8 BEST hikes in Cradle Mountain National Park

Cradle Mountain National Park is the most popular national parks in Tasmania – and for good reason! There is an abundance of hiking routes you can complete in this national park, from short, full day and multi day hikes.

If you love hiking and being out in nature, Cradle Mountain needs to be on your bucket list for Tasmania. Even if you’re not particularly into hiking, I would still visit here! I spent 3 days in this national park completing every hike available (expect for the overland track). This blog post consist of the 8 best hikes, I recommend you look into. 

This blog post contains affiliate links, I may receive a small compensation if you use them – don’t worry at no extra cost to you! 

Cradle Mountain National park - best hikes

How many days do I need?

I spent 3 full days in this national park, which was plenty of time to do all the hikes and activities I wanted. I would recommend that you spend at least 2 days here. This will give you enough time to complete some hikes and see the national parks main highlights. 

A few things about Cradle Mountain National Park

To access the Cradle Mountain National Park, you will need to purchase a park pass. I purchased a holiday vehicle park pass, which lasts for 3 months and will cost you $82.40 AUD. This pass can be used at other national parks in Tasmania and includes shuttle buses into Cradle Mountain national park. 

Shuttle Bus

The best way to access the national park is via the shuttle bus service. These shuttle buses leave every 15mins from the visitor centre and other stops in the national park. They run from the visitor centre to Dove Lake. The shuttle buses run from 8am-6pm October to March and 9am-5pm April to September. 


At this current time, you can only drive and park at Ronny Creek carpark. You are only allowed to do this when the shuttle buses aren’t running. So, you can drive into the national park before 8am, but after 8am you will not be allowed to take your private vehicle into the park. The roads are narrow, with blind corners – so this is to stop accidents with the shuttle buses. 

What if I’ve driven in before 8am but need to drive out after? You are allowed to drive out after 8am, but you will need to follow a shuttle bus out, not drive out by yourself. Wait at the carpark till a shuttle bus comes, give the driver a wave to let them know you are following and follow the shuttle bus out. Make sure you pull over when the shuttle bus does, as they will be allowing other shuttle buses to pass. 

When to go? 

The best time to visit Cradle Mountain National Park is between December and March. The weather is pleasant, with the least amount of rainfall. The average temperature during this time is about 18 degrees Celsius.

Where to stay? 

The only place to stay inside the National Park is at the Waldheim Cabins. Which can host 4-8 people and cost between $95-$185 AUD per night. These cabins are mainly used by hikers who are starting or finishing the Overland Track. They are very basic but would make for a great one- or two-night stay! 

A great budget option is Discovery Park Cradle Mountain. This is where I stayed for my 3 nights in the Cradle Mountain Area. They have a range of options from cabins, camping, backpacker dorms and chalets. The price is quite high compared to other holiday parks, but as there is limited options in this area, this is expected. 

Other options include Cradle Mountain HotelCradle Mountain Wilderness village and Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. All of which have a higher price range then the Discovery Park. 

8 BEST Hikes in Cradle Mountain National Park

Dove Lake Circuit

Distance: 6km 
Duration: 2-3 hours depending on fitness
Difficulty: Easy 

The Dove Lake circuit must be the most popular hike in Cradle Mountain National Park. This loop starts and ends at the Dove Lake carpark and consist of mainly flat ground. There are a few uphill sections but nothing major. You can complete this circuit clockwise or anticlockwise – however if you want to avoid most of the uphill sections, complete it in an anticlockwise direction. 

Hanson’s Peak 

Cradle Mountain National park - best hikes

Distance: 7km 
Duration: 2-3 hours depending on fitness 
Difficulty: Medium 

This is one of the most underrated hikes in Cradle Mountain National Park. Hanson’s peak is a viewpoint which overlooks Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain, opposite Marion’s Lookout. It only has a few steep sections but is well worth it for the views! 

You can read my blog about hiking Hanson’s Peak here. 

Cradle Mountain Summit 

Distance: 12km return 
Duration: 5-8hrs 
Difficulty: Hard 

If you love hiking and have a good level of fitness, I highly recommend you hike to the summit of Cradle Mountain! There are many different routes you can take to reach the summit trail, passing by other viewpoints on the way. The hike up to the summit is all rock scrambling over large boulders – this is where you will need some level of fitness. At the summit you will receive 360 views over the national park. 

You can read my full guide to hiking the Cradle Mountain summit here. 

Dove Lake Boat Shed 

This is a nice easy walk from the Dove Lake carpark. The Dove Lake Boat shed is an iconic spot for both travellers and photographers. I went here for sunrise, and it was insanely gorgeous. If you are into photography, I highly recommend doing this as I had the place all to myself and it was truly magical!

As you couldn’t currently drive to the Dove Lake carpark when I was in this national park, I drove to Ronny Creek and walked via the boardwalk to Dove Lake. Afterwards I caught the bus to Ronny Creek and drove out the national park following a shuttle bus. 

Marion’s Peak 

Cradle Mountain National park - best hikes

Distance: 5km return 
Duration: 2 hours 
Difficulty: Medium 

Marion’s lookout is the most popular viewpoint in Cradle Mountain National Park, as it offers incredible views over Dove Lake and towards Cradle Mountain. This hike can be completed from either Ronny Creek or Dove Lake carpark (most popular starting point). This hike has some steep sections, which will require the use of the chain supplied. 

Enchanted Walk 

Distance: 1km 
Duration: 30mins 
Difficulty: Easy 

This is a short but beautiful hike located just outside of the national park. Along this hike you will wonder along the banks of the Pencil Pine River and hopefully be able to spot some native wildlife! This is one of the best short hikes in the Cradle Mountain area. 

Crater Lake Circuit 

Distance: 5km return 
Duration: 1-2 hrs 
Difficulty: Medium 

Crater lake is not actually a crater, it was carved out by glaciers a millennia ago. This dark blue lake is absolutely spectacular and well worth visiting. This hike can either be started from the Ronny Creek carpark or Dove Lake. I highly recommend starting at Ronny Creek, following the overland track past Crater Falls and heading down the track towards Wombat Pool. Finishing the hike at the Dove Lake carpark. 

Cradle Valley Boardwalk 

Distance: 12km
Duration: 3 hours 
Difficulty: Easy 

This is the best hike to do in Cradle Mountain National Park if you are looking to see wombats! The hike starts at either Ronny Creek or the visitor centre. This boardwalk trail is all boardwalks, making it an easy hike. You will pass through Australian bushland, past waterfalls and over creeks. 

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