Waterfalls of the North West
Tasmania’s State Forests have an abundance of wild rivers, streams and waterfalls. From the highest falls with plummeting shoots down cliffs, to gentle cascades, there is a waterfall to suit everyone, mostly situated in beautiful rainforests. Many falls are not well known and are located in deep, gorge-like valleys, which may be difficult to access; others are situated adjacent to good roads, with popular picnic and barbecue areas, such as Dip Falls and Guide Falls. Take care when visiting rainforests, as tracks, steps and platforms can be slippery at any time. Some of the most popular north west waterfalls, are mentioned below.
The Arm River Falls are a 10 minute walk from the Forest Education Centre just off the Mersey Forest Road, south of Lake Parangana. Take a right turn into Maggs Road after crossing the Arm River. The road is unsealed south of the bridge. The start of the Arm River Track is further along Maggs Road, which provides access to Mt Pillinger and Lake Ayr on the Overland Track.
Bridle Veil Falls
These falls are one of two lovely waterfalls near Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness Retreat at Moina, near Cradle Valley. The falls tumble 15-20m into Bulls Creek and when flowing well, look like a rectangular curtain of water. In lower flows, the wall of water becomes columnar strands draping the underlying rock wall. Combining this waterfall with Champagne Falls, below, makes for an excellent half day walk. From Lemonthyme Lodge walk along a 4WD track, up the hill past the manager's residence, until the track starts to level out and descend. Continue past a signed fork and descend to Bridal Veil Falls. It takes two hours to go to one waterfall, returning back the way you came.
Champagne Falls is the first of two lovely waterfalls near Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness Retreat near the Cradle Valley section of Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. Take the track past the manager’s residence, as previously mentioned, for Bridal Veil Falls. As the track starts to descend, take the signed fork leading down to Champagne Falls. The falls tumble 15m into a cool and shady area of Bulls Creek. Allow yourself about three hours to comfortably take in both waterfalls.
A short drive from the Bass Highway, the superb Detention Falls are 9kms south of Sisters Creek on the C229, just beyond Myalla. However, the Detention Falls visitor site, including the walking track and viewing platform, is no longer available to the public. The viewing platform was closed to the public following engineering advice in 2008.
Ten kilometres east of the Stanley turn off, head south to the Dip River Forest reserve. The Dip Falls are 26 kilometres from the Bass Highway junction, on a good sealed road, apart from the last few kilometres, which are gravel. There are well appointed barbecue, picnic and rest room facilities. 152 steep steps descend to the bottom of the cubic-basalt formed falls, which are impressive during the winter months. The track to the accessible viewing platform is beyond the falls. The Big Tree is a couple of kilometres further on. This spot is well worth visiting and is a good family trip.
Dodd's Creek Falls (Beckett's Falls)
These falls (image above) are in the Wes Beckett Reserve, 61 kms south of Smithton. After turning left at Kanunnah Bridge onto Sumac Road, drive 16 km before branching left onto Mount Bertha Road. There are five more signed intersections in the final 10 km. Take a left turn at each one. At the time of visiting, there were many fallen trees along the narrow track, which had been cut back to allow for access. The walk is short and the 1.2 kms return track is barely definable in places, has steep rocky sections and is sometimes close to the edge of the ravine. The falls are small, but pretty and the walk takes 30 - 35 minutes. It is not suitable for small children. The reserve was named after Wes Beckett, a well-liked, long time chief forester at Smithton, who worked with the Department of Forestry for many years. The falls are sometimes referred to as the Wes Beckett Falls.
This walk starts near the visitor centre just inside the Cradle Mountain National Park. Notice the sign as you cross the little bridge, a couple of hundred metres back from the car park. Note that you need to have a valid parks pass. At the start of the walk is the beautiful little cascading waterfall, easily viewed from the bridge.
The moderate walk to the Forth Falls, about 3km from Wilmot, is through native bush and starts at the Garden Cafe. The walk takes 30 minutes to the Lower Falls and 40 minutes to the Upper Falls, returning via the cafe. Wilmot is about 35km from Forth and about 45km from Cradle Mountain.
This is a popular picnic area just south of Burnie, near Ridgley. An easy walking track to the base of the two-tiered falls is a few hundred metres upstream. The road continues to the top of the falls and the viewing platform. A walking track leads you through the thick undergrowth of the riverside, down to a grassed area at the bottom. There are barbecues with picnic tables at both the top and bottom of the falls; a beautiful place to spend the day in summer. There are many falls in the Ridgley area and a few kilometres further on, are the Sanderson Falls and St Georges Falls.
Liffey Falls Forest Reserve
The main access road to visit this World Heritage Area, is off the Lake Highway along Riversdale Road. Access is down a steep narrow road to a large, secluded picnic area with information booth, picnic shelters, gas barbecues and disabled access toilets. The 40 minute return walk through wet eucalypt forest and tall manferns has viewing points for the upper falls and cascades. A steep descent allows access to the base of these majestic falls.
