Hiking Mt Farrell For The Best Views Of Lake Mackintosh

It’s not often you’ll find a hike that takes such little effort yet rewards with jaw-dropping views of orange-hued buttongrass slopes plunging into deep green lakes. But that is the exact way to describe the Mt Farrell hike in northwest Tasmania. 

Most hikers flock to Tullah to climb the mighty Mount Murchison, completely unaware of the wonders that are hidden on the east side of the much smaller Mount Farrell. But this short 2.5-3 hr hike packs a punch and can easily be accomplished as an add-on or a sunrise mission.

In this guide, I will show you why Mount Farrell is worthy of your time through captivating images and provide you with all the knowledge needed to complete this hike. As an added bonus, we’ll give away our secret for the best location to watch and photograph sunrise or sunset!

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Hiking through the beutiful button grass at sunrise below Mt Farrell Tasmania

Mt Farrell Hike Overview

6.3 km return (8.7 including Lake Herbert)

Grade 3 – Some experience recommended 

2.5 – 3 hrs

Elevation Gain
563 m

Highest Elevation
670 m

Small car park, public toilets across the road

Entrance Fees

Getting To Mt Farrell

Mount Farrell is found bordering the east of a tiny town named Tullah in Tasmania’s northwest. The trailhead is smack bang in the middle of town, 2 hrs 20 mins west of Launceston and 4 hrs 30 mins northwest of Hobart. 

Due to its urban location, there are many facilities close to Mount Farrell. You can find a toilet block directly opposite the trailhead and a cafe and tavern just down the road.

Mt Farrell Trail Notes

While Mount Farrell is one of the easiest day hikes in west Tasmania that we have completed, don’t let that fool you. In true Tasmanian fashion, you will still find yourself on a steep vertical mission to the summit, where a small rock scramble will lead you along the peak. 

But in comparison to hikes such as Mount Eliza or Mount Tyndall, Mount Farrell is a walk in the park! And to make this hike even more alluring for puppy parents, this is one of the very few dog-friendly hikes in Tasmania.

Mt Farrell Car Park To The Ridgeline

2 km | 30 mins – 1 hr | 350 m elevation gain 

Hiking along the ridgeline to the peak of Mt Farrell

An old sign will point you in the direction of the trailhead, where a wide grassy track leads into the forest that flanks the town of Tullah. A few hundred metres of what could have been an old 4wd track will guide you past remnants from the mining days before ending abruptly at a skinny trail weaving deep into the forest. 

The gradient gradually steepens as you hike further into the forest, where ferns, myrtle beech and paperbark trees dominate. Sections of the initial forest climb are known to produce quite the mud pit after a good amount of rainfall, so checking the weather and arming yourself with hiking boots and maybe even gaiters will protect you from the worst of the mud.

Hiking Boot close up while Hiking through the forest of Mt Farrell tasmania

Before long, the forest begins to thin until it disappears completely giving way to a vast buttongrass moorland leading to white craggy peaks. The landscape already stuns as you wander closer to the prominent ridgeline.

Mud is also common at this part of the Mount Farrell hike, causing many little detours through the waist-high buttongrass. But with all of these alternate routes quickly linking back to the original trail, there is little chance of losing your way. 

Clumps of conglomerate rock formations begin to frequent the trail as you near the ridgeline, offering a change in colour to the yellow shrubs. Looking back, the entire town of Tullah can now be viewed, with the shimmering blue water of Lake Rosebery sprawled beyond. 

A couple of hundred metres before you reach the ridgeline the track will fork. To the left, a faint old trail leads to Lake Herbert, but a new and improved one is found 500 m away. While there is a barrier warning hikers to avoid this trail, it’s not very obvious. Continue to the right to stay on the correct track.  

The Ridgeline To The Mount Farrell Summit

1.2 km | 15 – 30 mins | 100 m elevation gain

Hiking the rocky ridgeline to the summit of Mt Farrell Tasmania

As you reach the ridgeline, the trail will fork once again. This time, a sign will indicate that the left track leads to Lake Herbert while the right track will continue along the ridge to the Mount Farrell summit. 

Not very far from the fork in the trail, you’ll come across the perfect vantage point to view Lake Mackintosh from a large boulder jutting out to the east. Lake Mackintosh is a 17.5 km long reservoir that was once a buttongrass swamp plain. It is now part of the Pieman power development and offers dramatic views with the steep slopes of Mount Farrell plunging into its deep green water and white-sanded beaches.

The trail continues to scramble up a collection of boulders that form a smaller peak along the vast ridgeline. In all honesty, this section of the trail is far more picturesque than the actual summit. The long, bony ridgeline creates a beautiful leading line to the north with Lake Mackintosh on one side and Tullah and Lake Rosebery on the other. But the fun scramble is still worth it to reach Mount Farrell’s peak. 

Hiking the rocky ridgeline to the summit of Mt Farrell Tasmania

After descending slightly into a saddle, you’ll climb to another high point before squeezing through the dense scrub that surrounds Mount Farrell’s summit. A trig point indicates you’ve reached the highest point and from here, the mighty peak of Mount Murchison can be seen dominating the horizon in the south. 

Down below, a steep slope plummets to the banks of Lake Herbert, a crystal clear alpine lake that is your next destination. 

