You can spend a day exploring the Mount Field Waterfalls and Walks. Tasmania is well known for its pristine wilderness. Getting a taste of it needn’t mean taking a helicopter to a remote forest. From Hobart, drive an hour west along the Derwent Valley to Mount Field National Park.
From towering swamp gums to fern lined gullies, spectacular waterfalls to alpine Lakes, Mount Field is a wilderness experience walkers of all abilities can experience and enjoy.
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- Getting to Mount Field National Park
- Mount Field Waterfalls & Walks
- Three Falls Circuit
- Lake Dobson Walks
- Mount Field National Park Pass
- Mount Field Day Tours
Getting to Mount Field National Park
From Hobart, it’s takes around 60 minutes to get to the Mount Field National Park Visitor Centre. It’s not a long drive, but if you want to break it up there are several points of interest along the way.
About twenty minutes from Hobart The Bridgewater Bridge will come into view. It is an imposing structure that you approach along a causeway across the Derwent River. The little house that sits on top of the bridge is a special curiosity. It’s worth the five minute detour to cross the bridge for a closer look. There are places either side of the bridge to stop to admire the bridge and see some black swans.
New Norfolk is a further twenty minutes up the road. It’s a pretty little town with many of its old buildings now character Bed and Breakfasts. Here, make sure you check out Pulpit Rock lookout. Follow the signs across the river and up a steep dirt road. The view of New Norfolk and the Derwent Valley are spectacular.
The next point of interest before Mount Field is the Salmon Ponds in Plenty. This is a beautiful and fascinating place where you can hand feed giant rainbow trout. You’ll need a good couple of hours to visit here so be sure to include it on your itinerary.
Read More : Stop in at Salmon Ponds on the way to Mt Field
Mount Field Waterfalls & Walks
Mount Field is often described as one of Tasmania’s most popular national parks and it is not hard to see why. Whether you have an hour or a week, it is a great place to experience Tasmania’s natural beauty. Mount Field has 3 main waterfalls – Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls, you can see them all on the Three Falls Circuit.
Three Falls Circuit
If you want to immerse yourself in Mount Field National Park and see the park’s waterfalls, the 6km, 2.5hr Three Falls Circuit is a beautiful walk. It begins at the visitor centre with the short walk to Russell Falls then onto Horseshoe Falls, a detour to t he Tall Trees Walk then Lady Barron Falls.
This is a medium difficulty walk. If you start the walk at Russell Falls there are 200 steps up to Horseshoe Falls and over 200 steps out of a gully at the end of the walk. Of course if you go in reverse order you go down the steps. The Lady Barron Falls end of the walk is the quietest part of the walk, you certainly won’t see the crowds there that you do at Russell Falls.
If you have seen a picture of Mount Field National Park there is a good chance it was an image of Russell Falls. This beautiful three tiered waterfall is an easy 25 minute return walk from the visitor centre. The path is well maintained making it suitable for prams and wheelchairs.
Sure, the accessibility of the falls makes them popular. But, if you’re patient, you’ll be able to steal some time there on your own to enjoy the roar of the water and the damp of the spray hitting your face. They are at their best in winter but you will see water there year-round. If you are there early or late in the day, you might also spot a platypus at the bottom of the falls.
Horseshoe Falls are nearby. Getting there involves climbing a flight of 200 stairs so take a deep breath before you start.
They are a smaller than Russell Falls. There needs to be a fair bit of water around to get the curved curtain of water that the name of the falls suggests. The horseshoe wasn’t quite complete for our visit, but it was still a great sight.
There are a couple of options for what you do next. You can continue walking for another couple of hours along the Three Falls Track. This takes you to the Tall Trees Track and Lady Barron Falls.
Alternatively, you can walk back to the visitor centre, and drive to the Tall Trees Track. For our visit it was cold, drizzly and there weren’t many people around, so it was the perfect time to explore the full length of the track – it felt like we had it to ourselves.
Take in the Forest
Once you leave Horseshoe falls and continue along the Three Falls Track, if you are here in winter, you’ll likely find yourself on your own. It’s the perfect way to appreciate the forest. Not far along this section of the track there’s a sign reminding you to do just that.
It reads ‘Take some deep breaths and relax for a while. Have you heard the sound of the wind in the treetops or savoured the fresh air?’ It goes on to suggest taking a moment to live your life at the pace of the forest.
