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
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.
Then, in classic Annabel style, I was cheeky and snuck past the barricade to get closer to the falls, wobbling over moss-covered rocks that made my hiking boots slip and slide into the cold water (luckily they’re waterproof – thanks Kathmandu haha).
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.
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.