Which national park?
Welcome to National Park.

Which national park?

When Bryan announced, in the college common room back in 1996, that he lived at National Park, you could see confusion creep across the faces of our mutual friends.

But while they were busy asking “which national park?” I knew exactly what my soon-to-be-boyfriend was talking about.

Most Tasmanians are familiar with Mt Field National Park and its scenic attractions – Russell Falls, Lake Dobson and the ski slopes of Mt Mawson. But few realise the town in which the park is located is actually called National Park. Not Mt Field National Park, but simply National Park. Which can create confusion – after all, Tasmania is renowned for wilderness, and is home to 19 world-class national parks.

Russell Falls, Mt Field National ParkRussell Falls, Mt Field National Park.

Things got weirder when Bryan started to describe his parents’ property – the green weatherboard cottage nestled beside the river, the nearby railway line, the sprawling blackcurrant patch and the battered silver caravan in the driveway all sounded eerily familiar. Turns out two years earlier he’d moved in to the exact house my grandparents had sold after living there for almost 20 years.

So it was hardly surprising that we bonded over our shared slice of Tassie as my childhood memories came flooding back – putting on gumboots and helping Nan collect eggs from the chook pen. Sitting around the freshly-cut pine tree in the lounge room on Christmas Eve trying desperately to stay awake in the hope of catching a glimpse of Santa. Munching on strawberries and loganberries straight from the vine. And squealing gleefully as my cousins and I drenched ourselves under the hose and skidded along a plastic Slip N Slide on the front lawn to escape the summer heat.

Slip N Slide flashbacks from the early 1980sSlip N Slide flashbacks from the 1980s.

Some might say it was mere coincidence, some might say it was fate – a sign from the Universe. However you look at it, here are the facts: fast forward to the present day and Bryan and I are still inseparable – together for almost 20 years and married for 13 of those.

Now that we have a son, our little dinosaur who will soon turn one, we’re keen to show him all the places in Tasmania – and around the world – that we love. And by documenting our travels we hope to inspire other would-be adventurers – with or without children – to get out and explore the beauty of their own backyards.

Our Little Dinosaur getting familiar with the great outdoorsOur Little Dinosaur – getting familiar with the great outdoors.

It seemed fitting to kick-off our home-state sojourn with a recent visit to Mt Field and a leisurely pram ride to Russell Falls – I’ve lost count of the times I’ve visited the glistening cascade over the years, but I still feel that buzz of anticipation building inside me with every quickening step along the rainforest trail, just as I did when I was a child.

The refreshing dampness of the greenery, even on the hottest summer day. The gentle trickles that grow urgent as the falls draw closer. The sunlight peeking through the tree canopy, exposing glimpses of blue sky above. The rustling in the undergrowth as a wallaby, echidna or bird scurries out to say hello.

The area has been protected since 1885, when it was set aside as Tasmania’s first nature reserve. The park itself was founded in 1916, making it one of the state’s oldest national parks, and today 130,000 people visit each year.

I’m pleased to say Hudson is now one of those visitors. Because one thing is certain – as the child of parents with fond Mt Field connections, he will NOT be one of those kids who grows up asking “which national park?“.

Welcome to National Park.Welcome to National Park.