I’ve heard that Cradle Mountain only receives fifty days of sunshine each year and over 290 days of rain. So when we wake to sunshine in Sheffield our destination seems predetermined. It’s about an hour to the mountain from Sheffield and the drive itself is as stunning as the end goal. We rise from green agricultural pastures onto a rocky alpine plateau. My two favourite landscapes combined in a single drive.
We opt to take the shuttle bus from the visitor centre to Dove Lake. It is possible to drive but there are not many car parks at the lake and the shuttle fare is included in the mandatory park entry fee (currently $16.50/adult). The shuttle runs regularly and stops at a few different places en route to Dove Lake.
There are many walks to chose from at Cradle Mountain. You can wander as briefly as 10 minutes of explore for days. Just make sure you are prepared because alpine weather is unforgiving.
We choose the 6km Dove Lake Circuit. The well graded track meanders calmly around the lake under the ever watchful eye of Cradle Mountain’s striking peaks. We walk through open alpine heath and dense forest as we pass through various micro climates. In the open sections the sun warms us until we sweat then we cool off between the trees until we almost shiver. Views come easily, making it obvious why this is such a popular walk for visitors to take.
If you’re looking for an isolated wilderness experience this is not it. That said, there’s a reason why so many people come here.