Waterfall Bay

Tasman National Park / Tasman District Council / Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania, Australia

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 1
Waterfall Bay

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Waterfall Bay typically referred to a body of water off the east coast of Tasmania on the rugged Tasman Peninsula. For the purposes of this page, I'm also using that term to refer to the 100m waterfall that would typically drop right into the Tasman Sea beneath Clemes Peak. However, as you can see from the photo above, that waterfall only left a dark stain on the sandstone cliff as it was trickling despite a couple of days of fairly heavy rains prior to our visit. That observation led me to believe that you'd have to come here after several episodes of heavy rains to at least let the seasonal creek saturate and support the waterfall and a possible companion to its right. The rains that preceded our visit in late November 2017 broke a fairly long 1-2 month stretch of unusually dry and warm conditions in Eastern Tasmania.

Julie and I were easily able to view Waterfall Bay from a trio of lookouts right at the end of the unsealed Waterfall Bay Road. While I've read that the authorities had been looking to close off the road, it was still open (albeit not well-signed) during our visit. Had the road been closed, then we would have had to walk 3km round trip starting from the Devil's Kitchen and Tasman Arch area along a very scenic cliff-hugging stretch that would have taken in even more sea arches and temporary waterfalls. We're keen to do this the next time we're fortunate to visit this part of Tassie when the waterfalls would be flowing. This walk was said to take about an hour return.

Truthfully in hindsight, doing that track probably made the most sense because the Devil's Kitchen, Tasman Arch, and the Blowhole were all sea cliff attractions that were worth visiting alone. In fact, the first time we visited the Tasman Peninsula back in early December 2006, we did just that, but we had skipped looking for waterfalls back then as we didn't expect to see any waterfalls given the pre-conditioned mindset to expect drought conditions throughout that trip. The Waterfall Bay hike would add further icing to the cake so-to-speak while also leaving behind the tour buses and auto-tourists to the more famous roadside attractions. We just didn't bother doing the whole hike due to time constraints after a late start to the day as well as the fact that the waterfall wasn't flowing. Instead, we chose to do things the lazy way and drove over to the other end of the Waterfall Bay Track to save on time as we were visiting Port Arthur after having our fill of this area.

According to the signage at the Waterfall Bay Lookout, the pounding action of the Southern Ocean giving rise to the tall sandstone sea cliffs here had also carved out underwater caves that were said to be the most extensive cave system in all of Australia. Such underwater caves were said to harbour a variety of marine life like seadragons, sea fans, sponges, leather jackets, and well as many colourful fish in a scene more fitting of the Great Barrier Reef than the cool temperate waters of this bay. Julie and I had seen a pair of touring boats in the bay, which could very well have supported diving to take in those sights. By the way, the same erosive action that resulted in the underwater caves were also responsible for the Devil's Kitchen (a totally collapsed sea cave), the very tall Tasman Arch (a mostly collapsed sea cave), and the Blowhole (a sea cave where most of its roof was intact).




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was the roadside Tasman Arch, which was at the starting end of the coastal Waterfall Bay Track. This giant sea arch was formed from a sea cave whose roof was mostly collapsedThis was the roadside Tasman Arch, which was at the starting end of the coastal Waterfall Bay Track. This giant sea arch was formed from a sea cave whose roof was mostly collapsed
Looking towards the mouth of the Devil's Kitchen, which was a former sea cave turned deep steep-walled inlet after the roof completely collapsed. The one-hour Waterfall Bay Track started from hereLooking towards the mouth of the Devil's Kitchen, which was a former sea cave turned deep steep-walled inlet after the roof completely collapsed. The one-hour Waterfall Bay Track started from here
Also nearby the Eaglehawk Neck vicinity was the Blowhole, which was now a sea tunnel as most of the roof of its sea cave (except for the opening shown here) remained intactAlso nearby the Eaglehawk Neck vicinity was the Blowhole, which was now a sea tunnel as most of the roof of its sea cave (except for the opening shown here) remained intact
Further on the Tasman Peninsula was the historically important Port Arthur Historic Site, which featured ruins of the old prison where some of the earliest Australians were exiled to do hard timeFurther on the Tasman Peninsula was the historically important Port Arthur Historic Site, which featured ruins of the old prison where some of the earliest Australians were exiled to do hard time
Looking along the Waterfall Bay Track from the end of the unsealed Waterfall Bay RoadLooking along the Waterfall Bay Track from the end of the unsealed road

