Upper Guide Falls
Six waterfalls in one day (Cooee, Sandersons, St Georges, St Josephs, Hodgetts, and Upper Guide Falls)? Was this perhaps a little too ambitious? I sent my plan to Carrie, who didn’t think it was too much for us to handle at all. It was on. Actually, the original list we both agreed to had nine falls, and we could have easily added in the final three if only daylight hours and energy were to be considered, but after six, we both felt that enough was enough: we had a heap of photos and information to process; any more would be perceived as overkill. If we quitted then, I would be home in time for tea, and Carrie would get to spend a bit of Saturday with her kids, so we called it a day – and a great one at that. Besides, I was by that point in time rather famished, despite a big lunch, and I knew I would find nothing resembling nice food (or any food, for that matter), in the Tewkesbury region in which we then were. If we stopped, I could get afternoon tea in the Latrobe region on the way home
(1) Cooee Falls
Funnily, we didn’t originally plan to go waterfall bagging today, but my doggy babysitter took ill, which meant I could no longer sleep on a mountain, and Carrie had an unexpected free day, so I designed us this spree – worked out in the kind of way I used to work out a rogaining competition, or an attack on the Wainwrights of England, where you need to gather as many mountains / points as possible in a given timeframe. I sent her the results of my tactics; she was right in there.
(2) Sandersons Falls
If you want to emulate this amassing of waterfalls, my programme is below. As I type this up, Tessa is downstairs, sleeping the sleep of the dead. She is utterly exhausted, which is rather hilarious. Neither the distance covered, nor the height gained was particularly huge. What was taxing for all three of us was the sheer physicality of each of the climbs. They all appeared to be almost vertical. It was really quite difficult to find a safe way down, especially given the thickness of the bush in some places, the extreme softness of the soil, and the lack of anything to hold onto at times when you really, really felt like hanging onto something. Each fall entailed far more adrenalin rush than a rollercoaster ride at Luna Park. Climbing down was every bit as tricky as climbing back up again – in fact, more so, as going down we were throwing ourselves at the unknown. Coming back, we at least had our tracked descent route to resort to if necessary.
(3) St Georges Falls
Sometimes I tried a different route up, just for the heck of it. Sometimes this worked well (e.g. Upper Guide and Hodgetts). At other times, it was a bit of a disaster, and we had to back track and lose our height to try again (St Georges). Twice I got us to within two meters of the top, but neither of us was willing to take that last two metres, as the penalty for not pulling it off was too great. We are both enjoying life, and Carrie has a race in a few weeks. Breaking bones was not on the programme. We had great fun, and agreed that this was a very testing full-body workout, and that you needed to be very fit and agile and persistent to keep throwing yourself at these cliffs. These are not tourist waterfalls.
(4) St Josephs Falls
Because so many of these falls were on private land, we had very little information, and didn’t even know in most cases what the object of our quest was going to look like. It was rather fun to have the surprise element there. It was also brilliant that there was no pink tape splattered everywhere. It takes a lot longer to make your own route, but it’s also a lot more rewarding when you’ve been allowed to do it yourself. It’s kind of the difference between orienteering and cross country running. Give me the challenge of orienteering any day.
Cooee was just a short dash in off the road. I was disguised as a forest gnome, all in green. Neither of us took our tripods, as we wanted to be as quick as possible for this one. Tessa minded the car. It was very straightforward and speedy.
Sandersons was quite fun, and, although it was steep, it posed no problems. We both thought a revisit at some future date would be good. Even at the distance of only a few hours, I find it hard to recall our descent into Sandersons. I can only assume it was completely without incident, and not too difficult, as it is one on the “return to” list.
(5) Hodgetts Falls
The view from the top of St George’s made us gulp – not so much because of all the cars that had been pushed over the cliff, but more because of the dimensions of the drop we wanted to descend. Tessa was banned from looking over the edge. She detected the note of extreme fear in my voice, and abstained. We crossed the creek and worked our way quite a long way off a direct line, as I decided the best attack was well away from the whopping vertical drop. I had moments when I doubted that we were gong to get to the base of this one. We enjoyed the falls once there, but Carrie thought once is probably enough.
St Joseph Falls, the blackberry spree par excellence, was far more tolerable than expected, thanks to people who go in with secateurs (we brought our own, and used them at St Georges as well). Carrie was armed with gloves. Alas, I left mine in the car. I coped. The falls were far prettier than I anticipated, although once for these will probably do. I like some exercise for my drive and effort, and this gave me none. They weren’t exciting, sitting as they were in an otherwise open paddock (if you don’t count prickles).
Hodgetts Falls was a fun little ramble; we didn’t have a clue what to expect, but enjoyed the walk and the final falls. I’d like to return in a time of more water, but they were still worthwhile for a visit. We did a loop for this, which was quite fun, as it made the whole circuit an exploration.
6) Upper Guide Falls
Our final falls, the Upper Guide Falls, were definitely our favourites. The area was lush and green and delightfully shady, with moss and lichen everywhere. We will definitely return here. This was another gorge that took our breath away with the huge drop that we were supposed to negotiate. We were quite reluctant to leave the road and plunge downwards, but we managed, and sure loved the end result.
By this stage, I was famished, and I knew that my need for coffee and cake was not going to be satisfied anywhere in the vicinity. Carrie also reckoned she’d done enough. We both felt complete and satisfied with respect to waterfalls, so agreed to call it a day. I really must bring more food when I go waterfall bagging: a salad roll and florentine combo is just not enough. This was a day packed with exploration, adventure, and beauty, and we loved it. Tessa is too exhausted to comment.
Programme: meet Carrie at Burnie. Louise must have Inglis Map to execute the below:
1) Cooee Falls (Private) just out of Burnie on Three Mile Line Rd. Then take the road to Ridgley.
2) Take C105 W past West Ridgley to Sandersons Falls. (Private, but owners nice).
3) Then head SW to St Georges Falls nearby.
4) Now, drive south. Go back to Serpentine Rd C104 sth to Tewkesbury for St Joseph Falls. Blackberry spree.
5) Take C101 from Tewkesbury to Oonah on the Murchison Hwy (A10). Just before Oonah, take Edmunds Rd and do Hodgetts Falls.
6) Head back to Tewkesbury. Take South Coppins Rd. Drive over river at base of dam and take first left; head northish to Upper Guide Falls.
7) Head back to Burnie, ignoring Guide and more. The day was complete.
The following three maps relate to Hodgetts Falls. The first is 1:100,000 for context. The other two are 1:25,000, and are of our actual route. Hope this helps.