the sentinel

6 Hikes Past Cascading Waterfalls Or Up Mountainous Peaks in Derwent Valley Tasmania

Walking and hiking through the Derwent Valley region will lead you through arguably some of the most beautiful natural rainforests, tallest trees, mountainous peaks, alpine lakes and cascading waterfalls in the world. Why? Because the climate here is perfect for sustaining its beautiful natural environment and this we know to be ‘Derwent Valley True’. Plus, the locals love and cherish this place to the nth degree. The Western Wilds drive through Derwent Valley Tasmania is where you’ll find some of our favourite short walks and long hikes – all extremely accessible and within driving distance from Hobart.

NOTE: A valid park pass is required to enter all Tasmanian National Parks and can be purchased online or from the Visitor Information Centre. Be sure to check in with a park ranger before entering any of Tasmania’s National Parks to get tailored advice on weather forecasts and track intensity.

Mount Field National Park – 1.5 hours from Hobart.

1. Russell Falls (easy walk)

25 minutes return – 1.4km – flat grade and highly accessible.

The walk to Russell Falls tops the list of family-friendly short walks, and rightly so. The beautiful waterfall is an easy 15 minutes by foot from the Mount Field National Park Visitor Centre and will take you through a luscious, green rainforest setting. Upon your return to the Visitor Centre, stop in for a coffee at Waterfalls Café.

Local tip: If you visit after dark and you might even get to see the local glow worms putting on a show in the Glow Worm Grotto.


2. Three Falls Circuit (medium walk)

2-2.5 hours return – 6km – some steps and hills.
For more waterfall action, continue on from Russell Falls for a 6km hike called the Three Falls Circuit. It will take you through magnificent rainforests filled with swamp gums, which are the world’s tallest flowering plant, then to Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls. Once you’ve finished your hike, stop by the National Park Hotel (5 minutes from the Visitor Centre) for a well-deserved beverage to warm you from the inside out.

3. Pandani Grove (easy walk)

30-40 minutes return – 1.5km – mostly flat, some steps.

The Pandani Grove walk begins at Lake Dobson, an alpine lake 16kms from Mount Field Visitor Centre. The walk takes a circuit around the beautiful Lake Dobson, situated below the ski fields of Mount Mawson. As you walk among the stunning pencil pines, pandanis and other ancient conifers endemic to Tasmania, you will feel as if you have slipped into a prehistoric time. In the cooler months, this walk is particularly breathtaking, as a dusting of snow and icicles transforms it into a Winter wonderland. When driving to Lake Dobson in snow conditions, ensure you take a 4WD or 2WD with snow chains.

4. Tarn Shelf (Grade 3, medium intensity)

5 – 7 hours return – 12km – full day walk – bushwalking experience recommended.

This alpine circuit hike is considered one of the best day hikes in Tasmania, and just moments into your hike, you’ll soon know why. Departing from Lake Dobson, you will pass through Eucalypt forest before journeying across to the Tarn Shelf. You’ll also pass stunning glacier-carved tarns, lakes and valleys, including Lake Newdegate, Twilight Tarn and Lake Webster. Optional side walks to Platypus Tarn and Lake Seal are also accessible from this track.

Wellington Park - 30 mins from Hobart

5. Myrtle Falls (easy walk)

30 minutes return – 1km – short hills.

Myrtle Forest Picnic Area and Myrtle Falls are some of the Derwent Valley’s best kept secrets. Located in Wellington Park (via Collinsvale) are these secluded woodlands. The Myrtle Forest Picnic Area is a short 15-minute gentle walk through native bushland and is accessible from the car park at the end of Myrtle Forest Road. Beyond that, Myrtle Falls is another 15-minute walk uphill through natural rainforest and towards the foothills of mountainous ranges Collins Cap and Collins Bonnet. Toilet and picnic amenities are available on this walk, making it a great one for families.

6. Collins Cap (medium intensity)

3.5 hours return – 5km – bush walking experience recommended.

If you’re craving the elation of a summit, Collins Cap is a perfect option. The trail commences at the Myrtle Forest Picnic Area and crosses over a bridge to Myrtle Forest Creek. This uphill hike will take you through native bushland and sub-alpine forests. Enjoy the trail in relative seclusion, but beware, as you will be meandering around untouched nature at its finest. Which means, sometimes less maintenance to the tracks, with overgrown bushland just adding to the charm. You’ll be rewarded at the summit with stunning views north across the Derwent Valley and rare views of the Mount Wellington Plateau to the south.

Whether you just want a taste of the wild, or a more challenging summit, these are just some of the gorgeous walks and hikes on offer across the Derwent Valley. So, be sure bring your hiking boots and allow ample time to explore this gorgeous region’s natural wonders.

Be sure to share your experiences with us by tagging @Derwent Valley Tasmania on Facebook or Instagram, or by using #DerwentValleyTasmania and #UnquestionablyDerwentValley.