Cradle Mountain Summit Walk, Tasmania Australia

Cradle Mountain Summit

We started from Ronny’s Creek car park to Crater Lake, then on to Marion’s Lookout and up Cradle Mountain. We returned, in what we thought would be a quicker route, but it turned out to be a horribly steep and difficult trail back to Dove Lake. We were over-prepared in some areas like wearing thermals (we read that it sometimes snowed in summer), and piling on the wet weather gear but entirely under prepared in one of the most crucial points, like bringing enough water. It was a scorching hot day and by the end of it we were severely dehydrated and sunburnt.

Climbing up Cradle Mountain is no easy feat. I applaud anyone that endeavours this hike – it’s graded 5/5 in terms of difficulty. We were unfamiliar with this terrain, rock climbing/boulder hopping and you are pretty much scrambling 50% of the time up the mountain. At one point I was boulder hopping and I looked to my right side and saw a steep vertical drop – one misguided step and it was your life. I froze and murmured to Jackson that I had looked down and was scared. He encouraged me to keep going and look ahead.

As we went up, we passed many people that had reached the summit and were heading back down. They kept reassuring us, stating that it was only so and so many minutes away and the view was worth the hard effort.

There was a section in the path where there is a steep dip and then you have to climb back up again – the tipping point for most hikers. A few had reached that mark and turned back, never reaching the summit.

At this stage, we contemplated just giving up – we were so exhausted, I had multiple blisters on my feet and we were running out of water fast. Usually when I have a tough decision I ask myself, will I regret this later. I thought about it and the answer was yes so we pressed on. Although the dip was the hardest part (even more so for me as I have a short frame and couldn’t reach the rocks) it felt amazing to finally reach the summit. It was a clear day and the view was breathtaking – it was spectacular to see the unspoilt nature of Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park.

Notably the hard part was going down the mountain. We were on our bottoms the whole time. I envied the people that bounded from rock to rock at such a quick pace and with ease. As we reached the base we wanted to take the quickest route as the last bus back to our car was at 5:30pm. The so called quick route was not quick at all but incredibly steep and difficult, we also got lost for a bit along the way. By this state we had run out of water and the sun was still piercing at 4:30pm.

I was destroyed, my throat was burning with thirst, I was still sweating bucket loads, which wasn’t great for the dehydration, and every step hurt with the blisters on my feet. We thought we missed the bus, as by this time it was 6:30pm – this meant another 1-2hrs extra walking to get to our car. I had an uneasy dizzy feeling (probably from the dehydration) so Jackson was going to ask some random people to drive us back to the car when we reached Dove Lake car park.

As we reached the car park our faces lit up. We saw the bus at the stop and Jackson ran to wave them down. Luckily for us, this was actually the last bus of the day and we had mixed up the times. When we got to the car we guzzled the warm bottled water that had been sitting in the car for the whole day. We must have drunk the whole 2Ls within ten minutes.

This was the most difficult hike I’ve done so far and although 60% of the hike was painful, I do not regret it. Would I ever do this hike again? Of course not! But I’d recommend everyone to give it a go at least once.

Here are the photos from the Cradle Mountain Summit walk.

Signing in to Cradle Mountain summit hike

Signing in at Ronny Creek’s car park to make sure that the park rangers know we are hiking.

Ronny Creek hike, Tasmania

First half of the trail map at Ronny Creek.

Overland track, Cradle Mountain

This is part of the Overland Track which is 65km from Cradle Mountain to Lake Saint Clair.

Overland Track

Varying vegetation as you progress further into the walk.

Crater Lake Tasmania

This is Crater Lake – as the name depicts, a lake in a crater.

Crater Lake Tasmania

Another view of Crater Lake.

Marion's Lookout

Jackson at a scenic point near Marion’s Lookout.

Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Our first sighting of Cradle Mountain on the trail near Marion’s Lookout.

Cradle Mountain

Getting closer to Cradle Mountain.

