Tolkien Falls 2018 Apr

Tolkien Falls, Apr 2018.

I came upon the Tolkien Falls quite by chance. Perhaps it’s embarrassing to admit it, but I was trying to find Regnans Falls at the time. I was following instructions that said to go to a Big Bend, so I went to the biggest bendiest thing on the map past the Big Tree walk on the Styx Rd, parked and walked my way through beautiful forest up the stream. The instructions said the falls should be twenty-five minutes away. At twelve minutes, I found a waterfall. I’m normally fast, so was only vaguely perplexed. The falls were smaller than those in photos I’d seen, but they were taken in winter, and lots of waterways are not pumping at present, despite recent rain.

I did find footprints once there AND a pink tape. The instructions had mentioned pink tape, but I found none until I was at the falls. As with Regnans, you could climb up the right hand side (others had done so), and there was more tape there. In fact, I could see a line of tapes, so, being a curious person, I decided to follow them. They took me past “Gandalf’s Staff” and lots of fungi, and eventually, back to the road six minutes’ walk from where my car was. This return forest section took me fifteen and a half minutes (plus the six along the road). It made for a thirty-four minute circuit before you add in an hour for photography (falls and fungi).

The last thing I saw before joining the road was a sign that said “Tolkien Track”, so I have dubbed these the Tolkien Falls. I then tested the only other bend on offer, you know, just in case, and found the falls I had been looking for in the first place, but am very happy to have added these serendipitous falls to my growing collection of photos and Tasmanian waterfalls. Unlike the case with Regnans Falls, the map does inform you that there is a waterfall on this nameless (but now called by me Tolkien) creek.

If you continue along Styx Rd past the Big Tree Reserve Walk, past the sign that tells you there will be a boom gate and you’re to go back to Maydena without collecting $200, and past where the road splits (take the upper fork), then the next bend, a very short way (100 metres?) further on is yours. Walk up the road for six minutes until you see a cairn and pink tapes on the right, and a path leading into the forest. A little sign in the forest will tell you it’s the Tolkien Track. Enjoy. (Then you can do the Big Tree Walk, and the Styx River meander, by which time you’ll be needing some food.) (To get to the Styx Rd, turn right a few kms past Maydena. There’s a big sign.)

Regnans Falls 2018 Apr

Regnans Falls, Apr 2018

Main Regnans Falls
Regnans Falls could well be dubbed Mystery Falls, for although they occur near many specimens of Eucalyptus regnans, the mystery surrounding them is even greater than the giant trees. So much are they a mystery to Google, that every time you type Regnans, google corrects you to Regnant. The Waterfalls of Tasmania site doesn’t list them; the wikipedia site of all the waterfalls on Tasmania’s maps doesn’t list them. Why? Because they’re not on any maps. So how does one know they’re “there” (wherever “there” might be) and how on earth does one find them?? Good question. Nobody can even tell you the name of the creek they’re on, as that doesn’t have a name either!

One knows they are there, as a little book published quite a while ago (Thirty Five Walks to Waterfalls in Tasmania by Raelene and Rod Newell) lists them, along with instructions on how to get there, and Caedence Kueper, grand explorer (and good photographer), decided to get there and video his findings.

My problem was that he said to go to the Big Bend in the Styx Valley, and begin from there. Google and List Maps both fail to acknowledge the existence of this Big Bend. Drew a blank. OK, then; he says it’s just past the Big Tree Walk. Ah. Easy? No. Where is that? More googling, but to no avail. The first Big Tree walk listed in google is in the Blue Tier. The second is at Tarraleah. The “Big Tree Walk”, as such (and the one I was looking for) does not occur on googles’s first page of listings, and I gave up that method of attack at one page deep. List Maps says the Big Tree Walk does not exist at all. One gathers it is on the Styx Road (in his video, Caedence says he is in the Styx Valley, so I took a punt), but where? How far along? More web silence. Unless you actually know what Caedence is talking about, you remain mystified. Coming from the north, I am not really familiar with this area, so didn’t feel violently confident. I did, however, feel violently curious, so off I set. Better pack the PLB in case I come a cropper. I was expecting no helpful sign posts, and was hoping I could sort out where to stop my car. If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I actually landed at the Tolkien Falls instead, when trying to follow the instructions. However, in the end and with perseverance, I got there.

(Below the falls)
One has to go right on the main road heading west from Maydena in order to actually go left (south); one goes under the road, and is then offered the Styx Road as one of the two alternatives. Drive along this for quite a way (about half an hour). The Big Tree Forest Reserve becomes visible. Beyond that is a bend and beyond that, another. The second will get you (if you walk up the road for six minutes) to a well-taped track to the beautiful Tolkien Falls). The first one will have you do a bushbash through very fragile forest with only occasional ribbons leading through a maze of fallen timber in one spot to Regnans. If you don’t know how to bushbash AND tread incredibly lightly at the same time, leaving no trace, please do not visit Regnans. It is holy territory and needs to remain so. Everything crumbles in there it is so untrampled, so you need excellent balance or you’ll topple. Also, it has no human rubbish from selfish tourists. Long may this remain the case.

No, I did not do an odd squiggle up the spur. I guess the canopy is so dense the signals got confused.