Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, Australia
Tucked into temperate rain forest on the edge of World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain/Lake St. Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village offers an ideal location for quick access into one of Australia’s earliest national parks—in fact, it’s just a 5-minute walk to the Visitor Center. The grounds are surrounded by imposing peaks and pine-fringed glacial lakes, while the individual chalets are hugged by ancient plants, including the long-lived King Billy pine and native deciduous beech. To enhance privacy and seclusion, the chalets are set in small clusters. While the exteriors suggest rustic cabins, inside guests find modern furnishings in a cozy atmosphere defined by wood wainscoting and cabinetry with a kitchenette, dining area and lounge with TV and DVD player. Separate bedrooms have locally made queen-size beds, and bathrooms have a walk-in shower, heated towel rails, hair dryer and complimentary toiletries.
Each chalet has a private balcony accessed via a large sliding glass door that offers views even when the weather is inclement. It's the perfect vantage point to observe local wildlife—usually at dawn and dusk—which may include wallaby, pademelon, possum, currawong and wombat (a cuddly cousin to the koala). In the pond at the front of the mountain lodge, guests with patience might even spot an elusive platypus. After dark, end the day with a night walk in search of wild Tasmanian devils and quolls.
The lodge is located in an area of Tasmania known as the "Foraging Region," and Hellyers Restaurant makes the best of fresh seasonal local produce and herbs. Creative, contemporary Tasmanian fare may include tea-smoked freshwater trout, warm pickled baby fennel, nightshade cherry tomato and caperberry salad, or a 75-day dry-aged Robins Island grade 9 Wagyu, cooked over Japanese white charcoal and flame and served with Tasmanian truffle butter—all accented with local wines and beers. The ambience is as gratifying as the cuisine, with local timber and stone used in the restaurant's design, impressive views of Cradle Mountain through the windows, and a large central stone fireplace.