We were presented with the perfect weather for our day trip to the Cradle Mountain National Park in Tasmania. Blue sky, little to no wind and a top temperature in the low 20’s meant that if we were ever going to get three boys happily hiking this was our day.
We’re on our trip of Tasmania by cabin and car and after landing at Devonport via the Spirit of Tasmania, we headed south west towards what is affectionately known as Cradle Country. Here’s the biggest tip we can give you. Get there early. Yep it’s going to hurt waking up in the dark and cold, but if you get there before the crowds, on top of an amazing sunrise you are going to be able to drive all of the way up to Dove Lake. There is a fantastic shuttle service included as part of your National Parks Pass, but nothing beats no lines and having all of your gear handily close to the main base and money shot – Cradle Mountain from Dove Lake.
We first drove up to the old Visitors Centre, now known as the Interpretation Centre, where we did a short 500m walk around a rainforest and past a waterfall. It was great, very easy, and access was from the Centre itself. It’s also wheelchair and pram friendly. There was a wombat right next to the path, which for all of us was the closest we had come to one ever in nature. It was fantastic watching this gentle animal wander about eating and not even caring about the family videoing and photographing it’s every movement!
We drove down to the Visitors Centre where we received our tickets for the shuttle bus. This would be a 20 minute drive all of the way to Dove Lake, however we identified a shorter walk we wanted to do with the kids from Ronny’s Falls. We exited the shuttle, signed the hikers logbook and set off on our adventure.
The walk started with boardwalks and made its way past no less than 10 grazing wombats, 50+ lizards and countless grasshoppers before taking us to the foot of a small incline. From here it was a rock and gravel path, which led Harry to turn and ask Justin if he was sure we were heading the right direction. “This looks more like a waterfall Dad”. It was the path, and it was amazing!
We spent around 2.5 hours on our walk, which included a couple of breaks, some morning tea and the odd cuddle for Alex post falls! He was fine, just excited and moving too fast. The kids had such a great time, as you can see in our video.
This was honestly one of the most amazing adventures. We were so close to nature and the Cradle Mountain National Park has done such a great job with their infrastructure including the shuttle busses, boardwalks, nature trails and lookout spots. There were a lot of other shorter walks and longer walks, but they make it easy with charts and diagrams explaining the difficulty, length of time and environment for each.
There were no caravans allowed all of the way up to Dove Lake, so when we come back with our family caravan we would be leaving it at the Visitors Centre and proceeding by shuttle. There are currently 12 shuttles in operation, each making the trip 8 times a day. The last shuttle was 5:30pm.