Mount Field West

Mount Field National Park is a favourite place of mine, somewhere I've been going my entire life yet always find new places to explore.  We saw the weather forecast was looking good last Sunday so decided to set out on the long day walk to Mount Field West, a walk that has been on our to-do list for some time now.

After leaving Hobart early we were on the trail by 8:00am to soak up what remained of the crisp morning atmosphere. The days are long at this time of year, so it's a good time to attempt a walk like this, but it also means starting early to avoid the daytime sun.

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The walk starts out at Lake Dobson, a small tarn 16km from the park entrance. This is a wonderful place to get a taster of Tasmanian alpine landscapes if you're not keen on some of the longer, more remote walks in the area.

It was perfectly calm as we set out around the shoreline, before climbing through a beautiful section of forest toward the Lake Seal lookout.

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Lake Seal was carved by one of many glaciers that covered Tasmania during ice ages throughout its history, a glacier that also formed the Broad River Valley that flows to the north. This is one of my favourite views in the entire park, and is missed by the vast majority of visitors to Mount Field who only visit Russell Falls and the lower section of the park.

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From the lookout and ski huts, we climbed further up the Rodway Range where the trail becomes a rock scramble for most of the distance to K Col hut, a small emergency shelter located around halfway to Mount Field West.

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The views looking north up the Hayes Valley from K Col saddle were a highlight of the trip as we made our way closer to the summit. During summer months, the finer details are just as spectacular though - there are a huge variety of wildflowers that call this area home and it's not an understatement to say they blanket the dolerite rocks in some areas.

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After a final, flat stretch of track we finally reached the summit. It took a little longer than expected at almost five hours, but we hadn't been travelling particularly fast and had made time to take photos and enjoy the views along the way.

From the summit, the views over Southwest Tasmania are stunning - a panorama of mountains and wilderness makes for a rewarding view.

We turned and made our way back home in much shorter time, the lure of shade from the now scorching Tasmanian sun enough to focus our minds on the mission ahead.

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Mt Field West
Time: 9 hours return
Distance: 17 km
Difficulty: Moderate - Hard
Tip: The long, mild days in summer are great for a walk like this, but bring extra water and sunscreen - there are few places to find shelter from the elements.

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