It’s the quintessential storybook waterfall, and said to be the most photographed in Tasmania.
Pouring down the slopes of Mount Field and wrapped in rainforest, Russell Falls was at the heart of the creation of Tasmania's first national park.
Arguably Tasmania’s prettiest waterfall, it was first protected in 1885 as a reserve, and expanded into Mount Field National Park in 1916. The waterfall also featured on one of Australia's first postage stamps.
Part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, the waterfall features two main drops pouring into a pool surrounded by tall tree ferns.
The base of Russell Falls is reached on a sealed, access-friendly trail that departs from the park visitor centre. One of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, this easy trail (25min return, 1.4km) passes beneath towering mountain ash trees and a host of other cool-temperate rainforest species.
Evenings brings to light another unusual pleasure on this trail. A small grotto just before the falls is inhabited by a colony of glow-worms. Switch off your torch and let the darkness settle, and their tiny blue lights materialise like an earthly constellation of stars.
Russell Falls is one of two waterfalls along the same watercourse. Ascend the steps beside the waterfall to find Horseshoe Falls just upstream, pouring into a moss-coated hollow.
An excellent walk continues from here across the lower slopes of the mountains to the Tall Trees Walk. This 1km circuit ambles among giant mountain ash trees, which are among the tallest flowering plants on Earth.
A third waterfall, Lady Barron Falls, lies just beyond, completing the Three Falls Circuit, another of the 60 Great Short Walks.
Russell Falls is a 70min drive (73km) north-west of Hobart, in Mount Field National Park. A parks pass is required for entry to Tasmania’s national parks.