Dirt Roads & Waterfalls: The Fingal Valley

When we told a friendly Tassie stranger that we were going to Fingal, he furrowed his brow and asked, “Why are you going there?” The minute we drove into this sad little town (population 370), we understood the reason for his question — it doesn’t look like much. But drive into the farms and forests nearby, and you find incredible beauty.

IMG_7449.jpg

That’s the view from our Airbnb, a solar passive, ecofriendly structure on a working farm:

IMG_7409.jpg

The owners have sheep and chickens …

… and they also grow vegetables. This is the bounty they left us with which to make dinner (which was lovely, both because I love cooking and because there are no restaurants in Fingal):

IMG_7408

Fingal itself is smack in the middle of acres and acres of pasture, but if you drive forty minutes north of town, you get to the Evercreech Forest Reserve (by the way, Wikipedia only half-helpfully defines “creech” as “a hill of a particular abrupt pointed sort”).

Getting to Evercreech involves a lot of driving down dirt roads, not all of which are in great condition. You bump and you wind and you watch the dust fly by as you make your way through a mix of spectacular native forest and giant timber farms. And if you make this trip as we did, in hopes of seeing the White Knights — some of the tallest gum trees in the world — you may find yourself disappointed. As of this writing, something is wrong with the trees! So you can’t hike to them.

You can, however, take the 40-minute return hike to Evercreech Falls. This hike takes you along both sides a river, one side of which runs through wet rainforest and the other through dry eucalyptus trees. You’ll walk through forests of tree ferns …

IMG_7431.jpg

… past a few miniature wildflowers …

IMG_7438

… over the river (I love that it’s slippery when wet) …

IMG_7415

… to a  small but elegant waterfall:

IMG_7416

We loved these falls — they don’t look like much, and they’re only about 5 meters tall, but they’re mossy and simple and well worth the easy (if not always perfectly signed) trek.

IMG_7427

From the Evercreech parking area you can drive along more dirt roads — and these are bumpier, with more holes and other tire challenges — to the Mathinna Falls hike. This walk is much shorter (15 minutes return), and you get a more obvious bang for your buck:

IMG_7442.jpg

These falls are nearly 100 meters tall, and if you’re in the mood for a super-chilly swim, there’s a pool at the bottom where you could easily take a dip.

IMG_7439.jpg

In retrospect, I would do these hikes again in a heartbeat. But in the moment, as we were driving over miles and miles of bumpy packed dirt to get there, I was not exactly a fan. It would have been nice to have been in a vehicle more robust than a Volkswagen Golf.

As a last note, if you’re on your way from the Fingal Valley to the coast, make sure to stop at Purple Possum Wholefoods & Cafe:

IMG_7456.jpg

You can get all sorts of things here, from bulk grains and dried fruit to organic teas to about fifty different kinds of candy. And if you want to sit down for a snack, both the chai and their famous rhubarb cake are excellent!

One response to “Dirt Roads & Waterfalls: The Fingal Valley

  1. Pingback: Road Trip: The Great Eastern Drive to Launceston | Traveler Tina·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s