This expansive, remote park contains some of the most spectacular alpine scenery and mountain trails in Australia. Popular with hikers of all abilities, the park has several high peaks, including Mt. Ossa, the highest in Tasmania (more than 5,300 feet). The Cradle Mountain section of the park lies in the north. The southern section of the park, centered on Lake St. Clair, is popular for boating and hiking. Many walking trails lead from the settlement at the southern end of the lake, which is surrounded by low hills and dense forest. Visitors are advised to park their cars in the free lot and then make use of the shuttle bus that runs from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and makes stops at all the trails. In summer the bus runs every 15 minutes, in winter every 30 minutes. The entrance fee is A$16.50 per person.
One of the most famous trails in Australia, the Overland Track traverses 85 km (53 miles) between the park's northern and southern boundaries. The walk usually
takes five to seven days, depending on the weather, and on clear days the mountain scenery seems to stretch forever. Hikers are charged A$200 to do the Overland during peak walking season (November to April), and Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service has provided several basic sleeping huts that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Because space in the huts is limited, hikers are advised to bring their own tents. If you prefer to do the walk in comfort, you can use well-equipped, heated private structures managed by Cradle Mountain Huts