Visiting the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park Tasmania

Published: 14th February 2011
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Just 90 miles (145km) from the bustling city of Launceston is a amazing World Heritage listed wilderness of Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. As part of the larger Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain is a magnet for lovers of untrammelled wilderness. Part of the attraction of this magnificent Australian National Park is that, although visitors feel they're in a remote and unspoiled region of the world, it is actually very reachable and the traveller looking for Cradle Mountain accommodation can find everything from remote cabins to deluxe lodges.

One of the leading drawcards of Cradle Mountain is the difficult Overland Track. This winding, sometimes tough journey of 40 miles (65km) takes you over and around towering dolomite cliffs, across freezing glacial streams and through unspoiled wilderness teeming with Tasmania's exceptional flora and fauna. The trip begins at Cradle Mountain itself and finishes at the magnificent Lake St Clair. Over time, word about the Overland Track has spread by word of mouth until today; it is one of the world's most well-known treks. In order to look after the environment and ensure that the area is preserved for many years to come, the Australian Parks and Wildlife Service, along with its Tasmanian counterpart has taken actions to minimize the potential threat hikers pose on the sensitive ecosystem surrounding the Overland Track.

It's not only hikers who are drawn to the Cradle Mountain area, either. Tasmania's dolerite cliff faces are wanted by rock climbers from across the world. Tasmania's highest peak, Mt. Ossa lies inside the National Park boundaries and is often the visiting rock climber's first stop in Tasmania. At almost a mile high, Mt. Ossa offers challenges to all levels of climbers. Often, after successful Mt. Ossa, climber's then move on to the challenge of Frenchman's Gap, in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

While Mt. Ossa is Tasmania's highest mountain, Lake St. Clair is Australia's deepest lake. It's estimated that the movement of glaciers over a period of two million years is responsible for carving out this 623 foot (190 meters) deep lake - the supply of the Derwent River. Lake St. Clair is the reward for hikers to the Overland Track. When they finally reach their destination, they can choose between staying in the lap of luxury in one of the lodges round the lake or camping in one of the well-appointed campgrounds. Many visitors to Lake St. Clair turn up by car and spend their days fishing for the trout that populate its pristine waters. As they do with the Overland Track, park authorities control use of the lake, in order to reduce human impact and protect stocks of fish.

If you don't want to fish, but wish to take advantage of the amazing scenery on the water, you might take the popular ferry trip across the 11 mile (18km) length of this lake. Many visitors to the area are so mesmerized by its splendor that they do very little at all except absorb the view from numerous perspectives as possible, from land or from the placid waters of Lake St Clair.

Tasmania has an advertising slogan: "A world apart, not a world away." This slogan definitely applies to Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. As accessible as it is, as soon as you step onto one of its many trails, you feel like you're "a world apart" - back in a period before civilization encroached upon the wild places of earth. A week on the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair is an memorable experience for everyone and a life changing experience for many. Which will it be for you?

Take a few days off, find accommodation cradle mountain, things to do and other travel related information about the area on Or visit our Australia blog for more Australian holiday ideas.

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