Going Cuckoo

by Ian Smith
(Newcastle)

Stream at the start

Stream at the start

Stream at the start
Stream just below the carpark
Cuckoo Falls
Below Cuckoo Falls

I had to move on, I’d booked a fishing trip for the next day and had only limited time to do another walk and get to the east coast.


I opted for Cuckoo Falls, “...a few kilometres east of Scottsdale. The right turn from the Tasman Highway is well signposted. Follow the signs to the carpark.”

Whoever penned the last sentence hadn’t been there for some time. Signs on the most important intersection aren't apparent which cost me about 10 minutes, and another sign was overgrown with foxglove but somehow I made my lonely way up the 7km dirt road to its end.

“3 hours return on a very well constructed and mostly dry track....uphill but a fairly gentle incline.” I’ve never read such misleading information.

The sullen sky overhead foretold of rain and evening was nigh. I started the walk at 4.45 and took a head light in case the times were accurate and the understorey darkened.

At the start there were leftover walking sticks and a scratched notice saying, “you will need these”. I pondered their meaning and assumed the trail was tough.

The first 200 metres turned out to be picture postcard rainforest streams and belied the last third of the trail on high. The slope is gentle for the first two thirds but the sweat still dripped off my brow as I passed through the masses of herringbone and other ferns that overgrow the trail.

Then you cross a tiny stream where it gets rugged and the trail only just wider than both my feet side by side; some of the drop-offs were scarily steep and this was obviously where the sticks would have come in handy. I figured no-one from my limited bushwalking fraternity would ever do this trail as more sweat poured out when I scrambled up a particularly steep part, over fallen logs and stumbling on rocks.

I couldn’t quite grasp how someone had even found the place, let alone carved a route to this remote location. Just as the falls could be seen flashing behind the trees on the other side of the gorge I got lost, more sidetracked really. Apparently I dipped below the main trail and spend a horrible few minutes scrambling up and down the slippery slope before I found it again, losing my lens cap in the process.

It had been a nervous few moments but within a few minutes I arrived at the elusive Cuckoo Falls, and splendid they were, but I wondered just how many other cascades the trail had bypassed because you could hear them constantly while trekking.

I’d made it through the impressive fern forest in just on 1¼ hours and returned in just under an hour with the sky finally dropping its precipitation in a misty, drizzling display. I was glad to see the highway again but the wind buffeted the motorhome and the rain increased though I still stopped at Little Plains lookout as an eerie sunset flickered on the horizon
and pondered on seeing yet another of the wonders that Tasmania has to offer.

Comments for Going Cuckoo

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Jul 21, 2014
Cuckoo Track
by: Anonymous

I was there at the end of April ad there were signs up saying the track is closed until further notice.

Feb 03, 2012
The Cuckoo is a Cruel Bird
by: Anonymous

Yes, that describes Cuckoo Falls to a tee. When I visited last the track had little or no definition, just a few tiny red triangles on occasional trees. I believe FT have improved it somewhat although I am yet to make the climb again to find out. There were two of us and we had video equipment to haul and at one stage we met a waterfall of mud and had to climb a tree to rejoin the track. The climb however, was well worth the effort. Interestingly I was told by a local who has lived there all his 80+years that it can be reached from above by road and a short climb down... Doh! I am yet to find that track.

Feb 02, 2012
Great Write-up!
by: World of Waterfalls

As always another entertaining and very informative write-up.

This sounds like yet another one of those adventures that most of us would find only if we dared to go way beyond our comfort zones without going cuckoo.

Very glad to be able to envision such experiences vicariously through your words eye view.

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