Russell Falls Walk
Mount Field National Park
Directions - Located just over an hour 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. Turn right into Mount Field National Park and the trail head is located behind the Visitor Centre using the path to the left.
The Hike - Russell Falls is one of the more iconic waterfalls in Tasmania and constantly pops up on the marketing material you see about the island state. Being only an hour from Hobart and a short walk from the excellent Visitor Centre at Mount Field, the 1.7km loop provides easy access for those wanting a taste of the fern filled rainforest and an impressive waterfall. When we bought our current unit there were three Australian Airlines prints on the wall of the garage by artist Jo Anne Hook and one of them is the Tasmania print that I believe is Russell Falls. I love this style of travel poster and her work, mainly around Queensland has the same bright and vibrant style.
This is a walk that I had completed part of during my post on Lady Barron Falls Circuit (or sometimes known as the Three Falls Circuit) but for whatever reason I didn't see the need to write this one up. Much like the Pandani Grove Nature Walk, perhaps I thought it was beneath me at the time but now I'm bit older I appreciate these short walks a lot more. It was actually a lot longer than I thought it was and the full loop is a great way to stretch the legs and see some stunning scenery. Over the course of our stay at Mount Field on this trip we visited the falls several times and so this post is a combination of those walks along with the full loop I did early one morning. Given we were staying at the Russell Falls Holiday Cottages, it was only a short walk to the Visitor Centre so we took advantage of that over the course of the three days we were here. The walk starts to the left of the Visitor Centre (well worth spending some time wandering around in there) and there is a sign stating that this is one of the 60 Great Short Walks in Tasmania. Walking in a clockwise direction, the path leading to Russell Falls is all paved and wheelchair accessible. Heading past the William Crooke Shelter, it isn't long before you leave the openness of the day-use area behind and enter a world of fantastic ferns, babbling brooks and towering trees. The narrow loop takes you either side of Russell Falls Creek with the titular Russell Falls providing a stopping point at the halfway mark.
It was a chilly morning when I did the full loop and stopping quite a lot for photos did not help my body temperature. Along the path you get some larger trees, both upright and then a fallen example to give you a good sense of scale of what a medium sized Swamp Gum can grow to. A theme of this trip, especially in the latter half was searching for fungi and this walk has a few good opportunities to spot some. I did buy a FungiFlip identification guide but even then it's hard to narrow down exactly what fungi is what. I did enjoy the orange and while variety that oozed orange droplets (possibly postia punctata) and the common Turkey Tail clinging to bits of deadwood. Ducking under some large fern fronds, one thing I love doing is photographing the patterns of the ferns as they also produce results that are pleasing to my eye. Reaching the Glow Worm Grotto, this is a really cool spot that is worth coming back at night to experience. We did this the night before and once your eyes have adjusted, it's a cool spectacle to shuffle along the fence and see the dim green glow of the worms hanging out in the undergrowth. I don't have any photos as they were way too dim, even on a super long exposure (plus I didn't want to get in the way) but it was cool seeing possums on the walk there and I had fun shooting Russell Falls at night (see last gallery for photos).