I did my first walk of the autumn fagus season and thought I’d write up a “Fagus Watch 2013″ as an update on the colours. Today I walked to the Tarn Shelf at Mt Field National Park. The forecast was for cloud and even rain but for most of the day the skies were quite blue. Some cloud and drizzle started to appear later in the afternoon as I was on my way back.
The fagus has definitely started to change, but as you can see in these photos, there is still a lot of green and the peak would still be a good week or more away. The traditional “best” day for viewing the fagus is ANZAC day, and that is looking a good bet at this stage. Keep an eye on the Mt Mawson Summit Webcam for updates.
The Tarn Shelf walk is a great Tasmanian bushwalk in any season. You drive to Lake Dobson which is around 30 minutes from the park entrance. Following the Lake around for a short distance you will soon see a turn off marked “Urqhart Track”. Follow this for 10 minutes or so and you will come out on the road to the ski village. This is the steepest part of the hike but is over fairly quickly. Once you pass the ski huts you can get straight onto the boardwalk which leads toward the Tarn Shelf.
The Tarn Shelf is a narrow span of land nestled between the Rodway Range and the Lake Seal/Broad River Valley. It is great alpine scenery, and the fagus is an autumn highlight. Other endemic Tasmanian plants include the pandani (below) and the extremely rare pencil pines.
All up it should take around 1 to 1.5 hours to reach the Tarn Shelf from the car. You can then amble along to Lake Newdegate in another 1 to 1.5 hours. Then you have the choice of completing a circuit hike (approx 5 hours) or returning the way you came.