Mt Field National Park, which now forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is one of those ‘must see’ locations on the list of places we wanted to visit before leaving Tasmania, and with more nasty weather predicted, after arriving in New Norfolk on Monday, we quickly unhitched our mini home and headed up the mountain.
More commonly know as the (Tasmanian) Swamp Gum, it is the tallest hardwood tree in the world and also the world’s tallest flowering plant. Only the Californian redwoods reach loftier heights.
I had to take three shots to capture all of the tree and have done my best to stitch the images together. I know it doesn’t look all that great, but I hope it gives you an idea of the enormity of the tree.
This one is approx. 79 metres tall (259 feet) and still growing. The tallest recorded was 98 metres (321.5 feet) and by comparison, the tallest redwood was recorded at 111 metres (364 feet).*
It took us a little more than two hours to enjoy the falls and the Tall Trees walk and when we arrived back at the Information Centre, it was already 2:00 pm.
We enjoyed a toasted sandwich and then made the decision to drive up to Lake Dobson. We’d been speaking to a local who told us the road was open and there was around a foot of snow on the ground. The prospect was exciting.
When we reached Lake Dobson, it was only 2° C (35.6° F) and just as we hopped out of the car, the wind picked up and the rain came down.
It would have been nice to go for a walk, however the rain really was quite the dampener, literally, and all in all, it was so cold we were not able to be outside the car for very long at all.
The snow however was not the primary reason for the drive up the mountain. I wanted to see the Fagus, Nothofagus gunnii, a deciduous shrub native to the highlands of Tasmania, where it is the only winter-deciduous plant, and found nowhere else in the world. (You can read more about the Fagus here.)
Thanx to my blogging friend Dayna, I had a desire to see this little plant for myself and the park ranger was kind enough to point out where we might be able to do just that. She warned us though that perhaps it was too late following gale force winds a few days earlier and that perhaps the leaves may have “blown away”.
The Turning of the Fagus is an exciting time in the Tasmanian highlands, and I know we were too late to enjoy that visual spectacular. All I wanted to do was see what this little shrub looked like for myself and I was delighted that it was easy enough to find standing out against the green backdrop of the other trees and shrubs near Lake Fenton (a little more than half way up the mountain to Lake Dobson).
After seeing this little beauty, we headed down the mountain and back to New Norfolk.
By then, it was after 4:30 pm and both of us were feeling tired following our mad dash up the mountain. It may have been a mad dash, but it wasn’t reckless and it wasn’t without reward. Not only did we get to enjoy the falls and the tall trees, we were in the thick of the first snow of 2015 and I got to see the Fagus.
The park certainly didn’t disappoint, I only wish we’d have had more time to enjoy other areas of it.
Personally I’m very glad we went headed straight up to Mt Field National Park on Monday. For the last to nights there has been considerably more snow fall due to another cold front and now the roads are closed.
We are not going to get to Strahan on the west coast and will now be driving up the middle of the island and heading towards Mole Creek and Cradle Mountain.
Mt Field National Park
Footnote: According to signage in the Mt Field National Park.