CRADLE MOUNTAIN is an iconic mountain in central Tasmania. It is in the World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park and is visited by tens of thousands of foreign and Tasmanian visitors every year. Here you will see stunning views of mountains, forests, lakes and heath lands. Best of all there are a variety of walks that cater for both the fit and the unfit. There are facilities and accommodation at Cradle Mountain, but the nearest large town is Sheffield.
The WALDHEIM CHALET at Cradle Mountain is on a dead end road, so you must drive out of the park, before you can go anywhere else.
There are only a small number of car park places at Lake Dove and Ronny Creek and when these are full the boom gate will refuse to open. It is thus a good idea to leave your car at the Information Centre Car Park and take the regular shuttle buses to the car parks at Dove Lake and Ronny Creek. The Information Centre is about one kilometre north of the Ranger Station, where there is also a car park. You can then access the walks from the relevant car parks and catch a shuttle bus back to the Information Centre or the Ranger Station. The transit service telephone number is (03) 6492 1590.
You can also access walks from the Waldheim Chalet. As a reference point from the Waldheim Chalet you are 30 minutes from Mt ROLAND, 60 minutes from Mt JERUSALEM, WARATAH, ROSEBERY and SHEFFIELD. Nearby places are described in the CENTRAL MOUNTAINS REGION page.
View Region Central Mountains of Tasmania in a larger map
FACILITIES: There are emergency shelters at the Dove Lake and Ronny Creek car parks. There is a tourist shop and cafe at the park entrance. There is 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 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 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 and 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
SIGHTS: CRADLE MOUNTAIN with LAKE DOVE is rated as one of the most beautiful sights in the World. This is why the area is World Heritage rated and thousands of tourist visit it.
The highest peak of the Cradle is the WEINDORFERS TOWER, which is 1460 metres high. The lower peak is the LITTLE HORN TOWER. It is 1353 metres high.
The national park includes the highest mountain in Tasmania, Mt OSSA, which is 1617 metres high. What makes the area, so beautiful is the soft colors of the terrain, the lakes and the sky, which can combine to make dazzling effects, as you will see in the photos.
The area is also the starting point for the famous OVERLAND TRACK. This is a 5 day walk amongst beautiful mountains, forests and lakes between CRADLE MOUNTAIN and LAKE St CLAIR. It is one of the most famous walks in the world.
However, this walk is only for 20/20 walkers (Those who can carry 20 kilograms for 20 kilometres per day.), however, there are a number of other great day walks in the Cradle Mountain area for those of only average fitness. There is even a wheel chair access walk called the Enchanted Forest Walk. The walks include the;
DOVE LAKE CIRCUIT is the most common walk done by tourists. It takes you around the Dove Lake close to the twin towers of the Cradle. A person of average fitness can do it.
DOVE CANYON Walk begins near the Waldheim Chalet and heads west before returning east through a beautiful forest.
DOVE RIVER Walk begins at the Visitor Centre and is a boardwalk all the way journey to the Ronny Creek Car Park. It is suitable for people of average fitness.
MARIONS LOOKOUT walk takes you to a 1223 metre perch on the western side of Dove Lake that has awesome views of both Lake Dove and Crater Lake. However, it is a difficult up hill walk, which even requires the assistance of a chain towards the end of the walk. You can reach it from both the Dove Lake and the Ronny Creek car parks.
From Marions Lookout you can go further south down the Overland Track to a number of spectacular mountains or you can join the very difficult Face Track and walk along the edge of the Weindorfers and the Little Horn towers that make up the famous Cradle.
LAKE HANSON walk is a difficult walk to Lake Hanson and beyond to Hansons Peak and Twisted Lake. It is accessed from the eastern side of the Dove Lake Circuit Track. This walk also takes you to other spectacular sights further south.
CRADLE MOUNTAIN CANYONS offers canyoning tours in this area: 1300 032 384 or 0429 412 274
CRATER LAKE CIRCUIT takes you west of Lake Dove to visit a Lake Lilla and Crater Lake. You can then either return to Dove Lake or Ronny Creek or go to Marions Lookout, which is described above.
DEVILS @ CRADLE is a wildlife park near Waldheim. Their telephone number is (03) 6492 1491
HELICOPTER TOUR number is (03) 6492 1491
WILDERNESS GALLERY at the Waldheim Chalet is a superb collection of professional photographs by Australian and foreign photographers. The telephones are (03) 6492 1404 and 1800 236 970
From SHEFFIELD you drive to the south west on C136, which becomes C132. You then turn south to Cradle Mountain at the signed road.
