When I made my initial plan to road trip around Tasmania, there were a few things that I left out. Most of them were minor details, the odd stops along the way. For the most part we found a sign that looked like it would be interesting – Random Waterfall 2km –>> for example. Then there were the larger details. These were places I wanted to go, and knew about, but weren’t sure where to fit them in. Here’s why Lake St Clair topped that list.
First of all, you shouldn’t confuse Lake St Clair (Tasmania) with the other Lake St Clair in North America. Make sure if you’re planning to visit you book in at the right place.
It sits within the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, which itself is a massively beautiful national park, full of great spots to stop and take in the scenery. Lake St Clair sits just to the south east of Cradle Mountain, and you can easily drive around to it in a pretty short space of time – potentially even stopping off in Queenstown if you fancy bumping into people rather than animals. You can also head out on some intense treks, with some of the routes taking days to complete – one such example being the famous Overland Track.
From the lake you get clear views across the water, and apart from a small jetty, it’s just you and nature – the facilities are all behind you so that doesn’t get in the way of the whole experience. You find yourself sat on a warm beach looking across a lake 15km long with a back drop of green forests and mountains. Not unlike what you might find in Zurich, but you’re so much more secluded. Much further away from the hustle and bustle of a city.
On that note, you can also cross the lake by ferry, which makes the 28 kilometre round trip 3 times a day, seven days a week during the summer months – thats around Christmas time for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere. The IDA CLAIR goes from Narcissus Bay to Cynthia Bay, with a stop at Echo Point. If you want to take the ferry you can find the schedule and prices here.
The ‘resort’ itself has ample parking and pretty good facilities for visitors and campers alike. The beaches of the lake are soft and sandy, and the water nice and cool, which makes this a great place to kick back and relax. It’s all made so much better if you’re spending a bit of time chilling out after a long walk.
Which brings me to another point. There are a whole range of different walks to embark upon from here. Short walks, and longer walks, as well as overnight walks. that’s not even including the Overland Track. It doesn’t matter how fit, or unfit, you are, you can be sure to find a trail that suits you.
The lake itself reaches 160 metres at its deepest point, and as you would expect, is fresh water. Its actually the point where the River Derwent begins – the same river which flows through the Tasmanian capital of Hobart.
It’s a clean, peaceful place, perfect to spend time with the family having a picnic. Or, to go on a length walk to clear your head. It doesn’t really matter what you have in mind, you can all but guarantee you’ll find something to enjoy at Lake St Clair. You could also do what I did and spend some time fooling around with a camera, trying to work out how to take better pictures (still working on that) while your sidekick phones home. Or, at the very least you can go have a barbeque somewhere different.
If you’re planning on travelling around Tasmania, make sure you don’t miss out on the experience. From experience, Tasmania, and the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, have some of the best walking trails I’ve ever had the privilege of exploring. Once again, a friendly reminder to wear appropriate clothing and take plenty of water with you.
Feel free to share any pictures or stories from Lake St Clair in the comments below!