Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Circuit, Mt Field NP Tasmania

The Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster circuit in Tasmania’s Mt Field NP is a very picturesque alpine walk, passing by many lakes and tarns as the name suggests.

Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP

I was going to climb Mt Field West on the day I did this walk, but my Tasmanian friend accused me of “peak bagging” and recommended the Tarn Shelf as a picturesque alternative. I very much like tarns, and this walk has plenty of them, all situated in attractive alpine surrounds.

I remembered that Sophia and I tried to do this walk on our first trip to Tasmania, but the sunny summer weather at sea level turned into snow and sleet as we ascended to Mt Field National Park, and without enough wet weather gear we settled for a quick circuit of Lake Dobson (plus we visited Russell Falls and did the Tall Trees Walk near the entrance to the park; it was still sunny down below). It acted as a reminder to take proper gear with us when doing alpine walks.

Track notes below the photos.

The Scenery

Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Pandani grove on Lake Dobson.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
On high ground, about 1200m of elevation.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
An old snow gum.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Lake Seal
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Lake Seal
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Looking towards the beginning of the Tarn Shelf. The lighting was uncooperative, but I suppose the first of the tarns are highlighted in the shadow of the mountain.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
The Tarn Shelf.

Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP

Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
The Tarn Shelf and Rodway Range.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Looking back at the Rodway Range.

Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP

Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Dead pencil pines cutting quite a striking figure. They are apparently sensitive to fire.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Lake Newdegate.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Lake Newdegate.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
An old and gnarled pencil pine clinging onto life. These are unique and attractive trees that look very different depending on age and where they are growing.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Twisted Tarn
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
A historic ski hut, with original equipment preserved inside.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
A pandani flower.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Super tall pandani, next to a more modestly sized Sophia.
Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP
Lake Dobson

Track Notes

We used the notes in  Tasmanian Day Walks. I couldn’t find notes on the usual hiking websites, but other bloggers have done it, and the whole walk is signposted so you shouldn’t have too much trouble. It’s 13.5km and 470m change in elevation, peaking at 1260m above sea level. Our notes estimated 6 hours to complete the walk. Here’s a summary of the route…

The walk starts at Lake Dobson, which is at the end of the road through the national park. You set off clockwise around the lake, take a left turn to leave the lake foreshore, then left onto a dirt road and ascend about a 100 vertical metres. From memory there is a signpost which indicates a right turn off the road past some ski lodges.

It’s then an alpine walk past Lake Seal Lookout, (which is a very short side trip to the right), then keep right to pass the Rodway Day Shelter and enter the Tarn Shelf, (rather than turning left to ascend onto the Rodway Range, and eventually Mt Field West). Continue past many tarns to Lake Newdegate, then follow the signs to Twisted Tarn and Twilight Tarn, (about half way now), then down to Lake Webster (seen through the trees on your right).

After Lake Webster it’s a longish and less interesting walk mostly through forest, all the way to a road near Eagle Tarn, where you take a left. Then as you pass the tarn take a right off the road to pass along the foreshore of Lake Dobson back to the start.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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