16 Epic Things To Do In Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is at the top of most traveller’s Tasmanian bucket lists and it’s easy to see why once you’re standing beneath the majestic dolerite peaks protruding from Dove Lake. But what many don’t know, is that there are countless things to do in Cradle Mountain that can keep you blissfully occupied for days on end.

We have spent many days exploring Cradle Mountain, wandering through the verdant rainforests, over rugged peaks, meeting the local wildlife and indulging in the luxuries found in the Cradle Mountain Village. And we can honestly say it’s one of our favourite places in Tasmania.

Whether you’re visiting Cradle Mountain for a day or a week, our list of the best things to do in Cradle Mountain will help you explore this wonderful destination like a local. So grab a pen and let’s begin!

Kitchen Hut surrounded by snow

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Quick Tips For The Best Things To Do In Cradle Mountain

  • A Tasmania Parks Pass is required to enter the national park. You can purchase these online or from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre on your arrival.
  • A shuttle bus runs from the visitor centre to Dove Lake every 10 – 20 minutes. This is the only way to access Dove Lake and Ronny Creek during operating times. Find the current shuttle bus prices here.
  • Grab any groceries you need from Sheffield before you arrive, there are restaurants in Cradle Mountain Village, but no grocery store.
  • Pack warm clothes no matter the season, it can be cold year-round.
  • Please don’t touch or feed the wildlife, this is detrimental to their health and their behaviour.
  • We recommend allowing at least 2 – 4 days to explore Cradle Mountain

1. Hike To The Mighty Summit Of Cradle Mountain

Hiking from Marions Lookout towards Kitchen Hut on the Cradle Mountain Summit Hike

Summiting the iconic dolerite peak of Cradle Mountain is no small feat, but the panoramas that unravel from the summit of Tasmania’s sixth-tallest peak are unparalleled. Not to mention, it’s a super fun rock scramble for intermediate to advanced hikers!

The Cradle Mountain Summit Hike takes roughly 5.5 to 7 hours and requires a good level of fitness and rock scrambling skills. You can start the walk at either Ronny Creek (our recommendation) or Dove Lake and complete a circuit that encompasses many of the best trails carved into the vast mountain range.

Overlooking the vast valley's of Cradle Mountain National Park from Cradle Mountain Summit
View from Cradle Mountain Summit on a clear sunny day

Even if you don’t make it all the way to the peak, the Cradle Mountain Summit Circuit is well worth your time and effort! Find everything you need to know about this walk in our guide to the epic Cradle Mountain Summit Hike.

2. Indulge In The Rejuvenating Waldheim Alpine Spa

Reward your tired muscles after a day out exploring the plethora of walks in Cradle Mountain with an afternoon of rejuvenation at the Waldheim Alpine Spa. The Alpine Spa is nestled beside the rainforests in the Cradle Mountain Lodge and looks out upon towering king billy pines from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Waldheim Alpine Spa offers 60 or 90-minute private sessions in their sanctuary – which includes a dry heat sauna, wet steam room, a cool vitality pool and a spacious outdoor hot tub. You can even opt to include a bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine and a platter of chocolate-dipped strawberries for the ultimate indulgence!

For up-to-date information on packages, prices and other services, you can visit the Cradle Mountain Lodge’s website.

3. Explore The Dense Rainforests On A Short Walk In Cradle Mountain

Hiking one of the best day walks in Cradle Mountain, the Enchanted Forest Walk

While most visitors flock to Dove Lake and exclusively explore the network of trails weaving through the mountains beyond the lake, you will find some of the best rainforests right beside Cradle Mountain Village.

Our absolute favourite rainforest walk in Cradle Mountain is the King Billy Pine Walk. The easy 2 km circuit begins behind the Cradle Mountain Lodge and winds its way through a magical myrtle beech and king billy pine forest. Countless species of moss and lichen linger on anything that lies still for long enough, creating a vibrant green oasis that comes alive in wet weather.

4. Take On The Ultimate Adventure With A Cradle Mountain Canyoning Tour

Blend adventure with awe-inspiring scenery and take the plunge into the deep canyons of Dove River. From November to April, Cradle Mountain Canyons offer an exhilarating day of jumping off rocks, abseiling down waterfalls and exploring through deep canyons.

There are three different canyoning experiences that you can choose from, the most popular being the Dove Canyon tour. On this tour, you’ll walk through dense rainforests before abseiling into Dove River to explore the canyon. As you make your way through the canyon with a highly experienced guide, you’ll slide, jump or abseil off six waterfalls.

For more information on canyoning in Cradle Mountain, including prices, age limits and included gear, visit the Cradle Mountain Canyons website.