Lobster, Montana and Westmorland Falls
These falls are all in the Mole Creek limestone cave area on the Mersey River. Take the B12 for 11km, signposted at Alum Cliffs. Walk along a 4WD track and follow markers; there are many tracks here. Several waterfalls and pools are enclosed by 100 metre cliffs. Spot the freshwater lobster.
These 30m vertical drop falls are situated 200m along a timber boardwalk, that follows Amelia Creek from the Pieman River jetty; a wonderful place to appreciate huon pine, sassafras, myrtle and manfern groves. Witness the spectacular glow worm displays at night. Due to the remoteness of the falls, access is only possible by canoe or kayak, which can be hired at Corinna. As rainfall in the Tarkine is very high, these falls are magnificent at any time of year. Also, discover approximately 40 unnamed, hidden waterfalls along the Pieman River, from the Reece Dam to the sea. Plan your trip well in advance, if accommodation and boat hire are required; an exciting excursion into this remote area. Take care.
A one hour drive from Launceston or Devonport is the start of the popular Meander Falls Walk. The track is quite rocky and has some steep sections with snow and mud to negotiate during the wetter winter months. The falls are in two distinct tiers as they drop through a rocky chasm. The best time to visit is following snow or frost in winter, when sections of the falls can freeze and form large icicles. This 5-6 hour walk is very popular.
Of all the Tasmanian waterfalls, Montezuma Falls is the most impressive. Tumbling 104 metres, it is well worth the 7km, 3 hour return rainforest walk, that follows the old North East Dundas Tramway, used for servicing the silver mines in the area. The waterfall was called after the Montezuma Mining Company, which took its name from the last Aztec emperor. Despite the impact of mining, the area has regenerated and use of the tramway makes hiking easy. Follow the gravel road from the Murchison Highway (A10), 2km south of Rosebery, to the former township of Williamsford. Commence the walk from the car park. When you reach one of the highest waterfalls in Tasmania, you can obtain a good view from the new swing, suspension bridge, or from the far end of the track, which continues to the base of the falls. One of the best walks on the West Coast; not to be missed.
Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls
Pencil Pine Falls is a very attractive fall, a mere 100 metres downstream from the bridge, at the entrance to the Cradle Mountain National Park. Further down Pencil Pine Creek, is Knyvet Falls, a small fall of possibly 5 metres or less. A short stroll of about 30 minutes return, can take in both falls. Just follow the nature track.
These falls are situated on the upper reaches of the Arthur River, 10 kilometres from Waratah. Named after James Smith, a prospector who discovered tin in the river, which became the world’s richest discovery at Mount Bischoff. Previously closed to the public, the track has recently been upgraded and leads to a viewing platform near the falls. Good fitness is required as the downhill gravel walk takes 40 minutes each way and descends 240 timber steps. Well worth the effort, it is well signposted from the turnoff at the road and impossible to become lost.
Preston Falls is a short 15 minute drive from Ulverstone via the B17 to Gunns Plains. Here the tall and slender, 25m high waterfall, plunges over an alcove into the shady depths of the gorge. A short walk down steps to the overlooking platform, takes less than 5 minutes. There are two short walks, not suitable for children.
Split Rock and Shower Cave Falls
The Split Rock track commences at the Meander Falls car park. There is a suspension bridge across the Meander River, a hundred metres from the car park. From here, a very steep track leads up to Split Rock, about a 45 minute walk. At Split Rock a track branches to the left to Shower Cave Falls and Split Rock Falls, a very pretty area. Be warned, the track between the two falls is almost vertical and continues on to re-join the Split Rock Track.
There are several spectacular and little known waterfalls within the Tarkine rainforests, in the far north west, including McGowan's Falls and the Tarkine Falls. We suggest you join an organised tour, accompanied by experienced guides, to travel into these remote places.
The Warra Falls on Warra Creek, a tributary of the Arthur River, 12 kilometres upstream from the township of the same name, comes from an aboriginal word, meaning water. Geologists have confirmed that the horizontal formation of sedimentary rock is estimated to be the old sea bed, pushed up by giant earthquakes, 240-260 million years ago. The falls are covered in small fern, possibly from the filmy fern species and both sides of the falls are lined by 6 to 7 metre high giant treeferns and Sassafras trees. During the rainy season the water cascades rapidly over the falls, but during drier periods, capacity drops and the rock formation is clearly visible. Accessibility to the falls is provided by the track from Warra Landing, constructed by the proprietors of the AR Reflections Cruise. To see these small, but fascinating horizontal falls, book ahead and join the river cruise.
Located at the northern end of Black Bluff Range, south of Nietta and close to the Leven Canyon, this is an outing for the fit and agile. The 5 to 6 hour walk follows the footsteps of the early timberfellers. The area was sawn for the prized King Billy Pine and wooden tramways were built to haul the logs to the nearby sawmill. The walk passes through swampy areas and three types of rainforest, before finally reaching alpine vegetation near the falls, which can be spectacular in winter.