Monday, March 5, 2012

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Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is one of Tasmania’s natural treasures. This expansive national park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Covering more than one million hectares, the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is like two parks in one. The northern areas of the park include the picturesque Cradle
Mountain with its rugged peaks and plummeting gorges. Beautiful blue Lake St Clair occupies the southern reaches of the park. The storied Overland Track, which covers 65 kilometers, connects these two beautiful natural areas and is open to hiking year round.

The photo above shows Cradle Mountain immediately behind Dove Lake.

The Overland Track is one of the most popular bush trails in the Australian region. It opened in the 1930s and is still in use today. Permits are required for parties who wish to undertake multi-day expeditions along the trail. Many visitors choose to hike along the edge of Lake St Clair, which brings the total length of the route up to 82 kilometers. The six-day trek along the Overland Track takes visitors through rugged mountains carved by glaciers, alpine meadows, and the park’s iconic temperate rainforest habitat.

In 1922, the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park was officially designated as a protected wilderness area. The Austrian settler Gustav Weindorfer was so taken with this scenic part of Tasmania that he purchased land and constructed a rustic chalet in 1912 using native King Billy pines. Weindorfer lived permanently in the chalet and also hosted guests in the building. The site of the original Weindorfer chalet can be toured during a visit to the park. Unfortunately, the historic building burned down in the 1970s, but a reconstructed chalet stands in its place today.

Weindorfer wasn’t the only person to enjoy this spectacular natural area. Ancient remains of Aboriginal settlers found in a limestone cave prove that the environment was used by Aboriginal people 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. Evidence of early Aboriginal civilizations is one of the things that make this national park so special. The park is also home to 50 percent of Tasmania’s endemic plants and animals. As a microcosm of Tasmania’s diverse ecosystem, an astounding 68 percent of high rainforest species are found in the park’s alpine areas. Visitors may meet pademelons, carnivorous quolls, Bennett's wallabies, Tasmanian devils, wombats, crow-like currawongs and echidnas.

The photo above shows an image of Cradle Mountain and was taken near Sheffield, Tasmania.

Getting around the park is simple thanks to contracted shuttles that operate on the park’s roads seven days a week. More than 209,000 visitors tour this beautiful natural area every year. There are several shops located within the park for travelers who need sundry supplies. Visitors can also stock up on goods in the towns surrounding the park.

Simple accommodations and cabins are available for rent inside the park’s boundaries. However, many visitors choose more luxurious holiday accommodation options, including private villas, luxurious chateaus and mountain lodges located outside the park. Villas are located a short distance from the park’s many trails and attractions.

Visitors can enter the park by car or by bus. The Leeawuleena ferry, Australia’s highest altitude ferry route, connects several points along Lake St Clair. Short trails, wheelchair accessible interpretation centers, ranger-guided walks, and day-hike routes are available throughout the park. Visitors can hike through alpine meadows, moss-covered forests and temperate rainforests filled with colorful birds and endemic animals. The towering mountains, rugged vistas, and unspoiled habitat make Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park the ideal place to see everything Tasmania has to offer in one beautifully diverse location.


  1. What great photos! I love this country! I hope I will get there sometime!

  2. Nice pics! Cradle Mountain, Maria Island are the two most beautiful tourist attraction in Tasmania.



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