The hike up the mountain to Marions lookout provides one of the best views in the cradle mountain national park. From this vantage point, you get unspoiled views of the famous peaks of cradle mountain, little horn and Smithies peak. As well as a view of Dove Lake and crater lake. These points of interest are considered the must-sees of Cradle mountain national park.
At the time of writing this, the dove lake carpark is closed to public traffic due to construction. What is generally recommended is parking at the visitor centre and catching the shuttle bus service into the park. This service is offered with the purchase of a national parks pass from the visitor centre. The buses run every 15 or so minutes from various stops in the park.
The hike to Marions lookout can be started from various locations in the park. We recommend starting it from the dove Lake carpark (see the map for the trail head pin). This is the highest point that you can start the walk from. The track and signage to Marions lookout is well established but we have outlines instructions below.
From the car park you follow the trail head to dove lake and turn right at the start of the circuit track. Follow this to the next junction where you will turn right. You can duck down the hundred or so metres from here to see the dove lake boat house, which is a must see of cradle mountain. After turning right at the previous junction you will follow the path up stairs until you reach wombat pool. Continue from wombat pool up the the mountain ridge for your next turn to the left. From this point you will get an outstanding view of crater lake. Follow the path uo the mountain un til you reach Marions lookout.
Heading back from the lookout, you can simply follow the path you took up back to dove lake carpark. Or as we suggest, follow the track down to ronnies creek. This track offers greater views of crater lake as well as the crater lake boatshed. Leading to a lush rainforest with meandering waterfalls. Ending in a stunning plateau where you are likely to encounter wildlife such as wombats.
The benefit of using the shuttle service is that where you finish isn’t as important as you won’t need to trek back to your car. The path we suggested above can also be taken in reverse but will involve a lot more stairs on the way up.