Lake St. Clair
Travelers visiting for the day can spend an hour walking the lakeshore trails or tackle a six-hour backcountry journey into the surrounding Tasmanian wilderness. Besides the lake, the entire area is famous for housing some of the best hikes on the island. The six-day Overland Trail has its southern terminus here at Lake St. Clair, and hikers who have just completed the 40-mile trail are often found on the ferry that crosses from Narcissus Bay to Cynthia Bay. Multi-day tours of Tasmania’s west coast typically include a stop at Lake St. Clair, as well as Russell Falls and the Tarkine Rainforest. Week-long itineraries often cover some of the east coast as well, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site.
Things to know before you go
- Stop at the Lake St. Clair Visitor Center for the latest information on trail conditions and closures.
- Accommodations near the lake include a campground and a few lodges and cabins.
- Bring a waterproof jacket, walking boots, and a pair of waterproof pants, as sudden rain is possible throughout the year.
- The visitor center, picnic area, and Watersmeet Trail are all wheelchair accessible.
How to get there
Lake St. Clair is located 2.5 hours from Hobart and is accessible via the Lyell Highway. Buses run infrequently (a couple times a week) between Lake St. Clair and Hobart, so it’s more convenient to drive or join a guided tour with round-trip transportation. Watch out for animals on the road if you’re driving at night.
When to get there
Hikers will find the best conditions for outdoor adventure between November and April. Come early in the season for a chance to spot echidnas from the trails. Access to the park can sometimes be closed due to snow in winter.
Cradle Mountain, the second major natural landmark within this national park, towers above the Tasmanian wilderness and is one of the state’s most visited natural attractions. Soak up views of the jagged mountain from the shores of Dove Lake, or plan to spend a day hiking to its summit. Cradle Mountain also serves as the starting point for the Overland Trail.