Ask any resident or visitor to Tasmania about the biggest highlight of the island and most will say Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park makes up part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which is one of the largest conservation areas in Australia. Home to a wide array of rare and endemic plants and animals, it showcases the best nature and wildlife Tasmania has to offer.
According to latest statistics, half of all travelers to Tasmania come to see its wildlife and many natural attractions. Most travellers place Cradle Mountain on their itinerary due to its ease of access and range of facilities available.
The Cradle Mountain Hotel offers the chance to take in this wild and rugged natural Aussie icon in comfort and luxury.
Our own personal Cradle Mountain Hotel experience was one we will never forget and already has us planning our next getaway to this remarkable part of Tasmania.
A Cradle Mountain Hotel Adventure
The Cradle Mountain Hotel
Situated with the alpine wilderness of the park’s north, Cradle Mountain Hotel provides easy access to all of Cradle Mountain’s must see sites.
An attraction in its own right, the hotel offers an exceptional on-site gallery, a day spa, restaurant & bar, and its own hiking trail through the alpine rainforest.
The relaxing natural grounds entice the local wildlife of the park to make themselves right at home as will you. The experience felt more like a safari as we hiked past wild wombats, and had stunning black Currawong’s perched on the balcony connected to our room.
We were lucky enough to stay in one of the hotel’s recently renovated Split Level King Rooms. The Tasmanian timber mixed with plush grey carpet and stone bathroom tiles perfectly compliment the wilderness just outside the sliding doors.
Within minutes of arriving we were greeted by two comical black currawongs on the railing just outside or room, either coming to say hello or to beg for food. Just below the balcony, a couple of adorable pademelons foraged on the edge of the forest, seemingly not affected by our presence.
After our drive to the park, it was nice to relax in the large walk in shower before donning a comfy robe from the closet and making my way to the lower level living area of our room.
From here you can easily look out into the surrounding forest, forgetting all about the free Wi-Fi and television in the room. There was more than enough entertainment outside the windows to keep me amused.
Outside, snow began to fall. It was the first time I had seen snow since visiting London a few years back during a blizzard. It only made the scene more picture perfect, especially since I was in the comfort of a luxurious heated room.
The hotel also offers spacious Standard Rooms as well as Deluxe Spa Rooms with multiple beds that make them suitable for couples as well as small families.
Photos of The Rooms
Hotel Amenities & Activities
Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery
A nice unexpected surprise was the on-site art gallery which is free for guests staying at the hotel or those dining in the restaurant. The gallery features numerous rooms and the massive mural of yellow tailed black cockatoos on the building’s exterior is just a preview of what you can expect inside.
We especially loved the room which contained historic photographs and artefacts relating to the now extinct Tasmanian tiger that once roamed the island.
Other exhibits were simplistic, yet powerful and intriguing. There were exceptional photographs of Tasmanian devils as well as dramatic Tasmanian landscape shots. Kids can take advantage of the room designed to engage creative young minds.
The gallery is attached to a wonderful gift shop where instead of find the usual mass produced souvenirs, you instead can purchase locally crafted goods from Tasmanian artisans.
Sample delicious honey, check out informative books and guides that can be helpful for your Cradle Mountain hikes, and discover some really creative items.
Photos from The Wilderness Gallery
Altitude Restaurant & Bar
Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Altitude Restaurant offered a wide variety of local dishes including numerous vegetarian and gluten free options. I opted to channel my inner Tassie devil by trying the char grilled wallaby.
You will also find Tasmanian lamb and trout on the menu. The homemade ice creams were inventive and gluten free. Try flavours like vegemite or the spicy honey.
Order their meat or seafood tasting plate to experience your meal served on a hot volcanic stone, which seems to really lock in the flavour and is simply unique and exciting.
The fully stocked Altitude Lounge Bar offers many Tasmanian wines which saves having to drive the wine routes such as the one through the Tamar Valley. Those preferring beer, spirits, or cocktails won’t be disappointed either and all can help take the edge off a long day hiking.
Windows invite the surrounding bushland in while you dine and drink in the company of cosy fires and friendly fellow travellers. Rack up a game of billiards for a bit of competition as the night settles in.
Photos of Hotel Public Spaces
As if the lush wilderness of Cradle Mountain wasn’t relaxing enough, the hotel offers a day spa with free hot tub for hotel guests.
A massage may be just the ticket for easing any aching muscles you bring back as souvenirs from your day hikes.
Those arriving too late to make it to the park on day one can take advantage of the short Rainforest Walk within the grounds of Cradle Mountain Hotel.
The lovely boardwalk offers a nice introduction to the area. We managed to see a couple of cuddly wombats and countless other bouncing creatures.
