Start - End of Crosswells Rd
Length - 6.6km (Return)
Grade - Orange
Terrain - Single Track, 4x4 Track, Scree Fields
Dog Friendly - Yes
Vertical Climb - 285m
Time - 2-4 hours
Signed - Yes
Date Hiked - 28th October 2018
Best Time - All Year Round
Directions - Located 40 mins from Hobart, take the Huon Hwy south and follow this to the Sandfly Rd turnoff. Take the left turn and then an immediate right onto Pelverata Rd. Continue along this narrow road for 13kms then take a left onto Crosswells Rd (signposted). The car park is a small clearing near the blue wooden sign.
The Hike - With our time in Hobart coming to an end, I had decided to stay in Tasmania an extra week to explore the countryside while Caris flew home to Fremantle. With so many great hikes and places to visit I thought it was best to base myself in a couple of areas and focus on what was nearby rather than trying to see everything and waste a lot of time driving everywhere. With a couple of areas selected I had two rustic looking AirBnB's booked and a rough plan of what hikes I wanted to do in each area. After a morning spent at the markets in Hobart and wandering around the shops I was dropped off at the airport to pick up my hire car. I had booked an X-Trail hoping to drive the new model and see what its like compared to my much older one but disappointingly I was stuck with a Mitsubishi Outlander.
With an hour’s drive out to my accommodation and a few hours before check-in I decided to get in a hike after picking up supplies. Pelverata Falls was one on my list that was sort of on the way and with clear skies I thought it would be perfect given the photos I'd found online. Getting there was an adventure on its own as I was introduced to the back roads of country Tasmania with their tight spaces and winding fashion but the scenery was beautiful near Sandfly and Pelverata. Making things worse was Google directing me to someone's property that clearly wasn't the start of the trail and TasTrails stating that 1227A Pelverata Rd was the correct address (it wasn't). Eventually after getting the exact location on Crosswells Rd I found the familiar blue wooden sign that indicated the start of a walk trail. Much like Snug Falls it's a bit of an inconspicuous starting point with a mix of cleared farm land, patches of forest and power lines dominating the landscape. The trail markers point you into a small section of forest to start with and it was actually pretty pleasant here with wildflowers in abundance and a decent canopy overhead. It didn't last long as you soon exit out into some cleared land under the power lines and up towards a 4x4 track that will be home for the first kilometre.
I wasn't feeling let down by this start given Snug Falls was a similar experience and that turned out to be a pretty scenic hike once you reached the falls. Given this hike falls in the Snug Tiers Nature Reserve (Snug Falls is on the other side of the hills), I was confident this would be another lovely hike. Once you get away from the power lines it does start to get better as you reach a nice piece of farmland with forested hills in the background. Even though this is one of the tallest waterfalls in Tasmania, it's a still requires a 200m climb to reach the base of the falls. This means a fairly consistent uphill hike for the entire 3km to the falls but luckily it never feels like too much of a struggle (until you reach the last part but more on that later). After 1.5km you reach another blue sign pointing you off into a larger section of forest saying that this is the way to Pelverata Falls. This is the start of what feels like the "real" hiking with nothing but forest and single trail all the way to the falls. While pretty much consisting of dry sclerophyll, there are patches of lush looking rainforest and plenty of moss around.
Visiting on a relatively warm and dry day with not a lot of rainfall falling in the last week, it did feel a little dry so I'd be interested to experience it in wetter conditions. Judging by the photos online it looks a lot better with a bit of cloud and rain about so I will count myself unlucky to have visited in spring and it be so dry. Crossing a small dry creek highlighted this fact and at this stage I was just hoping for water at the falls given it has been described as only a trickle if there hasn't been a good amount of recent rain. The drier forest soon turns into a tiny rainforest with ferns, mossy logs and what would be muddy sections if the ground was wet enough. At my time of visit they were in the middle of works to cover some of the muddy sections with boardwalk, something I approve of given it is only a small section and I've seen how much damage can be done to a trail when people start trying to avoid mud. Exiting the rainforest you are once again in dry sclerophyll but this time there is the added twist of scree fields to deal with. They are pretty stable so it's just a case of picking your way over the rocks as it hugs the contours of the hill.
This is where I spotted a couple coming back from the falls with their staffy puppy whose happy face clearly suggested they were enjoying the hike. It is at the scree fields where the views start to open up and you can see into the steep valley below and across to the hill that was previously seen from the farmland. The final stretch of official track is steep in places and there is metal bar installed to stop people slipping on the rock surface (and off the side of the hill completely) but it isn't too bad of an incline. The end of the track comes into view as you round the corner and clap eyes on Pelverata Falls and the lookout on the edge of the hill. The amphitheatre style of the dolerite columns was impressive and the cascading water was a relief after my initial concerns. This was truly reward for effort and is a lovely place to stand and admire the natural beauty of this little corner of Tasmania. I think having the lookout here provides a great perspective as you look up at the dolerite cliffs and can views almost 270 degrees looking up and down the valley. While the lookout does provide nice views, there is an opportunity to get to near the base of the falls if you're feeling a little more adventurous.
A steep goat track leading down from the lookout places you on a rocky platform near the edge of the stream that flows down from the falls. Given it was dry on my visit I decided to pick my way up the steep rocks and maze of boulders leading up the stream to get a closer look at the falls. If it's been wet or you aren't sure about your footing then don't risk it as it can be unforgiving in places if rock scrambling isn't your favourite thing on a hike. Even in the dry it was a bit sketchy getting up the first bit of exposed rock but from there it was just a case of picking my spots and following the path of least resistance. Occasionally I would get close to the running water and poke around for where it was coming from (a lot of it runs under the boulders) but in the end I just concentrated on taking lot of photographs and enjoying the scenery around me.
I got pretty close to the base of the falls before calling it a day on my Pelverata Falls exploration as I had a check-in to make and having not had lunch I was feeling quite peckish. Taking some last photos I then tried to remember my path back down the rocks and eventually made it to below the lookout. With nothing left but to locate the official path again and head back to the car, I enjoyed the softer afternoon light as I hiked down the hill. Arriving at my AirBnB (Riversong Cottage - click here for more info) after a lovely introduction to the tranquil surrounds of The Egg Islands and the Huon Valley, the sun was beginning to set and I was greeted by the owners doggo. Marvelling at how cool the place was, this two storey, two bedroom wooden cottage has plenty of modern touches to compliment the lovely rustic feel. This would happily be my home while I was off exploring the Huon Valley region and I wish I could have stayed longer just to enjoy a lazy day in the cottage and gardens.
Final Thoughts - A very lovely way to start my week of exploration and once again a hike where the journey is made worth it by the destination. While not terrible by a long margin, you get the feeling that the trail out here is just a means to an end.
There is some nice sections of rainforest but these pale in comparison to other parts of the Huon Valley. Given I was there during a dry period I am of course basing it off what I saw. I'm sure it has more magic to it but the start of the trail leaves a bit to be desired.
The falls themselves are spectacular with a real sense of occasion to when you turn that last corner and view them. Much like the other dolerite structures in Tasmania like The Blade, Cape Hauy and the Organ Pipes, there is a grandeur to them that adds something special to the landscape.
If a hike leaves a lasting impression on me with one visual then I'm sold and this scene was the visual I was looking for. If you have the opportunity to visit Pelverata Falls then do so, it's well worth the visit out there.
Get out there and experience it!
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