5. Search For Wild Wombats On The Cradle Valley Boardwalk

Wombat on the Cradle Valley Boardwalk, in Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is one of the best National Parks in Tasmania to see cute and cuddly wombats in their natural habitat. It’s almost impossible to walk along the Cradle Valley Boardwalk without seeing one grazing on the buttongrass or snoozing beside the track.

You can begin the 6 km Cradle Valley Boardwalk from the Interpretation Centre in Cradle Mountain Village, finishing at Ronny Creek. This peaceful walk wanders through buttongrass moorlands and coral fern fields, with occasional vistas of the distant mountains crowding the horizon.

Cradle Valley Boardwalk on a moody day

Once you reach Ronny Creek, you can have a quick wander along the beginning of the Overland Track, which also practically guarantees a wombat sighting, before catching the shuttle bus back to the Interpretation Centre.

6. Visit The Tasmanian Devils At The Cradle Sanctuary

Tasmanian Devil at the Devils at Cradle Sanctuary

The Tasmanian devil is a funny and elusive creature that is seldom spotted in the wild. The Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary is a great place to meet these endemic animals and give back to a worthy cause in the process.

The Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary is a conservation and breeding facility dedicated to saving the Tasmanian devils and other threatened species such as the spotted-tail and eastern quolls. All proceeds from your admission ticket go into the conservation efforts of the sanctuary and the keepers do an excellent job of providing loads of information about the animals and their habits.

Eastern Spotted Quoll at the Devils at Cradle Sanctuary in Cradle Mountain National Park

We highly recommend planning a visit during one of the keeper’s tours, which run daily at 10:30 am and 3 pm. Or for a truly immersive experience, you can book a feeding tour or a joey encounter.

7. Spot Wildlife After Dark

Many of the native animals in Cradle Mountain are nocturnal and are rarely seen during daylight hours – and those that you do see are often snoozing. To see these beloved animals at their most active, you can join the After-Dark Wildlife Spotting Tour

This 1.5-hour tour will pick you up from your accommodation in Cradle Mountain and take you to the best locations to witness nocturnal animals such as possums, wallabies, wombats and quolls. You might even be lucky enough to hear or see the elusive Tasmanian devil.

8. Find Waterfalls Along The Dove Canyon Circuit

Pencil Pine Falls along the Dove Canyon Circuit, one of the best things to do in Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is well-known for its towering dolerite peaks and deep glacially carved lakes, but few know that there are also some wondrous waterfalls flowing down Pencil Pine Creek.

The 5.3 km Dove Canyon Circuit begins at the Interpretation Centre and leads you past the cascading Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls, before continuing through buttongrass moorlands to Dove River. Just before you reach the meeting of Dove River and Pencil Pine Creek, you’ll notice a faint side track descending to the creek. Follow this little goat track to the base of a hidden, unnamed waterfall.

Waterfall along the Dove Canyon Circuit

Along with scenic waterfalls, the Dove Canyon Circuit also offers a hint of a challenge with some sections near Dove River requiring a little rock scrambling to reach a high point overlooking the canyon.

9. Travel Through The Cradle Valley On Horseback

See the Cradle Valley from a new perspective and explore the sprawling Speeler Plains on horseback. Cradle Country Adventures offers a half-day horse-riding experience that climbs through alpine eucalypt and myrtle forests before entering the expansive button grass plains. From this vantage point, you’re afforded breathtaking views of Cradle Mountain, Barn Bluff, Western Bluff, Mt Roland and Black Bluff.

The Speeler Plain Ride takes 4 hours and runs from November to April. These tours are run on demand so get in contact with Cradle Country Adventures to plan your horse ride.

10. Enjoy A Late Lunch Beside The Fire At The Tavern

Wood Fired Pizza at the Cradle Mountain Lodge

It’s easy to work up an appetite while you tick off the many things to do in Cradle Mountain. And the best place to recharge is the Tavern Bar & Bistro at the Cradle Mountain Lodge. The rustic tavern offers a cosy place to relax and enjoy the crackling central fireplace while gorging on a delicious wood-fired pizza and a local craft beer or wine.

11. Splurge On A Helicopter Ride Around Cradle Mountain

For a once in a lifetime experience of Cradle Mountain, splurge on an unforgettable helicopter ride over the dolerite peaks of this iconic mountain range. The Cradle Mountain and Fury Gorge scenic flight soars over the majestic Dove Lake and Crater Lake before weaving through glacially carved valleys towards Fury Gorge – Australia’s deepest gorge.