Highlights of the National Park
While the national park may be named after Cradle Mountain, the peak isn’t even one of the top 3 highest peaks in the state. And although a lot of attention surrounds around Dove Lake, this is just one of many notable areas to be enjoyed in the park.
We found Cradle Mountain not to be about the mountain or Dove Lake, rather it is a feeling of the entire area that makes it a unique place to hike and explore. We managed to fit the following highlights into a short two day stay.
Don’t feel disappointed if you are not able to see everything and don’t try to cram too much in. Every area of the park is equally beautiful and the key is simply to live in the moment and take time to literally breath it all in.
Dove Lake is one of the most walked trails within the park and currently can be accessed via shuttle bus from the visitor centre or by private vehicle.
Be sure to pick up your National Park’s pass before venturing onto any of the park’s trails. Entry fees to Cradle Mountain are around $16 for an adult and $8 for a child, and these include access to the shuttle buses.
We decided to take our own private vehicle which is much easier to do in the off season or should season in regards to tourists. During peak season you may have to wait to enter the road leading to Dove Lake as numbers are controlled.
The walk around Dove Lake is a Circuit that is about 6km long and takes about 2 hours to complete. The trail is mostly traversed via a boardwalk that is quite narrow at times, requiring you to carefully manoeuvre around other hikers.
The walk offers the iconic view of Dove Lake’s boatshed set to the backdrop of Cradle Mountain in all its glory. While the walk is lovely and enjoyed by most who visit it, we much preferred other hikes in the area that were far less touristy.
The Overland Track
The Overland Track is one of Australia’s premier walks. No easy hike, the trail takes around 5-6 days to complete the 65km long journey.
There are strict guidelines when hiking the popular trail during the peak season (1 October to 31 May). You must register online and pay a hefty fee of $200 per adult ($160 for children) during this period and also are required to only walk from North to South.
We visited Cradle Mountain during off season meaning there were not only no restrictions, but also far less hikers to share the wilderness with. You need not hike the entire trail of course. We decided to do a nice one day circuit which left from the Ronny Creek Carpark.
This gave us a good glimpse of walking the Overland Track as it took us to Crater Falls and Crater Lake, the Dove Lake Lookout, and the Wombat Pool Rest Area. Add on Marion’s Lookout if you want a bit more of a steep challenge.
Pro Tip: Comedians who have previously walked the track have removed the “L” on all the signs directing you to Wombat Pool. There is no such attraction in the park called ‘Wombat Poo”!
Waldheim Chalet & Rainforest Walk
The area around the Waldheim Chalet was our personal favourite. It was surrounded by grazing wombats that seemed to love having their photo taken, and walked right up to us to inspect our cameras.
One even came in for a selfie!
You get to step inside the historic chalet and there is a lovely rainforest walk through bright green moss covered trees that looks like something out of a fairytale.
Visitor Centre Rainforest Walk & Enchanted Walk
Two easy walks available to all skill levels are located near the visitor centre of Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park.
The Enchanted Walk takes about 30 minutes and offers a great condensed view of the many landscapes of Cradle Mountain.
Keep an eye out for rare tiger quolls. The even shorter visitor centre Rainforest Walk allows you to see Pencil Pine Falls.
Devil’s @ Cradle
While Tasmanian devils are present with the park, seeing them in the wild is extremely rare due to their nocturnal nature. One sure way to see them up close and personal is to visit the Devil’s @ Cradle sanctuary and breeding facility.
Here you can not only see devils, but also tiger quolls and Eastern quolls. Day tours are offered for $20 while the more exciting night feeding tours are available for $30.
Learn about the devil facial tumour disease wreaking havoc on the Tasmanian devil population and what research and conservation efforts are being implemented to help combat the disease.
Entry fees contribute to the ongoing conservation efforts to save this loveable and seemingly always angry (or at least a bit grumpy) animal.
How to Book
Visit cradlemountainhotel.com.au for more information, or to make a booking.
The hotel offers a 25% discount to all RACT members and a 15% discount to interstate and international auto club members.
Remember that park entry fees apply for all travelers visiting Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park. National Parks passes are available for purchase online, or at hotel reception upon check-in.
Devonport is the closest major city to Cradle Mountain; the drive is a little over an hour from Devonport Airport, or the Spirit of Tasmania terminal (which connects Devonport with Melbourne and allows you to travel with your own vehicle).
Launceston airport is an approx. 2 hour drive; Hobart airport an approx 4 hour drive. We recommend renting a car to make your own way.
OUR FAVORITE TASMANIA TRAVEL GUIDES! CLICK TO LOOK INSIDE ↓
INSPIRED?! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