Russell Falls in the Mount Field National Park - Waterfalls, Hikes and Wildlife
Russell Falls in the Mount Field National Park - Waterfalls, Hikes and Wildlife

Russell Falls in the Mount Field National Park - Waterfalls, Hikes and Wildlife


When Is the Best Time

Mount Field National Park is a year-round destination. The park is well-known for Russel Falls the motiv which is mostly used to show the beauty, but there is so much more. I highly recommend at least half a day for this UNESCO World Heritage Area, just one hour drive from Hobart.

The official National Park sign - "A park for all seasons"

Mount Field is located in the west, which is notorious for all weather patterns in one day. Summer is the most pleasant time of the year for hiking and watching wildlife inside the park.

Huge Fern Trees at Russell Falls Creek
The lush rainforest in the National Park.

The Tarn Shelf Hike is a must-do in the fall. During winter, you can find Tasmania's only ski field at Lake Dobson, situated at around 1000 meters elevation.

Information board and trails around Russell Falls and Mount Field.
Map high resolution

Due to the proximity to Hobart, it is busier during weekends and holidays. The Russel Falls walk is wheelchair accessible. To escape the crowds, drive up to Lake Dobson and walk through a completely different vegetation. 

Hiking Trails and Waterfalls

A feeding marsupial along the hiking path
We walked quietly and spotted a lot of wildlife like this pademelon.

We combined three of the four stunning walks, "Russel Falls", "The Tall Trees", and "Lady Barron Falls" plus the Horseshoe Falls, on one walk, which took us roughly 2 hours for the six kilometres long trail.

Hiking sign with durations for the most popular trails.
These four hikes can be combined on a 2-3 hours hike in Mount Field.

The walk leads through the breathtaking rainforest with huge fern trees, echidnas and marsupials in the summer. Information boards are placed for children but are interesting for adults as well.

Russel Falls

The wooden boardwalk and viewpoint to Russel Falls
The well-maintained path to the Russel Falls

This is an easy and wheelchair-accessible walk to the famous Russel Falls. This circular trail is 1.4 km long and last half an hour. If you are limited in time, walk at least to this magnificent waterfall through the lush rainforest. 

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls in the Mount Field National Park
The falls are less impressive after the summer.

The Horseshoe Falls have the shape of a U, which is why they are called so. The fall is located just around the corner of Russell Falls, a 400 m-long path. 

Lady Barron Falls

Another waterfall that drops in steps in Mount Field
The Lady Barron Falls

The Lady Barron Falls circuit hike is an easy 6 km trail which combines Russell Falls and the Tall Trees plus a small detour, you are also able to see the Horseshoe Falls. I highly recommend this entire trail which gives you a glimpse of the beauty of Mount Field. Lady Barron Creek feeds the waterfall, and although summer still impressive.

Tall Trees Walk

A hiker in front of such a high tree in the forest of Mount Field
One of the up to 400 years old trees in Mount Field

There are no longer all that many of these ancient tree giants. These trees in the entire of Tasmania are threatened by wildfires and strong winds and out of the National Parks, unfortunately, by logging. Yes, Sustainable Tasmania still lumbers such old giant trees. The name is the purest cynism.

One of the many information boards along the trail
There are plenty of information boards along this short track.

You can see younger gum trees that had grown after the wildfire in 1934, but some date back to the fire in the early 1800s. It is not that easy to estimate the age of these trees because swamp gums also have "false rings" depending on the conditions in spring and fall more than one can appear in one year.

A swamp gum forest
The breathtaking gum trees.

The circuit trail along swamp gums, the tallest trees in Australia, takes half an hour and is one kilometre long. 

Lake Dobson - Pandani Grove

Vegetation at Lake Dobson
The fascinating plants along the Pandani Grove

Easy trail of half an hour - a circular 1.5 km trail leading around Lake Dobson and through exceptional alpine vegetation and the highest area of heather in the world. Trailhead at Lake Dobson Parking Google Maps Location

It's a narrow and gravel road up to Lake Dobson. A 4WD is necessary during wintertime!

Tarn Shelf Trail

The vegetation and heather at Tarn Shelf
The vegetation at higher elevations is utterly different and the weather is harsher.

The Tarn Shelf circular hike takes an entire day, roughly 5-7 hours and is one of the most stunning hikes in Tassie, especially in autumn. The trail is 13.5 km long with an elevation gain of 550 m. If you come here for hiking, take your time and soak up the remarkable landscape. Hiking Map Tarn Shelf by Locus Map App

A hiker with warm clothes and beanie at the lake
It is much colder at Lake Dobson due to the higher elevation.

