Cradle Mountain overnight walks

The Cradle Mountain region features several spectacular and diverse overnight walks. There are public accommodation huts at Lake Rodway and Waterfall Valley that are useful for overnight walks in those areas. Tent camping is also permitted in the area. The weather around Cradle Mountain is notoriously unpredictable and can change very rapidly. You have to expect rain, strong winds, freezing temperatures and snow any time of the year. Always check the latest weather forecasts for the Cradle Mountain area and take clothing for all conditions, plus a bottle of water and food rations. The tracks are generally dry but will likely include small creek crossings and occasional muddy sections (depending on the time of year) so prepare for wet feet.

Details

Description

Lake Rodway (Scott-Kilvert Hut): An overnight track from the Dove Lake carpark begins with a gentle uphill climb along the eastern edge of Lake Dove to Hanson's Peak, ,where one of two tracks can be taken to get to Lake Rodway – the Hansons Peak climb or the lower track via The Twisted Lakes. The Twisted Lakes option takes you through a particularly dense and spectacular deciduous beech forest, which is at its colourful best in autumn when the trees turn golden. They are so vibrant it often appears more light under their canopies than in the open air. The climb over Hansons Peak affords spectacular views across Dove lake to Cradle Valley, and of Cradle Mountain. The rocky Hansons Peak track is exposed and is vulnerable to high winds but is slightly sorter in duration than the Twisted Lakes option. The Hansons Peak and Twisted Lakes tracks meet again at Little Horn (the shorter half of Cradle Mountain), and walkers then descend for one hour on the south side of Cradle Mountain, past alpine tarns and beech forest, to Lake Rodway. After rains, this section of track features spectacular short-lived waterfalls that cascade off the back of Cradle Mountain to the valley floor. These waterfalls often last only a day after the rains but are stunning when in flow. At Lake Rodway is the comfortable and large A-framed Scott-Kilvert Hut, which was built as a memorial to David Kilvert and Ewan Scott who died in the area in a blizzard in May 1965. At the hut there are also 4-5 tent sites. Three route options can return the walker from Lake Rodway to the Dove Lake carpark: a) a return along the same route mentioned above, via either Hansons Peak or Twisted Lakes; b) a retun on the same route to Little Horn, then traverse the face Track across the front of Cradle Mountain to Kitchen Hut, then descend over Marions Lookout on the western side of Dove Lake; c) Continue south from Lake Rodway onto the Cradle Cirque and turn north to follow the Overland Track over Marions Lookout to the carpark. Option A is a return replica of the in-route, and takes about 2.5 hours. The alternative, across the Face Track, takes about 3 hours and includes a dramatic and spectacular walk across the front of Cradle Mountain. This is an ideal route if a climb to the summit of Cradle Mountain is sought. Option C is a loop around the south side of Cradle Mountain and affords extensive views including Barn Bluff to the west and the Pelion Range to the south. This track is exposed and can be vulnerable to strong winds in inclement weather. It is about a 4.5-hour walk from Lake Rodway to the Dove lake carpark via this route. Barn Bluff: Not only is Barn Bluff a spectacular mountain in itself, but the views from the top, if possible, are even more spectacular. This dolerite cone is best accessed from Dove Lake car park, via Marions Lookout and Kitchen Hut, or from Ronny Creek via Kitchen Hut. Both tracks intersect at Kitchen Hut and it is a further 3.5 hours south to Barn Bluff across the flat Cradle Cirque. Barn Bluff itself is a steep climb including boulder hopping. This climb should not be attempted in poor weather as the boulders become can become slippery and icy, The 360 degree views from the summit are spectacular, looking over Cradle Mountain north to Mount Roland the Western Tiers, east across the Mersey Valley to the walls of Jerusalem, Moons of Jupiter, and Land of a Thousand Lakes, south over Mt Ossa and the Pelion Range to several mountains and ranges near Lake St Clair, and west across Granite Tor, Tyndall Range and Mt Murchison to the stunning folded and tortured topography of Tasmania’s south-west. In between are extraordinary valleys, gorges and lakes pock-marking the alpine plateau. From Dove Lake (via Marions Lookout) the return trip takes about 9 hours, not including stops. From Ronny Creek, allow 10 hours return. To make it easier, walkers can overnight at waterfall Valley, at the foot of Barn Bluff further along the Overland Track. The Cradle Cirque and Barn Bluff are exposed and the weather can change rapidly. Take clothing and equipment for all weather conditions. Waterfall Valley: This sensational walk is Cradle Mountain World Heritage Area at its finest. The track passes to the western side of Cradle Mountain and the eastern side of Barn Bluff, and in between is a diverse experience featuring alpine tarns, buttongrass plains, rainforest and deciduous beech forests. There are also side tracks to the summits of Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff. The 10.4km walk from Dove lake carpark to Waterfall Valley huts takes about 5 hours, not including side tracks.. The first hour is the hardest, up the steep Marions Lookout on the western side of Dove Lake but once you reach Cradle Plateau at the top, it is a flat walk until the final hour descent into Waterfall Valley. There are two overnight huts at Waterfall Valley – the historic and original hut sleeps only eight people but the newer hut sleeps 24 people. Both huts, like all the public hits in National Park, are only basic – bunks and an area to eat. The compost toilets are outside and you must bring your own cooking equipment. There are tent sites near both huts.

Hours: Open all hours

Location

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania