Nestled under the eastern ridges of Cradle Mountain, Scott Kilvert Memorial Hut at Lake Rodway is a perfect overnight destination that takes in many of the diverse features of the Cradle Mountain Wilderness World Heritage Area.
This 16km, 8-hour circuit walk combines sensational views of Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain and the ranges beyond with intimate mountain tarns and vibrant forests of Fagus. Although challenging at times, this walk is well-marked and made comfortable by the facilities at Scott Kilvert Hut on the ridge of Lake Rodway.
This trail suggestion for accessing Lake Rodway is one of many available within the plethora of networked trails. Walkers may like to extend this walk by beginning at Ronny Creek, climbing via Twisted Lake Track or Lake Wilks Track, summiting Cradle Mountain or returning via Horse Track.
View Google Map Directions
|Leaving Launceston, head west on Bass Highway (A1), continuing for 56km before learning left onto Railton Road (B13). Continue through Railton to Sheffield and leave the township via Claude Road/Spring Street (C136). Follow this road for 30km before turning onto Cradle Mountain Road. At the end of this road, the visitor centre and shuttle bus to Dove Lake are accessed. Park in the visitor centre and use the free shuttle bus service to access the start of the Lake Rodway Circuit at Dove Lake.|
Day 1 – Dove Lake to Lake Rodway via Hansons Peak 6km
After getting the shuttle bus to Dove Lake from the Cradle Mountain Vistors Center and enjoying the breathtaking views from the trailhead, the walk to Lake Rodway/Scott Kilvert Memorial Hut begins by heading southeast across the Dove River footbridge via the Dove Lake Circuit Trail. 500m along the edge of the lake, after passing Glacier Rock, the trail splits and continues via the lefthand fork onto the Lake Rodway Track.
For the next hour, the trail steadily climbs towards Hansons Peak. As you climb the rocky and well-constructed track, views over Dove Lake towards Cradle Mountain become more impressive with each step. Lake Hanson to the east also presents itself as you climb. Taking the right fork as you near Hensons Peak, the trail becomes steeper, and some scrambling is required with the help of chain support. Although this section feels exposed, footholds are well established, and it is easy for experienced hikers. Once the 220m climb to Hansons Peak is completed, panoramic views across Dove Lake to Marion’s Lookout and Cradle Mountain are presented to the west. Vistas of the picturesque Twisted Lakes open up to the east.
The Lake Rodway Track descends and skirts beside the vibrantly captivating Twisted Lakes. Allow yourself some time to enjoy the environment before continuing past the Face Track junction. Emergency shelter can be found in Rangers Hut to the west of the track junction.
Sheltered by Cradle Mountain, the trail descends through lush forests of deciduous beech and pencil pines. In autumn, this section comes alive in a sea of earthly tones. The aptly named Artists Pool is soon passed. Surrounded by ancient contorted pines and backed by the rugged cliff tops of Cradle Mountain, the pool makes for a great spot to rest and soak up the beautiful atmosphere. The trail continues downhill, passing Flynns Tarn as its overflow cascades into Lake Rodway below.
Soon after reaching Lake Rodway, the Scott Kilvert Memorial Hut is reached. The large hut offers benches, a coal fire and basic sleeping spaces upstairs. Toilets, drinking water and well-established tent platforms are also available, nestled below the ridges of Cradle Mountain.
Day 2 – Lake Rodway to Dove Lake via Overland Track 10km
Leaving Lake Rodway, the return hike to Dove Lake starts with a gentle and then steep climb of 300m through dense forest for 2.5km. The track is clearly defined but can be made challenging by mud and buttress roots towards the higher sections. Once out of the forest, views of the surrounding peaks present themselves, with Barn Bluff towering to the southwest. From here, the track fringes Benson Peak through alpine heath and joins the Overland Track, which will be followed for the remainder of the walk. Turn right and head north on the Overland Track as it follows below the ridge line of Cradle Mountain’s impressive dolerite columns. Walking here is the most exposed section of the hike, and care must be taken in poor weather.
The track junction to Cradle Mountain summit is passed shortly after, along with the Kitchen Hut emergency shelter. After a gentle climb from Kitchen Hut, take the right fork towards Marions Lookout and continue over the exposed alpine plateau. Once at Marions Lookout, views of Crater Lake and Dove Lake and the previous day’s hiking present themselves. The trail descents sharply from the lookout, with steeper sections aided by chains. Eventually, Dove Lake and the end of the trail are reached.
Map for illustrative purposes only. Base map supplied by Land Information System Tasmania
Hazards and Warnings
As is the case with any alpine walking in Tasmania, It can get extremely windy and cold on the higher sections of this walk, so be sure to pack appropriately. For more information on the conditions within Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair, please see the information provided by Parks and Wildlife.