Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
© Paparwin Tanupatarachai/Getty Image
The wild heart of Tasmania
This boardwalk leads to one of the many lakes that dot Tasmania's Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, a crown jewel of the island's Wilderness World Heritage Area. Covering over 623 square miles in the interior of the island, the park is home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. Marsupials like Bennett's wallabies, quolls, Tasmanian pademelons, wombats, Tasmanian pygmy possums, and the legendary Tasmanian devils, as well as short-beaked echidnas and platypuses, can be found in its ancient forests and lakes.
In late April and into May, locals and visitors delight in the 'Turning of the Fagus,' when the leaves of the deciduous Tasmanian beech trees turn brilliant yellow, orange, and red. The Overland Track, a 40-mile trail through the park, is a challenging but popular route for experienced trekkers, whether they're exploring a portion of it over a day or taking a week to complete the entire route. Overnight hikers can stay in warming huts built along the way, and spend the night dazzled by the stars and the aurora australis (aka the southern lights) in one of the island's best stargazing locations.