- "National Park" redirects here. For Royal National Park in NSW that used to be called "National Park", see Royal National Park. For the topic about national parks, see National parks. For the Malaysian national park which its name translates to "National Park", see Taman Negara. For the village in North Island near Tongariro National Park, see National Park Village.
|Parks of the Tasmanian Wilderness
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair • Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers • Hartz Mountains • Mole Creek Karst • Mount Field • Southwest • Walls of Jerusalem
Mount Field National Park is a Tasmanian national park in the Derwent Valley of Southern Tasmania, a little over an hour away from Hobart. The park is home to Russell Falls, a three layer waterfall, numerous glacial lakes, and a ski resort that make Mount Field NP the way it is. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, one of only two sites anywhere that fulfill seven out of the ten criterion needed to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The park was established in 1916, making it, along with Freycinet National Park, Tasmania's oldest national park. However, even before that, the area around Russell Falls was protected for its natural beauty since 1885, and making that Tasmania's first nature reserve with the last known wild thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) captured in the region in 1933. The reserve was called "National Park" before 1946, but was officially renamed to its present name in 1947, but the town next to the park is still called "National Park".
During the Pleistocene period, snowfield covered the top of the Mount Field plateau and fed glaciers in the surrounding valleys. A large, 12 km long glacier formed the broad river valley and the cirque walls above Lake Seal. Twisted Tarn, Twilight Tarn, and the tarns on the tarn shelf were formed by glacial scouring and a glacier flowed south from the Rodway Range, forming Lakes Belcher and Nelton, and north to form the Hayes Valley and Lake Hayes.
Flora and fauna edit
The park has fair representation of much of native Tasmanian fauna including wombats, platypuses, eastern barred bandicoots, echidnas, and icon of Tasmania, the Tasmanian devil, although it is not easy to spot. The park also has a large diversity of fauna, with numerous types of plants and fungi.
The climate of Mount Field National Park is generally cold in the winter and regularly drops to the negatives while it rarely goes above the twenties during summer. Being in the west of the state, it rains quite regularly in the park.
Visitor information edit
- Park website
- 1 Mount Field Visitor Centre, 66 Lake Dobson Rd, Mount Field, ☏ , MtField@parks.tas.gov.au. 9AM–4PM. General information about the park, and into hiking in desolate isolated areas. Also where you'll need to check in for accommodation, and remember to check in this visitor centre if you are going out into an isolated area, and check back out once you've come back.
Get in edit
From Hobart, use the Brooker Highway on National Highway 1 up north up till end of the freeway. From there take the roundabout onto A10 Lyell Highway up till New Norfolk. From New Norfolk, instead of crossing the bridge cross the Derwent, continue straight on the road onto B62 Glenora Road and then bear left onto B61 Gordon River Road up for about 38 km (24 mi), where after that, turn right onto B609. After turning right, you will have then arrived at the park.
Fees and permits edit
To enter any national park in Tasmania, you'll need to have a valid park pass to enter the park, which can be found on the Parks Tasmania website. There are numerous passes available, depending on your needs. The fees are up-to-date as of February 2024.
A Daily Pass is usually valid for 24 hours and is usable in all parks, although it does not include access to Cradle Mountain. This is particularly useful if you're going to numerous nearby parks. A pass for your vehicle covers up to 8 occupants; you only need the per-person pass if you arrive outside a vehicle.
- Per vehicle: $44.75.
- Per person (≥5 years): $22.35.
If you stay in Tasmania for a few weeks and want to visit several national parks, the Holiday Pass is valid for up to two months. This also includes Cradle Mountain.
- Per vehicle: $89.50.
- Per person (≥5 years): $44.75.
There is also the Annual Park Pass, which is valid in all parks, including Cradle Mountain.
- $95.30 in general.
- $76.25 for concession holders.
- $38.10 for seniors.
If you only plan to frequently revisit one park for 12 months, it costs $48.70 for a regular adult and $38.95 for concession holders. This excludes Cradle Mountain.
Get around edit
The only road that runs through the park is the C609 Lake Dobson Road, from the visitor centre all the way west to Lake Dobson. Apart from that, there is no other roads in the park, meaning that you will need to walk elsewhere.
- Main article: Three Falls Circuit
There are three waterfalls in the park within a short distance, with Russell Falls by far being the most visited one, and the most iconic waterfall too. All are easily accessible, and generally do not require too much effort to do, with Russell Falls also being the easiest to access.
And while Russell Falls may be the most visited waterfall, that does not mean that the other two are not as exceptional, because, while Russell Falls may be the most busiest one, for those looking for a more quieter area, a space for themselves, or anything without large crowds, the other two waterfalls; Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls might just be the right ones.
It's possible to visit all three waterfalls on one walk, also passing Tall Trees Walk along the way – starting at the visitor centre, you'll walk anticlockwise passing Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls, the Tall Trees and then Lady Barron Falls. It's a grade 3, 7.5-kilometre walk but a word of warning that you'll have to climb up at least 439 stairs and the tracks can be slippery after rain.
- 1 Russell Falls, Russel Falls Nature Walk, Russel Falls. A three tier waterfall, one of the few waterfalls anywhere in Tasmania that have that sort of effect, with an easily accessible lookout where eventually the waterfall will flow underneath that lookout.
- 2 Horseshoe Falls. A waterfall that descends over horizontal marine Permian siltstone benches, while the vertical faces of the falls are composed of resistant sandstone layers.
- 3 Lady Barron Falls, Lady Barron Falls Cct. Short distance from Russell Falls, this waterfall also descends over horizontal marine Permian siltstone benches, while the vertical faces of the falls are composed of resistant sandstone layers. The waterfall was named in honour of Lady Clara Barron, the wife of Sir Harry Barron, a former Governor of Tasmania.
