Champagne Falls and Bridal Veil Falls

Kentish Council / near Cradle Mountain / near Moina, Tasmania, Australia

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 4
Bridal Veil Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Champagne Falls and Bridal Veil Falls were a pair of attractive waterfalls that we combined into a single excursion that began and ended at the Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness Retreat. Although each waterfall could have been done individually as separate excursions, we decided to visit both in one slightly longer but non-trivial hike. After all, it didn't make sense for us to make two trips to this fairly less-traveled part of Tasmania. In any case, both waterfalls were quite different in shape and character. Bridal Veil Falls (pictured at the top of this page) had a taller (about 20m) and potentially wider drop (depending on the volume of Bull Creek) while 15m Champagne Falls (pictured further below) had a mossy and more rounded segmented appearance.

In terms of effort, each waterfall was about the same distance from the Lemonthyme Lodge (said to be 1 hour 45 minutes return walk according to the signage). However, given the very steep hill we had to climb at the very start of the track, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to do both waterfalls as two separate hikes. So as mentioned before, we combined the two hikes as a slightly longer loop hike. The following trail description is based on this slightly longer looping route.

Entering the Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness Retreat complex From the day use car park, we walked up an initially paved road that went between some cabins as well as the former location of the manager's residence of the Lemonthyme Lodge (now called the Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat as of our latest visit in 2017). The pavement then started to end as the walk continued up a steep 4wd track. This was a very relentless climb that took the better part of at least the first 1.5km. Along the way up there was some kind of tower (possibly a cell tower), and at around 850m from the day use car park was a picnic table that I supposed represented the lookout referred to at the trailhead signage. This vista offered us a chance to catch our breaths and take some photos before continuing on during our first visit, but on our second visit, this lookout appeared more overgrown so the vistas weren't as impressive.

Next, the track continued to climb briefly for another 400m before it finally started to reach the apex and level out somewhat. We didn't pursue a fork that continued climbing on our left though a barricade and lack of signage suggested that it wasn't worth pursuing anyways for hikers. Shortly after the apex, we then reached a signed fork in the road, where the track on our right descended steeply into the forest towards Champagne Falls. So we went right and took this path to embark on the looping part of the hike.

Ordinarily, this steep track was very narrow and quite slippery. It trampled through lots of low-lying ferns while weaving in between mossy myrtle trees. Signage at the start of this descent recommended against doing this track under wet conditions (which was the case when I did this hike the second time in 2017), and there were definitely a few spots where the the ground gave way and caused me to slip (without falling thankfully). The steep track was aided by orange tape tied to some of the trees to help aid in navigation. Eventually, the track followed along some narrow ledges with exposed tree roots as it went by an easy-to-miss junction for the Bridal Veil Falls connecting track (which we'll get back to later) on its way down ultimately to the Champagne Falls.

While it was awkward at best to view the waterfall from the signpost, I managed to carefully scramble my way down to Bull Creek for a more frontal view of the waterfall, which might have been overwhelming to see from this close. So in addition to the views from within the slippery rocks of the creek, I also managed to find an outcrop a short distance downstream where I was able to look back at a more contextual (albeit overgrown) look at Champagne Falls flanked by interesting dark cliffs.

Once I had my fill of Champagne Falls, I then went back up the steep track to the signed junction. I definitely had to fight the temptation to take one of the false tracks along the cliff walls. Once on the correct connecting track, we then followed along a fern-flanked path with some stepping stones and boardwalks as well as other numbered signposts along the way. The connecting track would eventually cross the Bull Creek then undulate along the northern banks of the creek (passing by some very minor cascades en route) before ultimately arriving at another bridge over Bull Creek right in front of the Bridal Veil Falls. When we first came here in late November 2006, the bridge was merely a one-sided log, but on a return trip 11 years later, it was a more legitimate bridge with handrails on both sides.

