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Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair Park
cradle mountainTasmania is often described as the closest thing to heaven on earth, and the Cradle Mountain region demonstrates exactly why this is the case. Cradle Mountain offers everything a tourist could want, with mountainous landscapes and picturesque scenery everywhere you look.

Located in the south west of the state, this world heritage listed park is only 83km from the port city of Devonport and 144km from Launceston. The drive from Queenstown, further south, includes added scenery such as beaches, rainforests and winding roads.

Cradle Mountain was named after its appearance of a miners cradle, and soars majestically above Dove Lake. The mountain was formed as a result of massive glaciers thousands of years ago, which formed to lave peaks and landmarks that are mesmerising to say the least. When you enter the park you will come across a visitor centre which has all the extra information you need to enjoy the park.

The weather conditions here are pretty extreme, varying from sunny to rain and sleet. The winds can be bone chilling especially if you are climbing higher altitudes, so be sure to come prepared and check before you start any long treks. Strong boots and lots of warm clothing are a must generally all year round.

A great way to see the park is to set out on foot. There are trails to suit all levels of fitness, ranging from 10 minutes to 3 hours on average. The Enchanted nature walk is a must and takes about thirty minutes. It eventually brings you face to face with the natural habitat. At night the Tasmanian devil and possums often make an appearance, ensuring a unique wildlife experience. There are plenty of walking huts scattered along the tracks, plus a road to the edge of Dove Lake. In fact, there are just so many walking tracks that this park would have to be one of the most accessible in the country. There are also many varieties of accommodation if you would like to spend a night in a cabin or lodge. Waldheim Chalet is one of the first main attractions in the area, and is nestled in the heart of Cradle Valley. It has been reconstructed and restored to its former glory of almost 100 years ago. Weindorfer Forest walk leaves from this Chalet and takes only a short twenty minutes, and there are longer two hour walks that return via the Dove River Gorge.

However, the most popular walk in the area is the Overland Track which also leaves from the Waldheim Chalet and winds over 80km of the park. Taking at least seven to eight days, you will experience everything from rainforest and steep slopes to grass and alpine plains. You will have to be extremely prepared before you embark on this walk as there is no question this will be a life changing trek.

There are many side tracks along the Overland Track that will take you to some idyllic spots. At over 1600 metres, Mt Ossa is Tasmania’s highest mountain, and takes about three hours to trek to the summit from Pelion Gap if you are keen to do this. The views from the top are spectacular and definitely worth the trip. If you are attempting this trek in summer it is advised to bring plenty of water.

The mountains, lakes and rainforests are not all that this amazing area has to offer; the waterfalls are pretty fantastic too. The Harnett Falls are the highest of the falls along the Mersey River which runs through the park. It only takes about twenty minutes to journey to these falls from the Overland Track, and the views are incredible. With all the scenery around, you will practically become an amateur photographer by the time you leave the park.

Enjoying a holiday here will leave you with a sense of wonder at the natural beauty of this spectacular region. Tasmania has something for everyone, and Cradle Mountain National Park is sure to be the highlight of your adventure here.

Christine Barton

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