The most direct route from Launceston to Cradle Mountain takes you through Deloraine and onwards on a magical journey through rolling hillsides of farmland, into a picturesque valley and, in the heart of it all, the tranquil small town of Mole Creek.
Just past the famed Mole Creek Caves, there is a turn off onto Mersey Forest Road. Take this road for a short distance, then turn left into Lake Mackenzie Road which will lead you to the stunning short walk and look-out at Devils Gullet and eventually to Lake Mackenzie.
Continue straight on down Mersey Forest Road to reach the Mersey River Whitewater Course and Lake Rowallan, the site of many canoeing and whitewater competitions.
Mersey Forest Road also provides access to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, a pristine wilderness area which can only be explored on foot.
From Mole Creek it is a 90 minute drive to Cradle Mountain through forest and spectacular mountain scenery, including a mountain-top lookout where you will feel, quite literally, on top of the world. Just continue on past the Mole Creek Caves through Liena and over Mt Roland until you reach the C136 where you will turn left to Moina, and left again to Cradle Mountain.
Tasmania is essentially a mountainous island with almost half of the State more than 600 metres above sea level. Four of Tasmania's highest mountains are located in the Cradle Mountain -Lake St Clair National Park, the highest in the State being Mt Ossa at 1614m, followed by Mt Pelion West at 1560m, then Bam Bluff at 1559m and Cradle Mountain at 1545m. There are 155 mountains in Tasmania which exceed 1100 meters in height and Mount Wellington overlooking Hobart only ranks as number 76th highest.
The Overland Track is Tasmania’s most famous walking experience and it is widely regarded as one of the world’s great wilderness walks. It stretches some 80 kilometres over Tasmania’s highland country through the Cradle Mountain -Lake St. Clair National Park, beginning at Cradle Mountain. The track passes through a variety of ecosystems ranging from rainforest to button grass plains. This spectacular country contains rugged mountains, deep forested valleys and alpine moorlands. Even in mid summer snow is a frequent visitor, but the weather is as changeable as the scenery and throughout the short summer wildflowers bloom under clear blue skies.
There are a large number of waterfalls and crystal clear streams and dark forests of beech trees festooned with mosses, fungi and lichens. The Fagus (Tasmania’s only native deciduous tree) turns gold and chestnut brown in late autumn before it loses it leaves for the onset of the long winter months. Walkers also have the opportunity to climb Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest mountain, or Mt. Pelion and other side trails including the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
The walk takes from between 6 – 8 days and there are very basic huts along the way which provide shelter. Towards the end of the track is a fascinating leisurely walk through eucalypt forests of spectacular snow gums at Narcissis Bay then on to Lake St. Clair National Park.
Each year some 4,000 visitors walk either the full length or sections of the Overland Track. This walk has often been described as one of the best wilderness experiences in the world.
Dove Lake is a 2 kilometre long glacial lake situated at the base of Cradle Mountain. It is at an altitude of 940 metres and there is a 7 V2 kilometre walk around the lake which is probably one of the most popular National Park walks in Tasmania.
The Dove Lake Circuit Track, as it is known, is suitable for most people of all ages and is a relatively easy walk with most being a board walk – though there are a few steeper sections at the end if you walk clockwise. The walk directions take you clockwise but for a less challenging walk try going anti-clockwise route to get the climbs out of the way first and then enjoy the downhill sections and board walk in a more leisurely manner.The walk takes approx. 2.5 hours and along the way there are spectacular views up to Cradle Mountain and a wonderful variety of native plants and animals.
The weather can change very rapidly in this area and it is always recommended to be prepared and take warm weatherproof clothing at any time of the year. There are also other walks which lead from the car park at Dove Lake.
Marian’s Lookout is located at Cradle Mountain and overlooks Dove Lake. This is only accessible on foot, about three and a half hours return. While visiting Cradle Mountain this walk and Dove Lake circuit are a must.
The summit at the top of Cradle Mountain at 1545 metres is a seven and half hours return, however Marion’ Lookout will give a very good over view of the entire valley.
Only a 20 minute circuit this is a walk to suit all age groups. For company there’s a cascading river, wombat burrows and magical old-growth rainforest. The walk starts just between the Lodge and the Visitors Centre.
Mole Creek is the closest town to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The park is remote and inaccessible by road and, as a result, retains its true wilderness character.
This relatively small but stunningly beautiful park is located on a high plateau of dolerite peaks, and features alpine vegetation and endemic conifer forests. The Walls of Jerusalem is situated on the western side of the extensive central plateau of Tasmania, in approximately the centre of the island. Thousands of lakes formed by an ice cap during relatively recent glaciations cover the plateau and the features known as the Walls of Jerusalem are a series of higher, craggy hills. From a distance, these peaks seem to be the dominant feature but once within the Walls, in fact, the major features are the typically U shaped glacial valleys and pretty lakes.
The name Walls of Jerusalem appears on plans by surveyor James Scott dating back to 1849 and the biblical theme was taken up from the early days for park features, including Ephraim’s Gate, Zion’s Gate, Herods Gate, Pool of Bethesda, Pool of Siloam, Wailing Wall and The Temple.
The most popular walk is a full day hike which will take you to the ‘Walls’ from the carpark on Mersey Forest Road. The track climbs steeply at first and there are landmarks along the way for those wanting a shorter walk – Trappers Hut (2 hours return), Solomons Jewels ( 4 hours return), through Herods Gate to Lake Salome (8 hours return) and Damascus Gate (9 hours return). For walks longer than this it is advisable to plan to camp overnight, which will give you time to enjoy the additional walk to Dixon’s Kingdom Hut (10 hours return) and the climb to the top of Mount Jerusalem (12 hours return).