The most famous of trails in the Park is the Overland Track. 65 km cutting through pristine alpine scenery, past calm, glittering lakes, over lofty mountain passes, the Overland takes six to seven days to traverse.
We had insufficient time to do this trail while we were in the area, so we settled for a few of the many day treks instead. There are so many trails in Cradle Mountain National Park, with differing lengths, difficulty level and scenery, you’re bound to find something that suits you.
Dove Lake Circuit
Distance: 6 km or about 2 hours one way
Difficulty: Grade 2 – mostly flat terrain, defined trail, no mud.
Start/End – Dove Lake car park
An easy, comfortable circuit around Dove Lake, at the base of Cradle Mountain. Views are mostly of Cradle Mountain, passing through a beautiful myrtle forest, past a gigantic glacier rock with spectacular views (this area is fenced off as there are no railings around the rock and a fall would be fatal – take care!), and around an old boatshed. This was the busiest trail we did; having said that I think we saw about 10 people total, in about 5 groups over 2 hours, so not too bad.
Crater Lake Track
Distance: 5 km or about 2 hours one way
Difficulty: Grade 3 – ups and downs, defined track, steps, a few steep sections
Start/End – Ronny Creek car park/Dove Lake car park
This trail was the first one we did in Cradle Mountain NP, and it was amongst one of our favourites. The track starts off on the Overland, but we veered off just before Marion’s Lookout and hooked back towards Wombat Pool. There is a beautiful, old, rickety boatshed sitting on the edge of steep-sided Crater Lake, with its dark, mysterious waters.
Then a short ascent to Wombat Peak where the view is of the double lakes of Wombat Pool and Lake Lilla. There are fagus trees aplenty on this track, and when we were there in autumn, they had turned the slopes into a golden forest. The track also cuts through cloudforest, dripping with humidity and wizard’s beards.
King Billy Walk
Distance: About 45 minutes one way
Difficulty: Grade 2 – gentle slopes, elevated boardwalk, may be slippery in rain
Start/End – Cradle Mountain Lodge car park
Deserted and magical, the King Billy walk took us through sections where the trees are hundreds of years old. It reminded us nothing more than the forest of the Ents, in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The King Billy pines, or Huon pines, are extremely slow growing trees, and in the forest gloom, carpeted with fallen leaves, cast moving, shifting shadows. We spotted a pademelon, as well as bright blue mushrooms and red fungi.
Other recommended walks:
- Enchanted Forest (20 minutes, Grade 1, easy, waterfalls, occasional wildlife spotting)
- Pencil Pine Falls, Knyvet Falls (About 40 minutes, Grade 2, some steps, waterfalls)
- Dove Canyon (3 hours, Grade 4, waterfalls, rivers, steep ascent on bare rock – we stopped and turned around at the top of Dove Canyon – the 60m of cliffs and broken chain lengths that led to the top were a little too daunting after the rain!)
- Cradle Valley Boardwalk (total of 6km, or 3 hours, but you can combine sections with the shuttle bus – we did it up to Snake Hill. In wet weather you may need gaiters as the track is not 100% maintained all the way through. Grade 3, steep sections)
For more trails or further information, click here.