Lake Hanson.
35/ This lovely image of Twisted Lake should show why it is so named.
36/ This image looks south from Twisted Lake back towards the Cradle.
37/ This image looks east towards Lake Hanson. Just beyond this lake is a precipitous drop.
38/ This is Lake Hanson. It is also famous for its lovely reflections, but we did not see them this day.
39/ This image looks back at Hansons Peak. Beyond it to the south west are the twin peaks of the Cradle. From here the group descended the last 1.5 kilometres to the Dove Lake car park.
1/ This gallery shows a journey made by our club to Barn Bluff in the autumn of 2012. It will give you some idea of the different colours seen in this area in the different seasons. This gallery also shows some great views of Fury Gorge. The journey started, as usual, at the Dove Lake car park. Dove Lake showed its sombre colours that day.
2/ The group scaled Marions Lookout to enter the vast Cradle Plateau, which is on the western side of Lake Dove. This photo shows the alpine vegetation of the Cradle Plateau and the Overland Track. It look to the east towards the Little Horn of the Cradle. This area is very dangerous for blizzards, which is why a shelter was built here.
3/ This is the Kitchen Hut. It is the emergency shelter for the Cradle Plateau area. Trekkers on the famous Overland Trail often stop here. The photo looks to the east towards Mt Campbell. This mountain towers over the eastern side of Lake Dove.
4/ This image shows a group of trekkers near the Kitchen Hut. They are having lunch before walking south. This photo looks east towards Weindorfers tower. This range continues south to become Smithies Peak. This is the peak to the right. Note the bleak, rocky alpine landscape.
5/ The Cradle Plateau continues to the south, until it abruptly falls into Fury Gorge. Here you get to see Barn Bluff for the first time. In this image the abrupt drop ahead is the start of Fury Gorge. Beyond it is the stark outline of the mighty Barn Bluff.
6/ This image looks to the left into Fury Gorge. It was taken on the spur near the Cradle Cirque.
7/ This image looks into Fury Gorge. The Fury River is at the base of this gorge 300 metres below.
8/ This is another view of Fury Gorge showing its rugged cliffs and deep valleys. It looks south towards the mighty peak of Barn Bluff.
9/ This view shows a cloud rapidly enveloping Fury Gorge. A freezing blizzard persuaded the group to turn back near this point.
10/ This image looks west into Fury Gorge towards Suttons Tarn. This tarn is just west of the Overland Track and is a good place to rest on the way to Barn Bluff.
11/ This photo was taken about 5 kilometres from Barn Bluff. You can plainly see the approaching blizzard, which persuaded our group to turn back. Climbing Barn Bluff in a blizzard would have been most foolish.
12/ Our group now trekked north back towards Cradle Mountain. This view looks to the east towards the Weindorfers Tower. Beyond it is the Little Horn. The Face Track runs along the edge of these twin towers. From here you can take a track down to firstly Lake Wilks and then on to Lake Dove.
13/ This was our groups first view of Lake Wilks. The steepness of the cliff here is about 70 degrees. This makes descending very difficult. The trail continues around Lake Wilks and then descends to Lake Dove and the car park.
14/ This image shows ancient pencil pine trees on Lake Wilks. It looks south towards Weindorfers Tower. At this time the tower was enveloped in cloud.
15/ This image looks back south towards Weindorfers Tower. The cloud had passed on to reveal the rugged steepness of the landscape.
16/ This view was a very welcome sight. It shows our group descending down from Lake Wilks towards Lake Dove. Note the chain fence that has been added for safety. An easy walk around Lake Dove then took them back to the car park.