Along the way - Cradle Mountain Summit

Cradle Mountain Summit Hike in Tasmania

“Are you crazy?” asked our bus driver. She was dropping us to 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 during 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, the Cradle mountain is the starting point of the world famous Overland trek (which is the 6 days 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 to get to Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park?

By Air

The closest airport to the Cradle mountain is the 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 nights.

By Public transport

Unfortunately, getting to the national park on a 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 certain days like Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

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

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

I have visited Cradle Mountain as a one day and multi day travels. 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 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 if you want 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 before the national park has plenty of hikes and treks including the Overland trek that is of 6 days. You can go around the Dove lake (easy grade) or you can do hike the Cradle Mountain Summit.

Dove Lake - Cradle Mountain National Park
Dove Lake

Cradle Mountain Summit

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

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

Cradle Mountain Summit Trail

The other way to summit the Cradle mountain is through the trail to Marions 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 kilometres.
  • Total time: 6 to 7 hours.
  • Grade: Moderate except 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 at around 2 PM from Ronny’s creek. 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 had ended up at Dove lake really late.

As part of our adventure, we started walking the 15 kilometres to the gate. Even though we were extremely tired, we had no other option but to walk back. Since we 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 kilometres from the lake, we saw a car approaching. We saw that the car was headed towards the visitor centre and so we decided to try our luck and ask for a lift. Inside the car was a couple whom we had met at the peak of the 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 centre. If not for them, we would have had to walk back the entire night for around 12 kilometres. They came like angels and saved us from the pain and misery of walking an additional 12 kilometres.

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 at certain sections of the park. So, always go with a trekking buddy when you are hiking at such remote areas.

Download Emergency Plus app for any unforeseen situations. The app does not require mobile network and it shows the location of where you are. This is useful to let the emergency services know, in case there is any emergency.

If you are a tourist, always make sure to have a good comprehensive travel insurance to cover yourself in case of any emergency.

Closing Notes

Cradle mountain is stunning. Hiking the Cradle mountain was amazing and till date remains as one of my favourite hikes in Australia. Even if you not want to hike the 14 kilometres, I still suggest visiting the national park and doing some short trails in the national park.

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

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