Jason Charles Hill
Jason Charles Hill
Travel Tip

48 hour Cradle Mountain Family Road Trip

Alice Hansen
​Ready for a weekend away with the family? A Tassie family road trip isn’t your standard getaway. It’s not the road everyone travels. Finish work, bundle up your kids and spark your imagination on this little island at the world’s edge.

Friday

Land in Launceston or Devonport, put on your seat belt and head for the wilderness. It’s time to leave the city and head for wombat territory. At Cradle Mountain, there are some great family friendly options for overnighting in this alpine region. Nothing spells winter like a roaring fire and a cosy mountain cabin and you’ll find no shortage of warm and cosy cabins in Cradle Valley.

Wombat grazing on grass at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania
Lap Fung Lam
A wombat in the Cradle Valley

Come nightfall, head for the Devils@Cradle After Dark Night Feeding Tour. The tours are a chance to get up close to Tassie’s famed little carnivores and watch them feasting. It’s quite a spectacle and gives new meaning to the term ‘hangry’. When your kids are tired, hungry and a touch angry, spare a thought for Tassie devil mums. Manners don’t rate when it’s devil feeding time.. Stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. 

Saturday

If you wake to snow, treat your inner child to a morning snowball fight. To learn how the mountain was discovered and protected visit Waldheim Chalet. There’s plenty of history packed into the walls of this chalet, originally built between 1912 and the early 1920s. It was the vision of botanist Gustav Weindorfer who stood atop Cradle Mountain and declared it should be a national park for all people for all time.

An old chalet in the forest covered in snow
Kelly Slater
Waldheim Chalet

A further short commute will take you to Dove Lake, the departure point for lots of day walks. If the children are little, the Dove Lake Circuit is a relatively flat sojourn that features temperate rainforest and a historic boat shed by the lake. It’ll take around two hours to complete.

Historic boat shed by Dove Lake under Cradle Mountain
Andrew McIntosh, Ocean Photography
Boat Shed at Dove Lake

A shorter option is the Enchanted Walk at about 30 minutes. This walk leaves from the bridge by the park entrance and features alpine pools, rainforest, waterfalls and sweeping moorland.

Before the kids fall into bed at night, take them out for a spotlighting tour followed by a rewarding hot meal at the lodge. There’s hearty steaks, kids’ favourites and smooth Tassie pinot for the grown-ups. After the kids are safely tucked in, use the park’s WiFi to check out Sixteen Legs, a movie made about the Tasmanian Cave Spider, your companion on tomorrow’s adventure. Stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.

Sunday

Today, key Sheffield into the nav map. You’ll notice this colourful township has enough murals to inspire even the smallest backseat artist. Grab lunch here and some delectable fudge on the main strip.

A mural painted on a building in Sheffield, the town of murals
Courtesy of Kentish Council
Sheffield Mural

With a few coins, your family can enter The Contraptuary at the World of Marbles. This unassuming little room is filled with odd contraptions and inventions that are befitting of this quirky community. Let the kids pick some marbles while you take a closer peek at glass-blown vases and marble runs.

Collection of glass marbles from World of Marbles
Rob Burnett
World of Marbles

If you happen across a piano sitting on the footpath, feel free to belt out a song. Don’t take your eyes off the main street or you’ll miss the man taking his pet alpaca for a walk. Sometimes he has his pet llama with him, instead. Spot the difference!

Man standing in the street with an alpaca on a leash
Rob Burnett
The Alpaca Man in the street at Sheffield

There’s also a lolly shop, a shell museum, craft, antiques, rare records and all manner of interesting finds in town. And just down the road at Tasmazia you’ll meet the Mayor of Lower Crackpot. Tackle his living maze and visit his tiny town.

Turn towards Mole Creek – it’s time to head underground. The climate never changes in the Mole Creek Caves, so stay wrapped up for the 9 degree temperature. There are three cave tours, each around 45 minutes. Perhaps an Underground Rivers and Glow Worms Tour piques the interest? Prepare to meet amazing critters, including the Tasmanian Cave Spider which has adapted to live without light. Some of these spiders are not found anywhere else in the world. There are stalactites, stalagmites, reflection pools and when kids turn down the volume, an eerie silence coming from abandoned river passages.

Don’t leave Mole Creek without a visit to Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary. The privately owned park has operated since 1979, and has the world’s biggest heritage population of Tasmanian devils. It also teems with other birds, marsupials and reptiles. Take an interactive tour or explore the park yourselves and find out why many wild animals in the region are drawn to this safe sanctuary.

Devil being held by keeper at an animal park, Tasmania
Lap Fung Lam
Meet a Devil!

From Mole Creek return to the airport and bid farewell to Tassie, until next time.

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