Barn Bluff ascent, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
Climbing the distinctively rocky and prominent peak of Barn Bluff (1559m) in Cradle Mountain National Park makes for a classic Tasmanian alpine day walk.
The rocky summit of Barn Bluff (1559m) pops up out of an alpine plateau and cuts a striking figure (… although confusingly it’s not the featured image of this post). I first saw it from the summit of Cradle Mountain on a trip to Tasmania in 2008, and although it looks quite remote, it can in fact be climbed on a longish day walk: one of Tasmania’s best. On the day we did it the weather was all over the place, with snow squalls and mist adding to the sense of adventure. Luckily the weather cleared enough to reveal most of the fabulous views the area is famous for.
We walked from Ronny’s Creek at the start of the famous multiday Overland Track, at the southern end of Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. Although this adds distance to the walk compared to starting at Dove Lake, there’s attractive vegetation and views of Crater Lake from the shore that make it worthwhile. The final summit cliffs of Barn Bluff are impressive, and climbing through them is easier than it might at first look. Track notes at the end.
Barn Bluff ascent: The Scenery
The track is obvious the whole way except for the final ascent to the summit of Barn Bluff, but there are a few cairns to mark the route up. You basically follow the Overland Track from Ronny Creek Car Park until a right turn takes you out to Barn Bluff. Our track notes suggested returning via the Horse Track, which passes on the other side of Crater Lake to the Overland Track. But we were running out of time to catch the last bus, and so descended to the Dove Lake car park, which can be done via Dove Lake from Marions Lookout, or else via Wombat Pools and Lake Lilla.
You can pick up a map at the visitor centre, and will need to take a shuttle bus from there out to either Ronny Creek or Dove Lake. The buses are roughly every 10 minutes, and check when the last bus leaves at night so you don’t miss it. If you do miss it then its likely there will be one more bus some time later (we were told), but I wouldn’t bank on this.