A jagged fin rising to an upturned crescent ridge, Cradle Mountain’s outline is so perfect it could have been designer-drawn; indeed it has become visual shorthand for the state itself. It has also turned Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park into the best-known of Tasmania’s wilderness regions, and the park’s 1612 square kilometres have loads to offer, including the country’s best bushwalk, the Overland Track. One of the most glaciated areas in Australia, this wild region of rivers, buttongrass plains and alpine moorland covers some of Tasmania’s highest land and is punctuated by its highest point, Mount Ossa (1617m), one of many jagged dolerite peaks in the park. Lake St Clair, which bookends the park’s south end as Cradle Mountain does the north, is the deepest freshwater lake in Australia at over 200m.
Cradle Mountain is easily accessible from Devonport, Deloraine or Launceston, and the park’s southern Lake St Clair end from Derwent Bridge on the Lyell Highway between Queenstown and Hobart. Most visitors spend a day around Cradle Mountain only – a breathtaking sight despite its popularity; the south is less obviously scenic even though good walks are within reach. The Overland Track threads between the two, attracting walkers from all over the world to lose themselves in pure wilderness and stunning scenery over six or more mud- and often leech-filled days of exhilarating exhaustion.