Friday, November 14, 2014

Cradle Mountain, Tas, Australia

2014 November: One day climb of Cradle Mountain in "Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park" of Tasmania, Australia


Three years ago in 2011, I was in Tasmania for a week of hiking. In the end, the only mountains I climbed were Mt Ossa and Mt Pelion East .  A foot injury plus bad weather grounded me for the rest of the week. I am now back to finish the unfinished business:

• Today is to tick off Cradle Mountain.

• Tomorrow will be to climb Barn Bluff ... Photos and write up of the trip are in:

• The day after will be to climb Legges Tor ... Photos and write up of the trip are in:

• And the day after will be to climb The Temple in Walls of Jerusalem National Park ... Photos and write up of the trip are in:

Cradle Mountain

Due to its natural beauty, Cradle Mountain is renowned internationally as one of Australia's most photographed and visited mountain. At 1545 metres (5,069 ft), it is not difficult to climb - a return trip of 6 to 7 hours is sufficient for the average person. If you live in Australia and claim to love mountains, you should climb it once in your lifetime.


"100 Walks in Tasmania" by Tyrone Thomas and Andrew Close (2008 edition), Walk #90 has a well written detailed description of this walk.


I only have the 1:100,000 scaled Sophia 8014 map. The trail to the summit is well marked. You won't get lost.

Route & GPS files

My route is very similar to that described in Tyrone Thomas and Andrew Close's book.

The GPX files can be download from:
- From Ronny Creek Carpark to Cradle Mountain:

- Return trip from Cradle Mountain back to Ronny Creek Carpark:

In summary:
• Start at Ronny Creek Carpark.
• Walk on the Overland Track, pass Marions Lookout, Pass Kitchen Hut.
• After Kitchen Hut, just follow the sign to Cradle Mountain.

• Return trip is back to Kitchen Hut first.
• Then via Horse Track back to car at Ronny Creek Carpark.

Timeline & Distance

The weather forecast for the morning was wet and windy. So I start the walk late - almost at 11am. By midday, The weather has improved. But still, on the more exposed part of the route, it is freezing cold and sleeting. Luckily by the time I reach the base of the mountain and have lunch, the sky is mostly clear.

10:55   0.0 km  Start at Ronny Creek Carpark
11:15   1.5 km  at Overland Track / Horse Track junction
12:01   3.7 km  at Marions Lookout

12:03   3.8 km  leave Marions Lookout
12:31   5.4 km  at Overland Track / Horse Track junction
12:37   5.8 km  at Kitchen Hut


13:09   5.8 km  Leave Kitchen Hut
14:29   7.4 km  at summit of Cradle Mt

14:46   7.4 km  Leave summit of Cradle Mt
16:02   8.8 km  at Kitchen Hut
16:07   9.2 km  at Overland Track & Horse Track junction
16:32  10.8 km  at Crater Peak

16:42  11.0 km  leave Crater Peak
17:17  13.0 km  at Horse Track & Overland Track junction
17:34  14.4 km  at Ronny Creek Carpark

Total  14.4 km in 6 hrs 39 mins at leisurely pace
(Above distance is from Google Earth. My Garmin Montana GPS gives 14.7 km)


( Note: There are even more beautiful pictures of Cradle Mountain from my Barn Bluff blog ... refer to: )

1)  The start of the hike is here at Ronny Creek Carpark. I'll be walking on the well-known Overland Track for most of the way. (The other starting point is at Dove Lake Carpark. As I will be there tomorrow for the Barn Bluff climb, hence decide to start here today.)

2)  A few minutes into the walk - looking back at Ronny Creek Carpark

3)  Plenty of Button Grass along the earlier part of the Overland Track

4)  The Overland Track passes through the eastern shore of Crater Lake.

5)  Some parts of the Overland Track is steep - like here.

6)  A few steps before reaching Marions Lookout is this beautiful view of Crater Lake.

7)  At Marions Lookout.
The lake on the left is Lake Lilla. The lake on the right is Dove Lake. The mountain rising above the shore of Dove Lake is Mt Campbell.

8)  Here it is, the famous Cradle Mountain! (at Marions Lookout)
Don't you think it is pretty evil looking? If you say it is Mordor in Middle Earth from "Lord of the Rings", I would believe you.

9)  Walking closer towards Cradle Mountain

10)  More closer to Cradle Mountain.
The summit is the highest point on the right edge of the photo. You can just make out Kitchen Hut also on the right edge ... it is an emergency shelter.

11)  Kitchen Hut.
You'll notice there is a door on the upper story. This is in case the snow is so deep as to cover the ground floor, then you can still get in via the upper story door.

