The final Tasmania snapshots post is finally here and it describes all the beautiful hikes I did at Mt. Field National Park and Cradle Mountain located in the Central Highlands. You can catch up on all my previous posts here!
[Edit: I thought this was going to be my final Tasmania Snapshots post but I didn’t want it to end up being too long so there will be one more after.]
My final few days in Tasmania started off in the wee early morning. I had spent the night at my friend’s Airbnb and her flight was around 7 a.m. so I was back on the road by 5 a.m. McDonald’s was my first stop because it’s the easiest and quickest spot to get a decent breakfast without being forced to dine in. My go-to is usually two hash browns because they’re always so warm and crispy.
Originally my plan was to make it to Mount Wellington for sunrise but I had read that the drive from Hobart to the top of Mount Wellington ends up being a lot longer than anticipated. I knew I wasn’t going to make it by the time the sun rose so I didn’t even bother and just decided to head off Northwest to Mt. Field National Park.
If you do a road trip through Tasmania there will be so many little towns that you can stop in. New Norfolk was one that I passed through on my way to Mt. Field and it’s such a quaint town. There weren’t that many people around since it was probably around 8 in the morning so I drove down the main street just looking at the shops that they had. There was a bakery open so I popped inside and got myself a piece of banana bread that ended up saving me later after my 2 hour hike.
It was probably around 9 or 10 a.m when I arrived at Mt. Field National Park so there was only 3 or 4 other cars parked in the lot. The workers at the reception desk helped me print my park pass and gave me a map of the trail pinpointing all the waterfalls. The entire circuit takes about 2 hours and includes three waterfalls so I just decided to see it all.
At first I was kind of freaked out because the only sounds I could hear were the birds chirping and the flow of the rivers. The foliage was so lush and green with the atmosphere feeling so serene that it was hard to believe that places like this actually exist.
The first waterfall that I came across was Russell Falls and it’s only 10 or so minutes from the visitors center. The waterfall was amazing to see up close and truly a work of art. I had never really done any long exposure nature shots so I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot. Capturing the smooth flow of the water falling is definitely satisfying but it’s impossible to get the plants to stay still because of all the air flow.
Horsehoe Falls is the second waterfall on the hike and it was definitely my favorite of the three. It’s a tiered waterfall nestled in the distance so you could take in the whole entire structure and see how the water trails into different little streams. It really felt like some Narnia shit.
The last waterfall was pretty spaced out between the 1st and 2nd so I had a lot of time to appreciate my surroundings and the fact that my little legs have been able to carry me through the mountain. There were some of the tallest trees in the world all around me with green foliage blanketing all the twigs and branches on the ground. Although the sights were beautiful, it was sad to see a good chunk of the forest destroyed with fallen trees and broken branches. The only animals that I really saw were a few wombats at the very beginning of my hike.
Lady Barron Falls was my least favorite, although it was still really nice to see. It was a smaller than the other waterfalls and the way the sun was peeking made it hard to see and get a good photo of the waterfall.
Once I made it back to the visitors center from my hike the parking lot was full of cars, so if you’re going to visit Mt. Field National Park then you should definitely start early if you want to avoid the crowd.
The last leg of the hike included going up several flights of stairs so I was so incredibly exhausted when I made it back to the car. Immediately I scarfed down the banana bread that I had bought early and chugged a bunch of water. Low key, I took a mini nap before getting back on the road because I felt myself starting to fall asleep after eating the bread.
I woke back up around noon feeling energized and continued on my road trip to Cradle Mountain. The drive was top three one of the most scenic of all the drives I took while on this trip. Since I was driving through the mountains there was a ton of windy roads with views of lush forests all around me. There were also a few signs about watching out for falling rocks which was pretty scary because we all know mother nature doesn’t care. It even stormed during the journey making the whole experience a real adventure. Being alive is more important than getting the shot, I couldn’t really stop to take any pictures so these were the only ones I got while en route passing Salmon Ponds.
My accommodation for the night was Discovery Parks and I didn’t get there until a bit after 7 p.m. Thanks to daylight savings it was already dark and there are no streetlights in Cradle Mountain so it was a bit of a struggle to find exactly where I was staying.
Originally my plan was to camp but it was too cold outside so I booked this accommodation last minute. The options in Cradle Mountain are pretty limited with no Airbnb’s in the area so you’re forced to book a pricey lodge. I didn’t want to spend $170+ a night since I would need to stay there for two nights so I opted for a female only dorm style cabin for like $30 a night.
It reminded me of being in Girl Scouts Camp and it would never book it again just because I can be really germaphobic sometimes. The cabin was a small room with two bunk beds on either side and a small closet. There were definitely stains on the sheet and the whole atmosphere was quite stark. I took these photos of the outside of the cabin the next morning since it was dark when I arrived.
Luckily there was only one other girl in the room that night so it wasn’t too bad. After bringing the things I needed inside, all I did was take a shower and go to sleep because I had a day of exploring Cradle Mountain the next day.
The next day started super gloomy with gray skies and pouring rain since the early morning. I got out of bed at around 10 a.m. and headed to the Cradle Mountain Visitors Center to get a shuttle pass so I could enter the park. Cradle Mountain requires you to use the shuttle instead of driving your own vehicle into the park because there’s not much room to park anywhere. There’s a stop for different attractions in the park making it super easy to hop on and off to do whichever hikes you want to do.
Eventually the sky cleared a bit and it stopped raining so I hopped on the shuttle at around 2 p.m. and ventured off into the park. Cradle Mountain was the only national park that had a decent amount of people there compared to all the other national parks I had visited. There definitely wasn’t as many people as it would be during the warmer months but it was still a good 50 or so people.
Since the last shuttle back to the visitors center left at 4 p.m., I had to choose what I really wanted to see. Dove Lake and the boat shed was at the top of my list so that’s the spot where I started. The walk to the lake was less than 10 minutes from the lot and the view was unbelievably breathtaking. The water was so calm and some of the mountain peaks in the background had snow covering them. The clouds were also low to the ground giving the entire area an ominous vibe.
I had a bit of time before the shuttle so I did the Glacier Rock hike which takes you to this man made platform where you can see a view of Doke Lake on the opposite side and at a much higher perspective. The view from this vantage point was really nice as well because you got a closer look of the mountains.
By the time I got back it was close to 4 p.m. so I waited for the shuttle and then was on my way back to the visitors center. The Cradle Mountain Cafe is located inside so I got a chicken ceasar salad wrap for lunch which helped me fuel back up from all that walking.
The sun set shortly after that so I spent the rest of the day and night in my accommodation editing the photos I had taken that day. The next morning I checked out before 10 a.m. and began my journey back to where it began in Launceston.
Based on the photos, if you had to only choose one place to visit would it be Mt. Field National Park or Cradle Mountain? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create, and grow!