The Cradle Mountain area encompasses 124,942ha. The World Heritage Convention was adopted by the United Nations to protect natural and cultural heritage values around the world
The 65 km Overland Track which starts at Cradle Mountain continues through to Lake St Clair (200m deep making it the deepest natural Lake in Australia) and takes approximately six days to complete. The walk is rated as one of the top ten in the world and in order to reduce damage to this beautiful area, now has a booking system in place for the busier months. The Park is also home to some of Tasmania’s major mountain peaks such as Barn Bluff (1559m), in the northern end, Mt Pelion East (1461m), Mt Pelion West (1560m), Mt Oakleigh (1286m) and Mt Ossa (1617m – highest peak in Tasmania) in the middle and on the southern end, the Acropolis (1480m), Mt Geryon (1509m) and Cathedral Mountain (1546m).
The lakes around the park contain a variety of plant and animal life that includes several species of native fish. The most common is the 20 cm long climbing Galaxia’s. This small fish can climb up rocks and over land by using large fins, which are positioned low on the body. The area is also home to an extraordinary parade of wildlife. Bennett’s wallabies, Rufus Wallabies (pademelons), Brushtail possums and wombats are everywhere and often congregate around the cabins in expectation of food, which is not a recommended pastime. Tasmanian Devils and Quolls are also found throughout the park. There are Platypus in the streams with Black Cockatoos, Currawongs, Rosellas, Wattlebirds and Honeyeaters filling the treetops. The majority of these birds migrate to warmer areas in the winter. The inaccessible high country of Cradle Mountain became a refuge for the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger, the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world. Despite many ‘reported’ sightings since the late 1930’s, the tiger has remained ‘unavailable’ since the last known specimen died at Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart in 1936.
The rainforest is closely related to the cool temperate rainforests of South America and New Zealand, and is dominated by the Fagus group of plants. Buttongrass is responsible for the dark coloured waters of the plateaus waterways. The tannin leaches into the soil which in turn colours the rivers and tarns. Burning associated with Aboriginal hunting has influenced the vegetation types and the spread of the Buttongrass.
Cradle Mountain National Park receives in excess of 200,000 visitors each year and has become known throughout the World as a ‘must see’ when visiting Tasmania. It is one of the most outstanding areas to see evidence of our most ‘recent’ Ice Age. The area is managed Parks & Wildlife Services who now operate a shuttle service to and from Dove Lake in the busy season. Cradle Mountain Helicopters are the only operator situated on the mountain who can provide you with a bird’s eye view of this spectacular landscape.