12)  Zooming onto Cradle Mountain.
The summit is the highest point on the right of these massive dolerite rock columns. In the middle of the slope, the trail (blue arrow) turns right towards the summit. I decide to take a direct line up (red arrow), then traverse across the ridge top to the summit. Why? ... Just want to experience more of the top of Cradle Mountain  :-)

13)  Climbing up Cradle Mountain (By the way, the summit is on the far right and not in this photo)

14)  As described in photo #12, the trail turns right here. But a few meters after this sign, I decide to climb straight up, then traverse across the ridge top towards the summit (not in this pic) - just to see more of the top of Cradle Mountain. The traverse at the ridge top turns out to be a boulder hopping adventure ... made life slightly more difficult, but more exciting too!

15)  Loose stones to the ridge - as explained earlier, this is not the normal route to the summit.

16)  Not far now to the top of the ridge

17)  At the top of the ridge, you get a good view of the surrounding countryside, better than from the summit itself. Towards the north is the beautiful blue Dove Lake.

18)  Looking back towards north west at the trails to Cradle Mountain - The Overland Track where I walked this morning is the trail from the top right corner. Later on, when I return to the carpark, I will take the Horse Track which is towards the top of the photo.

19)  Scenery towards the west - the larger lake is Suttons Tarn. The oblong white lake at the right edge of the photo (which is towards north west) is near Kitchen Hut.

20)  Towards east is the lovely folded mountain scenes.

21)  Towards south east is Lake Rodway. The bald mountain behind the lake is Mt Emmett. I'll be walking pass the shore of Lake Rodway when I climb Barn Bluff tomorrow. ( Photos and write up of that trip are in: .)

22)  Time to stop enjoying the scenery. Need to walk (actually scramble) across towards the summit which is at the left side of the photo. At the time this photo is taken, the harder part of clambering up and down near-vertical boulders had already been done. The rest, as is shown here, is easier.

23)  Scrambling up the rocks towards the summit

24)  Scrambling up the rocks towards the summit

25)  Rock formation on the ridge of Cradle Mountain - This looks like a pair of rabbit ears.

26)  Rock formation on the ridge of Cradle Mountain - Someone put a hedge saw through the top these rocks.

27)  This rock looks like a Easter Island moai statue.

28)  Close to the summit now

29)  The summit is just behind me ... it is windy and cold at the top.

30)  A few more steps ...

31)  ... Made it !!!
Barn Bluff is the nipple like mountain that I'll climb tomorrow. ( Photos and write up of that trip are in: .)

32)  Believe or not, this is my first ever selfie.

33)  Scenery from the summit - The big pile of rocks on the right side of the photo is the same big pile of rocks on the right side of photo #22.

34)  Time to go down the mountain ... just follow the poles.

35)  Going down via the normal route. (I didn't climb up from here.)

36)  Looking back at where I just came down.

37)  Going down

38)  I just came down from where this guy is heading.

39)  I came from the Overland Track. Now I am returning to the car via the Horse Track. Crater Peak is in front.

40)  On the Horse Track towards Crater Peak.

41)  I am now at the top of Crater Peak, 1270m, and looking back at Cradle Mountain.

42)  Scenery from top of Crater Peak: The nearest lake is Crater Lake. The one in the middle is Lake Lilla. The furthest lake is Dove Lake.

43)  Close to Ronny Creek Carpark now ... These are Richea Pandanifolia (Pandani or Giant Grass Tree), a species of flowering plant in the family Ericaceae, endemic to Tasmania. Here, they line up along Ronny Creek - quite cute !

44)  A wombat

45)  Compare to the mainland, the wombats here are friendly and not afraid of humans. I approach quite close to this one and it keeps munching on the grass. On the mainland, the wombat would have scampered away long ago.  Post Script: I was reminded that everyone and everything in Tasmania are friendly.  Haha, so true.   :-)

Post Script

Today's weather is not perfect, hence the pictures of Cradle Mountain from far away is not as good as they should be. But the next day, when I climb Barn Bluff, I am able to obtain really beautiful pictures of Cradle Mountain ... refer to my Barn Bluff blog:


  1. Hi,

    I will be going to cradle mountain next week. But the weather forecast says there will be rain. Is it still possible to hiking when there is rain?

    1. You can walk on the track in the rain to the base of Cradle Mtn. But don't climb it, it is all rock near the top and the rocks will be too slippery when wet. In any case, when it rains, you can't see any scenery, so there is no point even to walk on the track.


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