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Published May 25th 2012
Cradle Mountain Lodge
Cradle Mountain is a picturesque masterpiece where unending adventure, romance and a carefree spirit beckon.
Located in the north west wilderness of Tasmania, approximately 2.5 hours drive from Launceston and 4.5 hours drive from Hobart, Cradle Mountain is one of those untouched wonders with wildlife and fresh air galore.
Although the drive sounds long, once you're on the road the scenery will take over and the time will fly by; just be careful to watch out for the precious and beautiful wildlife and to watch the road.
If you feel the need to admire the view, pull over at one of the many rest points on the way up the mountain and enjoy the fresh, crisp mountain air and the feeling of freedom one can only achieve when you know you're a long way from your responsibilities back home.
Once you arrive at the top of the mountain you will feel so isolated from the outside world it might just scare you a little, but don't be afraid, Cradle Mountain Lodge boasts some of the finest accommodation available in Tasmania and is so friendly and welcoming you will feel as though you've just arrived home.
Depending on the time of year, the average maximum temperature can range from 18 degrees in summer down to a brisk 5 degrees in winter. Although of course there are no guarantees, there is a good chance if you visit the mountain in the colder months you will find that snow has taken over, leaving anything from a fine dusting to mounds of snow on your doorstep.
Regardless of the time of year you visit, Cradle Mountain Lodge is inviting from the moment the main Lodge comes into sight. The Lodge, owned by world renowned Peppers Resorts, Retreats and Hotels, is located on the edge of the magnificent World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and offers four different types of cabins, all beautifully rustic, charming and comfortable.
The main lodge welcomes guests with an open, crackling fire upon check in; staff are friendly and will direct you to your cabin, one of the many scattered across the large property.
Cradle Mountain Lodge is designed to be a relaxing getaway from the outside world and therefore there are no televisions in the rooms and phone service is limited. Instead, a CD player with a copy of the Cradle Mountain Lodge CD is available for use in every cabin (the music is modern and relaxing and is available for sale in the gift shop also located on the property near the lodge). If you do need to make a phone call landlines are available in all rooms as well as the main lodge and charges will be added to your total owing upon checkout,
Pencil Pine Cabins
Pencil Pine Cabins are the standard rooms available and are comfortable with a queen size bed, day bed and a wood fire look gas heater. Pencil Pine Cabins are located closer to the main lodge so are more accessible for dinner at the tavern etc but aren't quite as secluded.
Spa Cabins are located further into the bush setting and have a private veranda; the perfect place to sit and enjoy the fresh air.
These cabins feature a spacious bathroom with a shower and spa bath and complimentary plunger coffee, quality teas and hot chocolate.
Two styles of interior for these cabins are available, so you can choose between either a 'Contemporary Spa Cabin' which features modern interiors and a wood fire look gas heater; or 'Traditional Spa Cabin' which features more of a rustic feel with more exposed wood and a wood combustion fire.
Rate: $396 per night
The Spa Suites offer that little extra luxury and are perfect for a romantic weekend away to celebrate an anniversary or just to indulge and relax. Featuring a rustic interior and a deep spa, these suites are large and have a private veranda which looks out onto the wilderness.
To add to the luxury, gourmet home made cookies are provided and complimentary port is offered in the room. The little luxuries you will discover upon arrival are what make it all worth while. From the heated towel rail in the bathroom to the tea candles and oil burner in the vanity which are perfect for burning while enjoying a relaxing spa while looking out onto the wilderness and listening to the rain fall softly on the tin roof above.
My husband and I stayed in a Spa Suite last time we were at Cradle Mountain Lodge for our anniversary and I can highly recommend it. The beds are comfortable and there is nothing quite like the lulling warmth of a real fire. Fire wood and kindling is already placed in a basket by the fire but if you feel inclined to get in touch with your wild side, there is a large wood pile outside the door where you can choose your own pieces to burn.
King Billy Suites are the ultimate in luxury and relaxation. The rooms are spacious with a separate living and sleeping area as well as a king size bed and oversized bathroom with a tranquil spa. The double sided fireplace not only warms the room but gives it a romantic ambience and feeling of complete relaxation.
Out on the private deck overlooking the wilderness is a private hot tub. Each evening guests are treated to a fire side port and a selection of delicious gourmet snacks delivered to the suite.
