Driving to Mt Field over the Easter break was the best decision we made. By far. Don’t get me wrong, we did some other fabulous stuff too: Teddies on the Green in Richmond; a trip to the summit of Mount Wellington; dinner at the Ball and Chain in Salamanca Place. They’re the places you go when you entertain first-time visitors to Hobart. But we were inspired by Cassandra’s article about historic New Norfolk and made our way there just as a wintry cold-snap hit the state. And it was wonderful.
Mt Field: Autumn in the Derwent Valley
To be honest, when we set out from Hobart mid-morning, we were probably content with just making it to New Norfolk. Enjoy the autumn colours; maybe visit the Salmon Ponds or browse a few antique stores. When we arrived at the Bushy Park junction, storm clouds were brewing overhead. But we made an executive decision to eat lunch at the Mt Field National Park visitor centre, and then plan our next move.
Warming Lunch at Waterfalls Cafe
While we ordered hot soup and sandwiches and drank warming coffee at Waterfalls Cafe, the heavens opened and the outlook was bleak. But just as we emerged from the gift shop, the sun appeared. So we quickly loaded up the 4WDs and started the alpine ascent to Lake Dobson.
While it was still fine, we stopped at the Tall Trees Walk on the way, and everyone was impressed with the giants of the forest. The walk is gentle and stable; suitable for most ages and fitness levels.
Tall Trees and Alpine Roads
We continued onward and upward, with a total of 16kms to travel from the visitor centre to Lake Dobson. The narrow, gravel road is in good condition and the drive isn’t too harrowing. Sometimes, you need to edge past oncoming traffic, but at an appropriate speed, it’s all good. There’s a lookout part way up that offers a wonderful view over the Derwent Valley.
When you reach the lakes plateau you can see the peaks of Mt Field; and we were ecstatic to see them covered in snow. Icy flakes were still falling gently when we arrived at the Lake Dobson car park, and it was just magical. The kids were amazed to see mounds of white on the cars already parked there.
Icy Lake Dobson
Obviously others were in the vicinity, possibly bushwalking, given the amount of snow on their vehicles. But we had the place to ourselves, and enjoyed a vigorous snowball fight. Then we ventured down the few steps leading to the water’s edge of Lake Dobson.
Wombats, Pademelons and Bennett’s Wallabies
Last time we went to Mt Field, we met our very first Tasmanian wombat. This time, we encountered an equally friendly version of wildlife. We weren’t sure if it was a pademelon or a Bennett’s wallaby, because it was partially hidden by the vegetation. According to staff at the visitors centre, the pademelon is supposed to be more timid. But our mate, although a wild animal, was very calm and wasn’t scared at all.
Before long, it was time to return to the base of Mt Field National Park. Thankfully, the heaters in the car were quick to warm our frozen hands. The temperature gauge was showing zero, but the Tassie experience was worth every single cold toe.
Must-See Russell Falls
It was raining again when we arrived back at base, but a visit to Mt Field isn’t complete without a walk to Russell Falls. We donned our jackets, but yet again we were blessed by the weather Gods. The rain cleared as we made our way from the visitor centre towards one of the most-loved waterfalls in Tasmania.
True to form, the melted snow was powering over the tiers of Russell Falls, looking spectacular and impressing the tourists and the locals. Our photos can’t compare to the waterfall series taken by Cameron Blake of Leverett Photography, but we snapped away anyhow.
Day Trip: Hobart to Mt Field
And that marked the end of our day trip from Hobart. We didn’t have the inclination to tackle Horseshoe or Lady Barron Falls… maybe next time. This wasn’t our first trip to Mt Field National Park, and it certainly won’t be our last!
When we returned to Hobart, we grabbed a quick dinner at the Wrest Point Coffee Shop. Much of the conversation revolved around the day’s great fortunes: to experience something so wonderful without much effort or planning at all.