Tourism Tasmania and Scott Sporleder, Matador
Tourism Tasmania and Scott Sporleder, Matador
Travel Tip

9 of the best Tassie Winter Waterfall Walks

Kathryn Leahy
​In winter, Tasmanian waterfalls take on a wild side as snow melts in the mountains and rivers swell. It’s the best time to see them - the forest is lush, the rivers are full and if you keep an eye out along the edge you’ll spot fungi in red, purple, blue and yellow. There are 230 known waterfalls in Tasmania - here are a just a few of our winter favourites.

1. Russell Falls

Mt Field National Park, around a one-hour drive from Hobart, has three waterfalls that flow fast in winter – each as stunning as the next – and as snow falls, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland. Here you’ll find Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Lady Baron Falls.  Russell Falls is the most photographed waterfall in Tasmania: its three elegant tiers framed by lush vegetation have graced many a calendar and postcard. In winter, this waterfall will take your breath away.  You can also take a night walk to see glow worm colonies found in the bush path near the falls. The walk is only 10-15 minutes from the Mt Field National Park visitor centre and relatively flat. You’ll need a national parks pass to view these beauties – luckily the visitor centre is located at the start of the track.

Waterfall in the rainforest
Kathryn Leahy
Russell Falls

2. Horseshoe Falls

Another 10 minutes on from Russell Falls is Horseshoe Falls where you might spot a platypus overturning pebbles looking for food. They startle easily, but if you’re quiet and still they are surprisingly happy to continue foraging while you watch. The walk is an easy 1.4 km uphill climb on a well-maintained track with stairs and just 40 minutes from the Mt Field National park visitor centre.

Waterfall in winter flood
Lee Henley
Horseshoe Falls in flood

3. Lady Barron Falls

Lady Barron Falls is the next on the Mt Field waterfall loop. the walk passes through rainforest past some of the tallest flowering trees in the world, the swamp gum, and eventually to the base of the waterfall. The walk is 6 km with steep staircases and well-maintained tracks. It can become wet in winter and may be temporarily closed after heavy rainfall.

A waterfall in flood in winter
Kathryn Leahy
Lady Barron Falls in flood in winter

4. Snug Falls

Just a short 30-minute drive south of Hobart is the tiny town of Snug. Blink and you’ll miss it, let alone the sign to this winter waterfall walk. The walk is easy, but can be muddy and slippery, so watch your step and wear good bush-walking shoes. The track is also downhill, which means your return trip is all uphill. The end of the track brings you to a series of slippery rocks which can be difficult to navigate in winter, so again be careful as you make your way to your final viewing spot.

Woman standing by a waterfall in a rainforest
Kathryn Leahy
Snug Falls in winter

5. Liffey Falls

Drop into Deloraine Deli and pack a picnic: you’re going to need supplies for this one. Drive slowly on the narrow unsealed road and watch out for fallen debris. Liffey Falls steps down over a number of tiers which you’ll see from the path down to the final waterfall. The falls are surrounded by rainforest and best viewed from winter through to early spring. The walk is suitable for moderate walkers with some stairs and steep slippery climbs.

A waterfall in the forest
Kathryn Leahy
Liffey Falls in winter

6. Montezuma Falls

If it’s tall waterfalls you want, Montezuma, near Rosebery on the west coast, takes the cake as Tassie’s largest single drop waterfall at 104 metres. The area is rich in mining and railway history and the base of the track was once part of the Dundas tramway. After following an unsealed road, the walk takes 2.5 hours to complete and the track, which is also used by mountain bikers, is well maintained. These days you can still see some of the original sleepers from the old tram line as you walk the track.

Two mountain bikers watching a waterfall in the rainforest on the West Coast of Tasmania
Flow Mountain Bike
Montezuma Falls from lookout at the base of the falls

7. Nelson Falls

Nestled among the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area on the road between Hobart and Queenstown, Nelson Falls is surrounded by ancient species of plants that thrive in the cool temperate rainforest. The short 20 minute walk follows a flat boardwalk through mossy rainforest. This ancient landscape and lush rainforest is a gateway into the past, transporting visitors into a world unchanged for thousands of years.  Follow the path until the roar of the falls muffles your conversation and the 30 metre drop of Nelson Falls is revealed. In winter, swollen and fast-flowing rivers rush over the top of the falls in a torrential cascade.

Nelson Falls world heritage wilderness short walk tasmania
Tourism Australia and Graham Freeman
Nelson Falls

8. St Columba Falls

Tucked away near Pyengana, you’ll find the lush rainforests of St Columba Falls State Reserve. Often in flood, these falls are some of the highest in Tasmania with the water dropping more than 90 metres over steep granite ledges. The path is sheltered by giant man-ferns, some of which are centuries old.  And if you’re feeling peckish after your walk through the wilderness, feast on some of the award-winning cheeses at the Holy Cow Cafe in Pyengana.

A river in the rainforest in northern Tamania
Andrew McIntosh, Ocean Photography
St Columba Falls Walk

9. Champagne Falls

In Cradle Valley, north-west Tasmania, are the rolling cascades of Champagne Falls. These stunning falls drop 15 metres into the cool, shady hide-away of Bulls Creek and are the first of two waterfalls easily accessed on the three-hour rainforest loop walk. The walk begins at Lemonthyme Lodge. Look hard enough among the logs and moss and you’ll uncover some colourful fungi around the waterways of Cradle Valley.

Fungi growing in a mossy forest
Kathryn Leahy
Winter fungi in the Cradle Valley

It’s very tempting to explore deeper into the forest, but the Tasmanian bush is a delicate ecosystem, so please keep to the well-beaten tourist path and keep our forests pristine for years to come.

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