Yesterday was another lesson in how fast the weather can change in alpine areas. I headed to Mt Field National Park in Tasmania – on the drive from Hobart the weather looked like it was going to be nice, but it closed in as I approached the park and got steadily worse as the morning progressed. The weather bureau forecast ‘isolated’ showers – I think they were all isolated in exactly the same place, which was where I planned to walk! Originally intending to take the Tarn Shelf circuit of the lakes, I ended up cutting the walk short at Lake Seal when the showers turned to rain which then turned to snow. While well equipped with full waterproof clothing, it proved impossible to keep my feet dry due to the amount of rain and water on the path.
Nonetheless, it was still an ‘invigorating’ walk, and the alpine landscape and the lakes and tarns have their own kind of appeal in this type of weather. Very few photos though, too wet and windy and the cold temperatures affected the battery in my digital camera. Conditions were also a reminder to ensure you are appropriately equipped when entering this type of terrain, and that sometimes it makes sense to turn back rather than push on.
Previous walks in Mt Field National Park: Mt Field East Circuit and Waterfalls and Tall Trees
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)