Horseshoe Falls, Mt Field National Park – Tasmania, Australia

Be prepared for stairs.

I’m just going to go right out and say that. While Horseshoe Falls are just a short distance (10 minutes or so) from Russell Falls on the Mt Field National Park waterfall circuit, the hike to them requires a bit of resilience.

LADY BARRON FALLS, MT FIELD NATIONAL PARK – TASMANIA, AUSTRALIAHorseshoe Falls are the second stop on the waterfall circuit at Mt Field. You will have to pass either Lady Barron Falls or Russell Falls first in order to get to them, depending which way you start. Check out those blog posts to figure out which would suit you best.

Myself and my hostel friends Ben and Yiwii from The Pickled Frog Backpackers (review in the footnotes of O’Grady Falls blog post , if you prefer a hotel try Hotels.com for comparison prices) began from Russell Falls. They ventured ahead of me, climbing up the stony stairs that zig-zag through the unique Tasmanian forest.

I didn’t count how many stone stairs there were, but there was a bench about half-way up, so that’s an indication that there’s enough stairs to require a rest. Safe to say I was huffing and puffing like my life depended on it. Well, it probably did.

Luckily the climb is made easier by the beautiful views you have surrounding you.

And then we hit the wooden stairs, of which there were 105. One hundred. And five. So yeah, be prepared for that, is all I’m saying.

The climb is well worth it, though. I had hoped it would lead to the top of Russell Falls, and I was right.

We were able to look out at the view from the river that flowed down into the falls we’d just been admiring minutes before. So that was pretty cool.

The river looked surprisingly small for the incredible flow at Russell Falls, but it was pretty nonetheless. It trickled by us with that classic, soothing sound of gentle water.

We continued on to Horseshoe Falls. Since the tracks are within a National Park, they’re well signposted. We laughed at the ‘1 minute’ engraved on the sign below. Almost doesn’t seem worth putting it there, does it?

Because sure enough, 1 minute later, we reached Horseshoe Falls.

As you can see, these falls get their name from the shape formed by the two sides of water flowing down into the river below. They were extremely luscious and green when we visited, which we relished. They’re not always like this, so consider this your disclaimer warning!

I was again able to practice my photography skills, enjoying the mossy green rocks I had to play with.

I then forced my new friends into taking photos of me once again. Well, actually they quite enjoyed it to be fair. In fact they were encouraging, and captured some killer ‘behind the scenes’ shots for me. They were legends.


Photo by @buzzpuppet

Photo by @buzzpuppet

As you can see, I set up the camera angle and adjusted the settings, making sure everything was perfect. The only real credit I can give to my new-found friends was them directing me on where to stand and how to pose. So I guess I have them to thank for that. Love you, guys!

I enjoyed Horseshoe Falls, though I wish they were flowing a little more to make that horseshoe shape more distinct.

We then began our journey to Lady Barron Falls, the longest and hardest part of the hike (which is still easy). Lady Barron Falls are 50 minutes from Horseshoe Falls and an hour from Russell Falls, with a Tall Trees walk on the way.

Quick Facts

Last visit June 2017
Best TimeJuly-September 
Start / FinishMount Field Visitor Centre 
Unsealed Roads No
Walking distance 1.2kms one way, circuit
Time 45 minutes one way, or 2hrs for circuit
DifficultyModerate, stairs involved
FacilitiesToilets & Cafe at visitor center
Lat & Long42.6763° S, 146.7116° E
NearbyRussell Falls and Lady Barron Falls (circuit)
Watercourse Russell Falls Creek

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Image of Russell Falls taken on a chasing waterfalls trip in Tasmania

Russell Falls, Mt Field National Park – Tasmania, Australia

Image of Russell Falls taken on a chasing waterfalls trip in Tasmania

I was a little on the drunk side of sober.

Perched on a bar stool at The Pickled Frog Backpackers with my laptop in front of me, editing photos of O’Grady Falls and Silver Falls which I had visited just that day. I took a swig of my Cascades Pale Ale.

The next thing I knew, a bustle of people were filling the foyer, ordering drinks and giggling at the bar next to me. A short girl appeared to my right, leaned over to peer at my screen and exclaimed, “What are you doing?”

Soon enough, I had made friends with the small girl named Yiwii, who was from New York but travelling on from a business trip in Manilla. We were then joined by a guy called Ben, who was also from Melbourne. And by the end of the night, they’d both invited themselves on my next day trip to Mt Field National Park.

But I didn’t mind. Making new friends and having unexpected company with fellow travellers is one of the most fantastic things about travelling solo. So I welcomed them into my tiny little Kia, which I hired from Drive Car Rental (see footnotes for a full review), and off we went.