Cradle Mountain can also be approached from the west via ROSEBERY. Drive north of Tullah, until you turn east onto C136, which leads to Cradle Mountain Road.
1/ The Cradle Mountain is an iconic mountain in central Tasmania. This photo shows the famous Cradle at the southern end of Dove Lake. To the left is the Little Horn Tower and to the right is Weindorfers Tower. The Cradle Mountain area frequently experiences freezing winds. However, if you are equipped for it, then you too can enjoy the beautiful vista of the snowy peaks seen in this photo. I have included these photos to show you the main features of the area, so that you can appreciate the images shown in the other gallerys.
2/ This view looks to the eastern shore of Lake Dove. The rise to the left is Mt Campbell. The next rise is Hansons Peak, followed by the Little Horn of the Cradle on the right. Lake Dove is a deep glacial lake, which is famous for its beautiful reflections.
3/ This view looks west from Mt Campbell across Lake Dove to Marions Lookout on the western shore. This is the first lookout on the famous Overland Track. Waldheim is near this mountain. From Marions Lookout you get spectacular views both of the Cradle and of Dove Lake.
4/ This view looks north from the Little Horn of the Cradle towards the northern end of Dove Lake with its car park. This is where most walks start from. To the left of the car park is Lake Lilla. The track that you see on the left is part of the Dove Lake Circuit that most tourists walk. The rise on the left side of the image is Marions Lookout.
5/ This image of the Cradle and Lake Dove was taken from the Dove Lake car park at the northern end of the lake on an early morning in Winter. It shows the beautiful soft and stark colours that make the Cradle such a photographic icon. The next photos show the many moods of the Cradle.
6/ Lake Dove is the lake in front of Cradle Mountain. It is an ancient glacial lake and is very deep. This is why on a calm day, it is a very beautiful sight. Its ultra deep waters reflect the stark mountains cape around it.
7/ If you can brave the freezing weather of winter, then Cradle Mountain has many ethereal sights for you.
8/ This is the Cradle from its tiny beach on the eastern side of the lake. Note the plethora of soft colors reflected.
9/ This is the view from the south of Cradle Mountain, as is seen from Smithies Peak. Those who walk the trails south of Cradle Mountain see some spectacular sights.
10/ This is a beautiful view of the Cradle Mountain, as a blanket of cloud crosses over Weindorfers Tower. I have always found the sight of these blankets of clouds to be breathtakingly beautiful.
11/ These two ancient pencil pines add to the beauty of Cradle Mountain, as they reflect back from Twisted Lakes.
12/ This is the same view on a dull day. Photographers are very aware that Cradle Mountain has many moods.
13/ In this view the Little Horn Tower taken from Twisted Lakes is blanketed with cloud. These clouds regularly change the view of the Cradle.
14/ This photo shows the towers from the track leading to the trails south of the Cradle. Note the wind swept trees.
15/ This photo shows Lake Dove on a calm day. The building on the right is the ancient boat house. Note how Cradle Mountain is always dominating the scene.
16/ This sepia shot shows the lovely variety of tones that are projected by Cradle Mountain in winter.
17/ An tree becomes a sculpture in this ethereal view of the moods of Cradle Mountain.
18/ This is Barn Bluff seen above a shallow lake. This is one of the views seen by trekkers on the Overland Track that begins at Cradle Mountain. You can see more photos of this famous mountain on my Barn Bluff page.
1/ This image looks south from Mount Kate towards Dove Lake and the Cradle. Mt Kate is about 10 kilometres north of Dove Lake. This gallery will show you some of the sights north and east of Lake Dove. You will see some of the same sights again now snow covered in the next "Hanson" tab.
2/ This image shows you an alpine meadow north of the Cradle. Note how the landscape is dominated by button grass, cushion plants, plus the occasional pencil pines. All of these plants only grow in very wet areas, which only rarely suffer from bush fires.
3/ This view looks east past an old road sign towards Mt Campbell. Note the strange colours of the scrub and the strange fog layer in the background.
4/ This image shows you a summary of the types of vegetation that you can see in the cold, alpine areas of Tasmania. It again looks east towards Mt Campbell.
