Bushwalking: Tarn Shelf Circuit, Mt Field National Park

View from along the Tarn Shelf Circuit walk

A fantastic circuit walk in the Mt Field National Park, an hour or so west of Hobart. The walk takes in a series of alpine tarns as well as a couple of rustic huts and provides exhilarating walking and great views.

The walk commences at the Lake Dobson car park and if following it clockwise (recommended), initially follows a boardwalk and path by the side of Lake Dobson before branching off and climbing to a vehicular track that also climbs steeply to some ski huts. From here the walk proper begins along a well defined path and boardwalks, with great views of the Tarn Shelf and Lake Seal to the north.

The track then drops down past a ski tow and shelter to pass by a series of tarns, eventually reaching Lake Newdegate and an old ski hut. From here, the path branches to the north-east to pass Twisted Tarn and ultimately to reach the secluded Twilight Tarn where an appealing old ski hut is worth a quick visit. The path then continues past Lake Webster, turning south to pass by Lake Seal and Platypus Tarn (visiting both of these requires taking a detour off the main path), before returning to the car park.

This was a great walk and is highly recommended. The weather for me started a bit cold and grey, although this seemed to add to the atmosphere while walking along the Tarn Shelf. It eventually cleared up to a lovely sunny afternoon. Mt Field National Park has proved to be a little gem – close to Hobart, with plenty of variety and walks and yet not too busy – I was there on a Saturday in October and apart from a few people around Lake Dobson, did not see a soul along the walk. If you haven’t visited, it is well worth it.

Walk date: Oct 17, 2009
Time/level: Around 5 hours, moderate
Map: TASMAP Mount Field National Park (1:50,000)
My rating: A+

Full photo gallery here.

8 thoughts on “Bushwalking: Tarn Shelf Circuit, Mt Field National Park”

  1. Looks like a great walk. I particularly enjoyed looking at the photo gallery.

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  2. i want to do a 2day walk on the tarn shelf, does anyone know what the water situation is like? i.e can i use the tarn water to drink ? and what is the best route for a 2day walk?


  3. @Ken

    Some nice photos there.


    Well there’s plenty of water in the Tarns – I didn’t drink any because I was carrying enough. If you treated and/or boiled it that might work.


  4. I walked this route by mistake (set off for a 1 hour walk but kept going)in March and ended up drinking 3+ litres of untreated stream water. No problems, excellent water quality.


  5. Planned to do the shelf only.stunning day and fagus out in its amazing autumn colours.Well picked Robyn.Decided to do the circuit and picked up the pace to get back to the car before dark. Sore muscles but awesome day. A must do gem of Tassie walks.


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