Along the way - Cradle Mountain Summit

Cradle Mountain Summit Hike in Tasmania (2024)

“Are you crazy?” asked our bus driver. She was dropping us off at the starting point of our hike, Ronny’s Creek, at 2 PM. Before asking this question, she had informed us that the hike was a full day hike of 14 kilometers, and it was a hot day, so starting the hike at 8 AM was ideal on hot days. We were adamant, and we had to hike. The purpose of our Tasmanian trip was to hike the Cradle mountain.

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About Cradle Mountain

Situated in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain is the starting point of the world-famous Overland Trek (which is a 6-day trek). At an altitude of 1545 metres, the Cradle Mountain is in the Cradle Mt – Lake St Clair National Park. Known for its spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife, including the Tasmanian devils, the national park has plenty of hikes and treks.

At the top of Cradle Mountain

The best time to visit Cradle Mountain is during the spring, summer, and autumn seasons (between the months of November and March). During the winter season, the national park is covered in snow.

Cradle Mountain National Park

How do you get to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park?

By Air

The closest airport to Cradle Mountain is Launceston Airport. There are frequent flights that operate between Launceston airport and other major cities in Australia, such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Jetstar is the budgeted airline in Australia.

By Car

The best way to reach the national park is by driving. I have to Cradle Mountain twice, once as part of a weekend trip from Launceston and the other time when I did the north coast of Tasmania from Launceston. The distance from Launceston and Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park is 150 kilometres, and the journey by road takes around 2 hours to drive.

Hiking Campervans or Caravans

One of the most amazing ways to see Tasmania is by campervans or caravans. It is quite common for travelers to hire these campervans from agencies such as Jucy Australia so they can use the available camping sites across the island for parking and staying at night.

By Public transport

Unfortunately, getting to the national park on public transportation is not that easy. However, there is a bus that is operated by Tassielink Bus Company that runs buses between Launceston and the national park. The buses are available only on days like Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The other option is to take a bus from Launceston to Mole Creek and then hire a taxi. This is the most expensive option, and just note that getting a taxi in smaller places like Mole Creek might be very difficult unless you know someone.

Where to stay near Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park?

I have visited Cradle Mountain on a one-day trip and a multi-day trip. I suggest staying close to the national park and spending a few days exploring the area. There are plenty of hotels, homestays, and motels around the national park. The closer they are to the national park, the more expensive they are. During my travels to the national park, I stayed at different hotels and motels:

  • Tullah Lakeside Lodge in Tullah Village is around 30 kilometres from the national park. It is perfect to stay in a beautiful lodge away from the crowd.
  • Discover Parks – Cradle Mountain is right outside the national park and is perfect for a budgeted stay. It does have a shared kitchen that you can use to cook.
  • Cradle Mountain Hotel is perfect if you wish to stay in a lovely and comfortable hotel close to the national park.

I also suggest Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village and Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.


Hiking to the Cradle Mountain Summit

Entrance fee to the national park:
There is an entry ticket (from AUD 25 per adult) to enter the national park and use the bus shuttle. The buses run between 9 AM and 5 PM during the winter season and 9 AM and 6 PM during the summer season.

As I mentioned, the national park has plenty of hikes and treks, including the Overland trek, which is 6 days. You can go around Dove Lake (easy grade), or you can hike the Cradle Mountain Summit.

Dove Lake - Cradle Mountain National Park
Dove Lake

Cradle Mountain Summit

During this trip, my friends and I did the summit hike known as Ronny Creek to Cradle Mountain Summit. The starting point was Ronny Creek, and there are shuttles that run between the visitor center and Ronny Creek. The finishing point is Dove Lake, and again, there are shuttles that run between Dove Lake and the visitor center.

It is advisable to start the hike early so you can take the shuttle back to the visitor center on time. The shuttle buses stop at 6 PM. If you miss the last bus, you may need to walk an additional 15 kilometres to get to the gate of the visitor centre.

Cradle Mountain Summit Trail

The other way to summit Cradle Mountain is through the trail to Marion’s Lookout from Dove Lake. This track is very steep and hard and is suitable for experienced hikers.

Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain

Logistics of Cradle Mountain Summit hike

Below are the details for hiking the Cradle mountain summit.

  • Starting point: Ronny’s Creek.
  • Finishing point: Dove Lake.
  • Total distance: 14.9 kilometers.
  • Total time: 6 to 7 hours.
  • Grade: Moderate except for the last part, which is very hard.
  • Cost: A valid permit is required by visitors, and this can be bought at the visitor centre. You can find the exact and up-to-date price on the Tasmania Parks website.
Cradle Mountain Summit
Cradle Mountain Summit

Our adventure and story

As I mentioned in the beginning, my friends and I started the hike from Ronny’s Creek at around 2 PM. The walk was very exciting and adventurous. We had a great time admiring the scenery and clicking lots of pictures. But by the time we reached and finished the hike at Dove Lake, it was very dark, and we had missed the last shuttle, which was at 6 PM.

We were supposed to get back to Ronny’s Creek earlier than the time we had arrived, but as this was a circuit, we had missed the correct deviation from the trail and ended up at Dove Lake really late.

We started walking 15 kilometers to the gate as part of our adventure. Even though we were extremely tired, we had no other option but to walk back. Since there were four of us, we cheered each other up and started walking under the dark sky on the road. The road seemed never-ending, and to add to our misery, the torches that we were using on our phones were dying out, too.

After walking around 3 more kilometers from the lake, we saw a car approaching. We saw that the car was headed towards the visitor center, so we decided to try our luck and ask for a lift. Inside the car was a couple we met at the peak of Cradle Mountain. They had just finished the hike and were heading back to their hotel.

Fortunately for us, they were very kind and agreed to give us a lift to the visitor center. If not for them, we would have had to walk back the entire night for around 12 kilometers. They came like angels and saved us from the pain and misery of walking an additional 12 kilometers.

Safety for Solo Female Hikers

Even though Cradle Mountain is extremely safe for solo female hikers, I would not suggest doing it alone. In spite of being a monitored national park, you will hardly find anyone in certain sections of the park. So, always go with a trekking buddy when you are hiking in such remote areas.

Download the Emergency Plus app for any unforeseen situations. The app does not require a mobile network; it shows your location. This is useful to inform the emergency services in case of any emergency.
If you are a tourist, always have good comprehensive travel insurance to cover yourself in case of any emergency.

Closing Notes

Cradle Mountain is stunning. Hiking Cradle Mountain was amazing and, to date, remains one of my favorite hikes in Australia. Even if you do not want to hike the 14 kilometers, I still suggest visiting the national park and making some short trails in the national park.

Have you hiked to the Cradle mountain summit? Let me know your experience by emailing me at

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