Russel Falls is arguably Tasmania's prettiest waterfall; it's certainly Tasmania's most photographed and one of the easiest to get to.
The falls are in Mt Field National Park, part of Tasmania's World Heritage Wilderness Area, just over a 1-hr drive from Hobart. One of three falls that share the same watercourse, Russel Falls has a unique character and is the centrepiece of the park.
The falls consist of two main drops with a pleasing segmented, vertical appearance. This, along with its size, gives it a personality all its own.
The 20-minute return walk to the falls is on a good track and boardwalk through lovely rainforest. The walk passes through towering swamp gums and species typical of wet forests and cool temperate rainforests such as dogwood, musk and myrtle. Closer to the falls the track is framed by stunning tall tree ferns.
You can return via the same track or follow the creek back by crossing the bridge below the falls.
For local campers, a walk to the falls at night is made easier with a wooden handrail that follows the path into recesses that are the home of glow-worms. It's truly magical to turn off your torch and find yourself surrounded by hundreds of little lights like stars in the sky.
The two other falls in the park, Lady Barron Falls and Horseshoe Falls, are enchanting in their own right and if you have time are worth the extra effort.
An excellent walk that offers the best of the park's lower altitude tracks includes Russell Falls, Lady Barron Falls and the Tall Trees Walk past giant Eucalyptus regnans, amongst the tallest trees in Australia and the tallest flowering plant on Earth. They are truly spectacular and not to be missed.
A second visitor section, 15 km further up the mountain, takes you to Lake Dobson and the longer day walks. Dramatic mountain scenery and unique alpine plant communities are a feature at this higher altitude.
From Hobart, the drive to the park passes through the beautiful Derwent Valley following the Derwent River for most of the way. Take the opportunity to stop at New Norfolk, one of Tasmania's oldest towns and a great place to find antiques and collectables.
Mt Field has camping facilities, toilets, electric barbecues, kiosk and a visitor centre near the start of the track. Cabins are available just outside the park boundary.
Russel Falls makes a great day trip and will give you a real taste of Tasmania's magnificent wilderness within an easy drive from Hobart.
See also Mt Field National Park