Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain is part of Tasmania's world-famous Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. A popular tourist attraction, Dove Lake is nestled in the Central Highland region of Tasmania. Surrounded by well-maintained walking tracks, Dove Lake is one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks offering some of the most beautiful views in the state.
Like many of the lakes in the area, Dove Lake was formed by glaciation during the peak of the last ice age, which ended around 10,000 years ago. At that time, an impenetrable sheet of ice covered the entire valley, then as the ice retreated, it carved out the deep river valleys and lakes we see today, including the magnificent Dove Lake.
There’s much to discover on a walk around Dove Lake. Whether you hike the full six-kilometre circuit or take a more leisurely meander by the lake, stroll to the boathouse, or wander up the hill to the lookout, you’ll see a wide variety of flora and fauna along the way.
The Dove Lake trails carve their way through deciduous beech, pencil pines and snow gums. King Billy pine, pandani, myrtle, sassafras, fagus, and scrubby button grass are found in abundance along the tracks. It’s not unusual to spot wombats, pademelons, wallabies, and echidnas near the paths, and keep an eye out for the odd tiger snake.
On the larger circuit, the terrain changes dramatically, from grassy areas to dense rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and sandy beaches along the lake’s shoreline. When the wind is low, Dove Lake transforms into an incredibly still mirror, reflecting its surroundings, most famously the impressive, often snow-capped Cradle Mountain.
Dove Lake lies directly beneath the imposing craggy spires of Cradle Mountain with the walking track offering ever-changing views of this impressive mountain. It’s not the only feature though, with other brilliant views seemingly around every corner.
Close to the carpark, and the start of the walk is the charming Dove Lake Boat Shed, a photographer’s delight situated right on the banks of Dove Lake. Built from King Billy Pine in 1940 by the Park’s first ranger, the boat shed was in use until the 1960s and remains mostly in its original form.
Other highlights of the walk include Glacier Rock, a huge monolith on the eastern side offering a different view of Cradle Mountain. In contrast, Ballroom Forest is a peaceful place where the rainforest trees create a cathedral-like atmosphere. As well as the abundant wildlife, there are many bird species at Dove Lake including the splendid wedge-tailed eagle.
Dove Lake was named in 1905 by prominent local pioneer Gustav Weindorfer after an official of the Van Diemen’s Land Company.
The Dove Lake trail is six kilometres of mostly boardwalk and takes between two and two and a half hours to complete, depending of course on your fitness level and how often you stop to take photos!
The water in Dove Lake is quite cold, all year round. Many hikers enjoy a refreshing dip to cool off after hiking up Cradle Mountain.
Dove Lake is two kilometres long and 700 metres at its widest point. It covers a surface area of around 85 hectares and is approximately 60 metres deep.
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