After getting our nice frontal views of Bridal Veil Falls from the bridge, we then climbed up steps that led us back up to the 4wd track that we had forsaken earlier. At this point, it was a predominantly downhill hike on the much wider and more open 4wd track eventually taking us past the Champagne Falls Track junction and then to the familiar picnic area as the road descended even more steeply. The temptation was great to run all the way down the road to the car park, but the presence of rocks and the likelihood of things falling out of pockets tempered that desire. Ultimately, it took us around 2.5 hours to do the entire excursion though I believe spending 3 hours would make for a more leisurely visit.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was the attractive view from the lookout near the start of the hike at the Lemonthyme Lodge from back in late November 2006. This view was mostly overgrown when we came back 11 years laterThis was the attractive view from the lookout near the start of the hike at the Lemonthyme Lodge from back in late November 2006. This view was mostly overgrown when we came back 11 years later
Frontal view of Champagne Falls, which was the first of two waterfalls we saw on the long uphill loop hike from the Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness RetreatFrontal view of Champagne Falls, which was the first of two waterfalls we saw on the long uphill loop hike from the Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness Retreat
This was Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake in Cradle valley, which were not far from the Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness RetreatThis was Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake in Cradle valley, which were not far from the Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness Retreat
Cradle Valley was also one of the few places where we managed to get close to Tasmanian Devils even though these were in captivity to help them from some kind of deformative cancerCradle Valley was also one of the few places where we managed to get close to Tasmanian Devils even though these were in captivity to help them from some kind of deformative cancer
Signs telling us where to go (and for how long) to see the waterfalls and the lookoutSigns telling us where to go (and for how long) to see the waterfalls and the lookout

Walking up the paved road past some of the cabins belonging to the Lemonthyme Wilderness RetreatWalking up the paved road past some of the cabins belonging to the Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat

Julie walking up past the manager's residence back in late November 2006Julie walking up past the manager's residence back in late November 2006

Walking up past the same spot on our December 2017 visit. Note how much more pavement there was this time aroundWalking up past the same spot on our December 2017 visit. Note how much more pavement there was this time around

Going past the gate and climbing up the 4wd trackGoing past the gate and climbing up the 4wd track

The unsealed 4wd track definitely made a steeper incline than earlier on before the gateThe unsealed 4wd track definitely made a steeper incline than earlier on before the gate

We kept straight at this fork as the left fork went to some kind of cell or radio towerWe kept straight at this fork as the left fork went to some kind of cell or radio tower

Continuing the relentlessly steep climb on the 4wd Bull Creek RdContinuing the relentlessly steep climb on the 4wd Bull Creek Rd

Although we didn't even go about 1km at this point, it felt a lot longer than that thanks to the relentlessly steep climbAlthough we didn't even go about 1km at this point, it felt a lot longer than that thanks to the relentlessly steep climb

The picnic table and lookout about 800m up the initial ascent as seen in late November 2006The picnic table and lookout about 800m up the initial ascent as seen in late November 2006

This was the same picnic table and lookout 11 years later.  Notice how much more overgrown it wasThis was the same picnic table and lookout 11 years later. Notice how much more overgrown it was

Obstructed views at the lookout as a result of the overgrowthObstructed views at the lookout as a result of the overgrowth

Near the apex of the initial climb, we passed by this fork where we kept right onto the Bull Creek RdNear the apex of the initial climb, we passed by this fork where we kept right onto the Bull Creek Rd

Approaching the signposted spur track descending from the 4wd road to Champagne FallsApproaching the signposted spur track descending from the 4wd road to Champagne Falls

On the steep and muddy descent to Champagne Falls as I was trying to follow the pink and orange tapes strapped to some of the mossy treesOn the steep and muddy descent to Champagne Falls as I was trying to follow the pink and orange tapes

Looking up at some of the trees growing alongside the steep descent to Champagne FallsLooking up at some of the trees growing alongside the steep descent

Passing by one of many signposts keyed to a paper guide we were carrying around on our first visit back in 2006Passing by one of many signposts keyed to a paper guide we were carrying around on our first visit back in 2006

Lots of orange tape at this easy-to-miss trail junction where I kept straight to continue the descent to Champagne FallsLots of orange tape at this easy-to-miss trail junction where I kept straight to continue the descent to Champagne Falls

Deep into the descent, the track followed some cliff ledges with exposed tree rootsDeep into the descent, the track followed some cliff ledges with exposed tree roots

Finally approaching Champagne Falls and its numbered signpostFinally approaching Champagne Falls and its numbered signpost

Our first look at Champagne Falls from back in late November 2006Our first look at Champagne Falls from back in late November 2006

Walking up the paved road past some of the cabins belonging to the Lemonthyme Wilderness RetreatAwkward closeup look at the fairly high-flowing Champagne Falls from right at its rocky base

A more front-and-center look at Champagne Falls after a short scramble past some of the initial mossy boulders back in late November 2006A more front-and-center look at Champagne Falls after a short scramble past some of the initial mossy boulders back in late November 2006

On my way up to find the connecting track to the Bridal Veil Falls, I had to avoid the temptation of taking this false path behind a signpost that appeared to be missing its numerical signOn my way up to find the connecting track to the Bridal Veil Falls, I had to avoid the temptation of taking this false path behind a signpost that appeared to be missing its numerical sign

Making it back up to the signed trail junction for the Bridal Veil FallsMaking it back up to the signed trail junction for the Bridal Veil Falls

