Location: Mount Field National Park
Length: 4.6 kilometres return
Grade: 4 (bushwalking experience recommended for slippery track, steep sections and drop-offs)
Distance from: Hobart - 84 km, Launceston - 226 km, Devonport - 264 km
Russell Falls, sitting just an hour's drive away from Hobart, inspired Tasmania to declare its surrounding area Mount Field National Park back in 1916. It was Tasmania's first national park along with Freycinet. But there's a little-known secret that can get you away from the crowds gathering at the base of Russell Falls. Just a short drive from Mount Field National Park is the trailhead for Marriott's Falls Walk. And locals agree -- Marriott Falls is just as beautiful as Russell Falls.
The water cascades over a lichen covered rock wall featuring greens and oranges. Boulders, branches and broken trees lay at the foot of the falls where giant ferns grow. And it's all cloaked in dense forest, just like Russell Falls in Mount Field National Park. However, you'll have to earn Marriott Falls, as it sits at the end of a fairly difficult track.
From New Norfolk, take the windy B61/B62 road towards Mount Field National Park. Pass the park to the Marriott's Falls trailhead just past the town of Tyenna. You'll find the carpark for the Marriott's Falls Track on the right-hand side of the road.
The drive from Hobart is only 1.5 hours over the course of 84 kilometres. Launceston is 226 kilometres away and the drive takes a little more than 3 hours. The drive from Devonport takes 3 hours and 42 minutes as the port city sits 264 kilometres to the north.
For the first 100 metres, you'll follow a road full of potholes along a creek. Before crossing the creek, you'll be greeted by a sign educating you about the history of the hike and its beautiful waterfall. You'll then go through a logged area before beginning on the well-defined track.
At the outset, you'll hike through a muddy forest where you'll have to step over fallen trees. The track is well-maintained and well signposted until you emerge from the forest upon button grass plains.
Here's where it gets a bit tricky. You'll have to follow a series of metal poles through the planes with each of the polls pointing you in the right direction. But inclement weather can push these polls and their arrows around, so make sure you can see the next poll before continuing your walk.
You'll then reenter dense forest full of giant ferns where you'll meet back up with the well-defined track. This bit has some steep sections that can be slippery when wet, but you'll hear the falls roaring off in the distance to give you some inspiration. And that sound will let you know that you're on the right track. After enjoying the falls, it's time to come back on the very same trail.
As with all densely vegetated Tasmanian hikes, prepare for slippery mud, fallen trees and wet leaves. Wear sturdy hiking shoes with good grip.
Debris can come falling over the waterfall. Take precaution near its base.
The force of the waterfall can be surprisingly vicious. Approach the falls slowly.
There are some sections with steep drop-offs near the end of the trail. Supervise children and take caution.