Why Cradle Mountain In The Rain Is Great For Kids
A trip to Cradle Mountain is a must for any family in Tasmania. Not only is it one of Tassies iconic locations, but its awesome, too! There is so much to do for all ages, and the best thing is that no matter what the weather, you can find an activity or walk to participate in.
We recently traveled on a special trip with my best friend and her son. We planned it way in advance. The weather, however, come the weekend to go, was really crappy. Flood warnings and a massive front headed our way. It was also very cold. No snow but cold enough.
Having never been to Cradle before, my bestie was excited about what to do, and we didn't let the weather put a damper on things. Seeing as it's often raining up there I thought I'd share our itinerary with you, in case you arrive on a day similar to ours!
We left home early from Strahan, taking 2 hours to get into Cradle Mtn off the Murchison highway and onto the Cradle Mtn Link Rd. The link road is great to travel on in bad weather. Wide lanes and if it's snowing markers on the side to guide you. Also, if snow is too heavy the road will be closed with barriers. All local radio stations offer road closure updates, as does the Tasmanian Police website.
Upon arriving we headed to the National Park Visitor Centre, on the main road, for our parks pass. This is required to get into cradle itself, locations like Dove Lake, or the Overland Track. Our accommodation was opposite the visitor centre, so check in was next.
I had done some research online for the best family style accommodation under $300 a night, and had booked us into the CRADLE MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS VILLAGE. We had a cottage/chalet with two bedrooms, one sleeping two in singles, the other a queen bed. Open plan lounge and kitchen in the middle with a bathroom featuring toilet and shower near the main entry. A little balcony with a table and chairs was out the back, which would have been perfect of an evening to watch wildlife had our kids stayed awake!
During our stay we drove into the park, to Dove Lake. We walked to the boat house which was lovely, and took some photos of Cradle Mountain. We explored Weindorfs Hut and rainforest walk, The Enchanted Walk and the Pencil Pine Waterfall walk. Having two young children, these were perfect and not too long for their little legs, or attention spans!
Dinner was at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. They have a restaurant called the Tavern, which was quite appropriate for excited young boys, its also popular for those beginning the Overland track, as its quick, easy meals and friendly on the budget, compared to other eateries at the Mountain. Our boys had nuggets and chips. The Lodge, as its fondly called by locals, boasts an amazing room with open fire, very comfortable couches and an array of board games and books. Quite snug, its a great area for the kids to do some drawing, or play a board game whilst you relax with a good red by the fire...(hehe)
The next day we headed down to the visitor information center for a look. The boys had a run around, looking at all of the displays whilst we decided what walk we would do. We chose to do Pencil Pine, and head into Dove Lake as the weather was much better, and we were keen for some good photos. The Pencil Pine Falls walk is wonderful. All boardwalk and sealed when its not, you could easily push a pram or wheelchair if needed. If you start near the visitor center you will end near the waterfall. It took us around 20 minutes.
Once in at Dove Lake, we walked to the Boat House. This walk was fairly easy going on the little legs, a few climbing areas but they did well. Its a fairly busy walk as its also the start of the Dove Lake Circuit, as well as access to Marion's Lookout and a few other half day walks. At the Boat House there is a little beach which is looks magical if you have Cradle Mountain in the background.
By the time we had made our way back to the Dove Lake Car park, the boys had had enough and as we both had 2 hour drives ahead of us we called it a day and headed our separate ways.
Do we recommend Cradle with young kids - ABSOLUTELY!
Does it cater for smaller children's needs - eating out, toilet changing facilities - YES
What should you bring with you - LOTS OF SNACKS AS THE PARK STORE IS QUITE EXPENSIVE.
If you've taken your little ones to Cradle, we would love to hear about it! We are always looking for guest writers so send us an email!