These suites are the most expensive at the lodge but are well worth the money if you're looking for the ultimate in comfort, luxury and an entirely ideal getaway.
Rate: $760 per night
Information on accommodation packages can be found here
Other Facilities and Activities
Waldheim Alpine Spa
Just when you think you've experienced all the indulgence you can manage, visit the Waldheim Alpine Spa located on the property. The spa offers a range of indulgences including massages, facials and access to 'The Sanctuary', an area housing a steam room, sauna and a hot tub and cold plunge pool.
As nice as it is to sit by the fireside and enjoy the tranquillity, if you're looking for something to get you moving and see the unbelievable scenery, there are plenty of walks available around the lodge and Cradle Mountain.
Guided walks are available and can be booked through the Lodge; however there are plenty of clearly marked walking trails and it's easy to go on your own adventure.
Walks vary in difficulty and length and information on these can be found at the lodge as well as here if you want to plan before you go.
My husband and I have done some of the shorter walks and loved them. Our favourite walk is the 'Dove Lake Circuit Walk' – a 3 hour walk around Dove Lake in the National Park. It is possible to walk into the National Park from the Lodge without much difficulty, however it is quite a distance from the entrance to Dove Lake so if you prefer you can buy a day pass from the Visitor's Centre, drive to the Lake and then walk around it.
The walk takes you past the old boat shed and along a well marked track around the lake. The walk guide says the difficulty level is 'easy' and although it probably is to those more hardened to long walks, I'll admit I did ask a couple of people walking the opposite way to us if they knew where the chair lift was. We were told by a guide we met along the way that although there's not strict rule or guidance, we had technically started the walk the wrong way around, meaning we were going up the steep way and down the gentle slope so we were climbing for about a third of the walk. So my suggestion to anyone planning on doing this walk is to walk clockwise and you will find it easier.
This walk allows its visitors to see Cradle Mountain in all its beauty. We saw snow, waterfalls running off the cliffs as the snow was melting and beautiful forests and wildlife.
You return to your cabin rosy cheeked, happy and exhilarated to be out in the fresh air which is particularly crisp up on the mountain. If you're staying in a cabin with a spa, your return is the perfect time to run the water, sink into the warm water and soak your tired muscles better.
The wildlife on Cradle Mountain is stunning. From the moment we drove into the Lodge we saw a wombat and a wallaby and on the way up the mountain we had to stop in the middle of the road to let an echidna find his way to the other side.
There are skinks everywhere, although we've stayed at the Lodge twice and I've never seen any inside. The wildlife are friendly but still wild but one gets the impression they are use to being fed by guests. We had a wallaby who came to the back veranda to see who the new visitors were from the moment we walked into the cabin and he reappeared every morning and night until we left.
There are two options for dining at Cradle Mountain Lodge. The Highland Restaurant offers dinner in style. The restaurant boasts gourmet meals and impressive wines and it is recommended you book ahead when you're booking your accommodation to avoid disappointment due to popularity.
The Tavern is a more relaxed rustic pub style restaurant with delicious simple meals such as pizza, sausages and mashed potato and vegie burgers. Large open fires burn in the middle of the tavern echoing the warmth of the building and the staff.
Alcohol is available for purchase at the Tavern as well as tea, coffee and the usual soft drinks.
There aren't many other options for dining on the mountain so you need to be sure to eat at a decent hour. After a long walk my husband and I soaked in the spa and then realised it was late for dinner. We called the lodge and asked if they could still do dinner for us at the tavern. The staff were extremely accommodating, the man we had spoken to on the phone met us at the lodge entrance and took us through to the tavern, introducing us to the staff on the way through.
Sitting in the tavern after the rush was over, listening to the crackling fire and eating delicious filling and warm food was the ultimate in romance and relaxation.
A scrumptious buffet breakfast at the Lodge is included in the rate of every room type which includes eggs, bacon, sausages, cereal, bread for toasting, bircher muesli, cheese platters and fresh fruit. Tea, coffee and juice are included with the breakfast which is all beautifully served on silver platters in a very organised and sophisticated manner.
Whether you're looking for a fun filled holiday full of walking and wildlife spotting or you're hoping to relax and forget the worries of the world, Cradle Mountain Lodge is the perfect destination.
The prices listed above are correct as of the date of publishing.