“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir
Mt Field National Park in Tasmania is unique for its diversity in vegetation. There are tall swamp gum forests, giant tree ferns and gorgeous waterfalls in the lower reaches of the park, which I have described in another blog Mt Field National Park – The waterfalls.
There’s also the stark, but beautiful, alpine vegetation in the higher elevations, where there are ski fields for the winter and plenty of hiking options for summer including day walks and overnight treks.
On our visit, in late September, there was still a bit of snow around, but we decided to try the Tarn Shelf Hike via Lake Newdegate, Twilight Tarn and Lake Webster. The walk began on a picturesque trail that meanders around Lake Dobson, before veering off onto Urquhart Track and then onto a service road. Here snow was completely covering the road, but it wasn’t too deep, so we pressed on. For a while it was fun tramping in the snow as we hiked past the ski club buildings and onto Snow Gum Track.
But then we began to sink up to our knees and our progress was very slow. There were also so dark clouds on the horizon and it was becoming difficult to see the direction of the trail. It was probably time to turn around, but we still had vague hopes that we could get over the highest point of the trail and head down to the lakes where the snow would be thinner.
But it was only a momentary hope, as the next step I took saw me sink to my thighs and fall unglamourously on my butt. I was completely soaked and we resigned ourselves to the inevitable… today was not the day for doing this hike.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other walks at slightly lower elevation and we got to enjoy those instead. We walked around Lake Dobson and through the Pandani Grove (which are walks suitable for the whole family), returned briefly to our car to get dry clothes, and then set off on a walk to Lake Seal.
The trail descends on boardwalks past marshy swamps, where we could hear a chorus of frogs, and the vegetation was dotted with the colours of spring wildflowers. As we got closer to Lake Seal, the trail became quite muddy… and we were sinking into this almost as badly as the snow… well, up to our ankles… enough to get the boots coated. But it was a gorgeous walk and we enjoyed lunch by the lake before heading back.
Have you done the Tarn Shelf Hike? Or some other hikes in Mt Field National Park? Did you enjoy them? I hope to get back there one day to finish my hike, but I’m not disappointed with what we ended up doing. Here are some photos of that day.