Lakes and huts edit
- 4 Lake Dobson. Follow Lake Dobson Rd as it climbs 800 metres up, and walk the Lake Dobson circuit. A short walk by a charming lake, with some magnificent views of Mt Field, and, perhaps, some snow.
- 5 Lake Fenton. One of the easiest lakes to get to, and one of the larger ones too, the views of Lake Fenton are unique in all sorts of ways. Has carpark nearby, and is a minute or two away from the road via foot.
- 6 Seagers Lookout, Seagers Lookout Rte, Mount Field. The main lookout overlooking Lake Fenton with numerous mountains surrounded, and a gateway to numerous walking trails beginning from there.
- 7 Lake Newdgate, Lake Newdgate Track. Another small little glacial lake, this one a little more preserved. Particularly a nice spot for photography, but takes a little more walk to get to compared to other lakes in the park.
- 8 Lake Newdgate Hut, Lake Newdgate Track. For some, this small little hut might just be any old hut by a glacial lake in Tasmania. For others, it's a hut by some of the most awe-inspiring views one could ever get. It's also quite a nice little spot to go photography, whether you're a professional or just a beginner photographer.
- 9 Platypus Tarn Lake, Platypus Tarn Track, Mount Field. Another glacial lake in the Tasmanian Wilderness and easily accessible via the Platypus Tarn Track surrounded by mountains on all sides.
Hiking and walking trails edit
- The Tall Trees Walk is a 1-kilometre walk and is just a short drive from the Park Entrance, enjoy a short walk past the Eucalyptus Regnans, the swamp gum - and one of the tallest trees in Australia. Enjoy some incredible views of these tall trees. It forms part of the Three Falls Circuit.
- The trail/track to Lakes Belton and Belcher is a 13 km (8.1 mi) trail that takes 5-6 hours, this one for the very very experienced only. You'll need to sign off at the visitor centre before doing this trail, and sign back out. The trail passes through a range of surfaces, which can include a boardwalk, or just rocky surfaces. However, end up doing this trail, the views are more than rewarding.
- Pandani Grove is an easy 1.5-km trail and takes about 30-40 minutes to do, circling around Lake Dobson, passing through some of the tallest heath in the world. Unlike the mainland, the sizable amount of platypus is quite visible
- 1 Mount Mawson Skifield, Urquhart Track, Mount Field. Mount Mawson is one of two major locations in Tasmania (with the other being Ben Lomond National Park) known for its snowsports, more particularly skiing and snowboarding. The slope drops seventy metres from 1300 m to 1230 m, suitable for both beginners or intermediate skiers. The same applies to snowboarders. For those wanting practice cross country skiing, but not comparable to Perisher or Thredbo.
With the numerous lakes, tarns and streams in the park, it's one of the aspects that make the trouts in Tasmania world famous. Make sure you check for the allowed angling methods before going fishing, otherwise you could end up with hefty fines, not to forget the damage done.
The Anglers Access Program by the Tasmanian Government has up-to-date information on most lakes, stream and rivers. Check which lake you want to go fishing at.
The only shops where you can buy things are at the visitor information centre, where you can there purchase souvenirs. Apart from that, there are no shops anywhere in the park.
Eat and drink edit
There is only one cafe in the park. If that does not suit your needs, the nearest can be found in New Norfolk, a town known for its oysters.
- 1 Waterfalls Cafe and Gallery, 90 Lake Dobson Rd, Mount Field, ☏ . Daily 9AM–5PM. The only restaurant/cafe or really anywhere where you could buy some food in the park. Generally the typical non-ethnic aspects of Australian cuisine and American cuisine are served in this cafe. Includes a small gallery too.
There is only one place to lodge inside the park.
- 1 Mount Field Government Huts, Lake Dobson Rd, Mount Field, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM (keys may be collected at 1:30PM), check-out: 10AM. These government huts provide an alternative to camping, especially given that this is right next to the snowy alpine regions of the park. Keys need to be picked up at the visitor centre. Unfortunately, with these huts, there's little to offer, with only bunks with mattresses, a sink with only cold water, a wood heater and firewood, and a table and benches on the outside, and there is no electricity nor gas. $45 per hut, flat rate.
These ones are all outside in the neighbouring town of "National Park".
- 2 National Park Hotel, 2366 Gordon River Rd, National Park, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. An old traditional style hotel that's been since there since the 1920s.
- 3 Russell Falls Holiday Cottages, 40 Lake Dobson Rd, National Park, ☏ , (mobile). A set of holiday cottages named after the main waterfalls in the park, Russell Falls.
- 4 Scout Hall, 2391 Gordon River Rd, National Park, ☏ . The name may be a bit misleading, but it's just a small cozy accommodation mostly designed for small groups.
- 5 Mount Field Campground, Lake Dobson Rd, Mount Field. Check-in: anytime, check-out: 10AM. Close to the visitor centre alongside the Tyenna River and includes both powered and unpowered sites. It also comes on a "first in best dress" sort of service, and no bookings required.
Camping can only be done in designated sites in order to protect the environment.
Stay safe edit
If you're coming in winter, make sure to bring chains or else you could be stuck for hours on end. However, thankfully this is one of the more visited parks, so you won't be stuck for too long, but there's still a risk.
Avoid driving at night, as there are wildlife that could cross without you noticing. If you absolutely have to, make sure to drive slowly.
Finally, bring some extra layers with you, as the park gets particularly cold, and often comparable to that of the Europe or Canada.
Go next edit
- Southwest National Park is directly to the west, and is the largest national park in Tasmania. Or, you could visit other national parks such as Hartz Mountains National Park
|Southwest National Park ← Maydena ←
|→ becomes New Norfolkat Bushy Park →