Andrew Bain recommends chasing waterfalls in Tasmania's North West, especially this stunning list of accessible cascades.
In Tasmania’s North West, you can ignore the golden rule of music – don’t go chasing waterfalls. Here, waterfalls seemingly tip through every break in the mountain ranges and cliffs, pouring through rainforest and even into the heart of a town. You could travel for days just checking out waterfalls, but here are five of my favourites in the North West.
The grande dame of waterfalls in northern Tasmania, wide Liffey Falls slide down the lower slopes of the Great Western Tiers outside of Deloraine. From the top car park, it’s about a 20-minute walk past a series of cascades to the base of the falls and a scene that’s fairy-glen perfect.
Water runs like racing stripes over a series of moss-coated ledges, encased by ferns and myrtle beech rainforest. Its little wonder so many people consider this the most beautiful waterfall in Tasmania.
The slopes of the Great Western Tiers are the launching pad for myriad other waterfalls, including beautiful Westmoreland Falls, just outside of Mole Creek. A two-hour return walk heads across a couple of rain-forested ridges and then climbs past a run of small cascades to the base of the falls.
The waterfall is seemingly broken into hundreds of tiny individual falls as it divides through patches of moss, splashing down between tall ferns and mushroom-sprouting logs. It’s an enchanting place, well worth the trip that sees few visitors.
Pencil Pine & Knyvet Falls
This twin pair of falls, at the very edge of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, yields easily. From beside the entrance to Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, a short boardwalk leads to the base of Pencil Pine Falls, pouring over an arcing cliff into a large pool.
Walk downstream another 10 minutes, through a spectacularly mossy section of forest, and you come to Knyvet Falls. These lower falls pour through two slots in a low cliff, tumbling over an overhang that shields a tiny ferny glade fed by the spray from the waterfall.
If only all towns wrapped themselves around a waterfall, as remote Waratah does. At the heart of the former tin-mining town, a series of placid lakes suddenly ends in the tumult of Waratah Falls. Higher and wider than most other waterfalls in the area, they once powered seven waterwheels for the world’s largest tin mine.
The falls can be viewed from both sides of the river – from up high on the western bank by the Bischoff Hotel, or from beside the base at the end of a short walking track on the opposite bank.
Fall in love, Pieman River style, at these romantically named falls that pour into one of the most magical pockets of rainforest imaginable. In the dark gorge that encloses the falls, man ferns tower overhead and the moss is so thick it’s almost like turf.
The best way to access the falls is by hiring a kayak from Corinna and paddling downstream at dawn, when the reflections on the Pieman can be pristine. It’s about a four-kilometre paddle to the wooden landing at the start of the short trail into the falls.
Along the way, it’s worth kayaking the few metres up Savage River to view the SS Croydon, Australia’s furthest inland shipwreck, with its bow peeping out of the water.