How we got there
We flew into Launceston from Sydney, and the flights were the most costly component of our trip. Other options for getting to the Apple Isle include taking the ferry over from the mainland, which may be more cost effective for families. Once in Launceston, we hired a car at the airport – essential for getting around town and between spots near the National Park. Although there is a bus service, this can be spotty, with long waiting periods in between buses.
Before setting off for the National Park, we detoured into town (small, sleepy), to pick up a mountain of groceries (roasted chicken, pasta, muesli bars and snacks for the trail) then hit the road, with our GPS leading the way. There are marvellous views on the way of gnarled gum trees, precipitous canyons, rolling green hills, but mostly there was the road, winding its way for almost 3 hours towards Cradle Mountain. Total journey time from Launceston to Cradle Mountain: 2 hours 45 minutes, with good weather and rest stops.
Where we stayed
Accommodation options at CMNP range from the luxe Peppers Resort to cheap and cheerful hostels. We opted for Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village, a collection of free standing cottages situated amongst bushland, which offer kitchenettes, which was a key tool we used to reduce our costs. The cottages come with a bathroom with heating racks for towels, a porch, perfect for admiring the bush and for hosting visiting possums, DVD player and TV, central heating and privacy from other guests.
The main building, where reception is located, has a fantastic view of the mountain, free tea and coffee, an honesty bar (which also offers locally produced cheese and wine), limited free internet and a fireplace – perfect for cold nights!
What we did
We’d chosen to stay near Cradle Mountain National Park so that we could have easy access to the hundreds of tracks that criss-crossed the area. The most famous of them all is the Overland Track, which takes 6-7 days to traverse, over mountain passes and beside jewelled blue lakes, through alpine forests and down gravel paths. We didn’t do the Overland; instead we did lots of day hikes over two days. Other activities included a tour of a Tassie devil sanctuary, and checking out a photography exhibit at the Wilderness Gallery.
How much it all cost
|Sydney-Launceston flights||$215 per person return|
|Rental car (plus petrol)||$180 for 5 days|
|Accommodation||$600 for 4 nights, or $150 per night.|
|Food (mostly self catered)||Approximately $200 per person for 5 days|
|National Park Pass||$16.50 per person per day|
|Devils @ Cradle after dark feeding tour||$28 per person ($16 for a Daykeeper tour)|
Money saving tips
- We picked up groceries in Launceston before driving to the NP, so that we could cook some of our own meals. This helped us to save considerable money. Furthermore, quality dining options near the Park itself are limited, so don’t plan to eat out for all your meals unless you don’t mind repetition.
- The only nightlife in the NP are the hotel bars, which we avoided due to early morning wake up calls the next morning – we were in Tasmania to hike, which, after paying the NP fee of $16, cost us exactly nothing for hours of fresh air, amazing vistas and the delight of spotting local wildlife like adorable pademelons.
- The Park runs a free shuttle service, which takes visitors to various drop off points within the Park – use this to get to trailheads, back to the Park entrance (where you will have to leave your car), and for an impromptu tour by the dour rangers who drive them.