Barn Bluff

The other neighbouring mountain to Cradle, Barn Bluff. We met some British people that had just climbed Barn Bluff and then were attempting to climb Cradle Mountain afterwards – hats off to them!

Cradle Mountain

The route up to the summit.

Cradle Mountain summit hike

Cradle Mountain summit hike

Taking a rest and enjoying the view.

Cradle Mountain summit hike

This is the dip in the trail – it doesn’t look too bad in the photo but trust me, it was really hard. Tiny specs of colour in the photo are people.

Cradle Mountain summit

We have reached the summit!

Cradle Mountain summit

A photo Jackson took of me at the summit.

Cradle Mountain Summit

The difficult part – going down.

Cradle Mountain Summit

Cradle Mountain summit

Epic views of Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park.

Dove Lake

A view of Dove Lake.

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16 thoughts on “Cradle Mountain Summit Walk, Tasmania Australia

  1. Hi Anne,

    Your hiking trip to Cradle mountain looks phenomenal. How long did the climb last? From what city in Tasmania I should start this climb? Launceston or Hobart?

    Thanks,

    Ceecee

  2. It took 9 hours, but it depends on the route you take (your starting and ending point, as there are a few routes you can choose) and also your level of fitness.

    I flew in from Launceston and drove to Ronny Creek car park to take the hike. Launceston is closer than Hobart. With that being said, Hobart is lovely and deserves a visit.

  3. Thanks for quick response. Appreciated. So, I can do a day hike/trip to reach the summit of cradle mountain if I follow your route? Cool. I thought it was more than 1 day.
    I’m planning to fly from Cairns or Melbourne to either Devonport or Launceston. What is the nearest access to get to the Ronny’s creek? Devonport or Launceston?

    Thanks again.

  4. Great article, amazing photos. Awesome that you made it all the way to the top after contemplating turning back.

  5. Amazing photos and great story- I’m not sure if you’ve inspired me to do the walk or warned me off it… I guess what I’m wondering is what was your level of experience with hiking when you did this. I have little to no experience and that’s what’s scaring me- I read this trail has a 5/5 difficulty, but then I’ve read a lot of people saying they did it with kids!
    Thanks for your story and your advice
    Bec

  6. Hi Bec,
    When I did the walk I had done previous bush walks (perhaps 3 times a year) but I was much more unfit back then (desk job and no exercise).
    I saw kids on the trail too (although teenagers, not youngens). It is difficult, but it’s not impossible.
    I think definitely do it, just do a few walks before hand.
    I think if you do cardio or gym it’ll definitely help.
    The views are amazing!

  7. Thank you so much for your advice! I will start prepping as we will be there at the end of the month! Thanks again =)

  8. Hi great insight and photos they are amazing. I just had a few questions in regards to the photo of Barn bluff where you said you met the british people who were then attempting to climb cradle mountain. Are you able to tell me which track you had taken to get to this point and where you left from and also roughly how long it took you to get to this point? your help would be greatly appreciated

    thanks very much Ben.

  9. Hi Ben,
    Sorry I can’t really remember the name of the trail, but it’s along the Overland track, we started from Ronny Creek car park and it passes through Marion’s Lookout.
    Best bet is when you arrive at the national park, go to the visitor center to get a free map and talk to the ranger about what trail options might suit you, there are a few routes and they can provide time estimates for each section. More info on visitor center: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=7560

  10. Hi Anne
    enjoyed the photos
    climbed to the summit on the 13-5-2017 for my 54 birthday,
    was not lucky enough to get clear skies on this day as the mist rolled in while climbing up but still enjoyed the day
    Have sent your photo blog to my children and intend to go back up later this year with them in tow.

  11. Hi Anne

    I will go to this track soon, can you please let me know how much harder than Mt Amos at Wineglass Bay?as I had done for that track, but I am not sure if I can complete this too…
    Thank you very much Tutu

  12. Hi Tutu,
    I would say that it’s a bit harder than Mt Amos, however if you’ve completed Mt Amos, I think Cradle Mountain summit will be fine for you to do! Good luck and enjoy :)

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