Tree stump steps on the way to Bull CreekTree stump steps on the way to Bull Creek

Signpost and bridge traversing Bull Creek on the connector trail to Bridal Veil FallsSignpost and bridge traversing Bull Creek on the connector trail to Bridal Veil Falls

Looking along Bull Creek from the bridgeLooking along Bull Creek from the bridge

This was the bridge over Bull Creek back in late November 2006This was the bridge over Bull Creek back in late November 2006

We spotted this unusual plant on the way to Bridal Veil Falls (it turns out that this was a waratah, which are native to Australia)We spotted this unusual plant on the way to Bridal Veil Falls (it turns out that this was a waratah, which are native to Australia)

Continuing along the connector track to Bridal Veil FallsContinuing along the connector track to Bridal Veil Falls

Passing by some small cascades on Bull CreekPassing by some small cascades on Bull Creek

The connector track undulated through more dense rainforest terrainThe connector track undulated through more dense rainforest terrain

This part of the connector track might have been a re-route from a section that might have eroded or gotten buried by a landslideThis part of the connector track might have been a re-route from a section that might have eroded or gotten buried by a landslide

Finally making it to the Bridal Veil FallsFinally making it to the Bridal Veil Falls

This was the Bridal Veil Falls when we first saw it back in late November 2006 when much of that trip was affected by the severe drought that hit most of southeastern AustraliaThis was the Bridal Veil Falls when we first saw it back in late November 2006 when much of that trip was affected by the severe drought that hit most of southeastern Australia

Looking back at the log bridge as we were about to rejoin the 4wd track back to the Lemonthyme Lodge. 11 years later, that bridge was replaced by a more typical sturdy bridge with railingsLooking back at the log bridge as we were about to rejoin the 4wd track back to the Lemonthyme Lodge. 11 years later, that bridge was replaced by a more typical sturdy bridge with railings

The signpost at the 4wd road for Bridal Veil FallsThe signpost at the 4wd rock for Bridal Veil Falls

The 4wd road walk wasn't all downhill on the return as this was perhaps the lone climbThe 4wd road walk wasn't all downhill on the return as this was perhaps the lone climb

Now on the steep downhill to the Lemonthyme Lodge as I was apparently about to enter some cloudsNow on the steep downhill to the Lemonthyme Lodge as I was apparently about to enter some clouds

Finally back at the pavement and the Lemonthyme Wilderness RetreatFinally back at the pavement and the Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Examining the falls from the base


Right to left sweep of the downstream scenery before ending at the falls as seen from a fern-covered rock outcrop


Semicircular sweep of the Bridal Veil Falls from the footbridge


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

In order to access the Champagne Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, we first had to reach the Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat (formerly the Lemonthyme Lodge). However, since we took a pair of different routes, we'll describe them in this section.

The first approach we took was from Cradle Mountain. It would definitely be worth following this route description if going this route because the GPS tried to take us on a route that wasn't recommended (in fact there was a strategically placed sign at the start of that bad route as I'm sure more than a few people had tried going that way).

So we first drove north on the Cradle Mountain Road to the Belvoir Rd (C132). We then turned right to head east to continue on the Cradle Mountain Rd (C132) for about 18km (note that about 12km, the GPS will definitely attempt to have you turn right onto Bull Creek Rd, which was the same 4wd track that we had to walk!). So we then reached a signed turnoff at Dolcoath Rd, where we then turned right and followed the unsealed Dolcoath Rd for about 7.5km. There were signs along the way to keep us on the correct road to the Lemonthyme Lodge.

Overall, this drive took about 45 minutes.

The second approach we took was from Devonport. We began that route by taking the Bass Hwy (Hwy 1) then exiting at Stony Rise Rd (B19). Following Stony Rise Rd northwest (beneath the highway), it then became Forth Rd (still B19). Continuing for another 6km on Forth Rd, we then turned left onto Wilmot Rd (C132) shortly after crossing the River Forth.

We'd then follow Wilmot Road (C132) for about 46km as the road eventually became Cradle Mountain Road after passing through the town of Wilmot. After getting past Moina, the C132 would reach the Dolcoath Rd turnoff on the left. Then, we followed the remaining 7.5km unsealed road to the day use car park at the start of the Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat complex.

Overall, this 62km drive would take at least an hour.

To provide you with some geographical context, Cradle Mountain was about 111km (over 90 minutes drive) north of Queenstown, 101km (about 75 minutes drive) south of Burnie, 78km (about 75 minutes drive) southwest of Devonport, 93km (about 90 minutes drive) west of Deloraine, 157km (about 2.5 hours drive) west of Launceston, and 319km (4 hours drive) northwest of Hobart.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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