Saturday, 8 June 2013

Tasmania Day 6: Mt Field National Park

It had been a windy night so no frost this morning, just blue sky and mountain freshness. I was up before sunrise again and wanted to go for a walk up to the lake, by the time I got organized the kids came out one by one so the 4 of us went, the sun was just about up by the time we headed out. The lake was even more beautiful in the early morning sun, sparkling and reflecting and it was magical watching the mountain on its western edge slowly light up. We sat on the steps on the edge of the lake and the kids climbed out on rocks and trees and we had some snacks, a couple of currawongs came to see if we were offering food. This was the first time the kids had seen currawongs, and they brought back memories for me of our last trip to Tasmania (Tony and I came here on our honeymoon) so it was exciting for all of us and they were quite entertaining to watch. I wanted to hear them sing but only the crows were talking today.
Liam and a currawong
Lake Dobson at sunrise

After breakfast we walked back down to Caitlin’s magic land, and Caitlin climbed to the top of her big rock. She thought she could hear a waterfall – at first I thought it was just the wind in the trees but then I thought perhaps there was a water sound in there as well. We investigated further and found a little stream running over some rocks, not far past her big rock. At the point where the waterfall ran past, there was a sloped rock which was perfect for lying on and looking at the blue sky and surrounding mountains, or for jumping off onto a rock in the stream, or for taking photos from. The 5 of us hung out the for a while, it was probably the most relaxing part of our holiday so far.
Caitlin and Liam on top of the world
Caitlin on her Big Rock

Caitlin's magic land
As we walked back to the hut we saw another car – the first sign of the outside world we’d seen for 24 hours. It was the cleaners. Tony had a chat to them about the water source for the huts (a spring higher up the hill) and the weather – before we came up it had been forecast to rain on Thursday and snow on Thursday night, they said that the snow was now not forecast until Friday night. The rain hadn’t arrived yet either although clouds were starting to move in.

The kids went looking for a secret hiding place and found a great place under a tree, however it contained a preserved skeleton of a possum, with fur still on the tail. It was pretty freaky to look at and they didn’t feel like sharing their special place with it so they kept searching.

After lunch we drove down the hill to check out Russell Falls and the Tall Trees Walk. We’d originally planned to do this on the way out on Friday but decided to do it this afternoon so that we didn’t have to rush on our way to Hobart. We called in at the visitors centre 1st, and the weather report on the wall said snow on Friday so I was hopeful that we might see some snow before we left. It was also starting to rain a little bit now, the blue sky had completely been covered over. In the gift shop Millie found a platypus she wanted to buy, however we’d both left our wallets up in the hut so she reluctantly agreed to wait until tomorrow to buy it. The kids played in the interactive display area for a while, investigating the weather patterns of Mt Field National Park and the animal life that they might see. Then we walked up to Russell Falls through very mossy, damp forest. Tony and I were last here in summer and I recall it being much drier although still very green and mossy. I loved the falls just as much this time as last time. Millie didn’t seem impressed, she said ‘no, these aren’t the falls we’ve come to see’ – perhaps because I’d shown her photos from a pamphlet, and the falls didn’t have as much water in them today.  From here the kids and I walked up to the top of the falls and on to the Tall Trees Walk, while Tony went back to the car and brought it up to the Tall Trees carpark, then walked down the track until he met us. The kids and I made quite slow progress, stopping to look at the top of Russell Falls, lots of moss covered fallen tall trees, mushrooms and fungi of a huge variety of sizes, colours and shapes, Horseshoe Falls, trees and sticks, and one pademelon. Millie liked part of the creek above the falls, where water was dropping 10cm or so over some rocks ‘ah, there’s the falls we were looking for!’ We met up with Tony eventually and did the Tall Trees Walk, walking past Eucalypt trees which were over 70m tall (and their fallen friends lying moss covered on the ground – one at least was over 60m long still).
My favourite view of Russell Falls
The waterfall that Millie came to see
Liam and mushrooms

Back up the mountain to the hut, where we had the place to ourselves again. The wind was picking up by now and it was quite cold, with patches of heavier rain although mainly just drizzle. Caitlin, Liam and I played Up and Down the River (a card game Tony and I played a lot last time we were in Tasmania). We had recharged the lantern battery a bit on our way up and down the hill but it still didn’t give a lot of light, and Tony’s torch didn’t have much battery life left, so we had a lot of creative moving around of lanterns and torches so we could all see what we were doing. After dinner we played a bit more Uno then made a cold and wet trip to the toilets, then jumped into bed for more Anne of Green Gables. The wind was very strong by this stage and I was impressed at how well the hut protected us, it wasn’t even shaking in the gusts of wind, it felt cosier than our old place in Dixons Creek was in high wind (our hut was the northernmost one so was taking the full force of the wind). 

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