Julie checking out the Waterfall Bay from the lookout closest to the end of the roadJulie checking out the view from the lookout closest to the end of the road

This was the view of Waterfall Bay from that lookout nearest to the car parkThis was the view from that lookout nearest to the car park

Another look over Waterfall Bay with the streak where the waterfall was supposed to be on the far rightAnother look over the bay with the streak where the waterfall was supposed to be on the far right

Looking directly across towards the sea cliffs towering over Waterfall BayLooking directly across towards the sea cliffs towering over the bay

Some kind of touring boat at the base of the trickling waterfall at Waterfall BaySome kind of touring boat at the base of the trickling waterfall at Waterfall Bay

Approaching the Waterfall Bay Lookout to the left of the car parkApproaching the lookout to the left of the car park

Contextual view of Waterfall Bay from that leftmost lookoutContextual view of the bay from that leftmost lookout

Just to give you a sense of the size of these sea cliffs, here's look down into the Waterfall Bay revealing the small touring boat juxtaposed with the sandstone cliffsJust to give you a sense of the size of these sea cliffs, here's a look down into the bay revealing the small touring boat juxtaposed with the sandstone cliffs

Focused look at the streak where the trickling waterfall in Waterfall Bay wasFocused look at the streak where the trickling waterfall in Waterfall Bay was

Another contextual look along the innermost part of the sea cliffs of Waterfall Bay directly below the lookoutsAnother contextual look along the innermost part of the sea cliffs directly below the lookouts

Looking along the walking track leading back to the Devil's KitchenLooking along the walking track leading back to the Devil's Kitchen

This was the view further to the north along the sea cliffs that we would have skirted along had we done the walking track between here and Devil's KitchenThis was the view further to the north along the sea cliffs that we would have skirted along had we done the walking track between here and Devil's Kitchen

Heading back to the car at the end of the unsealed Waterfall Bay RoadHeading back to the car at the end of the unsealed road


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Left to right sweep of the panorama from the nearest lookout to the dead-end of the road then panning along the watercourse for the trickling waterfall in Waterfall Bay


Right to left sweep revealing the sea cliffs and the trickling waterfall at Waterfall Bay as seen from the rightmost lookout


Left to right sweep revealing the familiar landmarks as seen from a third lookout to the left of the other two lookouts for Waterfall Bay


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We drove to Waterfall Bay from Hobart so we'll describe this driving route in this section.

From the Hobart CBD, we made our way to the one-way Macquarie St (A6), which headed east before becoming the Tasman Highway (A3) just past the Brooker Highway (Hwy 1) junction. Then, we followed the Tasman Highway (A3) for the next 24km to the town of Sorell. At the intersection of Gordon St and Cole St in the centre of town, we then turned right to leave the Tasman Hwy (A3) go onto the Arthur Hwy (A9).

After about 50km on the Arthur Hwy (A9), we entered the isthmus of Eaglehawk Neck, where we left the A9 for Blowhole Rd (C338). Then, after 2km on Blowhole Rd (C338), we then turned right onto Waterfall Bay Road (there was no obvious sign indicating for us to turn this way). We followed this mostly unsealed 4km road to its end, where we reached the car park for the lookouts of Waterfall Bay.

It took us about 75 minutes to do this drive.

To reach the Devil's Kitchen and Tasman Arch car parks, we followed Blowhole Rd for another 1km beyond the Waterfall Bay turnoff then took the Tasman Arch Rd on the right. After 800m, the car park for the Tasman Arch was on the left. In another 250m on Tasman Arch Rd was the car park for the Devil's Kitchen.

For some geographical context, Hobart was about 77km (over an hour drive) west-northwest of Eaglehawk Neck, 101km (90 minutes drive) northwest of Port Arthur, 135km (under 2 hours drive) southwest of Swansea, and 201km (nearly 2.5 hours drive) south of Launceston.




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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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