5/ This image shows Mt Campbell from the eastern side. Note the distinct layers of vegetation and their distinct colours and textures.
6/ This image looks north from Mount Kate towards the button grass plains of the Olivia Plain. The alpine areas vary between plains, tundra and forest.
7/ This image shows Mt Campbell on the left and Hansons Peak on the distant right. It was taken from the Dove Lake car park.
8/ This view looks south from Mt Campbell towards the Cradle. Note how the landscape is stark and rocky.
9/ This view was taken again from Mt Campbell and it looks at the spur between Lake Hanson on the left and Dove Lake on the right. In the background is the mighty Cradle.
10/ This image shows Lake Hanson. It was taken from Hansons Peak and it looks east towards the many mountains of this national park.
11/ Further south from Lake Hanson is Twisted Lakes. The shape of the lakes suggests their name. The lakes have some very lovely pencil pine trees on their shores.
12/ This image shows the lovely pencil pine trees making beautiful reflections on the Twisted Lakes.
13/ Just beyond Twisted Lake you get this view of the mighty Cradle. This image shows the Little Horn followed by Weindorfers Tower beyond it. Note the cloud that is rapidly approaching the towers.
1/ This gallery shows a trip made by our club to Lake Rodway in the winter of 2012. It will give you some idea of the sights and conditions that you can meet in the Tasmanian wilderness in winter. This photo was taken from Mt Campbell on the eastern side of Lake Dove. It looks south towards the snow covered Cradle.
2/ This is one of the signs at the Dove Lake car park. It shows the return time to the various locations. There is an emergency shelter at Lake Rodway. The ice covering of the sign tells you what to expect.
3/ The route to Mt Campbell included a steep ascent. This was even more difficult in the snow. Note the full packs carried by the trekkers.
4/ From Mt Campbell the party walked south to Lake Hanson. This image shows the snow covered lake. A patch of sky has coloured the lake a deep blue.
5/ This is another view of the deep snow surrounding Lake Hanson.
6/ This view looks back at Lake Hanson as our party walked south to Twisted Lakes. The stark colours showed how cold it was that day.
7/ This image looks west across the snowy landscape of Lake Dove. Hansons Peak is so high that you can see Lake Lilla on the other side of Lake Dove. In the foreground is the Lake Hanson Track.
8/ This image shows Twisted Lakes. It is surrounded by a deep layer of snow.
9/ This image shows the trees giving a touch of colour to the icy landscape around Twisted Lakes.
10/ This image of Twisted Lakes shows the mysterious shape of pencil pines against a snowy landscape.
11/ Our party walked south from Twisted Lakes passed the Little Horn of the Cradle. In this image you see the Little Horn from near Twisted Lakes. Note the diverse colours of the trees.
12/ This image shows the Cradle from the eastern side. The Little Horn and beyond it Weindorfers Tower are covered in an ethereal layer of cloud.
13/ This was taken from the other side of the Cradle and looks to the north. It and shows Weindorfers Tower to the left and the Little Horn to the right. The party judged that the weather was too dangerous to proceed further south to Mt Emmett, so we returned to the Dove Lake car park.
1/ This is the awesome view of Lake Dove you see from just west of Weindorfers Tower. The smaller lake is Lake Wilks, which is hundreds of metres higher than the lower Lake Dove. This photo was taken from the Face Track, which cuts its way across the cliffs of the twin towers. This is a very difficult track to climb and descending to Lake Wilks even required the assistance of a safety chain. Unfortunately, the day was unsuitable for good photography, but you might still get to see from my photos how awesome the place really was.
2/ This photo shows the northern start of the famous Overland Track. This point is very close to the famous Waldheim Chalet. It was from here that our journey began.
3/ This photo was taken from the Ronny Creek car park, where we parked our bus. Again note the strange treeless landscape that dominates many areas of the Central Mountains of Tasmania.
4/ This photo shows the strange mixture of vegetation colours and shapes that you often see. Note how much of the area is treeless due to the freezing winds and frequent snow covering.
5/ This is a fagus leaf. It grows on a deciduous tree native to Tasmania. In autumn, the fagus turns into this lovely shade of yellow - orange. This colour change brings a beautiful change to the entire landscape.
6/ This is a lovely waterfall that we saw on the way to Crater Lake. There are a number of larger waterfalls in the Cradle Mountain area.
