Times of Travel: Liffey Falls

Type: Hike, out and back
Distance: 8km (6km + optional 2km)
Time: 2 - 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Location: Liffey Falls State Reserve, Tasmania

Liffey Falls track is a short, easy walk, following an old 1900s logging tramway, in Liffey Falls State Reserve, Tasmania. It’s a 45 minute drive (50km) from the centre of Launceston, the closest city (it’s a big town, at best, by most standards).

The route is accessed from the Liffey Falls campground. An alternate 2km (return) walk can be found from the top car park, if you continue on the right hand side in the fork, on the turn off to the campground.

This picturesque waterfall is reached through cool temperate rainforest, drenched in green glow. The undulating track is hugged by a canopy of statuesque fern trees, amid the eucalypts, and off the modest mud path are pillows of soft vibrant moss.

Among the vegetation of sassafrass, myrtle and leatherwood, there are plenty of mighty trees towering stoically beside the trail, and occasionally, across it too.

Although signposted as a 1hr 30min walk one way, to the falls, it’s probably more reasonable to reach it within 45min – 1hr.

The falls can be viewed from a number of well positioned platforms, or those with decent shoes may decide to push out onto the rocks, as the water babbles past.

Victoria Falls

It’s well worth following the track the extra kilometre uphill, to the cascades. The Spout cascade, met just above the main falls, sends a spirited rush of water, from between a worn down sandstone grove, diving onto the rocks below.

Spout Falls

Peaking through the foliage, is the majestic Drys Bluff. A hike for another day.

A little further, the energetic waters sourced from the Great Western Tiers, pours over the sides of the sandstone steps, which are set into the landscape as if laid in the ground by the masonry of primordial giants.

Hopetoun Falls

The return from here will be 4kms descending along the same route as you tracked up.

This area, vivid and luxuriously embossed with flora, grows lush besides the Liffey River, which was originally called Tellerpangger by the Panninher clan of Aboriginal Tasmanians who used it as a meeting place for thousands of years.

I feel privileged to walk in their footsteps, on this special island, but also hold prominently in my mind the extreme injustice perpetrated on the indigenous people.

The Black War of the mid 1820s – 1832 saw the killing of between 600 – 900 aboriginals by the hands of British Colonists, nearly wiping them from the island.

Liffey Falls, with all its paradisiacal distinctions, saw atrocities which reflect the darkest and most wicked side of humanities face, off the idyllic waters.

As reported in the The Sydney Morning Herald;

“Settlers on a reprisal raid for the murder of a stockman are said to have surprised the gathered Pallittorre people at Liffey Falls on a winter dawn in 1827.

They are reported in the Colonial Times to have killed ''an immense quantity''. About 60 died or were wounded and, in two further skirmishes in the next 18 days, perhaps 40 more Pallittorre died - as did three colonists.”

The extent of the damage proved to be irreversible. On the 8th of May 1876, the last known full blooded Aboriginal Tasmanian, named Truganini, passed away. It marked the end of a period, that should go down in the history books as genocide.

Truganini, 1870

May we learn from the lessons of the past, for the sake of a better future. Aboriginal communities across Australia are still suffering the consequences of years of abuse. I’ve observed it first hand on my travels. Their culture is rich and knowledge of this land, deep. Their vigour is resilient and affinity to the natural world, unbroken.

We could learn a lot, if we were able to be more humble.


What is life without community? I would love to connect with other nicecissists out there. Seeing as you’ve got this far, that’s probably you! Reach out, drop me a message and let me know what you think in the comments, and of course, give me a follow for more – nice!

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