The air did smell wonderful. We couldn’t get enough of it into our lungs. Scented with the cool, wet freshness of the forest, you feel yourself relaxing with every breath. The forest is a different world. We found ourselves walking more slowly to take it all in.
Tall Trees Track
The Tall Trees Track is a short loop circuit off the Three Falls walk. Before you get there, you will have already noticed some tall swamp gums. Once you get to the Tall Trees Track, you realise they were just a warm-up.
These trees are enormous – some of the tallest in the world. Around every corner of the path the trees get taller and taller. They are remarkable. Near the end of the path you get to a group of three trees. It’s like seeing the finale of a fireworks display.
With your eyes skyward, you find yourself slowly turning around gazing up into the distant canopies of this trio of giant swamp gums. I had already used up all my words for astonishment on earlier trees. All I could do was look in silent awe.
You can also drive to the the Tall Trees Circuit. Look for the car park a short distance up Lake Dobson Road.
Lady Barron Falls
The loop re-joins the Three Falls track and you make your way for the third set of falls on the Three Falls Circuit – Lady Barron falls. You make your way there through more strikingly beautiful forest. This was possibly our favourite part of the whole walk due to the lack of people and magic scenery.
Stands of trees are covered in carpets of bright green moss. Scallop shaped lichens grow on tree trunks. You cross small streams on curving, tree fern lined walkways. The bright red chests of scarlet robins punctuate the green of the leaves.
And for our winter walk, Lady Barron Falls don’t disappoint. It’s quiet enough in the forest that you can hear them from some way off. Their water tumbles over several levels of terraced rock. It is a worthy end to the three falls trail.
239 steps to finish the Three Falls Circuit
From the falls it is a short walk to the biggest challenge of the two and half hour trek. Just as your legs might be growing weary, you have a 239 step wooden staircase to negotiate. There are benches every few flights. While I’m sure they are there for you to stop and admire the view, for some they will be a welcome chance to get your heart rate down.
We had endured light drizzle throughout our walk. As we made it to top of the staircase there was finally a silver lining to the wet weather. A rainbow arched its way into the valley we had walked out of. It was the perfect way to end a walk through this beautiful place.
Lake Dobson Walks
For our visit to Mount Field in winter the road to Lake Dobson was closed due to snow. We re-visited Mount Field 18 months later and this time the Lake Dobson Road was open so we went for a look up there. The 30 minute drive takes you out of the rainforest and into a sub-alpine world.
The drive to Lake Dobson is slow and windy with many blind corners. Passengers will love watching the scenery change, drivers will want to be focussed on the road! For experienced, well prepared hikers there are several longer walks from Lake Dobson. These include the 5 hour walk to Lake Belton and Belcher and the 5-7 hour, 12km Tarn Shelf Circuit.
There are also some shorter walks in this upper section of Mount Field National Park.
Moorland Mosaic Walk
Before the Moorland Mosaic walk on one of the bends in the road you’ll see a parking area for the short 10 minute Woodland Walk. it is worth the brief stop for the views of the boulder filed.
A little further up on your left is a stop for the 15 minute Moorland Mosaic Walk. It is a really pretty and easy walk worth pulling over onto the side of the road for.
You follow a boardwalk over the moor, many of the plants have been named and described which makes this short walk really interesting. And it is spectacular too with the huge variety of plants providing the mosaic nature of the walk. you’ll see everything from Pineapple grass and Mountain Rocket to Cushion Plants and Alpine Yellow Gum along the way.
Pandani Grove Walk
This easy walk is on the list of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walk. The 1.5km circuit takes you around Lake Dobson and past stands of the spectacular Pandani plants that grow only in Tasmania. They are scattered between the pencil pines and alpine gums.
At an elevation of a bit more the 1000m, you never know what weather you will get at Lake Dobson. If some cloud rolls in it really creates a haunting atmosphere as you do the walk (as well as dropping the temperature several degrees!). If you are at Lake Dobson early or late in the day, look out for the V-shaped ripple in the water of a platypus.
Mount Field National Park Pass
A National Park Pass is required to enter Mount Field National Park. You can get one from the Visitor Centre when you arrive or before hand at the Parks Pass Portal.
The Holiday Pass is the best value. It is valid for 2 months and gives you access to all of Tasmania’s National Parks including Cradle Mountain.
Mount Field Day Tours
- Mount Field National Park Day Trip – Wilderness, Waterfalls and Wildlife + Bonorong and Mt Wellington
- Mount Field Day Tour from Hobart – Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Tall Trees Walk, Salmon Ponds
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