Mt Farrell Summit To Lake Herbert

2.2 km | 30 – 45 mins | 50 m elevation gain

Sunrise glow over Lake Herbert on Mt Farrell in Tasmania

After conquering the summit of Mount Farrell, retrace your steps along the stunning ridgeline to the fork in the trail. A weird shimmy down a few boulders is needed to reach the Lake Herbert track but after this initial challenge, all you need to do is follow a simple trail that traverses the eastern slopes of Mount Farrell. 

Again, this track can get quite muddy after large rainfalls which has, in turn, created two parallel tracks leading to the lake. From this lower vantage point, Lake Mackintosh is even more captivating with the white rocky peaks creating a mesmerising landscape. 

A small rise will guide you to the banks of Lake Herbert, where the translucent water is flanked by small eucalyptus trees set against a pebbly beach. This is the perfect location for a swim if the weather permits. 

And if you are feeling like a night camping in the mountains is desired, there are one or two spots around the lake that can accommodate a tent. This is how we experienced the Mount Farrell hike and were rewarded with a glassy reflection of the sunset and a small inversion over Lake Mackintosh for sunrise. 

Cloud inversion over Lake Mackintosh as the sun rises and stars fade

The Best Location For Sunrise and Sunset

As promised, we will spill the beans on our favourite locations on Mt Farrell for sunrise and sunset. 

Sunset is best viewed from the peak just north of Mount Farrell’s summit, where the distant northern peaks glow a brilliant orange in the setting sun. Lake Mackintosh can be seen on the right and Lake Rosebery and Tullah on the left. The leading line of the ridge creates a beautiful composition for the keen photographers out there. 

Sunrise requires a little off track navigating to reach a high point just south of Lake Herbert. You can ascend through the buttongrass to reach a little saddle that overlooks the snaking Murchison river beneath that divides the two mountain ranges. Mount Murchison’s jagged peaks light up magnificently as the sun rises over Lake Mackintosh. 

Cloud inversion over Lake Mackintosh as the sun rises

Additional Information For Hiking Mt Farrell

Best Time To Hike Mount Farrell 

Mount Farrell is a fairly easy hike with a low elevation of only 670 m at the highest point. Therefore, the wild weather that dominates the west of Tasmania is slightly more placid here and hiking throughout the year is manageable. 

With that being said, the best times to hike are from April to May and September to November when the weather is most often calm. Due to the exposed buttongrass moorlands and open ridgeline, summer can be quite hot and far less enjoyable to hike.

Hiking the track to Lake Herbert on the Eastern side of Mount Farrell

Leave No Trace

Tasmania is home to many wild places that desperately need our help to protect. No matter where you explore, please follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles so that we can continue to enjoy the beautiful and fragile nature we are so lucky to have. 

The 7 leave no trace principles are:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly 
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimise campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of others

There are no bins or toilets along the Mt Farrell hike, so it’s best to make sure you go before you begin the hike and pack out what you pack in. 

Hiking through the thick button grass with Mt Murchison dominating the horizon

What To Bring For The Mount Farrell Hike

While the Mt Farrell hike is one of the easiest we have completed in west Tasmania, there are still a few key items that we take with us no matter what. During summer, the buttongrass pains are prime real estate for snakes so, at the very least, we recommend carrying a first aid kit. 

Reception is found throughout most of this hike, which can eliminate the need for an emergency beacon. However, we make a habit of taking ours with us wherever we go. 

Below is a list of the items that we take with us on all of our hikes, minus the camping gear for day hikes of course! 

Essential Hiking Packing List

  • Topographic Map and Compass – It’s best to avoid relying solely on your phone, which can run out of battery. 
  • Digital Map – In addition to a paper map, you can use AllTrails to download the route and follow along with the inbuilt GPS.
  • First Aid Kit – You can visit this post if you’re unsure what should go into a first aid kit for hiking.
  • Emergency Beacon – Our emergency beacon lives in our hiking packs permanently.
  • Reusable Water Bottles Avoid taking plastic water bottles that can break easily and add to the overwhelming amount of plastic pollution. We also suggest bringing a water filtration system to treat river water.
  • Head Torch Don’t forget the spare batteries! Look for a headtorch with a minimum of 100 lumens. 
  • Sturdy Hiking Shoes We recommend hiking boots over trail runners for longer hikes, where the trail is unstable and can become very muddy. 
  • Long pants or gaiters Tasmania has a thriving population of leeches.
  • Down Jacket and Thermals Staying warm while hiking is extremely important and these items play a key role, the mountains are unpredictable, best be prepared.
  • Rain Jacket and Rain Pants Rain pants are optional but can provide an extra layer of warmth in miserable conditions. 
  • Sun Protection – The UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes.
  • Sleeping Gear – Make sure to pack a tent, a warm sleeping bag and an inflatable mat for overnight hikes. The mountains can get very cold at night, even in summer.
  • Cooking Stove Nothing beats a warm, satisfying meal after a big day of hiking.
  • Emergency Snacks – You can never have too much food and who doesn’t love snacks!
  • Camera Gear – We never travel anywhere without our camera, tripod or drone!

Where To Stay Near Mount Farrell 

Mount Farrell is located at the edge of Tullah, a small northwest town. There are a few free campsites along Lake Rosebery, which flanks the west of the town, that can be found on Wikicamps.

Rosebery is a slightly larger town 20 minutes southwest of Tullah that offers a few more accommodation options and an IGA. 

Accommodation in Tullah

Accommodation in Rosebery