06 March, 2019

Enchanted walks among the island’s fabulous fungi

Psst! Here are the best places in Tasmania for spotting colourful fungi during autumn.

Tassie’s mild climate and European trees make autumn a colourful time. Look closer though: peeking out from the undergrowth and sprouting from logs are native fungi in every colour of the rainbow. University of Tasmania mycologist Dr Genevieve Gates has tipped us off about the best places to find them.

Take a walk in these special places, especially in cool, moist conditions, and you might spot clusters of the blue pixie’s parasol mushroom (Mycena interrupta) or the spiky red anemone stinkhorn (Aseroe rubra), which looks like something out of the Alien movies. Perhaps some yellow jelly bells (Heterotextus peziziformis) or the bioluminescent ghost fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis) that glows green.

Consider taking the Field Guide To Tasmanian Fungi, co-authored by Dr Gates, for guidance on what you’re looking at, or delve into the Tasfungi website that she and some fellow fungi fans have created. For the latest tips on what’s growing where, hit up their Facebook page.

Amanita muscaria (Image: Danielle Prowse)
Amanita muscaria in Deloraine (Image: Danielle Prowse)

Hot spots in the south

Ninety minutes’ drive north-west of Hobart, Mount Field National Park is a popular spot for fungi fanciers. Nearly 300 species have been identified across its diverse landscape, including the green elfcup (Chlorociboria aeruginascens) and yellow cortinar (Cortinarius sinapicolor). Your hunt can be as easy as a 10-minute walk along the sealed path from the carpark to Russell Falls. Continue along the linked Horseshoe Falls, Lady Barron Falls and Tall Trees trails for a leisurely two hours to make more colourful discoveries.

You don’t even need to leave Hobart, because there’s fungi in Mount Wellington’s wilderness. The 30-minute return Fern Glade walk at its base is among the easiest options, or head out for the day on the Wellington Falls track.

Cortinarius archeri at Bruny Island (Image: Matthias Theiss)
Cortinarius archeri at Bruny Island (Image: Matthias Theiss)

Go north-west!

The temperate rainforest of Trowutta Caves State Reserve 90 minutes south of Stanley is home to some fab fungi, especially around Trowutta Arch, a natural rock arch accessed via a short trail. It’s so shady and damp that the Alien-esque Aseroe rubra was even spotted here during last summer’s dry conditions. The nearby Julius River Forest Reserve on the Tarkine Drive should also offer some eye-catching surprises. Forty minutes south of Stanley, Dip Falls is well worth visiting for it’s two-tiered cascade waterfall alone. Keep your eyes peeled along the two easy paths leading to the viewing platforms.

Head further south around Lake St Clair, in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. There’s a good chance of spotting numerous species, like the strawberry bracket fungus (Tyromyces pulcherrimus) and green stem pinkgill (Entoloma rodwayi).

Mycena interrupta at Liffey (Image: Matthias Thiess)
Mycena interrupta at Liffey (Image: Matthias Thiess)

North-eastern discoveries

Douglas Apsley National Park on the east coast has a diverse landscape, including deep gorges, waterfalls and rainforest that are havens for fungi. Try the short walk to Apsley Waterhole, or go for gold – and many other colours! – on the 5-7 hour Heritage and Leeaberra Falls trail. Further north and inland, the Blue Tier and Evercreech forest reserves offer various pleasant walks through lush, fungi-friendly forest. A popular option is the two-hour Blue Tier Giant walk, which leads past an old tin mine water race to Australia’s widest living tree. With a girth of 19.4 metres, it takes 15 people to hug this ancient giant.

Lilydale Falls Reserve, about 30 minutes’ drive north of Launceston, has a pair of small but pretty waterfalls easily accessed from the carpark via a path lined with ferns, and probably some fungi too. Also close to Launceston, Notley Fern Gorge State Reserve is a remnant patch of rainforest. Fungi such as delicate pink Laccaria love its shady glades and creek.


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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