Difference between revisions of "Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park"
Revision as of 18:14, 24 September 2013
This park has two main attractions - Cradle Mountain making up the north of the park, with Lake St Clair in the south.
Gustav Weindorfer first visited Cradle Mountain in 1910 and really liked it. He purchased some land and built by 1912 a chalet for guests. In 1935 the Overland 80km track was created and rangers guided tours along it. The track was improved by 1937
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park has many mountains and spectacular lakes. Mountains which have made this national park famous include Cradle Mountain. Dove Lake and Lake St Clair are truly breathtaking.
There are many short walks to walk and some long walks. Each of these walks are a fascinating experience.
Always keep to formed tracks.
Flora and fauna
Padmelons, Bennett's wallabies, wombats and possums are some of the animals you will meet in this park. Watch out for the Currawongs (the look like ravens), who have learnt to unzip packs. Even if they can't get to your food, they can peck holes in things through your pack.
WARNING: Feeding animals is strictly prohibited in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Fines will be imposed if you are caught feeding animals. Park rangers are patrolling the park. Do not risk getting fined. Fines will be in large amounts.
The climate here in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is Very unpredictable and can change extremely rapidly. In this part of Tasmania, it rains 9 out of 10 days a year, so fully equip yourself with gear for wet weather.
The temperature is always colder than other parts of Tasmania, although it is not far south. Precipitation here is high because of the large number of trees. It could be raining for 5 minutes, and then it is suddenly sunny. Rain here is very light, like little "flakes" of water. Bring a raincoat instead of an umbrella, because it is extremely windy and you do not want to risk spoiling your brolly.
Get ready for freak weather - including snow in summer.
Either drive yourself or find a bus.
Driving to Cradle Mountain:
Driving to Lake St Clair:
The Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and all accommodation (except Waldheim) are a few kilometres outside the park. If you pay for a vehicle pass you can drive to Ronny Creek and Dove Lake inside the park. With a vehicle pass you cannot use the shuttle bus service. Alternatively, you can get a single person pass which entitles you to use the shuttle bus service. If you bought your own vehicle you can drive between the Visitor Centre and your accommodation (excluding Waldheim) and when you are actually going into the national park, park your vehicle at the Visitor Centre and take the shuttle bus.
Overland Track Fee
This fee is in addition to the park entry fee.
The Cradle Mountain shuttle service runs regularly between the Visitor Centre, Ronny Creek and Dove Lake.
There is a ferry service which operates on Lake St Clair between Narcissus and Cynthia Bay (where the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre is located). The price is $38 per person each way. This service is often used by walkers finishing the Overland Track as an alternative to walking back around the lake. There is a radio at Narcissus Hut connected to the Visitor Centre from which you can inquire about the ferry. Visitors to the Lake St Clair end of the park also take this ferry to Narcissus and then proceed to walk back to Cynthia Bay around the lake. The ferry will stop at Echo Point Hut (an hours walk from Narcissus) if requested. There is a radio located here also.
Scenic helicopter flights are available from a building beside the Visitor Centre. The aircraft currently in operation is a Robinson 44. Current prices:
There are many spectacular mountains in the national park such as Cradle Mountain, Mt Emmett, Barn Bluff, Mt Oakleigh, Mt Pelion East, Mt Pelion West, Cathedral Mountain, Mt Ida, Mt Olympus, and Mt Ossa (which is the highest mountain in Tasmania).
There are a range of walks from short easy strolls to strenuous multi-day hikes.
Times are indicative only. Times will vary depending on your fitness.
The Overland Track
Cradle Mountain is the starting point of the world-famous Overland Track which runs for 65 kilometres to lake St Clair at the southern end of the park. The walk demands a fair degree of preparation and physical fitness and takes 6 days to walk or longer depending on weather delays and the side trips you take. More information about this walk can be found the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service website.
There are only a couple of shops just outside the park, prices are expensive. Buy your supplies before you get here.
Eat & Drink
All of the premium accommodation providers have restaurants, apart from Cradle Mountain Highlanders Cabins and Waldheim Cabins. Prices range from reasonable up.
A small selection of food (including frozen food) can be bought from the Discovery Holiday Park office. It is a good idea to stock up on food before coming to the park.
Booking in advance is recommended during peak season. They can be some good prices to be had during the off-season (no cheaper than what is listed here).
Discovery Holiday Parks are a budget accommodation provider opposite the Visitor Center.  They offer:
Camping inside the national park is not permitted within the day walk area. The first two places you may camp outside the day walk area are Waterfall Valley and Lake Rodway, both of which have huts. Camping inside the park, where permitted, is free.
The huts inside the national park are free to use. All huts are located on the Overland Track with the exception of Lake Rodway Hut. Kitchen Hut and the Ranger Hut between Hansons Peak and Little Horn are for day use only, they should only be used overnight in emergencies.
If you are doing the Overland Track guided with Cradle Mountain Huts, you will use their own private huts. You may be looked after like a king but you need to be as rich as a king as well. Prices range from $2000-$3000.
Always sign in and out of the logbook with your intentions.
Carry a hat, sunscreen, and weather-proof jacket in all seasons as the weather can be extremely changeable. If attempting a longer day walk or starting a walk late in the day, a headtorch is a must. Take plenty of water with you as the lakes should not be drunken from and the water from the tanks at the huts should be sterilized first. Take more food than you think you'll need in case you get caught out longer than you expected.
Sturdy footwear is recommended. Boots are not really required within the day walk area if doing walks from Dove Lake. If beginning at Ronny Creek, going on to Lake Rodway, or beginning the Overland Track boots are a must. You will pass through mud and if it rains, walking in running water.
Do not attempt the Overland Track without a pass. You have a very slim chance of getting through undetected as park rangers will ask to see your pass along the way. If you are caught without a pass you will be escorted back to Cradle Mountain.
Transportation out should have been arranged when you come in. You can contact transportation services yourself, if you have a phone or internet access. Else your accommodation provider or the people at the Visitor Center may be able to help.