3 Day Cradle Mountain Trip
Take the Launceston return route, via a tasting trail and alpine wilds to Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Park, then delve into the Dove Lake circuit or the Cradle Mountain canyons.
Launceston to Cradle Mountain
Collect your car from Launceston Airport and head for the wilderness. The drive is half the fun as city changes to countryside then morphs into alpine wilds with foodie stops all along the way.
Drop into Deloraine, one of the stops along the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail, and start your day with a fresh coffee and hearty breakfast at Deloraine Deli. Browse the providore packed full of local produce, picking out your favourites for the road. Or let the friendly staff create a delicious hamper to take with you. Nearby tasting trail stops include Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm, Three Willows Vineyard at Red Hills, 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm and Ashgrove Cheese.
Allow a little over two hours driving time between Launceston and Cradle Mountain. Once you’re on the highway, you’ll soon see the Western Tiers mountain range spilling across to your left. Christmas Hills is a great little lunch stop, 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 forget your takeaway punnet of freshly-picked chocolate coated raspberries.
Turn off at Elizabeth Town, or if you’re a cheese enthusiast drive a few extra minutes to Ashgrove Cheese, where cows graze just beyond the tasting room. With full tummies, double back towards the topiary-themed town of Railton stopping in at Seven Sheds microbrewery and hop garden. After your free tasting, tuck some takeaways under your arm and head to Sheffield to wander a town that’s made a name for itself through outdoor murals. If you come across a local with an alpaca in Sheffield, don’t be afraid to strike up a chat. These town folk are a friendly bunch.
Passing through a place named Promised Land, it’s difficult not to stop. Visit Tasmazia and get lost in the Village of Lower Crackpot. From here, your drive will begin to feel more alpine in nature. Try not to leave your arrival too late as local wildlife wander out at dusk. On arrival, drive on through to the Dove Lake car park for a glimpse of the main attraction – Cradle Mountain.
Book into your Cradle Mountain Hotel accommodation for the next two nights.
Tonight, keep things relaxed and dine onsite at Quoll’s Restaurant, followed by a quiet Tasmanian single malt at Brushtail’s Bar. Your pillow isn’t far away.
Today is about stepping into the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Choose your adventure and hit the trail – whether that be climbing to the heights of Cradle Mountain or venturing off around Dove Lake.
The Dove Lake Circuit is a six-kilometre sojourn that leads through the Ballroom Forest with its ancient myrtles and continues beneath the crags of Cradle Mountain and Little Horn. It’s relatively flat and is often complemented with a wombat or two. If uphill takes your fancy, stunning views are afforded at the top of Marion’s Lookout.
Alternately, if you are an adventure enthusiast – opt for a three-hour canyoning experience with Cradle Mountain Canyons, departing at 8.30am. Zip up a wetsuit and float your way through The Lost World Canyon in the upper reaches of Dove River. Pass through quartzite gorges and alongside buttongrass plains – jumping off rock ledges if you’re game.
Follow up your outdoor exploring with a visit to Waldheim Alpine Spa. There’s something invigorating about slipping deep into a hot spa while 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 plunge pool – all the while keeping an eye on those ancient king billy pines beyond.
Don’t be late for dinner – the Tasmanian devils at [email protected] will be ready to dine right on 5.30pm. This rare opportunity to watch locals gather for mealtime can be combined with your own plate. That’s right, 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.
Cradle Mountain to Launceston
Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before departing for Latrobe, where you can immerse yourself in a heavenly chocolate experience at House of Anvers Chocolate Factory. Just over an hour’s drive from Cradle Mountain, and housing a Museum of Chocolate, café and tasting centre, you are bound to find many chocolate delights to satisfy your senses.
Afterwards drive just outside the city of Launceston, 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. The countryside vines are a long way from his childhood Czech years.
If there’s time before your flight, drop into the Georgian village of Evandale, right by the airport. Walk the wide streets, 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 goodness.
3 days from $345pp*
Valid for travel 20 April – 30 September 2016
On sale 28 Feb – 16 April 2016
Inclusions: Enjoy an After Dark Feeding Tour with [email protected] Two nights accommodation at the Cradle Mountain Hotel in a standard queen room with a bonus $30 food and beverage credit per room, per stay. Self-drive with three days car hire of a Toyota Yaris or similar (pick up Launceston, drop off Launceston) and receive a National Park Pass for your vehicle. *Terms & Conditions apply.
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.