Russel Falls - Mount Field N.P.
Travel Update Summer 2020: Most destinations, sites and parks reopened with limitations. Check the official websites and read our crucial ‘BEST TIME TO GO' and ‘AVOIDING THE CROWDS’ tips:
Mount Field National Park is a year-round destination. However, be prepared for fast changing weather and rain. Summer is the most pleasant time of the year for hiking. The Tarn Shelf Hike is a must in fall. During winter you can find at Lake Dobson Tasmania's only ski field situated at around 1000 meters elevation. It’s only 1 1/2 hours drive from Hobart to Mount Field N.P. the reason that it gets more crowded at weekends and holidays. The Russel Falls walk is wheelchair accessible. To escape the crowds drive up to Lake Dobson.
Weather and Seasons in the Mount Field National Park
The Mount Field area has a high amount of rainfall each year. Most precipitation from May until October. Even in summer, high rainfall can occur. The western side of Tasmania gets more rain than the east. Every season offers a unique experience of Mount Field and the Russel Falls.
The waterfalls; Russel Falls, Lady Barron Falls, Horseshoe Falls are at their peak, especially beginning of spring in September. The falls are spectacular during and after heavy rainfall which is more likely to happen until October. The echidna's hibernation ends between October and November depending on the temperature. September and October are pretty wet, and November gets a little drier. Daily average temps in September are around 12°C, in October around 14°C and November gets warmer. One digit night temps ranging from 5°C-6°C only.
High chance to spot echidnas until the beginning of fall. Summer is the most pleasant time for hiking and January and February are usually the “driest” months of the year. However, even during summer high precipitation occurs. The warmest months are January and February with an average temp of almost 20°C. The alpine areas e.g. Lake Dobson are much colder.
During autumn, mostly in April, the Tarn Shelf hike is a great highlight with a riot of colors from orange to red and gold. Usually, temps in March and April are still pleasant for hiking below 20°C. It gets colder in May with an average daily temp of 13°C. However, be also prepared for one digit temps and increasing precipitation.
Skiing at Mount Mawson from mid-July to mid-September. The average daily temp is 6°C though nights temps are below 0°C. High amount of rainfall or snow in August. A 4WD is necessary to get to Lake Dobson on the narrow gravel road during winter.
Where to Stay Nearby
There is just one hotel 400 meters drive to the Mount Field National Park. The National Park Hotel is basic but very clean with attentive staff. They offer fabulous food. You can't stay better and more comfortable. Camping is possible inside the park along the river with clean facilities and hot showers. However, consider nights can be pretty chilly with one digit temps. We stayed here twice and we always were glad to get one of the view rooms.
Mount Field already declared a National Park in 1916 has a huge diversity in vegetation, rainforest, fern tress, wildlife and even alpine vegetation at higher elevation at Lake Dobson area. Some trees are over 400 years old and 90 meters tall. The park offers a variety of scenic walks and four of the 60 short walks of Tasmania number 14-17. There is an excellent visitor center plus gift store and cafe with snacks and drinks. Ample of parking is available and very nice picnic spot.
We combined three of the four stunning walks "Russel Falls" - "The Tall Trees" and "Lady Barron Falls". The walk leads through an breathtaking rainforest with huge fern trees. Information boards are placed for children but are interesting for adults as well. Beside us we discovered an echidna and pademelons in the brush. The Tarn Shelf circular trail takes 5-6 hours and is one of the most stunning hikes in Tassie. If you come here for hiking; take your time and soak up the remarkable landscape.
We came here in different seasons often with rainfall. Mount Field is similar to Cradle it doesn't matter what kind of weather you experience it's always truly beautiful here. Russel Falls were awesome with a high amount of water falling down the natural rock steps.
Update end of March 2019
The Mount Mawson Public Shelter was openend end of March 2019. It is convenient for bushhikers and for the visitors of the ski field in winter as well. From now on you can stay warm especially in fast changing weather. You can start hiking to the mountains of Mount Field or the Tarn Shelf Trail from here. Facilities are provided.
It's a narrow and gravel road up to Lake Dobson. A 4WD is necessary during winter time.