Cradle Mountain

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Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain Behind Dove Lake.jpg
Cradle Mountain as seen from the north, across Dove Lake
Elevation 1,545 m (5,069 ft)AHD[1]
Location Tasmania
Coordinates 41°41′4.72″S 145°57′4.59″E / 41.6846444°S 145.9512750°E / -41.6846444; 145.9512750 (Cradle Mountain)Coordinates: 41°41′4.72″S 145°57′4.59″E / 41.6846444°S 145.9512750°E / -41.6846444; 145.9512750 (Cradle Mountain)

Cradle Mountain is a mountain in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania, Australia. Rising to 1,545 metres (5,069 ft) above sea level, it is one of the principal tourist sites in Tasmania, owing to its natural beauty. The Cradle Mountain is composed of dolerite columns, similar to many of the other mountains in the area.


The area around the mountain has a large number of day walks, as well as being one terminus of the Overland Track.[2][3] The Overland Track winds through a variety of landscapes to its opposite end – 80.8 kilometres (50.2 mi) to the south – at Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake.[4]

The mountain is climbed by tourists virtually year round. It is a strenuous return hike from the Dove Lake car park with a recommended allotted time of 6.5 hours. The climb up the rocky part of the mountain involves scrambling over large boulders for several hundred meters. The entire climb is exposed to any bad weather that may arrive quickly, while climbing the upper slopes in winter can be dangerous due to slick ice on the rocks and heavy snow covering holes and other hazards. From the summit, there is a spectacular view, encompassing Dove Lake, Barn Bluff and Mount Ossa.


Panorama from west, showing Cradle Mountain and, in the distance, Barn Bluff

The mountain rises above the glacially formed Dove Lake (934 metres (3,064 ft)), Lake Wilks, and Crater Lake.

The mountain has four named summits. In order of height they are Cradle Mountain (1,545 m (5,069 ft)); Smithies Peak (1,527 m (5,010 ft)); Weindorfers Tower (1,459 metres (4,787 ft)); and Little Horn (1,355 m (4,446 ft)).[1][5]

The mountain itself is named after its resemblance to a gold mining cradle.

Flora and fauna[edit]

The area is covered in a wide variety of alpine and sub-alpine vegetation, including the colourful deciduous beech, itself an anomaly given that most Australian native flora is evergreen. Alpine coral fern and button grass dominate the alpine wet sedgelands near the mountain summit. Stands of Tasmanian snow gum can be found at slightly lower elevations alongside Tasmanian eyebright, scoparia heath, mountain rocket, waratah, Cheshunt pine and pencil pine. Within the valleys surrounding the mountain, species such as myrtle beech, pandani, sassafras, King Billy pine and celery top pine form thick temperate rainforest with dense, mossy undergrowth.

Wombats are a common sight throughout the area, while pademelons, Tasmanian devils and echidnas can also be seen. Numerous bird species can be found, including green rosellas, black currawongs, pink robins and Tasmanian scrubwrens, while peregrine falcons and wedge-tailed eagles nest on the mountains cliffs. Tiger snakes are a highly venomous snake species known to be found in the area.



  1. ^ a b "LISTmap (Cradle Mountain)". Tasmanian Government Department of Primary Industries and Water. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  2. ^ Megan Holbeck. "Top 10 Australian Walks". Australian Geographic Online. Retrieved 2011-04-10. 
  3. ^ "Overland Track". Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service, Department of Primary Industries and Water. Retrieved 2011-03-04. 
  4. ^ Tim Dub, ''Cradle Mountain: past and present ', Australian Geographic, AG Online, accessed online 7 August 2010
  5. ^ "LISTmap (Cradle Mountain minor peaks)". Tasmanian Government Department of Primary Industries and Water. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  6. ^

External links[edit]

Public transport access[edit]

  • Tassielink have buses to/from Devonport and Queenstown/Strahan.
  • McDermott's run buses between Cradle Mountain and Launceston (not every day)