The beautiful Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park is located in the Central Highlands area of Tasmania (Australia), 165 km northwest of Hobart.
This 1262 km2 national park, which is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, incorporates glacier-sculpted mountain peaks, river gorges, lakes, tarns and wild alpine moorlands stretching all the way from the Great Western Tiers in the north to Derwent Bridge in the south.
The park is home to the endemic King Billy Pine and the native Deciduous Beech, a rare plant species. Wildlife in the area is abundant, as can be expected from wilderness like this, and includes animals such as pademelons, Bennett’s wallabies, quolls, Tasmanian Devils, echidnas, platypuses, wombats, possums, ravens and currawongs, and bird species are countless.
The first Europeans to set foot in the area were explorers in the 1820s. Lots of prospectors, land surveyors, and settlers followed soon after. The explorer, Joseph Fossey, gave Cradle Mountains its name in 1827 for its resemblance to a cradle. Tourism in the area began as early as 1890.
Gustav Weindorfer, an Austrian naturalist, and his wife, Kate, bought a land in Cradle Valley in 1911 and built a house out of King Billy pines, which they called Waldheim (German for “Forest Home”), and opened it to visitors who wanted to see the area. Today, the area around their wooden house (which was demolished and rebuilt in 1976) retains the name Waldheim and is now the starting point of the Overland Track. The preservation of this region as a national park is largely a result of the considerable efforts made by Gustav, Kate and their friends — they had campaigned over many years to have the government recognise the unique nature of the region and to preserve it for all to enjoy. The Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair region became a national park in 1971.
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