Russell Falls Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
Yesterday a friend and I put on our walking shoes and headed north out of Hobart towards Mt Field National Park. I had been telling Jacinta about my ‘getaway to soothe my soul’ and how I had felt the need to ‘discover’ a waterfall, Jacinta, who has done a lot of bushwalking here in Tassie, asked me if I had ever been to Russell Falls. I had heard a lot about Russell Falls but had never been there, so we made plans to drive the 80 km northwest out of Hobart and find ourselves lost in the forest at Mt Field National Park.
I had no idea Russell Falls was so easily accessible. From the car park at the Mt Field National Park information centre it is just a short 10 minute walk along a paved path to the base of the gorgeous waterfall. I don’t think I have ever seen a waterfall with such great access. It is even accessible for people in wheelchairs or babies in prams and had a viewing deck bridge, which spans the creek below the falls and provides a fantastic view of the waterfall, not that we saw any wheelchairs or prams, but I think it is brilliant.
Russell Falls is often referred to as one of Tasmania’s most beautiful cascades, I will confirm this once I have seen a few more, but it sure is one of the most beautiful I have seen. There are two tracks to Russell Falls from the car park. We took the main one but I understand the second one, which leads to Russell Falls via the east bank is less crowded during busy periods, as it was, we only met two other people on the path the day we visited and they pointed out the little wallabies hopping around in the bush just off the path. One thing I learnt was if there is not a sign at a fork in the path telling you which way to go, both paths would lead you to your destination, an important piece of information when you get to the Tall Trees junction. We didn’t follow the path to them because we were heading for Lady Barron Falls, but I learnt later that both tracks eventually lead to Lady Barron Falls. The one via the Tall trees takes you through the base of the Tall Trees and only add an extra 300 metres to the walk. These trees are the Eucalyptus regnans or swamp gum or mountain ash, depending on taste and are the tallest hard wood trees in the world and the second tallest tree in the world after the sequoia or Californian redwood trees. We did see the trees from the platform at the top of the path where you have the chance to test your skill in measuring the height of one of the trees. I failed dismally, but only because I was trying to measure the wrong tree. However, if we went with my measurements, we would have the tallest trees in the world.
Once we had our fill of the magnificent sight of Russell Falls, we followed the sign that lead up some steps to a second viewing deck halfway up the side of the waterfall. The giant ferns obscure the view a bit so we only spent a minute there before making our way to the top of the stairs and the top of the waterfalls; from here, you cannot see the cascades but it does give a fantastic view out over the forest from where the cascades begin.
It is only another 100 metres along this path to the viewing platform for Horseshoe Falls, named for their shape; these are a very pretty and atmospheric waterfall set in lush ferns and moss covered stones with the sun streaming through the canopy of trees above our heads, I didn’t want to leave.
However, I did leave, and Jacinta and I made our way back to the bridge that would take us over the stream and into the gorgeous rainforest and on to Lady Barron Falls.
There must have been a big storm come through the area not long ago because we passed many freshly fallen trees, there were a couple of times we had to climb over branches that obscured the path, but that only added to our adventure.
Lady Barron Falls is not as beautiful as Horseshoe Falls or as majestic as Russell Falls, but after an hour hiking through the bush, it is a lovely oasis in the middle of the forest. A timber staircase led us up and over a little ridge and back down to the base of Lady Barron Falls where we stayed to enjoy the setting for a while before our tummies dictated it was time to leave so we could enjoy a lovely lunch. We made our way back to the path and continued on the circle track back to the information centre. If I ever do this walk again, I will retrace my steps back the way I came, because even though the circle track is a little shorter, it is not as pretty and has a killer staircase you have to climb in order to get back up the ridge. I didn’t count the steps, but I have taken some photos of the staircase to give you an idea of it. Not that it spoilt the walk, far from it; we had a wonderful day and made a pact to go out every couple of weeks to explore more waterfalls and walking tracks in the Hobart area.
For lunch, we ended up back in New Norfolk, a town about a half hours drive northwest of Hobart and a wonderful little cafe called Passions. We did think about doing another little walk but we were both pretty tired and it was already late in the afternoon, so I drove us back to Hobart, dropped Jacinta off and went home for a nice long hot shower.
I hope you enjoy the walk through the rainforest to the waterfalls today, and if you do make it to Tasmania one day, make sure you take some time and see them for yourself they are truly worth it.