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.
That’s the view from our Airbnb, a solar passive, ecofriendly structure on a working farm:
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):
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 …
… past a few miniature wildflowers …
… over the river (I love that it’s slippery when wet) …
… to a small but elegant waterfall:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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!