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Meander Falls

Meander Falls

Meander Conservation Area

Directions - Meander Falls is located south west of Deloraine, to get there cross the Deloraine River and head south on Highland Lakes Road. This becomes Meander Road, which you follow all the way to the small settlement of Meander, continuing straight on Huntsman Road, past Lake Huntsman, and then right onto the unsealed Meander Falls Road. Follow this all the way to the end, where you will find a small car park near the trail head. 

The Hike - Visiting Tasmania as part of a New Years trip to finally hike the Overland Track, this would be my final day of pre-OT hiking, before heading back to Launceston to prepare for the week long adventure ahead. Having spent the previous day hiking up to the summit of Cradle Mountain, plus some shorter walks within the park, today I would again be tackling some trails near my accommodation in Deloraine. After a bit of a lazy morning spent resting, eating and trying to find the motivation to head out, I finally began the drive out to Meander Falls. 

After successfully locating the car park after a maze of unsealed roads, the number of cars here indicated I would be seeing a few other hikers on my journey. Looking forward to getting in another of the well regarded waterfall hikes in Tasmania, this would be one of the toughest trails, and one I didn't really grasp how difficult it would be beforehand. When I think about waterfall hikes, I generally assume they will be gentle trails, mostly flat or downhill. Not Meander Falls. Located at the foot of the Central Highlands, on the eastern side of where the famous Walls of Jerusalem passes through, this would essentially be a mountain hike with a waterfall at the end. To start with, the trail is relatively straight forward, with a firm but rocky path leading through the forest. Early on there are a couple of spots where you can get out onto a large boulder, and experience the views looking down the Meander River Valley. 

For the most part, this first section stays away from the edge of the river, as you negotiate your way over fallen logs and a jumble of rocks and tree roots. It takes a while before the character of this trail starts to shine through, so don't be worried if you're just whelmed by the beginning of the hike. Reaching a wooden sign, it points you in the direction of the Wood Maynard Loop, that is a different option if you want to take it, and the Dixons Track that takes you up into the highlands. I continued to follow the Meander Falls Track, utilising one of many small wooden bridges that takes you over a small stream feeding into the Meander River. Not long after this you come across your first proper views of the Meander River, looking a little empty during my visit, but it was the middle of summer. Although the river levels were a bit low, there was no shortage of streams flowing down the hill, usually surrounded by mossy rocks.

This is where things start to get really interesting, with the scenery stepping up a notch or two. Arriving at a new bridge that has been constructed over Staggs Creek, it replaces an old rickety wooden bridge. With a mix of metal and wood, I like the design and I'm sure it will stand the test of time over the coming decades. Upstream there are a set of small rapids, with a jumble of rocks leading downstream towards the Meander River. On the other side of the bridge I spotted something poking up from the undergrowth that turned out to be a Tall Potato Orchid, the first of a few I spotted as I hiked towards the falls. Negotiating a little rocky up and down, this was a cool little spot to stop and look around at the gnarly looking forest full of mosses and the first large ferns you'll see on this hike. Ascending a small set of stone steps, you reach the final turn-off for the Dixons Track and Wood Maynard Loop.


From here, things start to change, with more temperate rainforest and a lot more whimsy to the scenery. Finding a Strawberry Bracket fungi hiding away in the crevice of a fallen log, this was one of many cool fungi finds over the next few kilometres. With lots more greenery around thanks to all the ferns, and an increase in moss, this next section had a magical quality to it. Finding a series of stone steps leading past a girthy tree covered in moss, this was one of those places that I had to stop at thanks to a feeling I got while here. It doesn't happen often when I'm hiking but when I feel the energy, I slow down and just appreciate it. The photos never do the place justice but this was a special place that I thoroughly enjoyed walking through. The temperate rainforest section doesn't last long, as you start to ascend once again, reaching familiar looking forest.