3 Day Cradle Mountain Trip
Launceston to Cradle Mountain
As soon as you land at Launceston Airport, collect your car and head for the wilderness. The drive is half the fun as city changes to countryside, before morphing into alpine wilds, with foodie stops all along the way.
About half an hour into your drive, you’ll reach Deloraine, one of the foodie stops along the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail. Here you can start your day with a fresh coffee and hearty breakfast at the Deloraine Deli, before browsing the providore packed full of local produce. If you’d like, the friendly staff will help you create a delicious hamper for the road, packed with the best pickings. Back on the highway, you’ll soon see the Western Tiers mountain range spilling across to your left.
Christmas Hills in Elizabeth Town is a great place for a bite to eat, serving up warm marinated chicken salad drizzled with raspberry liqueur. Complete the meal with a glass of sparkling raspberry – berries are also high on the dessert menu. Today is all about collecting produce on the road, so don’t leave that punnet of freshly picked chocolate coated raspberries behind.
Just 5 minutes up the highway and one of the highlights of the tasting trail is Ashgrove Cheese. Owned for generations by the same family, the Ashgrove farm continues to churn out award winning butter, milk, cream and many varieties of their famous cheese, including traditional styles as well as unique creations made with uniquely Tasmanian ingredients – think bush pepper, lavender and wild wasabi. Nibble on these dairy delicacies as you watch the Ashgrove cows wandering through their lush green fields, before continuing on.
A little further along the highway turn down Gannons Hill Road and head towards Railton, ‘Town of Topiary’ for a tour at Seven Sheds Brewery, Meadery and Hop Garden to learn the beer making process. Willie Simpson, one of Australia’s foremost beer experts, is responsible for this popular craft brewery, which creates unexpected beers, ciders and other drinks that are a long way from the usual tastes of big brewery draughts. Ramble through the hop garden and drop in on the tasting room to sample some of these remarkable brews.
After your beer tasting, add your favourites to your growing hamper, and head to the mural-filled town of Sheffield. If you come across a local walking his alpaca on a lead down the main street, or a curious man wielding a yoyo out the front of the Emporium don’t be afraid to strike up a chat. The locals are friendly, and very proud of the paintings that adorn their buildings.
Back on the road, your drive begins to feel more alpine in nature as you head for your final destination, Cradle Mountain. Now late in the afternoon, slow your speed for local wildlife coming out at dusk. Try not to leave your arrival too late or you’ll miss a glimpse of the main attraction – Cradle Mountain. If you’re lucky you’ll catch sunset over Dove Lake, only a few metres from the car park.
Check into your Cradle Mountain Hotel accommodation for the next two nights and enjoy a well-earned rest. Dine at Quoll’s Restaurant, followed by a Tasmanian single malt at Brushtail’s Bar. Your pillow isn’t far away.
Overnight Cradle Mountain.
Today is about stepping into the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Choose your adventure and hit the trail – whether it’s ambling around Dove Lake at your own pace or jumping and sliding through canyons on a guided tour.
If you are a thrill seeker you’ll leap at the chance to venture out on a canyoning quest. Cradle Mountain Canyons will have you zipping up your wetsuit early in the morning and floating your way through The Lost World Canyon in the upper reaches of Dove River. Slip through quartzite gorges with optional jumps and challenges along the way. Full day tours can also be booked if you’re game and don’t mind giving up your afternoon alpine spa.
If you prefer a slower pace, the Dove Lake Circuit might be more suitable. This six-kilometre sojourn leads through the Ballroom Forest, full of ancient myrtles, and continues beneath the crags of Cradle Mountain and Little Horn. It’s relatively flat and you may find yourself joined by a wombat or two. If a short uphill climb takes your fancy, stunning views are afforded at the top of Marion’s Lookout.
Follow up your choice of outdoor exploration with a visit to Waldheim Alpine Spa this afternoon. There’s something invigorating about slipping deep into a hot spa while fresh mountain air nips around your shoulders, a reminder of where you are. Known as The Sanctuary, here you can move between the steam room, sauna, hot tub and cool vitality pool – all while keeping an eye on ancient king billy pines and the Pencil Pine River in the wilderness beyond.
Don’t be late for dinner – the Tasmanian devils at Devils@Cradle will be ready to dine right on 5.30pm. This rare opportunity to watch the local marsupials gather for mealtime is the perfect precursor to your own meal. Book early if you’d like a behind the scenes tour followed up by roasted marshmallows beneath the stars and two courses at the Highland Restaurant.
Overnight Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain to Launceston
After breakfast depart for Latrobe, about a ninety-minute drive from Cradle Mountain. In Latrobe immerse yourself in a heavenly chocolate tasting experience at House of Anvers Chocolate Factory. At this haven for lovers of chocolate, you’ll find many choccie treats and even a chocolate museum.
After you’ve had your fill, drive east for an hour to Relbia, and the expansive grounds of Josef Chromy Wines. The á la carte lunch menu is, as one could imagine, complemented with award-winning wines. Take a pew in the 1880s homestead and consider Josef’s early beginnings, leaving his war-torn village in 1950 as a 19-year-old before immigrating to Australia. At the cellar door, taste the range and grab a bottle of Josef’s pinot noir – among Tassie’s finest.
If there’s time before your flight, drop into the Georgian village of Evandale, right by the airport. Explore the town, home to the annual National Penny Farthing Championships and a saddler’s shop dating back to 1840. While you’re in the neighbourhood, drop into the Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company to stock up on tasty mustards, jams and sauces. There’s always room in the outside pocket for a carry-on of handmade Tassie goodness.
Availability of experiences in this itinerary may be subject to opening times, seasonal operation or booking requirements, please call ahead to plan each day.
Photo Credit: Tourism Tasmania. All rights reserved @Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett, Nick Osborne, Time Hughes, Diane and Lindsay Stockbridge, Graham Freeman.