February 2017 - Ralphs Falls

Our official walk for February transmogrified into a bike ride to MONA (Angie, Robert and Di) to enjoy some music and the market, and then a performance of Music for a Warming Planet at Moonah Arts Centre (Angie, Robert, Di and George).  So as a substitute, here is a description of a walk by Di and Robert to Ralphs Falls earlier in that month.

Ralphs Falls is one of Tassie's Great Short Walks and is also well described in Thomas and Close's excellent 100 Walks in Tasmania.  It is accessible by gravel road either from Ringarooma or from Pyengana.

Thanks to 100 Walks in Tasmania
We fortified with coffee and stocked up on cheese at Pyengana, where we also got reassurance from a couple of locals that the gravel road would be navigable by Wanda. Coming from this direction, the turnoff is to the right at the foot of the road up to St Columba Falls.

Our first discovery was this sturdy old wooden bridge, over the beautifully clear New River, with a potential cosy campsite nearby.


New River

The gravel road is minor (one vehicle wide only) but in reasonable condition.  Drivers seemed to be pretty careful and courteous, which was nice.

Mount Victoria Road is used by the logging industry, but there was no logging on the day we went through.  There are lots of logging access roads, large and small.  We first got confused on the brow of a hill where a tree sported a hand painted sign to Ralphs Falls (great) but you couldn't tell which road it was referring to (not great).  We followed our noses to the right and then a little further on we ignored another tempting possibility to the right. Thankfully this turned out OK.

The carpark for Ralphs Falls is large and very well set up, with a toilet block, covered picnic tables and barbecue.

We set off at 1.20pm, walking the loop as described in the map above, clockwise, straight into a pretty, dense nothofagus forest.  We took the short diversion to the left to the lookout, and found out that it gives views over the sleepy valley and back to the lovely Ralphs Falls.  In fact this is the only way to (safely) see the Falls.  Sadly, vandals have destroyed the binocular telescope which had been thoughtfully provided by the locals!

Ralphs Falls is a sinuous thread of water falling 100 metres along a curving slash in the dolerite.

There are no signs inviting you to walk the full loop.  My theory is that this is because there is no fencing when you get to the vertiginous cliffs above the falls, and National Parks are worried about public liability claims.  What a shame that things have come to this.  Anyhow the walk is easy, attractive and interesting, from a sheltering tea tree forest to a duckboarded section over montane buttongrass plain.  With stops for photos, and another short diversion to look at Cash's Gorge, we got back to the carpark at 2.40pm.

We trundled on towards Ringarooma, mostly downhill at this stage, stopping to admire the old hand made drystone retaining walls constructed in the 1920's and still reliably holding up the road.  It was time for a picnic lunch in fact!

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