A complete travel guide helping those visiting Tasmania discover the best options for how to get to Cradle Mountain. Includes the best options with tips for making the most of the experience in Cradle Country.
For those visiting Tasmania, I’m sure that you’ve already been told– Cradle Mountain is a must-visit! In this short guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know about how to get to Cradle Mountain. I’ll go into detail on the three main options for getting there, with tips to help you make the most of the experience.
About Cradle Mountain
When people refer to Cradle Mountain, they’re referring to the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Claire National Park. The main entry to the park is in the north of Tasmania and there is a large, dedicated Visitor Centre which serves as a base for exploring the park.
There’s plenty to do and see in this World Heritage Listed park, with great short walks to epic 7-day long tramps on the Overland Track.
The tricky part about getting to there is finding a way to the Visitor Centre. I’ll go into more detail on these below.
Once you arrive, most people tend to take advantage of the free shuttle bus (included in the National Park ticket), to get around to the different highlights. This limits the amount of vehicles driving on the narrow roads within the park.
The shuttle service operates seven days a week but you will need to plan your trips since they only run during daylight hours.
Remember you need a Tasmanian Parks Pass to enter National Parks in Tasmania. The cost for Cradle Mountain is higher than the rest of the parks at $25 per person (24 hours) or $40 per car (up to 8 people). However, it’s often more economical just to buy a Holiday or Annual Pass if you’re looking to spend a bit more time in National Parks in Tassie.Visit the Parks Pass Page for more information.
How to Get to Cradle Mountain
Below are the three ways for how to get to Cradle Mountain. These include driving yourself, booking a shuttle bus or transport or booking a private charter.
Option 1: Self Drive
By far, the best way to explore Tasmania and get around is to bring your own car or rent one. If you’re coming from the mainland, then it often works out cheaper to book your car or camper on board the Spirit of Tasmania ferry to Devonport.
If you don’t have your own car, then you’ll be in for a shock. Rental car prices in Tasmania are among the highest in the country! Therefore I highly recommend comparing all rental car companies using the RentalCars.com website. This compares listings similarly to SkyScanner, to help you find good deals.
Otherwise, if you’re a fan of the sharing economy and looking to save a few bucks, check out CarNextDoor (use my link for $15 off your first booking). Alternatively, SpaceShips offer cheap, reliable camper vans that I’m personally a big fan of.
Once you’ve figured out how to get your own set of wheels, you’ll need to get to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre. This is the main car park for the National Park. Note there isn’t a connecting road from the Northern and Southern ends of the park and to get here you will need to head in from the North.
Basically, you’ll want to head up Cradle Mountain Road (only accessible from the North of Tasmania). Expect a 1.5 hour drive from Devonport and 2.5 hour trip from Launceston via Sheffield. From Sheffield, take the C136 and C132 to the Visitor Centre.
This road is notoriously winding and can definitely be icy in the winter months. However, the route is sealed the entire way so it shouldn’t pose too much trouble for most (including campers) in fine weather.
Below I’ve pinned the exact location and any routing app will take you here without trouble.
Option 2: Book a Shuttle
While having your own car in Tasmania is definitely the way to go, those on brief visits can still get to Cradle Mountain by booking an organise shuttle tour. Most of these trips are organised day-tours with set agendas. Some include transport-only via a shuttle bus but there are also options for more inclusions including hiking guides, lunch etc.
Below I’ve included the best-rated and most-commonly booked options for how to get to Cradle Mountain via a shuttle. However, if you want to compare more options, I recommend doing so on GetYourGuide or on Viator.
Organised day trip From Hobart
Although getting to Cradle Mountain is quite a stretch from Hobart, there is one reputable company that organises transport and day trips (return). The price includes your National Park entry ticket, an air-conditioned vehicle transport and a flexible itinerary once you arrive.
The total time for this huge day trip is around 14-15 hours, which will give you plenty of time to explore the National Park and the early departure is perfect since you won’t be wasting any precious daylight hours.
Go to booking page for Hobart > Cradle Mountain trips
Organised Day trip to from Launceston
The closer proximity between Launceston to Cradle Mountain means there are more options available for getting there on a day trip. The one I recommend is the highest-rated in Launceston and includes heaps more than just the transport.
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- Transportation by comfortable minibus
- Professional guide with full commentary
- Several Guided Walks
- Entrance fee and National Parks Pass
- Water and light snacks
Go to booking page for Launceston > Cradle Mountain trips
Organised day trip to from Burnie
Burnie is a great place to base yourself in Tasmania and luckily, a local here runs one of the best small-group tours that answers your question for how to get to Cradle Mountain from the north. Additionally, Burnie is a popular port for Tasmanian Cruise ships, making this particular tour popular for those stopping in the port town.
This is one of the most affordable options for getting to Cradle Mountain and since it’s a small-group offering, itineraries are really flexible.
Go to booking page for Burnie > Cradle Mountain trips
Option 3: Book a Private Charter to Cradle Mountain
If you’d rather organise your own private transport to Cradle Mountain, you can also book a private charter. You’ll need to book this particular option online in advance and keep in mind that this is much more expensive than simply jumping on a shuttle (above).
FAQS FOR Getting to Cradle Mountain Tasmania
How Far is Cradle Mountain From Hobart?
The total drive from Hobart to Cradle Mountain is 330 KM (4-5 hours).
How Far is Cradle Mountain From Launceston?
The total drive from Launceston to Cradle Mountain is 150 KM (2.5 hours).
How Far is Cradle Mountain From Devonport:
The Total drive from Devonport to Cradle Mountain is 87 KM (1.5 hours)
What is there to do there?
There is plenty to do once you arrive at Cradle Mountain. Highlights include:
Best Tours and Activities to book at Cradle Mountain
Below is my hand-picked list of the best tours and activities available in the park. Since this is the most popular park in Tasmania, I highly recommend booking activities and guides online in advance to secure a spot.
Where to STay – Accommodation Guide
Did you know that it’s also possible to stay near Cradle Mountain? Since there’s so much to do and explore here, spending at least a few days is a good bet! Below I’ve linked to the two best accommodation options closest to the National Park.
Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village
Located right on the edge of the World Heritage Listed National Park, The Wilderness Village offers self-contained accommodation in a rainforest setting.
In terms of distance to the park, this is as close as it gets. It’s a 5-minute walk to the Visitor Centre and a 10 minute’s drive to the start of the popular Overland Track.
Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat
The Lemonthyme Retreat is a award-winning boutique wilderness lodge with an on-site restaurant and is tucked away in a peaceful rainforest, approximately 40-minutes from the Cradle mountain National Park.
This is a great retreat for travellers to Tasmania that want to get away from it all and spend some time in nature. Nearby you’ll also find Bridal Veil and Champagne Falls– two of my favourite waterfalls in Tasmania.
More Tasmanian Travel Guides and Adventure INspiration
I hope this blog post has helped answer your questions about how to get to Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. Before you head off, make sure to check out some of my other travel guides for more inspiration for the region. I’ve spent several months exploring this beautiful part of Australia and written dozens of details guides!