Deciduous beech on Mount Field. May 6.


Deciduous beech (Nothofagus gunnii), or fagus as it is best-known, a humble tree, usually growing to 2 metres or less. You find it in places most would describe as inhospitable. And one of its other names – tanglefoot – is ruefully confirmed by bushwalkers caught up in its twisted, ground-hugging branches. Yet this small Tasmanian tree can claim something few other Australian plants can. It is Australia’s only cold climate winter-deciduous tree, and you will find it nowhere else in the world except Tasmania.

And its autumn display is superb. Fagus turns a spectacular range of autumn colours, from rust red through to brilliant gold, during late April and May.

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Winter arrives in Tasmania.


Today’s walk on Mount Field.

I set out early, as the sun sets by 5PM this time of year. My walk started  with icy winds of 20-30 kmh.  They increased to gale force as I ascended the mountain.  As I climbed higher I was starting to lose sight of the track, due to a steady snowfall.  The fog also started to roll in.  In conditions like this it is always prudent to finish the hike another day.  (It’s also not great weather for my camera equipment.)  I had a good walk regardless, as I retraced my  footprints, fast disappearing in the snow and windy flurries.  In this high country visibility can drop to several metres, or less, very quickly.  Sunny and clear changes to fog, snow, high winds and rain in a very short time. Whenever I  walk here in Tassie, prepared with enough gear to spend a night out if necessary.  Not doing so can be a trap for inexperienced hikers.

One of my favourite day walks in Tasmania.  Mount Field is great in any season. Highly recommend.

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