Pandani Grove Nature Walk
Mount Field National Park
Directions - Located 90 minutes west of Hobart, take the Brooker Hwy north and follow the signs for New Norfolk. Pass through the town and follow the signs for Westerway and then Mount Field National Park. Pass the visitor centre and drive up the winding Lake Dobson Road all the way to the car park at Lake Dobson. The trail starts near the day-use hut.
The Hike - Having visiting Tasmania a couple of times over the past few years, the time had come once again to return to the Apple Isle and indulge in a little hiking holiday. The plan this time was to join my partner's Aunt and Uncle on a two and a half week self drive holiday, exploring the western side of the island and the wonderful wilderness areas that are found there. After spending a couple of nights in Hobart (where it reached 32C!!! on Easter Saturday), the first stop on the road trip was Mount Field National Park. Having visited previously in 2018, I was familiar with the area but was keen to return and complete a few walks I had not done the first time around.
One of those walks was the Pandani Grove Nature Walk, a track I had visited and completed half of when hiking the Tarn Shelf Circuit but for whatever reason, didn't feel the need to do for the website. Perhaps I thought it was too short and beneath me at the time but I was here now and it's a really pretty walk to experience. This was the first full day we would have in Mount Field after spending the previous day driving out from Hobart, stopping at cool towns like New Norfolk and Westerway before completing the Lady Barron Falls Circuit in the afternoon. My plan was to take in the Pandani Grove Nature Walk as a warm-up for the day and then tackle a hike I'd been looking forward to completing ever since my first visit, Mount Field West. Caris, Candy and Hal would be joining me for this hike and up until the Rodway Hut on the Mount Field West hike as I wanted them to see the start of the Tarn Shelf Circuit and some of the alpine country. After making our way up the slopes of the mountains on the winding roads, we arrived at the car park at Lake Dobson ready to go. It was a little bit chilly being 1000m ASL and the wind wasn't helping matters. We were all sufficiently rugged up and before setting off on the short loop I signed us into the walks register (please do this as it helps with visitor numbers and funding).
After checking out the day use hut, we made our way down to the start to begin our walk. There is a little viewing platform to the right of the track after you head down the first hill that takes you down to the water's edge and is a really good spot to get wide vistas of Lake Dobson. Once you've soaked in the views of the lake, the track skirts the edge of the water and past a magnificent example of a Pencil Pine that is sloped over the lake. These Gondwanan relics live above 800m ASL and do not like fire at all so with a changing climate and more bushfire risk because of it, they will likely see a greater threat to their existence going forward. Despite the short length of the walk, there is a lot to see early on with the narrow path taking you past some great flora. The native berries of Tasmania are something I always look out for and early on it was nice to see some Cheeseberry and Snow Berry lining the track. The Snow Berry in particular was looking amazing with the reds of the inside contrasting well with the crisp white exterior. Beard lichen is common here and always a good sign that the air is super fresh as they are very sensitive to air pollution. This wouldn't be an issue in the fresh alpine air and it was a nice feeling to breath it in.