When I told people I was heading to Tasmania, many said to get to Cradle Mountain. The park is several hours northwest of Hobart — our start and end point of the trip –, however, and combined with the other sights on our agenda, it would have taken too long to get there. Brendan and I still wanted to see some parkland, so we decided on an alternative closer to Hobart: Mt Field National Park.
We booked accommodation in a two-bedroom house with full kitchen right in the park for not much more than we’d paid at our standard hotels. Behind the houses sat a pond harboring platypus — I saw for a split second one poke his head above the still water. The scene behind the pond was reflected almost like the Mirror Lake on the way to Milford Sound in New Zealand’s South Island.
You can take hikes ranging from 30 minutes to half a day or more in Mt Field. Waterfalls, rainforests, alpine areas, ponds — it’s all at your disposal up there. We took an hour walk to Russell Falls and then Lady Barron Falls across the road. The second was the harder of the two hikes given its steep ascent, though it was still nothing compared to the Wineglass Bay trek.
A windy, somewhat treacherous drive up to the top of the mountain uncovered the path to a ski area and an alpine pond. You can take hours-long hikes here, but as the weather can change quickly, you definitely need to come prepared. A shelter that looks like it was built in the 1960s is the only safe haven to seek if a snow storm rolls in. Luckily, it was a bright, if not a bit chilly, spring day during our visit, so fear of bad weather was the furthest thing from my mind.