Mt Field

Early in September 2017 the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival brought together hundreds of devotees of the literary arts from across Australia and overseas.  On the Monday following the main weekend of events, a small bus load of writers and readers headed west to Mt Field National Park. Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service provides a fascinating history, with photos, of non-indigenous discovery and access to the Mt Field National Park here .

I joined this small crowd for a day of snow covered wilderness landscape, poetry, song, and perspectives on aboriginal history in relation to Tasmania. This blog post records my experience lasting only a few hours.

We travelled west from Hobart through part of the upper Derwent Valley. Between New Norfolk and Bushy Park the country was lusciously green.  The cattle looked robust and healthy.

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Soon we saw the tips of distant peaks covered with snow.

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By travelling on the Gordon River Road, we reached the small town of National Park and turned off for Mt Field National Park along Lake Dobson Road.

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Our destination was Lake Dobson higher up.  Our bus ascended the greasy clayey gravel road and I was impressed with the driver’s skill. As we wound around hills we began to spot patches of snow settled on the edge of the road.  When we travelled along a higher flatter plain, the glamorous cover of snow dazzled us.

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Lake Dobson Road

Finally we reached the Lake Dobson car park with its signs associated with skiing and nearby public toilets.  A public shelter from raging storms is signposted nearby.

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One wallaby, accustomed to people, bounded into the space and waited for food. Thankfully no-one offered any (their digestion systems are not designed for human food). Instead they were photographed and talked to. They didn’t talk back – guess they have heard it all before.

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Under the intense blue of the cloudless sky stood deep forests of eucalypt trees with their feet in the snow.  Despite the crisp cold of the shadows, the sun warmed our backs as we set off on the Pandani Grove Nature Walk which circles Lake Dobson. One of my companions, Cody McCracken took the following photo of one of the many Pandani to be seen on a walk around Lake Dobson.

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Some parts of the track was duckboarded but under deep snow so that watching the ground and placing your foot carefully was essential.  Nobody wanted a twisted or sprained ankle or knee. I think all of us, at some stage, missed the board or the firmer track and went down to our knees into soft snow off the edges.

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Views around Lake Dobson were of the picture postcard kind.

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By the water’s edge I dallied with pleasure.

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This short video emits a peaceful quality and could be suitable for workplaces where worker’s stress levels are high.

We lunched in the Wellington Ski Hut access courtesy of one of our party.

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The warm fire was greatly appreciated, the fresh food gourmet lunch was a treat, Peter Grant’s poetry readings were evocative of aspects of Mt Field, and Dwayne Everettsmith’s perspectives on aboriginal connections to the environment were inclusive and welcoming.  I was entranced by his honey sounding voice as he sang songs and played a rich harmonic guitar. Wonderful memories.

Regrettably, we ran out of time to take walks on the lower slopes of the Mt Field complex as planned; Russell Falls and a forest nature walk.  But there will always be a next time to visit and enjoy these and the other opportunities that this National Park provides.

Elsewhere on this blogsite, in a few weeks time, I will be providing the stories of my visit to Lake Pedder, Strathgordon and the Gordon Dam. On route, the spectacular Mt Field West and other related hills and peaks were in full view – another reminder to revisit that National Park.

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