Waterfalls off the early Overland Track 2021 May

Having had such a fabulous day on Easter Sunday, when I did my long haul (55.6 kms) to see and photograph Pelion Falls, I was eager to try for another big day. Again, without measuring before I set out (partly so as not to fill myself with doubt), I looked at the map and decided I would try for a bunch of little blue lines on the map to the east of the Overland Track, and just see what I got. Surely I would at least get Branigan Falls (the only ones that had a name), and anything else was a bonus.

Nothofagus gunnii; lights up in response to the low sun, Cradle

Because of the boom gate that serious bushwalkers now have to deal with if we want to do more than a tourist waddle around Dove Lake, I had to get up at 4.40 to be away in a time that would get me through the gate before 8 a.m., when the park is turned over to tourists doing cute wanders. The path in the environs of the lake is now so wide and smooth they can probably wear their high heel shoes.
There is always great anxiety when approaching the gate in case the rules have changed again, and you have made all this effort, only to be locked out anyway. My heart beat far faster than during any of the day’s exertions as I waited for the gate to lift. Phew. I had passed through. Now I could relax, and going a bit less than the very sensible 40 kph limit in an area where a wombat could unconcernedly amble into your path at any second, I enjoyed the magic forest and the light playing amongst the leaves.

Nothofagus gunnii Cradle Mountain

We are no longer allowed to reach the lake – only tourists in busses can do that these days -, so I parked at the last possible place, making a long day longer, and began the race against time with a handicap, but with happiness anyway, as I was at last walking, even if the time available to do what I wanted was now less than it used to be. Most people tell me they then walk up the sealed, wide, ugly road for 2kms before beginning their real walk. This has zilch appeal to me, so I headed for the Crater Lake path and went up that way. I suspected I was adding a half hour to my journey in each direction. I had a head torch.
I was aware when making my plans that the fagus (Nothofagus gunnii – a deciduous Tasmanian native tree) was late this year, and that if I were lucky, I might well catch some up high, near the southern end of the lake.

Richea pandanifolia competing with the fagus for stunning beauty

My focus on waterfalls entirely shifted when I witnessed the beauty that awaited me. Thank goodness I didn’t have to share it with the busloads. One girl I met later told me she was on top of Cradle and one such tourist had brought a “ghetto blaster” and entirely ruined the spiritual experience of every single other person there by playing his choice of music so loudly they all had to listen to it instead of imbibing beautiful silence.
But I was alone and had this stunning world to myself in all its quietness and sanctity. I forgot my haste and need to rush to achieve my goals in the time allotted, and just relaxed into the moment of beauty. Who cared if I got no waterfalls? Not I.

Glory Falls Cradle Mt NP

Photography finished for a short while, but camera ever ready, strapped to my chest, on I went. Up up up to Marions Lookout, and then a tiny bit higher still before eventually dropping to Kitchen Hut, and my first pack break for a quick drink and bite to eat. I have been doing a lot of hefty uphill running this week. Whoops. My legs were already a bit tired. Oh. I’ll try to start fresher next time I get one of these long days into my head.
Around the belly of Cradle I went, and eventually down the path that I always enjoy to Waterfall Valley Hut, which I reached in less than 2 hours 40 from Waldheim. That was OK. If I wanted to be back at the car by 6.30, I didn’t need to leave this hut until nearly 4 pm, if I needed / wanted that much time. Now my actual adventure was near to beginning. I didn’t need another break yet, and I thought I would have it at the first waterfall, relaxing by the flowing water.

What do you say?

I had never eyed up the territory to the east of the track with walking there in mind, and imagined it to be pretty thickly bushed and not exactly fast forest. What I found was more kind of alpine plains with max thigh-high bushes, and sometimes much better than that. I was pleasantly surprised. I visited six waterfalls, four of which were blue lines on the map, two of which were more cascades than falls, but they were bigger and more photogenic than at least one of the marked waterfalls, which I actually didn’t even bother to shoot.
The forecast had been for a cloudy day from 10 a.m. onwards, so I kept waiting for the clouds to roll in, but they would have none of it. That is their right, but their absence did ruin some of the falls I shot. My favourite falls I have called Glory Falls, as a deep sense of glory filled me, even before I had reached the base. I took just a phone shot from above as the “view” was all hints and potential, and the drop vertical and seemingly infinite. I could see no possible way down, but, well, I kept trying and lo and behold, I reached a point down stream of the falls, and then worked my way up along a chasm, sometimes in the water, and then reached a kind of pandani- and moss-filled chamber with honeyed rocks, and lacey water adding charm. I decided in this place that I didn’t care for any more waterfalls. I just wanted to linger longer here, maybe forever. “Verweile doch, du bist so schön”,

The beauty rolls on

How long was I there? Who knows? Who cares? Eventually I was momentarily satisfied, or, satisfied enough to move on, but I was kind of in a beauty-trance for hours afterwards, and can’t tell you much about anything. I did photograph some more waterfalls, but I felt very complete, and just kind of filled in some more time doing what I’d come to do, but then I decided enough was enough and I was ready to turn around early. I don’t stuff myself at feasts.
The way back was nearly as sociable as my return from Pelion Falls. Funnily, the first people I met were three people I know, who wanted to climb Barn Bluff, but didn’t want to get up at 4.40 to beat the gate, and thus had no car to get back to, so had to turn one day into three to get around the locked gate problem at each end of their days. They were enjoying the view on the Cirque.

