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Mount Field National Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrMount Field National Park, located about 43 miles northwest of Hobart, was the very first national park to be established in Tasmania, Australia. It is famous for its great landscapes, wildlife, rainforests, and lakes. It is, without a doubt, the most diverse national park in Tasmania. The diversity in plants and flowers is incredible and ranges from the tallest Swamp Gums and Tree Ferns to rainforest vegetation and alpine species. Wet plateaus are home to grasses and bog vegetation, while the mountainsides and glacial lakes provide a habitat to vulnerable, cold climate plants. Mount Field National Park is home to entire forests of massive Swamp Gums, the world’s tallest flowering plants and the second-tallest trees in the world after the North American Redwoods.
The park’s wildlife is abundant as well. Wildlife includes some of Tasmania’s endemic mammals such as Eastern Quolls, Tasmanian Devils, and Eastern Barred Bandicoots. In addition, visitors might also spot Wombats, Platypuses, and Echidnas. Tasmania has twelve native bird species, eleven of which can be seen in Mount Field National Park.
The national park is also well-known for its fantastic visitor facilities. There are in fact two places to provide services to visitors. The first one is the Visitor Information Center and is located near the entrance to the park. It has picnic and barbecue facilities, as well as powered and unpowered campsites, a café, and information on the park’s history. Visitors can buy their entrance passes there. In addition, there is also a playground for kids. The famous Russell Falls , a major attraction, is located nearby. The second place lies at Lake Dobson, which is owned by the government. There, visitors can go on long hikes or access the ski areas. There are campsites as well. Other types of accommodation are provided by private walking or skiing clubs. A ski lodge is open to visitors during the skiing season. The two visitor areas are connected by a 16-kilometer unpaved road.
Additional accommodation is available in nearby towns such as Westerway, New Norfolk, and Ellendale.
HistoryRussell Falls and its surroundings has been an official protected area since 1885 for its stunning natural beauty. This was when it was declared as a nature reserve, Tasmania’s first. In 1916 the region was established as a national park, making it the oldest national park in Tasmania together with Freycinet National Park on the east coast. The park got its name from Mount Field, located in the west of the park and is a major feature.
Fun fact: In 1933 the last known wild Tasmanian Tiger was captured in the nearby Florentine Valley.
ActivitiesAs Tasmania’s most diverse national park, Mount Field National Park offers a wide variety of activities. Hiking, camping, and skiing (in winter) are the most popular.
Camping is accommodated at the campground and caravan park near the park entrance. There are excellent facilities, including powered sites, washing machines, a toilet and shower block, electric barbecues, and a cooking shelter.
Hikes range from easy strolls to strenuous full-day hikes. Tasmanian weather is unpredictable and can change within minutes. Therefore visitors should always be prepared and bring extra clothing. The national park’s one major attraction is Russell Falls. These falls are so scenic that they were in fact featured on the first postage stamp of Australia. They can be reached via an easy short walk from the visitor center. Other suggested hikes are the 30-minute Tall Tree Walk underneath towering Swamp Gums, Pandani Grove Nature Walk past alpine vegetation, Seager’s Lookout, Mount Field, Tarn Shelf and many other attractions. A popular loop hike takes in Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls , Tall Trees Circuit, and Lady Barron Falls and takes only a couple of hours. There are several more and the visitor center has all the necessary information.
Home to one of only two downhill skiing and snowboarding areas in Tasmania, Mount Field National Park is a very popular winter destination. There are two tows on Mount Mawson and one on the Rodway Range. The higher plateaus offer excellent cross-country skiing opportunities as well.
The park also has many caves. However, most of those are only accessible to experienced cavers. A cave that is open to the public is Junee Cave, located south of the national park.
How To Get ThereMount Field National Park lies only an hour by car northwest of Hobart. Follow the A10 from Hobart past New Norfolk to Westerway. Turn left and follow the pleasantly winding road to the village of National Park. The national park’s entrance is clearly signed.
Similar LandmarksA similar national park in Tasmania is Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. In Australia there are a few others that can compare to Mount Field National Park, being Grampians National Park, and Alpine National Park Kosciuszko National Park.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Oct 07, 2014