7/ This is Crater Lake. It was replete with fagus, when I visited it in April 2015. We saw these many, uniquely beautiful colours and shapes. We were even lucky enough to catch a rainbow.
8/ This clump of trees gave a unique contrast to Crater Lake.
9/ This photo shows how rich the combinations of colours and shapes were around Crater Lake.
10/ This is Marions Lookout. It is 1223 metres high and gives you awesome views of the lakes and the surrounding mountains. The last part of the climb to the top required the assistance of a safety chain. The orange vegetation is fagus.
11/ This is the view on an easy part of the climb to the top of Marions Lookout. Beyond this point was the safety chain section. It was too difficult to take photos from the chain section. This view looks east across Lake Dove towards Mount Campbell, which is 1245 metres high. Note how a lone tree struggles to survive the cruel winds on the slopes of Mount Marion.
12/ This view from Marions Lookout looks towards the north. Lake Dove is to the right and Lake Lilla is on the left. The streak around Dove Lake is the Dove Lake Circuit Track. At the top of the Dove Lake is the Dove Lake car park from where many walks begin.
13/ This view looks east across Lake Dove towards Mount Campbell. Just right of this mountain in the depression is a glimpse of Lake Hanson. This lake is hundreds of metres higher than Lake Dove. Lake Hanson shows up as a sliver of blue in the depression. You can see more photos of this area in the Mt Campbell and Lake Hanson tabs.
14/ This is the view from Marions Lookout looking towards the south at the twin towers of the Cradle. Below the Cradle is the southern shore of Lake Dove. The final part of our walk included a very difficult descend straight down the Little Horn Tower to the easy Lake Dove Circuit on the edge of Dove Lake. Just visible to the upper right of Lake Dove is part of Lake Wilks.
15/ This is another view looking east across Lake Dove. Note the rich field of orange fagus to the right of the photo. When the sun shines, it really is this bright.
16/ This is the view from the top of Marions Lookout looking back towards Crater Lake, which is the drop on the right. The track from here onwards to the south was quite easy. Note how all around us was a bleak treeless landscape.
17/ Fortunately, the Cradle Mountain area is well signed. For safety reasons you should note the suggested return times before starting your journey. Behind this sign is the descend to Crater Lake.
18/ This is the Kitchen Hut, which is on the famous Overland Track. It is just before the turn off to the Face Track, which crosses the face of the twin towers. Beyond it you can see the bleak tundra landscape that leads back to Marions Lookout. These huts were built at strategic points to shelter walkers caught out by the freezing weather.
19/ This is our group at the Kitchen hut. As you can see, you must be fit and well equipped to survive the cold weather, if you wish to do these walks. You should also go in a group of at least 3 people.
20/ Here you can see 4 walkers near the base of Weindorfers Tower, which is on the right. Just visible through the mist is the Little Horn Tower, which is in the centre of the photo. From this point the track became very difficult, as it cut its way through the sheer cliffs of the twin towers.
21/ This photo shows Weindorfers Tower on the right and the Little Horn Tower in the centre. The white dots on the right are walkers on the very difficult to traverse Face Track. To make things even worse, the weather deteriorated to bring rain, mist and a freezing wind. We had to descend from the difficult Face Track to the easy Dove Lake circuit walk about 300 metres below.
22/ As we descended I looked back to see this awesome view of Weindorfers Tower behind me. It towered like a skyscraper 200 metres above me. On the extreme left you can see some of the posts marking the steep track down to Lake Wilks that we were descending to. A blizzard was enveloping us at the time this photo was taken.
23/ This photo shows Lake Wilks, which we were descending to. As you can see the track down was very steep. A further descend beyond Lake Wilks would take us to the easy Dove Lake Circuit Track.
24/ This was our first view of Lake Dove. The clouds had lifted, but there was still 100 metres to descend before we would reach the easy Dove Lake Circuit Track.
25/ This photo shows the Dove Lake Circuit Track next to a tree that was exploding in fagus.
26/ The Dove Lake Circuit Track passed through a beautiful area called the ballroom forest.
27/ Finally we reached the old boat house near the Dove Lake car park.
1/ The Dove River Walk is an easy 5 kilometre walk starting at the Visitor Centre and going through to the Ronny Creek Car Park. Ronny Creek is the start of the famous Overland Track. The Dove River Walk takes you through a variety of different terrains and has some great views of the nearby mountains. It is also a good walk to see animals on. This photo was taken near the start of the walk near the Ranger Station and shows enchanting moss covered trees.