Yet another nameless wonder

I met two who were running with big packs on. They had climbed Barn Bluff, but were now anxious about missing the bus, so had to rush through the scenery in order to make it by the 4.30 pumpkin hour.
Once I reached the creek issuing from Kathleens Pool, the light was becoming interesting. I knew I would easily make the car in the light, and, due to incredible amounts of smoke in the air, the light was turning pink, even though it was only about 3.45 pm. I was peckish, so decided I would have a nice long snack and watch the light for a half hour or so. I was just enjoying munching and drinking and enjoying light when an exhausted looking couple came by and stopped for a brief chat. They looked not only weary, but also a bit despondent as they explained there was no way they could make the bus, so, although they had just climbed their first mountain ever (Cradle), they now had to walk an extra 10 kms after they finished, to get back to the Visitors’ Centre, where their car was. They were not complaining, but they were far from excited by what lay ahead, especially as this 10kms would be on a sealed road.

Waterfall wonder

I liked them, so I told them that if they could just go a bit faster so I didn’t have to wait too long, and if they used my route, I would drive them back to the Visitors’ Centre.  I told them to set out now whilst I was still eating so as to give themselves a head start. I was at the tail end of a very long day, and still had a 2.5 hour drive once I had finished walking, which was maybe at least an hour more yet. I was in grave danger of falling asleep at the wheel, so didn’t want to be too delayed by these people, lovely as they were. The look of relief on their faces had no price tag.

Lacey splash

Alas, I caught them at Marions, so started taking photos as I went to slow myself down. They were relieved to see my reduction in pace and agenda, so took photos too. Ah well, what the heck. The three of us photographed the evening, and got to the car just before dark. The girl wanted to see a wombat, so I told her where to find them, and went quickly off to the toilet while she photographed. As I dropped them off, it was about 5.30, too early for dinner yet, so I told them where they could find food.
“There’s a pretty good place at Moina”, I said.
“Oh, so do we just go to the town centre and look for food?”, asked the guy., who had just googled what he thought was something substantial.
I roared with laughter.
“There is one building, and it sells food, so I guess it is the town centre, yes.”
They laughed too.

Enjoying afternoon light on Cradle while I have a snack

After they left my car, I realised that in this age of Covid, things like we had just experienced would become, or had already become, a big rarity. Hospitality to strangers is perhaps a thing of the past with the fear that a stranger from inter-state, as these two were, might be carrying the dreaded disease. I have never been a health-risk-and-safety fanatic. Hospitality, kindness and good will are very important to me.

There are benefits from lingering longer

My big danger was now falling asleep while driving home. Not for the first time, I managed to talk to my daughters on the phone to see me through the worst of my drowsiness. Normally, loud opera does it, but it had been a very long day with that 4.40 rise.  I kept slapping my legs and scratching my arms to hurt myself into wakefulness, but it wasn’t doing the trick. The phone did the job. My dog was very glad that I was still alive so she could get dinner.

Trestle Falls 2021

I had a free day in Hobart, and there had been good rain about a week ago, so, hopeful that water would still be flowing, I set out for the newly mapped and named Trestle Falls, lying not surprisingly on Trestle Creek, which flows down from Trestle Mountain.

Trestle Falls Lowest

When I looked at the map, I decided the best approach would be via the publess, shopless hamlet of Mountain River, and use the track called Mountain River Trail that emanates from the Mountain River Road terminus.

I have actually never used this trail, having only climbed Trestle Mountain using the Mt Connection track to its east. That track was wide and boring. This one was a narrow, green path which I greatly enjoyed. I used the track to gain height; the falls, however, do not lie on any tracks, and navigation and “bush bashing” (not much bashing went on) are needed to get there. There was certainly an amount of ducking, climbing and weaving. This is for experienced bush people. Using the track, I worked out from the shape of the land when I was on the same contour as the falls would be, and left its ease and headed into the bush on contour to reach the lowest of the falls.

Trestle Falls Lower

The forest was not difficult to traverse, and was delightfully green. Even better, there was, oh joy, no ugly blasted pink tape to mar its beauty or kill the animals. Obviously, this waterfall was in the south, where the population seems to be less inclined to ruin every scrap of bush they can find. (I’m allowed to criticise the north, as that’s where I live. Are there any untaped waterfalls left up there? Don’t say which ones, or they’ll have plastic littering them by tomorrow.)

