85km (53 miles) S of Devonport; 175km (109 miles) NW of Hobart
The national park and World Heritage area that encompasses both Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair is one of the most spectacular regions in Australia and, after Hobart and Port Arthur, the most visited place in Tasmania. The 1,545m (5,068-ft.) mountain dominates
the north part of the island, and the long, deep lake is to its south. Between them lie steep 723 slopes, button grass plains, majestic alpine forests, dozens of lakes filled with trout, and several rivers. Mount Ossa, in the center of the park, is Tasmania’s highest point at 1,617m (5,304 ft.). The Overland Track (see “Hiking the Overland Track,” below), links Cradle Mountain with Lake St. Clair and is the best known of Australia’s walking trails. Another option in the area is a visit to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, a high alpine area with spectacular granite walls, small lakes, and old-growth forest.
GETTING THERE Tassielink (& 1300/300 520 in Australia, or 03/6230 8900; www. tigerline. com. au) runs buses to Cradle Mountain from Hobart, Launceston, and Devonport. Its special summer Overland Track service drops off passengers at the beginning of the walk (Cradle Mountain) and then picks them up at Lake St. Clair. It costs A$99 starting from Launceston and returning to Hobart; A$131 starting at and returning to Hobart; A$129 starting at and returning to Launceston; and A$133 Devonport to Devonport. Check the website for departure times.