The Tasmanian Wilderness is a selected UNESCO World Site and covers with 15.800 km² almost 20% of Tasmania. You can find one national park right next to the other:
- Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
- Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
- Walls of Jerusalem National Park
- Hartz Mountains National Park
- Mole Creek Karst National Park
- Southwest National Park
- Mt Field National Park
Of course, we wanted to take a closer look.
We were a bit worried about the wild fires in the region. Christiane had seen a Tweet by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (@TasmaniaParks), that a national park had been closed for a short period of time, just a couple of days before we arrived there. Fortunately, it had been reopened, so we can continue with our plan to travel Tasmania clockwise.
Mt Field National park is only an hour’s drive west of Hobart and thus easy to reach. However, the further you go, the more „lonely“ it gets, so we first made a stop at a grocery store and a gas station. From New Norfolk the population density decreases drastically (and with it the ability to buy at bigger stores that have a larger selection of groceries at reasonable prices). Same goes for fuel; price differences of up to 25 ct. are quite common and can be easily avoided with good planning.
Campground at Mt Field National Park
When we arrived at Mt Field National Park, we secured a powered site for us for two nights. The campground is located next to the visitor centre and is supervised by volunteers during the high season. Bill and his wife Karen immediately gave us a perfect introduction to the facilities provided. There are toilets with flushing water, a waste station, a room with washing machine and drier, an outdoor kitchen with gas stove, a covered picnic area and above all warm showers 🙂 For this we are more than happy to pay $20 (approx. 12,50 €) per day! By the way: Mt Field campground is listed by Australian Geographic as one of 18 best campgrounds in Australia and we would subscribe to that straight away.
Bill also informed us about the forest fires a good 15 kilometres away (on the other side of the mountains). At the moment, however, there were no effects here and the alpine region of the national park was also still open. Because this could change the next day, we used the opportunity and drove directly there, about 13 km of gravel road uphill. Of course there was an opportunity for one or two photo stops.
The weather was fine again and the sun was shining from an almost cloudless sky. Nevertheless the wind was very cold and so we put on our jackets. Then we went around Lake Dobson to Pandani Grove. This is an easy walk without any significant difference in altitude. But the landscape up there is a real blast and this was a great preview for our time ahead in the mountains. In the alpine region of the Mt Field National Park are of course many more challenging hikes. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time for this and after the long journey from Bruny Island we were pretty tired.
In the evening we had our first encounter with the Australian wildlife. At dusk padamelons came out of the forest and jumped around the campsite 🙂
Three Falls Track
The next day we had to do our laundry. Unfortunately you can’t buy washing powder at the camping site of the Mt Field National Park as we had experienced at the campgrounds in New Zealand. So we had to put away everything safely again and drive to Westerway, a little village 8 km away.
After hanging our clothes to dry we went the Three Falls Track and integrated the Tall Trees Track. Both start near the campsite and thus are within walking distance. The Three Falls Track is a circular trail where you visit the Russel-, the Horsehoe- and the Lady Barron Waterfalls.
In the middle of the forest we were able to observe an echidna looking for food. The highlight from my point of view were the giant eucalyptus trees, which can grow up to 100 meters. The highest in the Mt Field National Park is about 79 meters; more than enough to impress!
All in all it was about 7 km distance, which can be easily done during a day visit as well. However, twice there about 200 steps to climb. If you prefer to go down these steps, you can walk the circular path clockwise and start with the Lady Barron waterfall.
Due to the bushfires Brendan, the ranger-in-charge of the region, comes every morning at 10 and informs the visitors of the campsite about the current situation. He also provides you with all other important information about the national parks. For the next days it looked quite okay, we are good to continue our journey to the Southwest National Park. However, some hiking trails in the region are currently closed and so Brandon also gave us some insider’s tipps where we could go.
“Creatures of the Night” with Hannah
But first, we extended our stay in Mt Field National Park by one more night. After all, we don’t want to get too far behind with our blog. In addition, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service also offered activities in this park. This evening the “Creatures of the Night” spotlight walk was on the program. After our good experiences on Bruny Island with the reptile show, we didn’t want to miss this of course.
And the activity organized by ranger Hannah was excellent. First, she showed us stuffed animals and gave us some information about the behaviour of the respective species and which rules we should follow if we want to observe these animals. At dusk we went together on a spotlight walk and watched padamelons, possums, glow worms and – which was a highlight – a very curious bandicoot. Usually, bandicoots are very shy and difficult to find. So, even the ranger Hannah was totally excited about this.