Trestle Falls Middle

Anyway, this waterfall was a “choose your own route and adventure” one, a dying breed, and I loved it for that. I enjoyed the uncertainty of reaching my goal, which makes finding it so much more pleasurable.

Trestle Falls Middle

I found four waterfalls that I considered to be worthy of setting up and photographing. You could call it more if you counted some of the “doubles”. I didn’t, so called it four. My bottom one, number 4, was lower than the one called Lower by Caedence, so I called it Lowest Trestle Falls. Then came Lower, my favourite. Middle was pretty nice and Upper, well, it was better protected than the others – ie, less accessible – and I’m not sure that the effort would justify a return visit. Definitely, for me, falls 2 and 3 won the beauty prizes. The top falls, that are where the falls are on the map, are certainly the tallest, but size isn’t everything in my books.

Trestle Falls Upper

My route back was not a good one, as I was extravagant with the height gain out of the top falls, and had more obstacles to deal with at that height. Although it was downhill, and theoretically quicker, I took longer than on the climb up to reach the falls. My route in was 43 minutes from car to the bottom falls, the route out nearer to 50. The catch is that I spent 1 hr 15 covering maybe 200 ms between the top and bottom, due to massive amounts of photography. Even so, I was back in time for a late lunch, and full of joy at the lovely forest I had been immersed in. For me, to photograph beauty is to become united with it. I totally lose myself and merge with whatever it is I am photographing. It is a very liberating activity.

Liffey: unnamed falls and fungi 2020 Sept

Liffey Falls are totally gorgeous, and are justifiably popular with tourists and waterfall aficionados, especially at this time of year when the water is pumping. I actually prefer a more delicate look for photography, and I prefer my nature uncrowded, so, although I visited LIffey, I didn’t bother with more than a cursory glance at the main attraction, and kept away from the madding crowds.

Liffey unnamed trib Falls 2

On Saturday, I photographed fungi in the lower reaches of the river, and today I climbed up much higher, in the direction of Liffey Bluff, exploring some pink ribbons I found. They went up and up, so I decided they were going to the Bluff. I climbed up to 800ms (it was very steep), which was all I felt like for today, found two new waterfalls and several new fungi, and so was happy.

Hygrocybe cheelii
Tremeliodendropsis pusio

Yesterday the perfume of sassafras flowers suffused the whole forest, filling it with delicate sweetness; meanwhile, the acacia dealbata trees were blooming so fulsomely that yellow dominated over green down in the valley. The sun was shining: it was a balmy 14 degrees, and the world was wonderful.

Cortinarius eartoxicus Liffey

Included are some images of the two new falls I found: “Liffey unnamed tributary Falls 1 and 2” (such exciting names) and some of the fungi.

Old House Creek Falls 2020 Mar

The last time I visited Old House Creek, I approached from the base, and found the driving part to be more than nerve wracking.* So, this time, wanting a revisit to take in the extra falls I’d been alerted to by a few friends, I tried coming in from the top, via good old Maggs Spur 17. Great decision. I used it until it crossed Old House Creek, and then parked, electing not to attempt to drive down the road that descends on the southern side of the creek. Second smart move of the day. Going well so far.

Old House Creek Falls 1 and 2
Old House Creek Falls 1 and 2

I wasn’t sure how high up all these extra falls extended, so popped into the forest every now and then on my way down to check out how things were (using the road. Oh BOY was I glad I hadn’t tried to drive it!!!!). The road was ugly, but the forest was gorgeous and mossy, and nice and open; the creek on each visit was just merrily cascading – quite noisily – and although each cascade would make a lovely image if one spent time, I was there on this day for actual waterfalls, so continued purposefully at this stage.

Old House Creek Base of Falls 2. I entered danger for THIS wretched shot? ‘fraid so. This waterfall goes up and up forever!

Once I had crossed the first road perpendicular to my line, the waterfall fun began. I waymarked each one on my map, but it became ridiculous. In a very short space of time, I had ten waterfalls, so all the yellow circles were just on top of each other, and I will delete the lot. I made my way to the base, taking just a few record shots in case I needed them for reference. I was at the base 35 minutes from leaving the car, so this was not a massive time commitment thus far. Ha ha. All up, spread over 4.5 hours, I did 1.5 hours’ exercise (which included some extra exploration higher up) and 3 hours’ photography!

Old House Creek Falls 4

The forecast had been for a cloudy day, but I had noticed to my chagrin that the sun was making an increased showing as I descended. By the time I got to the base, it was really spoiling the party. I took some shots ’cause I was there, but I was not impressed with my own or the sun’s efforts. I will probably ditch the lot. (I did). Anyway, I already had some reasonable photos of the base, even though the flow was better today.

