Cradle Mountain Huts Walk Tasmania
Discover the rare beauty and diversity of Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park.
Expert guides take the lead across this ancient landscape, converting to chefs come evening. They’ll also take the heavy load, leaving you with a lightweight pack.
At the end of each day, retreat to a hot shower, sumptuous meals, freshly baked bread, a glass of Tasmanian wine and a comfortable bed.
Day 1: Waldheim to Barn Bluff Hut
Meet at our walkers’ base at Entally Lodge for a 6.40am briefing. For our guests staying in Launceston, the shuttle bus pick-up is from The Sebel Launceston at 6:30am.
On the summit of Cradle Mountain in 1910, Austrian-born Gustav Weindorfer proclaimed, “This must be a national park for the people for all time.” It’s fitting our journey begins at Waldheim in Cradle Valley, where Weindorfer’s story is told. We set off on the track, venturing through ancient temperate rainforest, passing the dramatic glacially-carved Crater Lake.
We climb the steepest section of the whole Overland Track today fuelled by a hearty lunch. Reaching Marion’s Lookout (1250m) takes about an hour, with steps leading through steeper sections. The reward, providing weather conditions allow, is staggering views of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake. Every uphill step is worth it.
We continue around the base of Cradle Mountain along the edge of a spectacular glacial cirque before dropping into Waterfall Valley. Our private hut awaits, beneath towering Barn Bluff, having completed the steepest part of your journey (excluding side trips). It’s a welcome retreat after several hours walking over exposed alpine plateau where some days the wind howls – a reminder of nature’s power.
Approx 7 hours walking
Day 2: Barn Bluff Hut to Pine Forest Moor Hut
Today we’ll be walking across plains where glaciers once rested, slowly moving and scouring out shallow tarns. Although an undulating trek with a few sections of exposed moorland, there are no significant climbs today.
We take our time venturing across vast button grass plains where ancient pencil pines fringe alpine tarns. Rising from the moors, the peaks of Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff are behind us. Look ahead, and the stately Mt Pelion West comes into view.
Those looking for additional challenge today can take a side trip to Lake Will. Hugged by pencil pines and with its narrow quartzite sand rim, Lake Will is striking. Keep an eye out for gravel mounds along the way, remnants of Joseph Will’s coal mining efforts in the 1890s.
This evening, at Pine Forest Moor Hut, enjoy our outdoor dining setting with views out to Mt. Oakleigh in fine weather.
Approx 6 hours walking
Day 3: Pine Forest Moor Hut to Pelion Hut
This morning we venture through gorgeous myrtle-beech rainforest as we descend around the base of Mt Pelion West, down to the Forth River before it plunges into Lemonthyme Valley. We’ll take a break at Frog Flats beside the Forth River, which happens to be the Overland Track’s lowest point.
From here, it’s a gentle ascent back out of the valley. We leave thick Eucalypt forest behind as the trees part to reveal Pelion Plains. Uninterrupted views of Mt Oakleigh’s dolerite spires now come into play.
The Pelion Plains area offers a host of side trips, hugged by mountainous terrain. There are excellent swimming holes, peaceful nooks to rest and abandoned copper mines to explore. Come nightfall, we’ll be nestled amongst dry sclerophyll forest at Pelion Hut.
Approx 5 hours walking
Day 4: Pelion Hut to Kia Ora Hut
Today begins with a climb of almost 300m to Pelion Gap through beautiful rainforest. Pelion Gap is a plateau stretching between Mt Pelion East and Mt Ossa, affording fantastic views to the south as well as back to the north.
There’s plenty of time for side trips from Pelion Gap including the option to summit Mt Ossa. At 1617m, it is Tasmania’s highest peak. There are other less challenging climbs, including Mt Doris.
From Pelion Gap it’s a further two hours of gentle downhill to the hut. Today, choose to keep things relaxed or challenge yourself to stand atop the island’s highest point. Once we arrive at Kia Ora Hut, enjoy a Tasmanian drop with spectacular views out to Cathedral Mountain.
Approx 4-9 hours walking (Optional 5hr side trip to Mt Ossa)
Day 5: Kia Ora Hut to Windy Ridge Hut
Day five is about icy-flowing waterfalls. We depart Kia Ora hut and walk about an hour to Du Cane, where a 1910-built hut remains from the long-gone days of animal trapping. Du Cane Hut is a fine spot to rest, surounded by native gardens and overlooked by the spectacular Du Cane Range.
From here, we wander through some of the oldest forest in the National Park, with King Billy pines as much as 2000 years old. Now, we are above the Mersey River, which descends deeply northward towards Bass Strait, spilling down cliff faces.
There are three major sets of waterfalls in the area. We aim to visit one or more of these, choosing the best to have lunch beside depending on conditions. During the afternoon, we make our way over Du Cane Gap, then descend beside the spectacular Falling Mountain to Windy Ridge Hut. Tonight is a celebratory one, our last evening on the track.
Approx 4 hours walking
Day 6: Windy Ridge Hut to Lake St Clair
Our destination today is Australia’s deepest natural lake – Lake St Clair – shaped by glaciations over two million years. Birdsong helps us along this final day as we walk mainly through flowering dry sclerophyll forests.
We arrive at Narcissus at the northern end of Lake St Clair in time for lunch, before boarding the Idaclair cruise boat for a spectacular 17km cruise back to Cynthia Bay. There’s typically around half an hour to look around the Visitor Centre here.
The return trip to Entally Lodge is through the trout fishing mecca of the highland lakes, descending the rugged Western Tiers. We’ll cross the broad plains of the Northern Midlands, passing through the rural townships of Cressy and Longford.
Approx 3 hours walking
- Return transfers between Launceston and the walk base
- Accommodation each evening in one of the five private huts (twin share)
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages, plus a limited selection of Tasmanian wines
- National Park and Overland Track passes
- Boat transfer across Lake St Clair (on Day 6 of the six day walk only)
- Use of a backpack and Gore-tex jacket for the duration of the walk
- Sleeping bags, pillows and a comfortable mattress at each hut
- Sleeping sheet and pillowcase to carry with you
- Two qualified guides for the duration of the walk
What’s not included?
- International and/or domestic flights
- Accommodation before or after the trip
- Items of a personal nature
- Single supplement
- Travel insurance
- Visa, if required
- Accessed via Launceston, Tasmania
- Duration: 6 days / 5 nights
- Distance: 60km
- Grade: Moderate to Hard
- Walk operates: October – May
- Bush trails, boardwalks, rocky areas, mountains + forests
- Group size: Max 12
- Experience a fully guided walk beginning at Waldheim in Cradle Valley and journeying 65 kms through to Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest natural lake
- Opportunities for optional side trips including Mt Ossa – Tasmania’s highest peak (weather permitting), Lake Will and a number of lookouts and waterfalls
- Encounter wildlife along the way which may include Tasmanian Devils, wombats, paddymelons, echidnas and an array of birdlife
- At the end of each day, retreat to a hot shower, sumptuous meals, freshly baked bread, a glass of Tasmanian wine and a comfortable bed
1 Dec 2020 – 31 Mar 2021
1 Apr 2021 – 6 May 2021