In March 2019, the Lake Dobson area got an upgrade; the Mount Mawson Public Shelter was opened. Today hikers and in winter skiers can stay warm and dry, which is much needed with the quickly changeable weather. Several trailheads to the Mount Field Mountains and the famous Tarn Shelf start here. Restrooms are also provided. 

Lyrebirds in Tasmania and Mount Field

A lyrebird on the forest floor searching for food.
The lyrebird male has long-tail feathers.

Lyrebirds were introduced to Tasmania when they were threatened in New South Wales more than 85 years ago. They were released in the western side of Tasmania and Mount Field. Today they are roaming the forests, It is believed that they damage the wetter forests in the west. Nevertheless, I find these birds fascinating and how they are able to imitate many other birds.

How to Get to Mount Field National Park?

The entrance sign for Mount Field and it UNESCO status

The Mount Field National Park is located northwest of Hobart at the Lyell Highway. This road leads through the heart of the western part of Tasmania. It is a roughly 70 km drive to the park's visitor centre and takes a little more than one hour. Ample parking is available, and a great picnic area. Parking Visitor Centre Google Maps

Weather and Seasons in the Mount Field National Park

Russell Falls with a huge amount of water
Russell Falls at the beginning of November - we could only use our mobiles and GoPro but not my professional Olympus Camera. 

The Mount Field area, the western part of Tasmania, is the wettest. Nevertheless, you are also able to experience beautiful sunny days in this park—most precipitation is from May until October. Even in summer, high rainfall can occur.  Every season offers a unique experience of Mount Field, Russel Falls, and all other waterfalls in the park. We visited the park a couple of times, and I must confess I prefer the spring when the waterfalls are at their peak, tumbling down with enormous power, much spray, and noise. Awesome! Don't let the weather spoil your trip; wear appropriate clothes and shoes.

Spring (September-November)

Russell Falls photo taken from the closest viewpoint
Bring a rain jacket for Tasmania and especially for this park.

The waterfalls; Russel Falls, Lady Barron Falls, and Horseshoe Falls, are at their peak, especially at the 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. The daily average temperature is around 13°C, and it finally warms up in November. However, nights are chilly, around 5°C only. 

Summer (December-February) 

An echidna in search for food with its long nose.
You have a high chance of spotting echidnas in the park on one of the trails.

High chance to spot echidnas until the beginning of fall. Summer is the most pleasant time for hiking; January and February are usually the “driest” months. However, even during summer, high precipitation occurs.

The Russell Falls from the closest viewpoint.
Russell Falls is just a trickle in the dry summer.

The warmest months are January and February, with an average temperature of almost 20°C. The alpine areas, e.g. Lake Dobson, are much colder.

Autumn (March-May)

The vegetation in fall
We had poor visibility at Lake Dobson.

During autumn, mostly in April, the Tarn Shelf hike is a great highlight with a riot of colours from orange to red and gold. Usually, temperatures 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, nights are chilly, dropping below 10°C and increasing precipitation.

Winter (June–August)

Snow in the winter in Mount Field

Skiing at Mount Mawson from mid-July to mid-September. It's a little warmer in lower elevations on average, around 6°C though nights drop below 0°C. There is usually a 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

One of the few accommodations is the Russell Falls Holiday Cottages near the park. These cottages are comfy, cosy, very clean with attentive staff and highly rated. You can't stay better and more comfortable within walking distance of the Mount Field National Park. 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 temperatures. We stayed here twice and were always glad to get one of the view rooms.

Wonderful Guided Tours in Tasmania


Best Months to Visit


Location and Tips

Tasmania, Mount Field National Park

Mount Field became a National Park in 1916. This park has huge diversity, from rainforests and fern trees to wildlife and even alpine vegetation at a higher elevation in the Lake Dobson area. Some trees are over 400 years old and 90 meters tall. The park offers various scenic walks and four of the 60 short walks of Tasmania. There is an excellent visitor centre, a gift store, and a cafe with snacks and drinks.

A woman inside a fallen tree.
I am standing in one of the huge old trees.

We came here in different seasons and always experienced some rainfall. Mount Field is similar to Cradle; it doesn't matter what kind of weather you have; it's always truly beautiful here. Russel Falls were incredible, with much water tumbling down the natural rock steps. 

I standing in the trunk of an immense big tree.
Like to know more about Tasmania? Don't miss out on my 14 Days Itinerary and the 21 Best Places. Russell Falls is one of them.

Do you want to obtain the usage right for my images? Contact me, but I will take action against picture theft.

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…