1. Russell Falls
Mt Field National Park, about a one hour drive from Hobart, has three waterfalls that flow fast in winter – each as stunning as the next. As snow falls, Mt Field National Park is transformed into a winter wonderland. It’s within the national park’s rainforest you’ll find Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Lady Baron Falls. You’ll need a National Parks Pass to view these beauties – luckily the visitor centre is located at the start of the track. Downstream from Horseshoe Falls is Russell Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls 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. As the snow on the local mountains melt, water rushes over the top of the falls and visitors below are sprayed with a fine mist up to 20 metres away. Tilt your head skyward, there are three tall tiers of rushing winter water to take in. 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.
2. Horseshoe Falls
Just another 10 minutes away from Russell Falls, up a steep path, you will come across Horseshoe Falls, where many people have spotted the platypus overturning pebbles looking for food. They startle easily, but if you’re quiet and still they are surprisingly happy to continue on their forage while you watch on. The walk is an easy 1.4km uphill climb on a well-maintained track with stairs, just 10 min from Russell Falls, 40 min from the Mt Field National park visitor centre.
3. Lady Barron Falls
The next waterfall is number three on the Mt Field National Park waterfall loop. Lady Barron Falls is named after Lady Clara Barron, the wife of Sir Harry Barron, Governor of Tasmania 1909-1913. The walk takes you 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 6km with steep staircases and well-maintained tracks, can become wet in winter and may be temporarily closed after heavy rainfall.
4. Snug Falls
Just a short drive 30 minutes south of Hobart is a tiny town called Snug. Blink and you’ll miss the town, let alone the sign that points you towards this winter waterfall walk. The road is sealed, but don’t be deceived, in winter this is not a walk for heels or white casuals. 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.
5. Liffey Falls
Drop into Deloraine Deli and pack a picnic; you’re going to need supplies for this one. Drive slow on the narrow unsealed road in and watch out for fallen debris. Liffey Falls steps down over a number of tiers, which you can see from the path down to the final waterfall. The falls are encased in rainforest and best viewed from winter through to early spring. The walk is suitable for moderate walkers with some stairs and steep slippery climbs.
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. It was a tram way rather than a railway due to the narrow gauge of rail. After following along 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.
7. Nelson Falls
Nestled amongst the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area on the road between Hobart and Queenstown, Nelson Falls is surrounded by ancient species of plants that thrive within the patch of cool temperate rainforest. The ancient landscape, and the lush rainforest that surrounds it, acts as a gateway into the past, transporting visitors into a world that has gone unchanged for thousands of years. The walk is only 20 minutes and follows a flat boardwalk through mossy ancient rainforest. Follow the path until the roar of the falls muffles your conversation and the 30 metre drop of Nelson Falls is finally revealed. In winter, swollen and fast-flowing rivers erupt over the top of the falls in a torrential cascade.
8. St Columba Falls
Tucked away in Pyengana, you’ll find the lush rainforests of St Columba Falls State Reserve. Often in flood, these falls are some of the highest on the island. The water drops more than 90 metres over steep granite ledges. The path here is sheltered by giant man-ferns, some of which are centuries old! You’ll also encounter fast flowing streams, bountiful myrtle, sassafras and beech trees before reaching a spectacular 90 metre waterfall at the end of your trek. Feeling peckish after your walk through the wilderness? You can’t visit Pyengana without feasting on some of the award-winning cheeses found at the Holy Cow Cafe.
9. Champagne Falls
In the Cradle Valley of north-west Tasmania are the rolling cascades of Champagne Falls. These stunning falls tumble 15 metres into the cool and shady hide-away of Bulls Creek. They are the first of two waterfalls that are easily accessed on the three-hour rainforest loop walk which begins at Lemonthyme Lodge, and gives visitors a peak into the abundance of wild rivers, streams and waterfalls that can be found throughout the state. Look hard enough among the logs and moss and you’ll uncover some colourful fungi around the waterways of the Cradle Valley.
It might be tempting to explore deeper into the forest, but the Tasmanian bush is a delicate ecosystem, so keep to the well-beaten tourist path to ensure our forests are kept pristine for years to come.