I’ve been lucky enough to visit Barn Bluff twice now. If you have ever researched the Overland Track, you’ve probably marveled at this peak. It fills all the books, brochures and Google Image feeds. Our island state is adorned with peaks that teem with character, but Barn Bluff stakes a claim as one of the most picturesque.

Views to the iconic Cradle Mountain are inspiring as you set out from Lake Dove. There’s no shortage of options. You can take the Lake Rodway Track over Hansons Peak, past the Twisted Lakes (where the Fagus glows orange in the autumn), or climb steeply to Marions Lookout where you will intersect the Overland Track and be greeted by the stunning Crater Lake. Note: if you take Lake Rodway Track, you can choose to walk across the Face Track, under Cradle’s gaze, or you can go to Lake Rodway and climb to the Overland from there.

Barn Bluff’s rocky figure will captivate you as it looms elegantly above the button grass meadows of the Cradle Cirque. Excitement grows as you leave the Overland and head express for the peak. After traversing its gently rolling foothill, a chopped up mass of boulders ensues. The way forward is cairned, but it can take some careful searching. The boulder hop is great fun, but it can be very dangerous for walkers inexperienced or physically impaired.

The most common feedback I get from readers of The Bushwalking Blog is that they “just want more hikes to do”. I get it – hiking is my passion too. I do more hikes than I’d ever have the time to write about, so that’s why I’ve decided Bare Bones Bushwalking is now a thing. Not every hike has a story I can attach to it and some I just don’t get around to writing up, so in an effort to share ALL of (or at least more of) the hikes with you I’m doing this. A more simplified blog post that gives you everything you need to go and do the hike yourself. Make your own stories.

If the weather is bad, my advice is not to climb. Both times I have climbed it in bad weather, but I’m a bit crazy. You can read my reasons here.

Huge rocky pillars tower above you, watching you pick your way up the mountain. It’s like a maze as you work higher through the boulders, stopping every once in a while to scout out the next cairn. There are multiple sets of cairns up there. You might get a good one, or you might get a bad one. If you run into some sketchy ledges, be sure to use common sense. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Look back down the boulder field, and appreciate how far you’ve come.

If you’ve made it that far, the world will soon open up and you can hop across the ridge until you reach the top. I have only read about the extensive views from the summit. I haven’t yet encountered them. It’s easy to imagine the panorama, with views back towards Cradle, and to Lake Will sparkling below. Perhaps I’ll be third time lucky. The misty void that I have received is eerie but no less spectacular.

After you’ve soaked up the views (or stared long enough into the white abyss), it’s time to head home. Leaving the boulders, it’s a relief to feel level ground beneath your feet. Take in the stunning vistas of this pristine alpine paradise as you walk out. Reflect on the day’s adventure. If you’re anything like me, it will leave you a lasting impression.

Barn Bluff – Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park – Tasmania
Barn Bluff – Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park – Tasmania
Barn Bluff – Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park – Tasmania
Barn Bluff – Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park – Tasmania

Need to Know

Length: 22.2 km
Time: 9 – 10 hours (Scott Kilvert Hut at Lake Rodway is a good camping spot if you want to do it over 2 days)
Grade: Difficult / Grade 5 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Style Circuit.
Region: Tasmania.
Park: Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park
Closest Town: Cradle Mountain Village
Path Taken: Lake Dove Car Park – Lake Rodway Track – Overland Track – Barn Bluff Track – Overland Track – Lake Dove Car Park.
Car Access: Cradle Mountain is located approximately two hours west of Launceston. If you are doing the walk in one day, you can drive to the trailhead at Lake Dove. If you plan to go overnight, you will need to park your car at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and catch the free shuttle bus in to Lake Dove.
Further Info: You will also need a Tasmanian National Parks Pass in order to enter the National Park.
Map: You’ll need TASMAP’s Cradle 1:25000 topographic map.

Have you visited Barn Bluff? Got it on your bucket list? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.

Exploring the Great Ocean Road?

You won’t see the best sights from your car. Get the definitive guidebook, featuring the 25 best walks in the area with detailed instructions and maps.

Visitors Guide to the Best Walks of the Great Ocean Road