Cradle Mountain Plants - A Walk in the (Edible) Forest
When you stay at Cradle Mountain, you’re surrounded by an ecosystem of forests and plant life that is unlike any other on Earth.
It may surprise you to know that many of these native plants have edible parts—and you can find several growing just outside your door at Cradle Mountain Hotel.
One of the best known of Tasmania’s edible plants is the native mountain pepper berry (Tasmannia lanceolata). You can recognise this plant by its glossy leaves, deep red stems and shiny black berries (in summer), which have a distinctive spicy flavour. Take a stroll along Cradle Mountain Hotel’s boardwalk to spot the mountain pepper plants that grow in abundance here. Our chef takes full advantage of this natural bounty by hand picking leaves and berries from the female mountain pepper plant, which are then dried and crushed in our kitchens for use in the Altitude Restaurant menu.
Perhaps one of the most loved Tasmanian flavours is that of our aromatic leatherwood honey. The leatherwood tree, which can grow up to eight metres in height, thrives in the protected forests of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Leatherwood trees are covered in delicate white blossoms during summer, which attract the hoards of bees that produce this coveted honey (you may have seen beehives located in small clearings within the forest on your journey to Cradle Mountain Hotel).
Leatherwood honey has a flavour all its own, so be sure to sample some in the Wilderness Gallery on site at Cradle Mountain Hotel.
If you take a walk around Cradle Mountain Hotel during autumn, you’ll notice a profusion of brilliant red-orange berries that grow on the native mountain currant bush. These gleaming fruits are a favourite of Tasmania’s small birds, and are tasty when cooked into pies, cakes and tarts.
Remember – not all plants are edible, and some can be toxic. If you would like to sample some native pepper or leatherwood honey, simply ask our chef or the Hotel staff.