Old House Creek Falls 5 and 6

OK. Now the fun began. My first task was to try to get a decent shot of “Falls 2” or maybe you would call it “Upper Tier”. Given that there were to be ten, I thought numbering was easier. Up I climbed, and got to a spot from where I thought I could work my way across. Hm. The drop was not infinite, but it was substantial and vertical, and if I slipped and fell, a broken back or neck or a smashed head could easily result. No one knew I was there to even come and collect the pieces afterwards, and if I was only half dead, that would be inconvenient. Half would become full before they found me. I did have my plb, but if you are severely maimed or unconscious, the button is rather hard to access and press. (Btw, Falls 2 extends upwards into infinity. It looks middle sized from the base of Falls 1, but it goes out of sight, and you only get the full extent of its measure if you climb up and up to its top.)

Old House Creek Falls 7 and 8

So, under the threat of exacting penalties I tested and retested every foothold and hand hold, choosing a path that never once abandoned a secure anchor. It took 30 minutes to reach the base from the other base below! No doubt you could do it faster by being less neurotically cautious, but in doing so, you would also no doubt disturb a great deal of moss, so in the interests of the environment, even if not of your body, I plead with you to take this very gently if you are as silly as I am and want to get there. I will also add that it is really not worth it. The view from down there was not extraordinary, and there was a lot of spray from the proximity to the landing. I am not pleased with the booty I obtained, and will not be using the shots for any competitions of beautiful photos.

Old House Creek Falls 10

I had an overdose of adrenalin by the time I got back to my route after Falls 2, so just nodded a courteous “Hello” to Falls 3, which were sweet, but utterly dwarfed by the monstrous Falls 2 which seemed to go on forever. However, Falls 4 and 5 – a kind of a double – well, I couldn’t just ignore these, and thus began the very tedious business of setting up for almost every single waterfall I found. (Setting up my equipment and then packing it back at the end takes about fifteen minutes each stop: unfolding tripod, screwing on filter holder, unpacking glass etc.  I don’t dare walk with exposed glass when bushbashing.)
I think these were my favourites, although competition is fierce.

Old House Creek Falls 12

Later on I was also to skip Falls 9 (photographically speaking), just because the sun really did spoil them, and because I was soooo over unpacking and repacking my gear every few meters. Similarly I saved Falls 11, higher up, for a different visit, not because they were not beautiful, but enough was enough. I was satiated by this stage. Falls 12 I suspected to be the last, so gave them what I hoped was my final photographic attention, and called it quits for the day. I was starving. Time to patronise my favourite Mole Creek cafe (Earthwater), where I can sit in their beautiful garden under a tree, far away from corona-infected people, and enjoy bird calls and filtered sunlight while waiting for my food.

* For my previous blog, entering from the base, see

Hobart Rivulet 2

I still had unfinished business on the Hobart Rivulet, despite my recent adventure’s additions to my waterfall collection
(http://www.natureloverswalks.com/hobart-rivulet/) , so, on the afternoon after my Flora Falls escapade (also in my blog), I set out to follow the Rivulet upstream and see what else I could find. I knew some waterfalls were missing from what I had so far found.

Pineapple Falls

I had already explored the stream for a bit of a way north of the Strickland Falls (and seen Champers and Disappearing Falls in the process), so didn’t dive into the forest straight away. However, once my height seemed right, I left the Rivulet track and entered the thickish, and rather uninviting, bush filled with cutting grass and made my way to the water. My guess was good. Just upstream, I could see white foam, and it was the Pineapple Falls.

Gentlemens Cascades

Right next door was another pretty sight, more a cascade than a waterfall, so I photographed it, too, much later learning that this was Gentlemens Cascades.

Pretty Falls

I was in an exploratory mood, so decided to keep climbing, and came to what, in the absence of any known name, I have (at least temporarily) dubbed Pretty Falls.

Ladies Cascades

Above them lay some Cascades worth photographing, and later, feeling miffed that Gentlemen had Cascades but we didn’t, I called this Ladies Cascades to equalise matters. Gentlemen and Ladies are rather hard to find these days, so it is appropriate that these cascades are well hidden and are rare collectors’ items.

Fairy Falls

More hunches and guesswork had me arriving at one that I had definitely been seeking: namely, what is known as Fairy Falls. Charming.
For my homeward bound route, and it now seemed appropriate to call it a day, I decided to make a kind of circle, and in doing so, I found yet another sight worth photographing, and decided Pixie Falls would be in keeping with the going theme.

Pixie Falls

I’m sure there are more waterfalls to be found in there, but I had done quite enough bush battling by then, especially considering the fact that I had had a big morning, so contented myself with this magnificent booty. It was time to eat.