Mount Field is famous for it’s easy to access show of deciduous beech, which can be seen in a number of locations within the park. Apart from one great patch that you pass on the drive up the mountain, near Lake Fenton, the main destination is Tarn Shelf, about a 90 minute walk in from the end of the road at Lake Dodson.
The trail is well sign-posted, and you generally get to the beech (Nothofagus gunnii), or fagus, also known as tanglefoot, just after the day shelter Rodway hut at the start of the Shelf.
Best time is generally around late April (ANZAC weekend is often the peak of the ‘viewing season’) although exact timing will depend on temperatures and how wet or dry summer has been.
Tarn Shelf, which is a long ‘bench’ that runs parallel to the Rodway Range on its west side, starts reasonably open, and then the trail to Newdegate Tarn climbs over some ridges and then crossing through wonderful open forest of Pencil Pine, fagus, and snow gums to the hut at Newdgegate.
From here it gradually loses height, before reaching the (famously haunted?) hut at Twilight Tarn. You can continue on down to Lake Webster and back to the carpark for a great day walk.
The Parks Service has a good day walks map you can get as you get your entry pass at the office at the entry to the park.
[The photos are some pics from early May, 2011]
The Rodway range is like the backbone of the park, and continues to the north all the way to Mt Lord (although this section is less alpine feeling) and to the south east (Mount Mawson) and is a bit of a hidden gem. It is an exposed boulderfield that runs parallel to Tarn Shelf, and provides the access to K Col and the peaks e (Field West/ Naturalist Peak and Florentine/ Tyenna Peaks).
It gives you a great ‘alpine fix’ after only a relatively short walk in – the easiest access is to continue past the turn-off to Tarn Shelf. It turns into boulder fields shortly after the turn-off, as it climbs and then runs along the Rodway, then descends to K Col. This last section is also quite rocky. There are cairns and painted markers on the track, but do take care in limited visibility.
The western ranges
From K Col, you can either follow the track past the A frame hut to Naturalist Peak and Mt Field west (a full days return walk from the carpark) or camp at the lovely Clemes Tarn and extend your adventure. Clems is a 15 min walk past the A frame towards Mt Field. It is exposed. Best to boil the water in the tarn.
The other destination from Clemes is Mt Florentine and Tyenna Peak. From the tarn, follow the line of least resistance (above the first boulder field and below the second) to emerge in the main saddle below the Florentine Peak. From here cairns mark a rough and steep trail up boulderfields to a highpoint on the edge of the Florentine Plateau. The trail ends here. Head direct to the nice little summit of Florentine, then out to the obvious rocky peak of Tyenna (an incredible jumble of boulders best climbed on the far left as you approach it). Trace a third arm on a triangle by heading direct to the highpoint you originally climbed.
A day trip from the tarns to both these peaks will take you about 5 hours. You could walk out from here (roughly 3 hours over the Rodway Range and back to the carpark).