MacKenzie and Johnston Tarns below the flank of the Rodway Range

Tuesday 7 March: Tarn Shelf Circuit – M/M. Another classic Mt Field National Park Tasmania walk. From Lake Dobson, climb to the ski fields. Follow the Tarn Shelf, Lake Newdegate and Lake Wedster Tracks.


Distance: 15.5km | Climb: 600m | Time: 6 hrs 30mins including breaks | Grading: M/M; M(10)


Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slideshow.


Waypoint and Track Files

Download the .gpx file. (Right click, Save Link As…, Save – if you want to use it.)
To use in Google Earth, do File, Open… and select Gps or All files as the File Type.

Track Notes

We were up a bit earlier than yesterday, as we had to pack and get all our gear into the car. The hut was swept out, the door locked and the key put in a safe place to be returned in the afternoon. We drove to Lake Dobson again and set of at 7.05am. Today’s walk would be easier than yesterday’s.

The sun was lighting up the tops above the still lake. Mist rose from broody parts where the sun was yet to touch. Up at the Lake Seal Lookout, the sky was clear blue, but the basin of the lake filled with fog. We walked the now familiar boardwalk west to the turnoff to Tarn Shelf and the Lakes.

Passing through the shelter hut and tow house at the bottom of the Rodway Tow, the shelf of tarns was before us, high above Lake Seal.

In turn, we wandered at an easy pace past Roberts Tarn, MacKenzie Tarn and Johnston Tarn. Johnston Tarn flowed merrily down into James Tarn. There were many other smaller pools, some of which drained down to Lake Webster. Next was Backhouse Tarn, after which the track climbed over a ridge and then down along the side of Walker Tarn. There was a short run of old style boardwalk as the track descended to Lake Newdegate.

The boardwalk on the eastern side of Lake Newdegate curved through scattered pines and near the northern end Lake Newdegate Hut came into view. A lovely spot here, with plenty of boardwalk to protect the fragile environment as we walked past the landing to go over and have a look at the hut. The K Col Track looping up to The Watcher left from near here. 9.30am, so morning tea was called. I came back to sit on the landing and gaze up the tranquil lake.

Easy walking via plenty of boardwalk took us next past Twisted Tarn. The track wound on under a blue sky. A few flowers and shrubs.

The track swung north to Twilight Tarn and Twilight Tarn Hut. It was a place for skiing in the 1930s and is thought to be Tasmania’s first ski club hut. A wonderful place full of history. We spent some time there.

Back past the lake, we walked generally east. Some flowering shrubs and other photogenic vegetation. At the northern end of the next lake, we crossed the Broad River. It flows out of Lake Webster. We said g’day to a bloke with a camera lens the size of a telescope. He was searching for his twenty-something sighting of a dragon/damsel fly out of 27 different ones know in Tasmania. We passed a track signposted to Lake Fenton (not marked on the map).

The track turned south and in around 2km we turned down to Lake Seal for lunch. Being topical, I snapped my own d-fly – was it a dragon or a damsel? A tranquil time at the edge of the lake.

Back up on the main track, we passed blazes which no doubt would have marked the way in previous years.

Plenty of signage at the northern end of Eagle Tarn.

At its southern end, we returned via the Pandani Grove and the southern side of Lake Dobson to the car.

A relaxed day with wonderful scenery.

Mt Field Camping Ground

We were to be driving the next two days, so thought it best when planning the trip to have a shower. So we drove back to the Mt Field camping ground and settled in on a camp site. Had to actually put our tent up for the first time. Nice to shower and change.

Looking for  beer, we went to the Mt Field Visitors Centre, handed in the key for the Fagus Hut and went to the cafe. Now I appreciate that liquor licenses are granted with the condition that something should also be eaten, but there seemed to be no way that our desired combination of cider and two different beers could be purchased to either take away or drink there. I voiced my opinion on the matter loudly when I returned to my friends and the only other occupant of the cafe kindly directed us around 4km down the road to the …

National Park Hotel

A great place, great atmosphere, great bar and lounge. Why couldn’t I find it when I was googling for accommodation and shower when planning the trip? We had a beer, returned to the camp ground, then went back at 6pm for tea. Great burgers in the lounge/dining room. A couple more schooners of Boags draught made or a good night’s sleep.

Track Map


8 March: Waddamana Power Station Museum

Walking with two retired engineers, where else would we visit on our trip from Mt Field to Devonport to catch the Spirit of Tasmania than the Waddamana Power Station?

A fascinating place. Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slideshow.


3 walkers – Eric G, Max S (leader), me.