Bushwalking: Mt Field West, Tasmania

Another great walk in Mt Field National Park, which is an hour or so west of Hobart. This is a fairly demanding one with some strenuous climbs and rock scrambling and is recommended for more experienced walkers. An out-and-back walk, the target is Mt Field West – the highest point in the park – and it took me a little under seven hours.

The walk commences at the Lake Dobson car park and initially follows a boardwalk and path by the side of Lake Dobson before branching off and climbing to a vehicular track that also climbs steeply to some ski huts. From here the walk proper begins along a well defined path and boardwalks, with great views of the Tarn Shelf and Lake Seal to the north.

Eventually the track reaches a junction. Take the uphill path signposted to Mt Field West. This track soon leads to a large field of boulders and the next part requires traversing this by following the occasional track marker and red painted marks on the rocks themselves. The way climbs upwards towards the ridge line (the Rodway Range) and once reached becomes a visible path again before descending another rock field down to K. Col.

From K.Col it’s a short walk to Peterson Memorial Hut, which makes for a nice rest spot. From here the path continues to climb, passing Clemes Tarn and looking towards the impressive Naturalist Peak which is passed to the left. From here the path traverses a somewhat boggy plateau (which looks like it would be fairly hard going in wet weather) before a final rock scramble to the summit of Mt Field West from where there are excellent views.

From here it’s the same way back – take care when climbing up from K. Col to the Rodway Range to carefully follow the marked trail so you end up in the right place to pick up the track down the other side.

Notes: There is no marked trail to Naturalist Peak but it’s worth a short side trip, I found leaving the main trail to the south-west of the summit provided reasonably easy access. The summit itself is clearly marked with a trig point.

I wouldn’t recommend this walk in mist or bad weather, you won’t get any views and route finding, particularly over the boulder fields, would be difficult.

Walk Date: 7th March 2010
Time/Distance: Around 7 hours / 17km
Grade: Hard day walk
Map: TASMAP Mount Field National Park (1:50,000)
My rating: A

Bushwalking: Tarn Shelf Circuit, Mt Field National Park

View from along the Tarn Shelf Circuit walk

A fantastic circuit walk in the Mt Field National Park, an hour or so west of Hobart. The walk takes in a series of alpine tarns as well as a couple of rustic huts and provides exhilarating walking and great views.

The walk commences at the Lake Dobson car park and if following it clockwise (recommended), initially follows a boardwalk and path by the side of Lake Dobson before branching off and climbing to a vehicular track that also climbs steeply to some ski huts. From here the walk proper begins along a well defined path and boardwalks, with great views of the Tarn Shelf and Lake Seal to the north.

The track then drops down past a ski tow and shelter to pass by a series of tarns, eventually reaching Lake Newdegate and an old ski hut. From here, the path branches to the north-east to pass Twisted Tarn and ultimately to reach the secluded Twilight Tarn where an appealing old ski hut is worth a quick visit. The path then continues past Lake Webster, turning south to pass by Lake Seal and Platypus Tarn (visiting both of these requires taking a detour off the main path), before returning to the car park.

This was a great walk and is highly recommended. The weather for me started a bit cold and grey, although this seemed to add to the atmosphere while walking along the Tarn Shelf. It eventually cleared up to a lovely sunny afternoon. Mt Field National Park has proved to be a little gem – close to Hobart, with plenty of variety and walks and yet not too busy – I was there on a Saturday in October and apart from a few people around Lake Dobson, did not see a soul along the walk. If you haven’t visited, it is well worth it.

Walk date: Oct 17, 2009
Time/level: Around 5 hours, moderate
Map: TASMAP Mount Field National Park (1:50,000)
My rating: A+

Full photo gallery here.

Waterfalls and Tall Trees, Mt Field National Park, Tasmania

Russell Falls

Mt Field National Park, about an hour and a half’s drive from Hobart, is a small but attractive national park and well worth visiting. There are some excellent day and shorter walks and this one, which takes in three waterfalls including the impressive Russell Falls and a short meander through a forest of swamp gums, apparently the world’s tallest flowering plants, is most worthwhile.

The walk begins at the visitor centre which is just up from the entrance to the park. If you are parking a car, make sure you have a valid pass – these can be purchased from the centre, which will also supply a leaflet that outlines the walks available and includes a basic map. The path, which is well marked throughout, is sealed and fairly level up to Russell Falls and so suitable for pushchairs/wheelchairs, although the roots of trees have caused the surface to break up in a few places.

Russell Falls have been a scenic attraction for a long time – in the early/mid 20th century trains would take tourists on day trips to the park (known simply as ‘National Park’). There had been a lot of rain and some snow the day before I was there and as a result the falls were particularly impressive with a large volume of water flowing.

After taking in Russell Falls follow the track as it climbs by the side of the falls and eventually reaches an intersection and a short part to Horseshoe Falls. Follow this to have a look at these falls and then return to the intersection and follow the path as it joins with the ‘Tall Trees’ circuit. At this point, you could go left or right – I took the right hand branch which soon joins the Lake Dobson Road. Take care while crossing the road and join the track on the other side, following it to Lady Barron Falls. These falls are also quite impressive.

From here continue along the clear path back to the visitor centre. Note that the Lady Barron Falls section has a couple of moderately steep sections, one of which is a staircase which you will be ascending if you follow the route described.

Walk date: May 16, 2009
Time/level: Around 2-2.5 hours, easy/moderate
Map: Leaflet from visitor centre
My rating: A

Mt Field East, Tasmania

View of Mt Field East, Mt Field National Park, Tasmania

Mt Field East, located in the Mt Field National Park about 90km outside Hobart, provides an excellent target for a day-walk. If the weather is fine, you’ll get superb views from the summit.

I did the walk as a circuit, which requires a bit of a road bash. Parking at the Lake Fenton car park, I took the path by the south-eastern end of the lake that climbs steadily and affords excellent views. After a quick detour to Seagers Lookout (worthwhile) I proceeded across Windy Moor to the obvious summit.

After taking in the great views from the summit I took the path down by Lake Nicholls which eventually reaches Lake Dobson Road, and ultimately back to the parking area.

At around 4 hours I found it a moderate day-walk. The trail is generally pretty well marked, but some sections will require a bit of navigational care. The final pull up to the summit also requires a bit of rock hopping. I’d recommend doing the circuit clockwise as the path down from the summit to Lake Nicholls is quite steep and drags a bit – going down here seemed preferable to climbing up. The final road section is uphill but the grade is much less steep. This whole area is an alpine environment so please ensure you are properly equipped.

My rating: B+
Map: TASMAP Mount Field National Park (1:50,000)