While you’ll pay a pretty penny for the 20 minute scenic flight, you’re not likely to ever forget this incredible experience in Cradle Mountain and the unique landscape of Southwest Tasmania.

12. Spend The Night In The Wilderness At Scott Kilvert Hut

To truly experience the wild beauty of Cradle Mountain, we recommend spending the night at Scott Kilvert Hut. This quaint hut lies on the banks of Lake Rodway on the eastern side of Cradle Mountain and is accessed on foot.

Hiking on the Overland Track overlooking Barn Bluff on our way to Scott Kilvert Hut
Scott Kilvert Hut in Cradle Mountain National Park, a great of the beaten track thing to do in Cradle Mountain

This is a fantastic entry-level overnight hike that showcases a vast majority of the magnificent trails threading through the Cradle Mountain range. The hut is free to stay at and all you need to do is register your stay at the visitor centre before departing.

For more information on this epic overnight hike, take a look at our ultimate guide to visiting Scott Kilvert Hut.

13. Summit The Imposing Peak Of Barn Bluff

Another incredible thing to do in Cradle Mountain that sees far less traffic than the Cradle Mountain Summit is Barn Bluff. This prominent peak sits 14 m taller than Cradle Mountain, making it the fifth-highest mountain in Tasmania.

Cloud forming over Barn Bluff

Most hikers summit Barn Bluff over a two-day walk, camping the night at Waterfall Hut. This not only allows you to take your time and immerse yourself in the wilderness without a strict timeframe, but it also gives you a higher chance of scoring clear weather for the summit.

Standing on the summit of Barn Bluff overlooking Cradle Mountain Summit

Our top recommended route for Barn Bluff is to begin at Ronny Creek, walk to Marions Lookout, pass by Cradle Mountain (summiting if you have the time) and continue on to Waterfall Hut. The following day, summit Barn Bluff before returning the long way via Scott Kilvert Hut and Hansons Peak, ending at Dove Lake and catching the shuttle back to your car at Ronny Creek.

14. Wander Along The Banks Of Dove Lake

Dove Lake Boat Shed on the Dove Lake Circuit

The Dove Lake Circuit is arguably the most popular of the things to do in Cradle Mountain – but for good reason. This enjoyable 1.5 – 2.5 hr circuit circumnavigates the enchanting Dove Lake – which sits in a gaping glacial cirque beneath Cradle Mountain’s summit.

You’ll walk beneath ancient king billy pine, between dense myrtle beech forests and through one of the most magical rainforests we’ve experienced. And finally, you’ll finish the easy walk at the iconic Dove Lake Boat Shed.

For more information on this beautiful walk, take a look at our detailed guide on the Dove Lake Circuit next.

15. Explore The Historic Waldheim Chalet

Weldheim Chalet, a historic thing to do in Cradle Mountain

Take a step back in time as you wander through the historic Waldheim Chalet, originally built by Gustav and Kate Weindorfer in 1912. The Weindorfer’s played a big part in the creation of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and you can learn about this early history on the walls of the Waldheim Chalet.

You’ll find the Waldheim Chalet tucked into the slopes above Cradle Valley, surrounded by gnarled king billy pines, myrtle beech trees and giant pandani. It’s a short walk from Ronny Creek Car Park and a worth-while detour on your way to Crater Lake.

16. See The Deciduous Fagus Change Colour In Autumn

If you have the freedom to choose when to visit Cradle Mountain, we highly recommend picking autumn. During this time, the mountains come alive with a vibrant pop of burnt orange and gold from Tasmania’s only deciduous tree – the fagus.

The best place to experience this magical changing of the fagus leaves is either on the Dove Lake Circuit or along the Lake Rodway Track.

Final Thoughts

Cradle Mountain Hotel in Cradle Mountain National Park

Cradle Mountain is one of those places that you can visit time and time again, continuing to find more mountains to climb or forests to wander through. There are countless things to do in Cradle Mountain and this is merely a list of our top recommendations.

We’ll leave you with one last bit of advice, don’t forget to broaden your horizons and explore the other trails leading from the Cradle Mountain Village. These often get forgotten about but are well worth your time!

For more information on the best things to do in Cradle Mountain and the many hiking trails weaving through the grand landscape, take a look at our list of other posts on this destination below.

Other Guides And Information On The Best Things To Do In Cradle Mountain

  • The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Cradle Mountain
  • Best Day Walks In Cradle Mountain
  • Dove Lake Circuit
  • Scott Kilvert Hut
  • Best Things To Do In Cradle Mountain In Winter
  • Cradle Mountain Summit Hike
  • Barn Bluff Hike