ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Australia's Top Tourism Treasures - Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park

Updated on March 25, 2010

Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, Tasmania

Tasmania's location, its relatively small human population, the remoteness and ruggedness of many of its natural areas, and its variety of environments, ranging from alpine moorland to vast stretches of eucalypt woodlands and temperate rain forest, have made it a haven for numerous species that have died out or struggled to survive in other parts of Australia. As a result, it is home to a broad range of plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth. Much of the island's extraordinary ecology is protected by the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which encompasses around one-fifth of the entire state and incorporates five national parks. Easily the most accessible of these parks is Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, one of Australia's most spectacular wilderness areas. Its distinctive upland landscape blends typical alpine features with lush and varied vegetation.

Tasmania is not at all what you would expect from Australia. Parts of it are more like British Columbia or even Sweden than the red center everyone thinks of when they think of that great land down under.

Opportunities for exploring this intriguing environment abound at Cradle Valley, in the north of the park. Several day walks depart from near the park headquarters, including the easy 0.3-mile Rainforest Walk, which leads across a small plain and alongside a beautiful myrtle forest with a damp and dimly lit moss-covered floor. To experience the ice-carved rockscape and alpine vegetation that typify the park's upland areas, take the three-mile trail to Lake Lilla and Dove Lake that departs from Waldheim Chalet. Walkers are rewarded with a splendid view across the lake to Cradle Mountain.

Wildlife are plentiful in these parts. Walkers are often startled by the raucous shrieks of large flocks of black cockatoos or stopped in their tracks by the appearance of green rosellas, yellow wattlebirds and crescent honeyeaters. Around the waterways, keep an eye out for the duck-billed platypus. It's also not unusual to find the odd rufous wallaby, distinguished by its short ears and tail, grazing alongside the trails here. Ringtail and brush-tailed possums, sugar gliders, broad-toothed rats, and marsupial mice also make these forests their home, though you are unlikely to spot them as all are nocturnal.

For serious hikers, the highlight of any visit to Cradle Mountain is the Overland Track, one of Australia's best-known and most popular long-distance walks. Stretching 53 miles from Cradle Valley to Cynthia Bay on Lake St. Clair, the trail takes five to eight days to complete and allows you to experience the full gamut of Cradle Mountain's habitats. Rudimentary huts located approximately every 11 miles divide the trail into five sections and provide basic accommodations. There are also several bush camping sites along the route, mostly around the huts.

The first part of the trail, to Crater Lake, is easy going and can be undertaken as a day hike. The lake is surrounded by cliffs up to 800 feet high, which are usually reflected in the water's still surface. In fall, the cliffs are clothed in the bright orange and bronze leaves of Tasmania's only endemic deciduous tree, the small, straggly fagus or deciduous beech.

At the boulder-strewn base of Cradle Mountain, walkers can take the first of several side trips, the one-hour hike to the mountain's summit. The climb uphill requires some tricky boulder-hopping, and the peak is famous for its sudden weather changes. But the view from the top is spectacular, encompassing several lakes and much of the plateau below.

This epic hike reaches its climax at Lake St. Clair, Australia's deepest. From the top of the lake, you can catch a ferry or follow either of two trails to Cynthia Bay. Both skirt shorelines fringed with boulders and sandy beaches, and backed by eucalypts and pencil pines. By this stage, most walkers are exhausted but also exhilarated and humbled by the majesty of the park's astonishing scenery.

Continued in: Australia's Top Tourism Treasures - The Blue Mountains

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)