Let’s continue our tour of the great Australian national parks with another fantastic one in Tasmania. After Freycinet National Park, we’ll now be traveling west to Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park.
The national park is – as the name suggests – divided into two parts. I visited both when driving around Tasmania in 2011. Lake St Clair is the deepest lake in Australia; Cradle Mountain is a magnificently dramatic mountain. Located in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, the park is part of the much larger Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which is one of the last great wilderness areas in the world, consisting of ancient forests, glacial lakes, cold rivers, alpine heathlands and spiky mountain ranges.
The varied terrain provides perfect habitats for a wide range of plant and animal species. Examples are the King Billy pine and the Tasmanian-native deciduous beech. Wildlife includes echidnas, platypuses and Tasmanian devils.
Things to Do in Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
A region this wild seems like it was made for outdoorsy activities. The most popular things to do in the national park are hiking and camping. These two are the best ways to experience the wildness of Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park and get closer to nature and wildlife.
One of the park’s major attractions is the world-famous Overland Track. This long-distance hiking trail (65 kilometers) runs from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair through the heart of the national park. It takes at least six days to complete this fabulous hike. But because it’s so popular, there is also a waiting list. So, visitors are advised to purchase their Overland Track permits way in advance. Hikers should also make sure that they are in excellent shape and have sufficient hiking experience. There are no facilities on the way, except for basic campsites, and all supplies need to be carried.
There are, of course, many other less-challenging hikes that can be done in Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park as well. From easy strolls to full-day hikes, there is something for everyone and all abilities. Fine examples of short hikes are Dove Lake Loop Track, Visitor Centre Rainforest Walk and Enchanted Walk. Longer hikes are Marion’s Lookout Hike, Hanson’s Peak, Barn Bluff, Cradle Mountain Summit and Lake Rodway.
If you book accommodation near Cradle Mountain, other nice activities are kayaking on the park’s many rivers, whitewater rafting or canoeing. Trout fishing can be done in the lakes in season. Tour companies offer scenic flights over the national park.
Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park is also an important archaeological area. Several ancient Aboriginal sites can be found throughout the park. Some of them are easily accessible along the Aboriginal Cultural Walk, which starts near Lake St Clair.