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Going Cuckoo at the Falls

13 December 2011 No Comment
Cuckoo Falls - Tasmania travel guide - to do, must see, activities

Within the forest near Cuckoo Falls

Ian Smith continues his Tasmanian tour with a visit to Cuckoo Falls:

I had to move on, I’d booked a fishing trip for the next day and had only limited time to do another walk and reach the east coast.  I opted for Cuckoo Falls, “…a few kilometres east of Scottsdale.  The right turn from the Tasman Highway is well signposted.  Follow the signs to the carpark.”  Whoever wrote the last sentence hadn’t been there for some time.  There is no sign on the most important intersection which cost me about 10 minutes, and another sign was overgrown with foxglove but somehow I made my lonely way up the 7km dirt road to its end.

“3 hours return on a very well constructed and mostly dry track….uphill but a fairly gentle incline.”  I’ve never read such misleading crap.

The sullen sky overhead foretold of rain and the evening was nigh.  I started at 4.45 and took a head light in case the times were accurate and the understorey darkened.  At the start there were walking sticks and a scratched notice saying, “you will need these”.  I pondered their meaning and assumed the trail was tough.

The first 200 metres of picture postcard rainforest streams belied the last third of the trail on high.  The slope is gentle for the first two thirds but the sweat still dripped off my brow as I passed through the masses of herringbone ferns that overgrow the trail.

Cuckoo Falls - Tasmania travel guide - to do, must see, activities

Ian heading into Cuckoo Falls a midst the herringbone ferns

Then you cross a tiny stream and it gets rugged and the trail only just wider than both my feet side by side; some of the drop-offs were steep and this was obviously where the sticks would have come in handy.  I figured no-one from my bushwalking fraternity would ever do this trail as more sweat poured out when I scrambled up a particularly steep part, over fallen logs and stumbling on rocks.

I couldn’t get over how someone had even found the place, let alone carved a route to this remote location.  Just as the falls could be seen flashing behind the trees across the gorge I got lost, more sidetracked really.  Apparently I dipped below the main trail and spend a horrible few minutes scrambling up and down the slippery slope before I found it again.

It had been a nervous few moments but within a few minutes I was at the elusive Cuckoo Falls, and splendid they were, but I wondered just how many other cascades the trail had bypassed.

Cuckoo Falls - Tasmania travel guide - to do, must see, activities

Cuckoo Falls

I’d made it through the impressive fern forest in just on 1¼ hours and returned in just under an hour with the sky finally dropping its precipitation in a misty display.  I was glad to see the highway again but the wind buffeted the motorhome and the rain increased though I still stopped at Little Plains lookout as an eerie sunset flickered on the horizon.  I expected snow at any second, so cold was it, so I took a couple of snaps and headed for Binalong Bay where I camped for the night.

Launceston to Scottsdale  is  68km.

For more detailed information and a map, visit the Cuckoo Falls section of Forestry Tasmania

Ian Smith is a very busy traveler who loves to write about and photograph his experiences. He has hundreds of images and reviews over at Virtual Tourist. The beautiful images in this article are all his work.

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