“The spectacular coastline around Eaglehawk Neck is a popular tourist destination … less known is the Tasman Coastal Trail which heads south from these formations to the even taller cliffs around Waterfall Bay”
Day Walks Tasmania
This is a very enjoyable half day or so walk based in the Tasman National Park about an hour and a quarter out of Hobart. It takes in Tasmans Arch and Devils Kitchen as well as some spectacular coast line and great views. I used the track notes from “Day Walks Tasmania” by John and Monica Chapman.
The first section between Tasmans Arch and Waterfall Bay is along an upgraded track with plenty of lookouts and suitable safety fencing. From Waterfalls Bay it becomes a more traditional bush track and skirts quite close to the cliff edge in places with no barriers. As such it is suited to more experienced and careful walkers although I’d still grade it as moderate only. The views along this section are great, particularly from Morleys Lookout (take care here, it’s a long drop down the cliffs) and Tatnells Hill.
Well worth doing, the walk commences at the car park at either Tasmans Arch or Devils Kitchen (a couple of hundred metres apart) and is an out and back walk. Access from Hobart is via the A3 to Sorrell (the nearest town), then A9 towards Port Arthur and finally Blowhole Road (C338) to the aforementioned car parks.
Walk date: May 15, 2009
Time/level: Around 4 hours, moderate (approx. 11.5km)
Map: TASMAP 1:25,000 Tarrana, map in guidebook
My rating: B+
Mt Field National Park, about an hour and a half’s drive from Hobart, is a small but attractive national park and well worth visiting. There are some excellent day and shorter walks and this one, which takes in three waterfalls including the impressive Russell Falls and a short meander through a forest of swamp gums, apparently the world’s tallest flowering plants, is most worthwhile.
The walk begins at the visitor centre which is just up from the entrance to the park. If you are parking a car, make sure you have a valid pass – these can be purchased from the centre, which will also supply a leaflet that outlines the walks available and includes a basic map. The path, which is well marked throughout, is sealed and fairly level up to Russell Falls and so suitable for pushchairs/wheelchairs, although the roots of trees have caused the surface to break up in a few places.
Russell Falls have been a scenic attraction for a long time – in the early/mid 20th century trains would take tourists on day trips to the park (known simply as ‘National Park’). There had been a lot of rain and some snow the day before I was there and as a result the falls were particularly impressive with a large volume of water flowing.
After taking in Russell Falls follow the track as it climbs by the side of the falls and eventually reaches an intersection and a short part to Horseshoe Falls. Follow this to have a look at these falls and then return to the intersection and follow the path as it joins with the ‘Tall Trees’ circuit. At this point, you could go left or right – I took the right hand branch which soon joins the Lake Dobson Road. Take care while crossing the road and join the track on the other side, following it to Lady Barron Falls. These falls are also quite impressive.
From here continue along the clear path back to the visitor centre. Note that the Lady Barron Falls section has a couple of moderately steep sections, one of which is a staircase which you will be ascending if you follow the route described.
Walk date: May 16, 2009
Time/level: Around 2-2.5 hours, easy/moderate
Map: Leaflet from visitor centre
My rating: A
Mt Field East, located in the Mt Field National Park about 90km outside Hobart, provides an excellent target for a day-walk. If the weather is fine, you’ll get superb views from the summit.
I did the walk as a circuit, which requires a bit of a road bash. Parking at the Lake Fenton car park, I took the path by the south-eastern end of the lake that climbs steadily and affords excellent views. After a quick detour to Seagers Lookout (worthwhile) I proceeded across Windy Moor to the obvious summit.
After taking in the great views from the summit I took the path down by Lake Nicholls which eventually reaches Lake Dobson Road, and ultimately back to the parking area.
At around 4 hours I found it a moderate day-walk. The trail is generally pretty well marked, but some sections will require a bit of navigational care. The final pull up to the summit also requires a bit of rock hopping. I’d recommend doing the circuit clockwise as the path down from the summit to Lake Nicholls is quite steep and drags a bit – going down here seemed preferable to climbing up. The final road section is uphill but the grade is much less steep. This whole area is an alpine environment so please ensure you are properly equipped.
My rating: B+
Map: TASMAP Mount Field National Park (1:50,000)