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Waldheim Chalet at Cradle Mountain

Former home of Gustav and Kate Weindorfer

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Gustav Weindorfer's Chalet

A tribute to these Cradle Mountain pioneers

Waldheim Chalet is an important building, nestled among the King Billy pines and myrtles at Cradle Valley. This simple, rustic, timber chalet was built by Cradle Mountain pioneers Gustav and Kate Weindorfer in 1912 and served for many years as their home, remaining as a guest house until 1974. Gustav and Kate Weindorfer played a pivotal role in the establishment of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. 

Austrian Gustav and Tasmanian Kate named their chalet Waldheim, meaning 'forest home.’ It’s often referred to as Weindorfer Chalet. Waldheim was demolished in 1976 after a fire tore through. A replica was constructed using traditional bush carpentry methods. The chalet was carefully built to appear as it was at the time of Gustav’s death in 1932. It is made from shingles split from local King Billy pine.

Tour through Waldheim Chalet on your next Tasmanian holiday

Physical rating icon
Physical rating:
3 - Active/Moderate
Tour duration icon
Tour duration:
11
days

Treat yourself this Christmas with the awe-inspiring sights and tastes of Tasmania with 11 days discovering Port Arthur Penal Settlement, Tasman Arch, Derwent Valley, Eaglehawk Neck, Bruny Island and more. We celebrate Christmas in Hobart with a long sumptuous lunch and spend New Years Eve in Launceston. You’ll be tempted by heritage, culture, taste sensations and glorious natural scenery whilst also visiting Cradle Mountain, Strahan and Launceston.

Physical rating icon
Physical rating:
3 - Active/Moderate
Tour duration icon
Tour duration:
11
days

See the icons of the Apple Isle on this in-depth tour of Tasmania. Fly into Hobart for 2-nights and explore the Port Arthur Historic Site. Enjoy an epic Gordon River Cruise travelling to Strahan and Queenstown. Enjoy a train journey on the West Coast Wilderness Railway line before arriving into Tullah. Take in all the sights of Wine Glass Bay with an aerial view whilst exploring the Freycinet Peninsula before heading back to Hobart.

The Weindorfer’s incredible vision

Gustav and Kate Weindorfer were pioneers, visionaries and the first to bring tourism to the area. Both keen botanists, Kate and Gustav caught their first glimpse of Cradle Mountain during their honeymoon in 1906 while hiking to the top of Mount Roland. 

The image of this impressive mountain didn’t leave them, and they returned in 1910 with two friends. The four climbed to the summit of Cradle Mountain making Kate the first white woman to do so.

It was during this adventure that the Weindorfers saw the need to protect this beautiful wilderness. Gustav said “This must be a national park for the people for all time. It is magnificent and people must know about it and enjoy it.” 

They built Waldheim Chalet and welcomed guests to stay. They pushed for a road to be constructed so the extraordinary landscapes of Cradle Mountain could be shared with other nature lovers.

Former home of Gustav and Kate Weindorfer

A chalet built by hand

Gustav Weindorfer built Waldheim Chalet in 1912 by hand, on remote land they bought in Cradle Valley. While Kate managed their farm in northwest Tasmania, Gustav felled King Billy pine for the construction, carrying all the materials on his back, including furniture, the stove, and a bath.

Kate and Gustav welcomed their first guests for Christmas, serving wombat stew around the fire. Word got out about their warm hospitality and humour and guests continued to arrive by foot and on horseback. 

Sadly, Kate died in 1916. Gustav sold the farm and lived in relative isolation at Waldheim. He continued campaigning and his vision was realised in 1922 when 158,000 acres between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair was declared a scenic reserve and wildlife sanctuary. Gustav died suddenly in 1932 and is buried at Waldheim.

Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park became a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in 1982.

Frequently asked questions

Who founded Cradle Mountain?

Austrian Gustav Weindorfer and his Tasmanian wife Kate were the first ‘tourism operators’ at Cradle Mountain, welcoming guests to Waldheim Chalet from 1912. They both played an enormous role in the Cradle Mountain area being declared a National Park.

How do you get to Gustav Weindorfer’s Chalet?

The best way to visit Waldheim Chalet is on a guided tour. A shuttle bus leaves Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre every 10 to 15 minutes, seven days a week and runs from 8 am to 6 pm in summer and 9.00am and 5.00pm in winter. 

Guests need a valid Parks Pass as well as a ticket for the bus. Both can be purchased at the Visitor Centre.​ If you book a Fun Over 50 Tasmanian Tour, park passes are included in your ticket.

Can you stay at Waldheim Chalet?

Waldheim Chalet is no longer used for accommodation, though there is accommodation available nearby. It is a fascinating place to visit and imagine how the Weindorfers and their guests spent their days in such remote wilderness, with none of today’s comforts.

Where is Gustav Weindorfer buried?

Gustav Weindorfer died suddenly of coronary vascular disease on 5 May 1932 at Waldheim in Cradle Valley and is buried near the chalet. A visual and audio display inside Waldheim Chalet outlines more of the history of this colourful pioneering couple.​

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