2/ The walk provides spectacular glimpses of the twin towers of Cradle Mountain. I was fortunate to see the towers with a light covering of snow. This was despite it being mid December, which is summer time in Tasmania. The Cradle Mountain area is a wet and cold area, so you must always be prepared. On the day of my walk the weather varied from being cold and wet to becoming quite quite mild.
3/ This is one of many currajong birds that we saw on our trek. They are quite intelligent and very aggressive. They are known to steal food from tourists and can even unzip a back pack. You should be very wary of them.
3/ We also saw many wombats. They are a dog size herbivore and are common on Cradle Mountain.
4/ This is a Bennetts Wallaby. They are also common on Cradle Mountain.
5/ The interesting things are not always large. We also saw these unusual, ball shaped fungi.
6/ The forest we saw was most interesting. It included many strange mosses and fungi growing on the ancient trees.
7/ Everywhere the strange mosses created mysterious colours and shapes.
8/ These strange tall plants are pandanis. In some areas they were very prolific.
9/ This image shows you the strange combinations of cushion plants, plus pandanis and other plants that we saw on the Dove River.
10/ The Dove River is really just a creek. It most places it was difficult to see through the vegetation on its banks.
11/ This photo shows the variety of terrain that we passed through as we advanced towards the magnificent Cradle.
12/ This view shows our group crossing over the fast flowing Dove River.
13/ This is the view from the bridge to the clear, rushing waters of the Dove River below.
14/ This view was taken from the Ronny Creek Car Park and shows the start of the Overland Track. We watched the two distant walkers say goodbye to their families before they walked away. The snow covered mountain in the distance is Mount Marion. We continued our walk from Ronny Creek past Lake Lilla to Dove Lake.
15/ We then began a new walk and took the Lake Lilla Track to reach Dove Lake. This was our first view of Lake Lilla. In the distance is the snow covered Cradle. The nearer mountain to the right is Mount Marion.
16/ This view shows my last view of Lake Lilla, as I walked towards Lake Dove. The lake is about a kilometre long.
17/ This was my first view of Lake Dove. The Cradle is truly a magnificent sight. Unfortunately, it was not the type of day for awesome reflections.
18/ This is myself at Lake Dove. To my right is the famous Boat Shed. You should always have the right clothing and equipment at Cradle Mountain. From here we did the popular Dove Lake Circuit.
1/ Waldheim is a small settlement near the north western shore of Lake Dove. It was started by Gustav Weindorfer, who explored the Cradle Mountain area around 1900 and eventually persuaded the Tasmanian government to make it a national park. Weindorfer initially set up a farm, which included both grazing and the growing of vegetables. He also set up the first chalet, which he called Waldheim, so that visitors could explore the beautiful sights of the area. This is the view from near Weindorfer's cottage looking south towards the mighty Cradle.
2/ This is the old Waldheim Chalet built in 1919. It offered only spartan facilities to visitors. It is no longer used as a luxurious, modern chalet is nearby. However, many old visitors have fond memories of the nights that they slept here at Waldheim.
3/ This is the old Weindorfer cottage, which was built about 1912. It was from here that Weindorfer ran his farm, which produced the food vital to his many visitors. Unfortunately, this is only a replica as the orginal was was so delapidated that it was demolished in 1976. Fortunately, a public outcry led to replicas of the demolished buildings being rebuilt. These are what visitors see today.
4/ This view shows a replica of one of the farm buildings built around 1912.
5/ This is a full view of the replica of Weindorfer's original hut. The first visitors to Cradle Mountain stayed here and bought their food from Gustav Waldheim. Note how the chimney is actually made out of wood and the roof is made out of slate.
6/ The Weindorfer hut replica is now decked out as a museum, so that visitors can appreciate how spartan Weindorfer's lifestyle actually was.
7/ This is a fresh water stream near Waldheim.
8/ Visitors staying at the modern Waldheim Chalet can go on walks into the nearby Waldheim forest. Here you can see the many types of alpine vegetation of the area and you don't need to walk very far.
9/ This is another view of the sights seen in the Waldheim Forest near the chalet.
10/ The modern Waldheim Chalet is a great place to stay, as from here, you can start out early in the day on the many great walks of Cradle Mountain.