I want to go hiking in Cradle Mountain over Easter. Tips?
March 24, 2013 5:39 AM   Subscribe

I want to go hiking in Cradle Mountain (Tasmania, Australia) over the Easter long weekend. Problem: I do not know anything at all about Cradle Mountain. Help me, hive mind?

I have Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off and I want to do some hiking. I'm thinking Cradle Mountain in Tasmania because I've heard it's pretty - and, well, I've never been and I live in Melbourne so it seems as good an idea as any. It will be me and a friend, we're reasonably fit and have a small amount of hiking stuff (boots, jackets, sleeping bags - but no tents) so hell, why not.

However! I do not know anything about it. I was thinking maybe flying into Launceston and ... that's all I got. How do we get to Cradle Mountain (short of renting a car - unless that's the best option)? Where should we stay? What trails are doable for not-very-experienced hikers in reasonable physical condition? Are there any tours or things that leave Friday (or Saturday) and return Monday? (All the ones Google throws up so far leave Sunday and return Tuesday - which is not doable because work.)

Any tips, info, etc appreciated!
posted by Xany to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total)
Sorry this is going to be somewhat general advice, based on a trip five years ago.

There are bus companies that go from Launceston to the Cradle Mountain park entrance. I'm not sure if the service frequencies are reduced over the holidays but I'm guessing it's pretty popular so probably not.

You don't have long enough to do the overland track (well not if you want to enjoy it anyways).

There are a few day walks leaving from the park entrance that are good. You can walk the first hour of the overland track, climb Cradle Mountain, and walk around Dove Lake all in a day. Probably not the same day as you fly in and get to the park though.

The cabins located just outside the park are nice, but slightly pricey as you'd expect given the lack of competition.
posted by trialex at 3:16 PM on March 24, 2013

I took a trip to Cradle Mountain about 7 years ago. It is generally much easier to get round in Tassie with a car. I'm not sure where you're starting from; if you have one, you could consider taking the Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne, which would let you take your car. Otherwise, renting one in Launceston might be helpful. If cars are no go, you will have to take a bus.

Have a look at the Parks Tas website - lots of info about trails, fees, what's around, etc. The Overland track takes about 6 days so you won't have enough time over Easter. The Dove Lake track, which they mention on the website, I did with my considerably less-than peak physical condition and dodgy knees, though it took me longer than the 2 hours they estimate, probably because of my less-than peak physical condition and dodgy knees. There's lots of info at the Visitor Centre when you enter the park itself, including maps - take advantage of it! Definitely heed their advice about preparation, taking appropriate gear and sustenance and registering when you leave. Weather is extremely changeable.

Discover Tasmania has some more info on other walks, including how hard they are and how long they take. You can also search the site for accommodation in the area. I remember I stayed in a cabin that wasn't too far away - there was a shuttle bus that saved you some time getting into the actual park - but can't remember which of the variations on Cradle Mountain cabins/huts it was.

Have a great time, sounds like a fabulous way to spend the Easter weekend!
posted by Athanassiel at 4:54 PM on March 24, 2013

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