Hike Cradle Mountain in Tasmania

Hike Cradle Mountain in Tasmania

Cradle Mountain

© Claire Martin

Cradle Mountain is a must on any Tasmania itinerary. Visitors to the state flock to admire the mountain’s jagged peaks soaring high above the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park on the North West corner of the island. The Cradle Mountain area offers stunning scenery and some of the best views in Tasmania – and in my opinion, Australia – with gorgeous lakes, scenic mountain land and green plains stretching as far as the eye can see.

There are lots of gorgeous hikes in the Cradle Mountain National Park suitable for all abilities. Those seeking an easier hike can stroll six kilometers around Dove Lake, much of which is on a boardwalk and offers plenty of fauna and flora viewing opportunities, as well as enjoy the looming peaks of Cradle Mountain itself. Dove Lake is the start of the Overland Track which covers 65 kilometers from the Cradle Mountain area to Lake St Clair at the other end of the national park.

If you’re seeking a bit more of a challenge, then take the brisk hike up to Marion’s Lookout to admire the mountain and some gorgeous views of the lakes and plains below from an aerial vantage point. The hike to Marion’s Lookout takes about two and a half hours return and is generally fairly easy, with a difficult last section.

Or, if you’re feeling completely fearless, you could hike Cradle Mountain to the summit.

I wasn’t planning on summiting Cradle Mountain; the steepness and rockiness of the mountain from 200 meters away seemed far too intimidating. But it was probably the most perfect day of the year to climb the mountain – there literally wasn’t a cloud in the sky. As we walked towards the mountain, a few people came down saying ‘I didn’t intend on climbing to the summit… it just kind of happened’.

Cradle Mountain

© Claire Martin

Next thing I knew, I was halfway up Cradle Mountain.

The Cradle Mountain summit hike starts with the same relatively gentle hike up to Marion’s Lookout. It traverses through woodland and around lakes, while eventually ascending to offer some great views of the earlier parts of the track spread out below. After leaving Marion’s Lookout, the summit hike inclines further to the Kitchen Hut – where Cradle Mountain can be appreciated in all its glory. Then it’s time to decide if you want to take the challenge of climbing to the summit.

Climbing up Cradle Mountain is difficult. At times it feels like rock climbing – just without a harness – and you have to heave yourself onto high ledges and into crevices. The summit of the actual mountain takes about an hour, and there’s honestly no easy bit until you actually reach the peak.

But the climb is completely worth it. Even though I found it to be one of the most physically challenging things I’ve ever done, it was also among the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. The view from the top of Cradle Mountain is incredible; I could see for dozens of miles in all directions. And the feeling of knowing that I’d just conquered my fears and trekked right to the top of Tasmania’s most famous mountain was absolutely unmatchable.

Cradle Mountain

© Claire Martin

To hike Cradle Mountain is a six to eight hour return; it’s 6.4 kilometers one way but includes lots of steep sections, with a total climb of 600 meters. My top advice would be to pack for all weather eventualities – Tasmania can go from hot and sunny to pouring down with rain in about 4 minutes. And to take an amazing picnic for the top of the mountain. Enjoying your favourite sandwich while looking out across an idyllic view of Tasmania and relishing in the pride of completing one of the state’s toughest hikes is a completely unique and amazing feeling – there’s nothing quite like it.

Claire Martin

This piece was written by Claire Martin. Claire is the travel blogger behind Claire’s Footsteps, a blog focusing on eco-travel and overland adventures. She’s spent a lot of time in Central America and China but is currently exploring as much of Australia as possible. You can follow her adventure on Facebook and Instagram at @clairesfootsteps!

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Hike Cradle Mountain in Tasmania


I'm a Canadian gal with a passion for wildlife, the great outdoors and travel and hope to inspire others to feel the same way! Travelling mostly solo I love to explore Ontario Gems in my own backyard as well as exotic cities around the world.

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4 Responses

  1. Richard and I are recently back from Tasmania and can endorse the pains and pleasures of hiking Cradle Mountain. We were drenched twice, dried out once, and eventually allowed a clear view of Cradle Mountain’s remarkable rocky profile. On the mainland of Australia we could also recommend The Great Ocean Walk which starts west of Melbourne and takes you across some of Australia’s more remote cliffs and beaches as well as through long stretches of bush. We posted a few images of our trip on our starksmurcutt Facebook page.

    • Stephanie says:

      Sounds like you both had another amazing adventure! I’ll be sure to head over to your Facebook page and check out your photos.

  2. Tasmania seems like a great destination! I would love to hike there, Stephanie!

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