In 2016 a new tourism plan for northern Tasmania has launched, which raised the possibility of there being new developments adjacent to the Cradle Mountain National Park. Its key intention was to greatly increase visitors to the north of the state.

Part of the detail of the plan included a ‘cable car’/ gondola which would run from just outside the northern boundary of the park into the park at Dove Lake. The cornerstone of the proposal was the development of new tourist centre, which is where the gondola would start from.

This week saw construction start on the $21.8 million ‘gateway precinct’ (ie new tourist centre) and Dove Lake re-development. According to Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin, the start of construction was “a significant day of epic proportion”.

According to a report in The Examiner, ‘the visitor centre forms part of a plan to create more car park space, improve visitor facilities and create shelter space at Dove Lake’. For a short video of the plan, please check here.

Mr Martin said once the new facilities were built, a community of full-time workers could bring back ‘a sense of local culture’. “If we can create this as a kind of village hub and have workers’ accommodation here and a pub and shop to make it feel more like a town, it will encourage Tasmanians to stay here for more than six weeks a year over the summer.”

The Liberal government used the launch of the gateway precinct sod turning to re-affirm its support for the gondola, saying that if re-elected, ‘an expressions of interest process would be launched within 100 days’.

The tourism redevelopment needs to happen before the gondola project can be realised. Mr Martin said that “It’s bipartisan, it’s happening, it’s not a hypothetical anymore we are full steam ahead for a cableway at Cradle” and “there are investors literally lining up right now.”

The Tasmanian National Parks Association has previously described the tourism master plan as more ‘accurately described as a vision drawn up for the tourism industry by marketing consultants who appear to have very little idea of what really motivates people to visit national parks’ (they do note there are some positive aspects of the plan).

The images use here come from the video produced by the Cradle Coast Authority (link in text above).