Top 10 Unknown Facts about Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park


Cradle Mountain- Lake St. Clair National Park- Author; Robst56- Wikimedia

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is located in the Central Highlands area of Tasmania which is an island state in Australia.

This national park has very many walking trails thus known pretty well among hikers. It is also part of the Tasmanian wilderness world heritage area and therefore considered a national treasure in the country of Australia.

Surrounded by clear waters which makes the scenery spectacular to look at, cradle mountain is a beautiful national park and home to many living species. Some of the unknown facts about cradle mountain- lake st. Clair include:

1. Cradle mountain was used by aboriginals during the last ice age

Aboriginal encampment in the bush- Author; Powerhouse Museum- Wikimedia

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park lies on the boundary between the Big River and Northern Tasmanian Aboriginal nations.

Given this fact, the Aboriginal use of Cradle Mountain dates all the way back to the last ice age. That is, 10,000 years ago.

It is believed to have been non-permanent, consisting mostly of seasonal hunting excursions during the summer months.

Several artifacts and campsites containing various stone types and tools have been discovered at the national park and early surveyors reported huts in the area.

Unfortunately, Aboriginal Tasmanians were persecuted by the European settlers upon their arrival, and the last free Aboriginals in the area were seen in 1836.

2. It was first explored by Europeans in 1827 and 1828

European explorers arriving into a new world- Author; Lippincott, William H (1849-1920)- Wikimedia

Europeans first explored Cradle Mountain in 1827 and 1828 with Joseph Fossey and Henry Hellyer surveying on behalf of a company that was known as Van Diemen’s Land Company.

Lake St Clair was sighted by surveyor William Sharland in 1832, with George Frankland which led to its expedition three years later.

3. Campaign to make it into a national park began in the 1910s

People campaigning for launch of climate and ecological emergency bill in London- Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

In the 1910s, Gustav and Kate Cowle began campaigning for the area from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair to be a national park.

It was declared a scenic reserve in 1922, a wildlife reserve in 1927 and its current designation of national park from 1947.

During this transition, former trappers began building huts and guiding bush walkers.

In the 1970s management of the park passed to the newly formed Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service after the controversial flooding of Lake Pedder.

4. It has a number of access points. Not just one

Access from the south (Lake St. Clair) is usually from Derwent Bridge on the Lyell Highway.

Northern access, also known as Cradle Valley is usually via Sheffield, Wilmot or Mole Creek.

Another entrance is via the Arm River Track from the east, although is not a frequently used one.

5. Entrance fee was introduced in 2005 and is used for its maintenance and development

Dove Lake Circuit Walking Track at Cradle Mountain national park- Author;Dhx1- Wikimedia

In 2005, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service introduced a booking system and fee for use of the Overland Track over peak periods.

Initially, the fee was $100, but this was raised to $150 in 2007, and as from August 2011, the fee was raised to $180. This is the fee to date.

The money that is collected is used to finance the park ranger organization, track maintenance, building of new facilities and rental of helicopter transport to remove waste from the toilets at the huts in the park.

The Tasmanian Government has moved in order to allow development in national parks and conservations areas.

A permit has also  been granted for the establishment of an ‘eco-friendly’ resort at Pumphouse Point at Lake St Clair.

6. It is home for many specie of animals

A wallaby at Lake St Clair National Park Tasmania- Author; Daniel Rodrigues- Wikimedia

The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a significant location of Tasmania’s endemic species.

Sixty eight per cent of the higher rainforest species recorded in alpine areas in Tasmania are present in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

The park’s alpine vegetation is very diverse and has largely escaped forest fires that have caused neighbouring regions to suffer.

Animals present in the park include: pademelons, wallabies, currawongs, quolls, forest ravens among others.

7. It is considered as an Important Bird Area (IBA)

A Black Currawong (Strepera fuliginosa) in Cradle Mountain- Author; DiverDave- Wikimedia

The park has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it provides habitat for 11 of Tasmania’s endemic bird species, as well as for the flame and pink robins.

The IBA is important as a representative protected area in north-central Tasmania for those species.

8. It is home for different species of fungi that have beneficial ecological roles

Honey Fungus in cradle mountain- Author; willr_s- Wikimedia

Fungi are also a part of the Park’s biodiversity. Even though the Management Plan for Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park only mentions fungi in the context of their destructive effects, the Park has a great variety of fungi that perform beneficial ecological roles.

Actually, most fungi perform positive rather than negative roles. Even parasitic fungi which often regarded in a negative light are a vital part of healthy ecosystems and regulating ecosystem functions.

9. Resembles a gold mining cradle hence its name

A miner using a gold mining cradle in 1940- Author; Russell Lee (1903–1986)- Wikimedia

Cradle mountain St Clair got its name, ‘cradle mountain’ due to its resemblance to a gold mining cradle.

Cradle Mountain has four named summits; Cradle Mountain which is 1545metres above the sea level, Smithies Peak which is 1527 metres, Weindorfers Tower which is 1459 meters and Little Horn which is 1355metres.

10.  Cradle Mountain is quite a tourist attraction and has many activities one can do

Visitors enjoying the view of cradle mountain- Photo by Margaret Riseley on Unsplash

Cradle Mountain is home to one of the world’s best multi-day walks where the Overland Track provides avid hikers with a whooping 6-day adventure deep into the western wilderness.

This walk is one of a lifetime and deserves to be on everyone’s “bucket list”. Accommodation options around the park are so many hence no need to worry accommodation arrangements. They are great places that can allow you to explore and simply relax.

There are other adventurous activities that include; horse riding, quad biking, canyoning, fishing or hiking.

One can also explore the wild wilderness and meet the local wildlife in their natural habitat. 

PS: It is a perfect backdrop for photographers.