Hiking the Cradle Mountain Summit in Tasmania
I’ve never been nervous for a hike, before our last day in Tasmania. But our preparation for hiking the Cradle Mountain Summit definitely had my anxiety going. We knew it was a hard hike, but heard it was worth every step. The hike begins at the base of the mountain at Dove Lake, and circles around the peak. It includes some serious bouldering, steep climbs with chains, stair after stair, and luckily—some normal sections of hiking trail. It’s about 9 miles from the car park to the summit, and back again (which took us about 6 hours). We did the full circuit—counterclockwise, which is a bit easier, if you want to do the whole circuit.
We began our journey early in the morning, so we could take advantage of parking at Dove Lake (if you arrive in the park after it opens, then you have to take the bus), and to beat the crowds. It was definitely worth it, because we had the trail to ourselves all the way until we reached the Kitchen Hut (a shelter with seating and a small food preparation table). However, it was cold, windy, and the peak was covered in clouds that had us nervous about continuing. We stopped in the Kitchen Hut to fuel up with water and some snacks, and to see if we could wait out the storm. Lucky for us, the weather cleared right up, and was sunny the rest of the way!
From the Kitchen Hut to the summit is where the hike gets tricky. We spent the next two hours scrambling over large rocks, hoisting ourselves up (and down) ledges, and eventually ditching my backpack (we picked it up on the way down, but it was too hard to climb with). The trail was also much busier once we began this part of the hike, which meant we had to take turns and leave room for other hikers. But the view at the top was really stunning! We could see for miles, including Dove Lake and Barn Bluff (which I believe you can reach if you are hiking the Overland Track)
After taking hundreds of photos, we slowly made our way back down the summit, and caught onto the trail, again. We continued our journey around to the other side of the lake, stopped at one of the other Kitchen Huts, to rest our legs a bit, and then made our way back to the car park.
This hike, while the hardest of the hikes we did in Tasmania, was definitely the highlight of the trip! It had everything I love, all packed into one adventure—mountains, lakes, views for miles, cloudy peaks, sunshine, easy walking, and a trail that takes both mental and physical effort.
Sadly this is the last post in my Tasmania recap series! It was such an amazing trip, and I would love to go back, if I ever get the chance.