Cradle Mountain (Lake St Clair National Park)
161,000ha.Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair National Park takes in the highest regions in Tasmania, with a number of rugged peaks covered with dolerite, including Mount Ossa (1616m), the highest point on the island. The park occupies the northern part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area listed by UNESCO in 1982. To the south is Franklin Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. The topography of the area, with its Alpine aspect, was mainly formed during and more particularly at the end of the last ice age, when the retreating glaciers left behind precipitous peaks, U-shaped valleys and barrier lakes. The first section of the national park was established in 1922 after an exploration of the area by an immigrant Austrian scientist, Gustav Weindorfer.
Official site: www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=7710
Address: 134 Macquarie Street, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia
Entrance fee in AUD: Vehicle plus all occupants $20.00, Adult $10.00
Useful tips: Best time to visit: summer (November to March). Access to Lake St Clair: Lyell Highway (A 10) to Derwent Bridge, where a side road goes off to the lake. To Cradle Valley: Murchison Highway (A 10) and C 132; 60km northeast of Rosebery side road to Cradle Valley Lodge. In winter some stretches of road may be closed. Admission cost is per vehicle per day up to a maximum of eight people.
Cradle Mountain (Lake St Clair National Park) Highlights
There are a number of shorter (one-day) walks from Cradle Valley. The Weindorfer Walk, a nature trail for part of the way, is a 6km circuit through beautiful forest country. The Lake Dove Walk runs round the lake, with magnificent views. There is a rewarding climb to the summit of the Little Horn (1300m). From the summit of Cradle Mountain (12 km, from Waldheim Chalet via Marion Lookout, returning by Crater Peak Lookout) there are breathtaking views. There is also a very attractive walk on the Cuvier Valley Track (17km), with wide views. The Watersmeet Nature Walk runs from Cynthia Bay close to the shores of Lake St Clair to the junction of the Hugel and Cuvier Rivers. From Cynthia Bay there is an 18km circuit (whole day) to Mount Rufus and the Hugel Lakes.
The famous Overland Track, 80km long, runs south from Cradle Valley (Waldheim Chalet) past Cradle Mountain to Cynthia Bay on Lake St Clair. This is an extremely strenuous walk for which at least five days should be allowed. Walkers must inform the ranger station (Waldheim Chalet or Cynthia Bay) before setting out on the walk and after completing it. There are small camping grounds and mountain huts along the route.
The northern part of Cradle Mountain / Lake St Clair National Park, around Mount Cradle (1545m), is particularly beautiful. Cradle Valley is well equipped to cater for tourists, with Cradle Valley Lodge and Waldheim Chalet, built in 1912 on the initiative of Gustav Weindorfer. The visitor center offers an abundance of information on the natural history of Tasmania.
Lake St Clair
The chief attraction in the southern part of Cradle Mountain / Lake St Clair National Park is Lake St Clair (alt. 730 m, 17km long and up to 200m deep; fishing and boating), a barrier lake formed by a moraine.