Going up the country

We leave the relative sophistication and affluence of the east coast and head inland, up-country. It’s sparsely populated, even by Tassie standards.  We see few cars, few settlements, few people.  Low intensity agriculture is the order of the day, and logging too.

Our goal is Mount Field National Park. Tasmania has set aside much of its land area as National Parks, and Mount Field is one of the oldest; it has a variety of landscapes and ecosystems to enjoy.  Altitude is the key.  The less elevated areas boast thick forests and towering waterfalls, but further up these give way to glaciated mountains, windswept moors and tranquil lakes.  We stay overnight just outside the park boundary, grab an early morning mocha – one of the best we’ve had anywhere, ever – from the Park Visitor Centre, and set off to explore.

We head first to Russell Falls, walking beside a small river through dense and luxuriant forest:

tasmania-mt-field-russell-falls-area-2016-2

Here we are pleased to get good views of a Pademelon.  This is, basically, a short-arsed forest dwelling wallaby.  We saw them in Bruny, but they were strictly nocturnal so we didn’t manage to get a photo.  Here they are more visible and more confiding, though still wary:

tasmania-mt-field-pademelon-2016-1

Russell Falls, when we reach them, are spectacular …

tasmania-mt-field-russell-falls-2016-6

… and we trek further up the mountainside to see the equally impressive Horseshoe Falls:

tasmania-mt-field-horseshoe-falls-2016-3

We head back to the car and drive 15k uphill along twisty and demanding gravel roads. Trees are smaller here, and there are patches of sub-alpine moorland.  The place we are heading for is Pandani Grove, home to a distinctive form of vegetation that looks superficially as if it belongs in the tropics rather than at the top of a mountain that gets more than its fair share of snow and howling winds straight from Antarctica:
tasmania-mt-field-lake-dobson-pandani-grove-2016-14

Alpine Lizards, well adapted to this cold and variable climate, can also be found sunning themselves on rocks and paths:

tasmania-mt-field-lizard-2016-4

We wrap up our short visit to Mount Field National Park by taking the Tall Trees Walk, which feature the world’s tallest flowering plant: the Swamp Gum …

tasmania-mt-field-tall-trees-panoramic-2016

Mount Field National Park is a great place to visit and we’d like to stay longer but we have to move on, to continue up the country into the wilds of Central Tasmania.

[17 November]

Author: Platypus Man

"Platypus" is a red herring: I'm English, although my blogging career began in my record of a 2016 road trip to Tasmania. Other blogs followed covering road trips in Newfoundland (2017), the Yellowstone area of the USA (2018) and New Zealand (2019). My current project is "Now I'm 64" , a weekly blog covering UK travel and wildlife, along with bits of history, social commentary and moans about the injustice of aging. I can guarantee a few laughs, and also the occasional rant. Some of it's even quite well written!

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