Mount Field National Park
Mount Field is one of the oldest national parks in Tasmania and also one of the most diverse. In its lowland rainforests there are glades of giant ferns carpeted with mosses and fungi. At higher altitudes alpine bogs and moorlands surround glacial lakes and rocky tarns, where stunted shrubs and dwarf conifers seem impervious to the cold. Added to this is Russell Falls, the most beautiful and majestic waterfall in the state.
From Hobart via A10 to New Norfolk then B62 and B61 to Westerway
75 km north of Hobart
- PWS 1300 135 513
- PWS Mount Field (03) 6288 1149
- Road conditions (03) 6288 1319
- Snow conditions www.stsa.webbed.com.au
Park entry fee payable
15 880 ha
New Norfolk (03) 6261 3700
Hobart 1800 990 440
Featured Activities in the National Park
Inhale the wonderful smell of rainforest beside the Tyenna River
Admire the colourful ‘turning of the fagus’ along Tarn Shelf in autumn
See the spectacular multi-tiered Russell Falls where veils of cascading water drop over sheer, moss-covered rock ledges
Breathe in the crisp alpine air at the top of the Lake Seal cirque
Picnic with family and friends on the lawns at the park entrance
- Mount Field National Park, Eco-friendly activity
- Mount Field National Park, Hiking and walking, Hiking and walking
- Mount Field National Park, Recreational Wildlife-watching, Recreational Wildlife-watching
- Something Wild, Eco-friendly activity
A look at the past
In the early 1800s Mount Field’s dark forested valleys were the realm of fur trappers, outlaws and bushrangers. By the 1860s the region’s botanical treasures had begun to attract attention and the area’s natural beauty prompted the creation of Tasmania’s ﬁrst nature reserve at Russell Falls in 1885. In the following decades families came by train and horse-drawn cart to enjoy ‘its sublime grandeur’ and the tradition continued into the 1960s. Mount Field National Park was formally declared in 1916 to protect its magniﬁcent forests.
The original custodians of this land were the Pangerninghe people of the Big River tribe. They hunted for Bennett's wallaby, wombat and platypus, and traded with other groups for coastal resources and ochre. The park has several cultural sites with artefacts dating back 10 000 to 30 000 years.
The park is a massive glaciated plateau dotted with hanging lakes, deep cirques and broad sweeping valleys scoured by ancient glaciers. The mountain slopes are steep; in places freezing and thawing has split the dolerite rock over thousands of years, creating vast ‘streams’ of boulders that inch imperceptibly downwards. The lower regions of the park comprise 200-million-year-old sandstone and mudstone over which molten dolerite once poured like icing over a cake. These ancient sediments are visible at Russell and Lady Barron falls.
Almost every type of cool-climate plant community is found here, from towering swamp gum and tree fern forests around Russell Falls to dwarfed alpine meadows of cushion plant and pineapple grass on the ridge tops above Tarn Shelf. Lake Dobson Road passes through wet forests of swamp gum, the tallest ﬂowering plant in the world, before entering myrtle rainforest. Higher still there is subalpine woodland of smooth-barked snow gum. Up on the plateau, dwarf conifers grow among sphagnum moss and ferns with occasional patches of snow gum, waratahs and the endemic deciduous fagus, famous for its autumn colours. Small scoparia plants and giant pandanis lend a prehistoric atmosphere.
The lawns near the park entrance are a favourite haunt of Bennett's wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons. Brushtail and ringtail possums are common, along with southern brown and eastern barred bandicoots. Wombats and echidnas are often seen on the open moors. There are six species of bat and over 80 species of bird, including yellow-tailed black-cockatoos in the eucalypt forests, superb lyrebirds in the rainforest and wedge-tailed eagles in the higher altitudes.
At the visitor centre a children’s playground made of local timbers provides entertainment as well as information about the park. Beside the Tyenna River there are lovely picnic areas with shelters and electric barbecues; Lake Dobson has a shelter and picnic tables; and Sitzmark Lodge on Mawson Plateau has a heated public shelter open during the winter months. Lake Seal lookout has panoramic views but no facilities.
From Russell Falls carpark, Russell Falls Walk (30 minutes return), a favourite for almost a century, is a ﬂat, wheelchair-accessible stroll following the Tyenna River, between massive swamp gums and through groves of tree ferns to picturesque Russell Falls. A network of linked tracks heads from here to Horseshoe Falls (an additional 30 minutes return), Tall Trees circuit (30 minutes return) with informative signs about the plant communities, and Lady Barron Falls (1 hour return). Lyrebird Nature Trail (15-minute loop) winds through myrtle and sassafras rainforest from Lake Dobson Road. At Lake Dobson, Pandani Grove Walk (40 minutes return) beside the lake takes you past pandanis and other subalpine plants, with the chance to see a platypus in the late afternoon. On the Mawson Plateau, day walks (6–7 hours return) offer views of the glaciated landscape, but walkers here must be equipped for sudden weather changes.
If snow conditions permit, there are three moderate short runs for downhill skiers. Two are on the slopes of Mount Mawson and the other is on the Rodway Range. All three are rope tows and belts can be hired on the mountain. There is more opportunity for cross-country skiing. Access to the ski ﬁelds is via a 40-minute steep walk.
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