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How to Get to Cradle Mountain in 2024

How to Get to Cradle Mountain in 2024

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Discover the best options for getting to Cradle Mountain and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

When travelling in Tasmania, every Aussie will tell you that Cradle Mountain is a must-visit! If you’re wondering how to get to Cradle Mountain, you should know that there are three options.

These are driving or taking a shuttle bus to Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, or booking a day trip or private transfer to Cradle Mountain from various destinations in Tasmania including Hobart, Launceston, Devenport and more.

Below I’ll go into detail on the three main options for getting to Cradle Country, with tips to help you make the most of the experience!

Overview: Getting to Cradle Mountain

There have been updates and changes lately regarding fees, costs, and shuttle bus services to Cradle Mountain. To make your Cradle Mountain transport logistics more simple, here is an overview.

  • Cradle Mountain refers to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, with its main entrance in northern Tasmania and a large Visitor Centre as the exploration base.
  • The nearest towns to Cradle Mountain are Sheffield (50 min east), Rosebery (50 min west), and Devonport (75 min north).
  • If you are driving to Cradle Mountain, you will park at the Visitor Centre. Once you arrive, there is a Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) shuttle bus (15-20 minutes) driving deeper into the park with multiple stops including Dove Lake.
  • The shuttle bus used to be included in your Tasmanian "Parks Pass". However, in November 2023 this changed and you now must pay $15 to use the shuttle bus, even if you hold a current pass. This was met with some backlash.
  • If you don't hold a Tasmanian Parks Pass, you can purchase an Icon ​Daily Pass for $27.95 at the Visitor Centre once you arrive & this also includes the shuttle.

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 there is finding a way to the Visitor Centre. I'll go into more detail on these below.

Dove lake boat shed tasmania

Easiest Way to Get to Cradle Mountain Without a Car

The easiest way to get to Cradle without your own car currently is to book the shuttle or an active tour. See below for up-to-date prices.

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 to Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre

By far, the best way to explore Tasmania and get around is to bring your own car or rent one. This is how we visited Cradle Mountain and the rest of Tasmania.

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 DiscoverCars website.

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.

Driving Directions

To get to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, 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.

Cradle mountain national park map

Option 2: Book a Shuttle Or Day Trip

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 recommended options for how to get to Cradle Mountain via a shuttle bus. 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, 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.

Cradle mountain

Organised Day Trip 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.

You'll get

  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Transportation by comfortable minibus
  • Professional guide with full commentary
  • Several Guided Walks
  • Entrance fee and National Parks Pass
  • Lunch
  • Water and light snacks
Cradle mountain

Organised Day Trip 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.

Fluffy wombat in tasmania

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).

Cradle country tasmania

Where to Stay in Cradle Mountain

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 drive to the start of the popular Overland Track.
  • Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat - An 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 travelers in 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.
Cradle mountain wilderness village where to stay in tasmania

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.

FAQS About 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 once I arrive?

There is plenty to do once you arrive at Cradle Mountain. Highlights include the The Dove Lake Circuit, seeing the Devils@Cradle, Marions Lookout, the Wilderness Gallery and the Enchanted Walk.

Do I need a Parks Pass for Cradle Mountain, and where can I buy one?

Yes, a valid Parks Pass is required. You can purchase one online, at National Park visitor centres, most accredited Tasmanian Travel Information Centres, onboard Spirit of Tasmania vessels, or at Service Tasmania Shops. However, you can also purchase a day pass if you only plan to visit Cradle Mountain.

Can I drive my own car to Dove Lake?

Private vehicle access to Dove Lake is restricted during shuttle bus operating hours. Limited parking is available outside these times. I recommend parking at the Visitor Centre instead and getting the shuttle bus to Dove Lake and back.

What should I do if I have more questions about visiting Cradle Mountain?

For more information, visit the official Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service website.

Where can I park when visiting Cradle Mountain?

All visitors should park their vehicles at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre car park. This is the main parking area for accessing the national park. Parking at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre is included with your park entry fee.

Parking at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre does not require advance booking. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis but the car park is huge (236 spaces) and you'll likely have no problem getting a spot.

What are the shuttle bus operating hours?

Shuttle bus times vary seasonally. Summer hours (1 October - 31 March) are 8am to 6pm, and winter hours (1 April – 30 September) are 9am to 5pm, with departures every 10 to 20 minutes.

Hiking trails at cradle mountain
Dove lake tasmania

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 detailed guides!

Wombat on the trail at cradle mountain tasmania
Dove lake cradle mountain
Hiking trails tasmania
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.