Tasmania has a list called “60 Great Short Walks”.
Awesome, I thought. We love to walk and hike but our days of strenuous walking are over for now with having young kids.
One of the most popular short walks is the Dove Lake Circuit beneath Cradle Mountain. We’d already done the other popular walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout without the kids, but today was the four of us enjoying some of the best natural scenery in Tassie.
We were craving some exercise, and some sunny weather, as we’d been eating and drinking our way around Tassie and the weather had been very inconsistent.
Luckily, at four of the most famous places in Tasmania, we had GREAT weather. Our day at the Bay of Fires was warm and sunny, the day of our cruise on the Gordon River was a cracker, and Bruny Island was kind to us too! Cradle Mountain didn’t let us down either.
Cradle Mountain is a mountain in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, and is one of the most famous destinations in Tasmania, thanks to its natural beauty and the area around having over 20 different self guided walking tracks, ranging from 20 minutes to 9 hours.
It’s also the starting point for the world-famous Overland Track, a magnificent 6 day walk that takes you through the heart of some of the finest mountain terrain.
We’d love to come back and take on that walk when the kids are older, but for now, we’ll settle for the pleasant short walks.
Introducing the Dove Lake Circuit, Cradle Mountain
This is a great introductory walk to the park. From the Dove Lake carpark, we took the track towards the left and walked clockwise around the lake.
The 6km track takes you under the shadow of Cradle Mountain, through the tranquil Ballroom Forest and back along the western shore of the lake to your starting point.
The track is a boardwalk for much of the way and a fairly easy grade, which was awesome for us and makes it suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
It was such an easy walk that Kalyra had the breath to talk our ears off for the two hour duration, so much so that the passers by would comment on how chatty she was. Which was great, when the kids are happy exploring it makes for a great family outing.
We stopped for a lunch break on one of the little sandy beaches, and a fellow walker was kind enough to take a family portrait for us.
Towards the southern end of Lake Dove you will enter a magnificent cool temperate rainforest known as the Ballroom Forest nestled against the slopes of the mountain.
One of the best stops along the walk is the most-photographed boatshed in Tasmania, on the northwestern shores of Lake Dove.
There’s a lovely sandy spot to sit and have a drink, the kids can have a play, and the views back over Dove Lake to Cradle Mountain are brilliant.
They recommend it takes 2 hours. But with kids and taking tons of photos we allowed three hours. All up it was a very easy walk, with just one short moderate hill.
Your only challenge on the Dove Lake walk will be getting a sunny day!
Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake walk details
Cradle Mountain is 1 1/2 hours drive from Devonport, or 2 1/2 hours drive from Launceston.
The Visitor Centre at the entrance to the park provides details on walks and other activities in the area. Otherwise, visit the official website for all the details.
We stayed in a small cabin at the nearby Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village. It’s 7k from Dove Lake.
Check out these tips for hiking with kids.
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