Photo by @yiwii featuring me and my Kathmandu backpack – so many great pockets for my essentials.

Driving to Mt Field from Hobart was easy – and the track to the falls begins from the Mt Field Visitor Centre. The drive took about an hour and a half and was relatively easy – even on the long, windy Tassie roads. To get there from Hobart City:

  • The easiest way to leave the CBD is by taking Brisbane Street to National Route 1
  • Continue on National Route 1 for 17.5km
  • Continue straight through the first roundabout – follow signs for Lyell Hwy A10 and follow this for 15kms
  • Continue straight at the next roundabout onto Lyell Hwy A10/Montagu Cres/A10 and follow for 1km
  • Continue straight at yet another roundabout onto Montagu St/B62 and follow this for 18kms
  • Then turn left onto Gordon River Rd B61 and follow this for 7.5kms
  • Turn right onto Lake Dobson Rd/C609 (this is the road entering into the Mt Field Visitor Centre)


The Mt Field Visitor Centre will cost you $24.00AUD entry (for a National Park Pass). You can drive in and park your car without any issues, but you will then need to purchase the pass from reception to put on your dash.

The walk to Russell Falls is one of the easiest in Tasmania. Once inside the Visitor Centre, head to the exit on the opposite side of the carpark, through the glass doors. You will be led to an obvious path, and see the sign above.

Shortly, a big blue sign leads the way. The waterfall track is a circuit of three falls including Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls. Obviously this means you can do the track the opposite way, too. If you’d like to do this, begin at the track for Lady Barron Falls, which can be accessed by following the road that passes the Mt Field Visitor Centre carpark (on foot). You’ll see the entrance quite clearly. Anyway, we began the easy way below:

The walk is flat and super easy, winding through a forest where bright green moss clings to everything in sight. Colourful, information signs are scattered along the track. I was extremely excited because this one below said that winter is the most likely time to see a platypus (I didn’t see one, sadly).

My new friends ventured ahead of me, through huge fallen trees.

There’s places to stop and sit along the way, although with the easy track I doubt you’d need to.

I always make sure to read the signs on the side of the track. You learn so much about the  place and the wildlife surrounding you.

Beautiful, green ferns danced around us and fluorescent green moss dazzled as it clung to fallen logs and rocks.

We took our time to stop and enjoy the wildlife, even though we were freezing in our thick, puffy jackets. It’s pretty cold up at Mt Field – in fact it gets layered with snow at times, so be sure to take appropriate gear and rug up!

We continued on – this track is only a 25 minute return so ‘continued on’ wasn’t actually that much further.

Another informative sign.

And then we made it!

Russell Falls had a big, wide, open viewing platform, and then a sneaky small platform off to the left where you could get closer to the falls (pictured below).

Russell Falls are about 34-58 meters in height (with 2 tiers/drops) and usually flow very well in winter/spring time. We were visiting in June, which would be considered prime-time, but Tassie was experiencing a severe lack of rainfall, so they weren’t flowing as much as they could have been.

They were still pretty beautiful though, with the incredible tiers/cascades providing excellent views and of course, photographs.

I think these were my favourite, to be honest. They’ve got to be up there. Their uniqueness and beauty captivated me.

And there I am, soaking in these gorgeous falls.

It was hilarious sharing my crazy passion for waterfalls with new friends, succumbing them to pressing the shutter release button on my camera for me. They did a pretty good job, don’t you think?

I almost didn’t want to continue on to Horseshoe Falls. Almost.

But it was time to move on. I took one last glimpse at these gorgeous falls which – fun fact – were first named Browning Falls when they were discovered in 1856. However, by 1884 tourists had flocked so frequently and they were re-named Russell Falls – the popular tourist attraction.

And then it was time to make our way to Horseshoe Falls, and later Lady Barron Falls.

Footnotes

I hired a small car from Drive (also known as Rent For Less) Car Hire, which is located on Harrington Street in Hobart CBD. My experience was really great – though my advice would definitely be to book online rather than walking in. It is significantly cheaper to book online. This was also the cheapest car hire I could find, and the location in the CBD made it even easier in terms of accessibility.

Lucky for me The Pickled Frog Backpackers had free parking. A review of this hostel can be found in the footnotes of the post on O’Grady Falls.

Quick Facts

Last visit June 2017
Best Time July-September
Start / FinishMount Field Visitor Center
Unsealed Roads No
Walking distance 500meters return (wheelchair accessible). Full circuit 
Time 25 min return (unless  circuit)
Difficulty Super Easy
Facilities Toilets
Lat & Long 42.6772° S, 146.7129° E
NearbyCircuit continues to Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls
Watercourse Russell Falls Creek

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