Cradle Mountain is known for its abundant native wildlife. In addition to the following, it's possible to see Tasmanian devils, echidnas, spotted-tailed quolls and eastern quolls.
Common wombat Seen regularly throughout the park, but best found along the Ronny Creek valley before dusk.
Tasmanian pademelon This small, plump, wallaby-like creature is commonly seen throughout the park, especially around accommodation such as Cradle Mountain Hotel.
Bennett's wallaby Not as common as the pademelon, but still seen regularly, including around Ronny Creek.
Platypus Present in most of the park's rivers, but try Ronny Creek close to dawn or dusk.
Cradle Mountain Walks
The Cradle Mountain area has some of the most accessible trailheads in the park. The following is by no means an exhaustive list.
- Knyvet Falls (45 minutes return) Begins opposite Cradle Mountain Lodge and follows Pencil Pine Creek to a lookout over the falls.
- Marions Lookout (three hours return) Climb past Lilla Lake and Wombat Pool to an eyeball-to-eyeball view of Cradle Mountain's summit.
- Cradle Valley Boardwalk (1½ hours one way) An easy 5km walk from the interpretation centre to Ronny Creek at the start of the Overland Track.
- Dove Lake Circuit (6km, two hours) Lap the lake, setting out from Dove Lake car park, with near-and-far Cradle Mountain views.
- Cradle Mountain Summit (13km, six to eight hours return) A tough but spectacular climb with incredible views in fine weather. Some scrambling acrobatics are required as you near the summit. It's not recommended in poor visibility or when it’s snowy and icy in winter. Begin at either Dove Lake car park or Ronny Creek.
Many of the walks in Cradle Valley are suitable for children of reasonable fitness. If your kids are really young, the following might appeal.
Rainforest Walk & Pencil Pine Falls (10 minutes return) Begins at the interpretation centre. It's easy, boardwalked and quite spectacular.
Enchanted Nature Walk (20 minutes return) Begins near Cradle Mountain Lodge and runs alongside Pencil Pine Creek; accessible for prams and wheelchairs for most of the way.
Weindorfers Forest Walk (20 minutes return) Begins next to Waldheim Cabins and climbs up through the forest; not pram or wheelchair accessible.
Ronny Creek (20 to 25 minutes return) The boardwalks that mark the start of the Overland Track are ideal for families, with plenty of wombats in the vicinity.
Cynthia Bay Walks
If you're at the southern, Lake St Clair end of the national park, these are our top picks of the day hikes on offer. Always check weather and other conditions with the Lake St Clair Visitor Information Centre at Cynthia Bay before setting out.
Larmairremener tabelti & Platypus Bay (4.5km, 1½ hours return) Aboriginal cultural-interpretative walk that winds through the traditional lands of the Larmairremener, the region's Indigenous people who know Lake St Clair as Leeawuleena (Sleeping Water). The walk starts at the visitor information centre and loops through the lakeside forest before returning along the shore.
Shadow Lake Circuit (11.5km, four to five hours return) Mixture of bush tracks and boardwalks through rainforest, stringybark trees and subalpine forests. A good extension continues on to the summit of Little Hugel, overlooking the lake.
Mt Rufus Circuit (18km, seven to eight hours return) Climbs Mt Rufus through alpine meadows and past lakes and sandstone outcrops with fine views over Lake St Clair.
Lake St Clair Lakeside Walk Catch the ferry from Cynthia Bay to Echo Point (11km, three to four hours' walk back) or Narcissus Hut (16.5km, five to seven hours back) and walk back along the lakeshore.