Russell Falls and Horseshoe Falls are just over an hour’s drive from Hobart in the Mount Field National Park. They make for a very easy and rewarding day (or even half-day) trip.

Mount Field National Park

Mount Field is one of Tasmania’s oldest national parks. It was founded in 1916, but even as far back as 1885 the area around Russell Falls had been recognised for its natural beauty and declared a nature reserve. Its enduring natural beauty, and close proximity to Hobart, means it is still extremely popular with locals and visitors alike.

A day-pass for a car (and up to 8 people) costs A$24. If you will be visiting other Tasmanian national parks it may be worth getting an annual pass for A$96.

Mount Field National Park

Russell Falls

Russell Falls is a three-tiered waterfall surrounded by gum trees and tree ferns. It is often regarded as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Tasmania.

The walk through the rainforest from the car park and visitor centre takes about 25 minutes return, but you will definitely want to allow plenty of time to take photos and admire the spectacle of the falls.

Russell Falls signRussell Falls, TasmaniaRussell Falls, Tasmania

Horseshoe Falls

About 100 metres further upstream, Horseshoe Falls is definitely worth the extra ten minutes walk. The forest scenery as you climb the steps past Russell Falls is quite spectacular. You also get to see an interesting view of the top of Russell Falls just before you reach Horseshoe Falls.

Top of Russell Falls
The top of Russell Falls

Horseshoe Falls, TasmaniaHorseshoe Falls, Tasmania

Other things to see in the area

Within Mount Field National Park

There is actually a third waterfall in Mount Field called Lady Barron Falls. The 6 kilometre Lady Barron Falls Circuit covers the 3 waterfalls as well as the Tall Trees Walk. The Tall Trees Walk has giant swamp gums that can grow up to 30 metres, making them the tallest flowering plant on the planet and among the tallest trees in Australia.

Lake Dobson is a further 16 kilometres into the national park from the visitor centre. From there it is possible to go on some longer hikes into the alpine area of Mount Field National Park.

Glow-worms can be seen at night on the forest walk to Russell Falls.

There is a campsite within the national park that was included in an Australian Geographic list of the top 18 campgrounds in Australia. For fees and more information, visit the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service website.

On the way

An optional stop on the way to Mount Field is New Norfolk, Tasmania’s third oldest settlement. Also, keep an eye out between New Norfolk and Mount Field for the fields of hops growing in the area. The Derwent Valley is one of the main hop-growing areas in Australia.

Hop plants at the side of the road
Hop plants at the side of the road

Getting there

Driving to Russell and Horseshoe Falls from Hobart is quite straightforward. Just take Highway 1 (Brooker Highway) north as far as Granton. From there you take the A10 (Lyell Highway) to New Norfolk. Next, the B62 (Glenora Road) connects to the B61 (Gordon River Road), which takes you to the park entrance. The journey time is about 70 minutes.

Unfortunately, public transport doesn’t reach as far as Mount Field National Park. It is only possible to get a bus as far as Granton. It seems like this would be a good place to hitchhike from though, as there is a roundabout and traffic slows considerably. In my experience, Tasmania is a good place for hitchhikers in general, although I have not hitchhiked to Mount Field.

Gray Line also run some day tours, but with prices starting at A$135 per person, they seem very overpriced. Hiring a car, even just for a day, would be a better option.