Dip Falls

Dip River Forest Reserve / Mawbanna, Tasmania, Australia

About Dip Falls

Hiking Distance: 300m round trip (lower platform only); 700m round trip (both platforms)
Suggested Time: 15 minutes (lower platform only); 30-45 minutes (both platforms)

Date first visited: 2017-12-01
Date last visited: 2017-12-01

Waterfall Latitude: -41.03523
Waterfall Longitude: 145.37651

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Dip Falls was a bit of an out-of-the-way excursion as it sat to the far northwest of Tasmania.

For a waterfall that required quite the drive to reach, we wondered whether it would be worth the trouble.

Dip_Falls_007_11302017 - Dip Falls
Dip Falls

Well, as you can see from the photo above, I’d say with conviction that it was indeed worth it!

After all, this was where the Dip River dropped at least well over 30m in height over a much wider sloping field of dark hexagonal basalt lava.

It was that stair-stepping tiled property of the riverbed that really gave the waterfall its rippling characteristic, and it narrowly missed being on our Top 10 Best Australia Waterfalls List.

We happened to catch the waterfall after a clearing downpour (the same system that flooded much of Victoria in early December 2017).

Dip_Falls_099_11302017 - Closeup look at the basalt columns giving Dip Falls its rippling characteristic
Closeup look at the basalt columns giving Dip Falls its rippling characteristic

So it revived the otherwise typically low-flowing waterfall into quite the contrast of white water and red-black lava cliffs.

As a result of its size and unusual properties, it earned a higher scenic rating even though its flow wasn’t as reliable as other waterfalls that would score this high.

In addition to the Dip Falls, we also made an optional side visit to the so-called Big Tree.

It was a bulbous Browntop stringybark eucalyptus tree with a height of 62m and a girth of 16m in diameter.

Dip_Falls_062_11302017 - Looking up from the bottom of the Big Tree
Looking up from the bottom of the Big Tree

There were other tall trees in the same grove that accompanied the Big Tree.

These were basically the last surviving group of such trees in Tasmania, especially after the logging onslaught that had occurred in the 1920s.

We managed to visit both the Big Tree and Dip Falls in a roughly 60- to 90-minute visit that included all the short driving, picture-taking, and walking on the tracks and boardwalks.

Experiencing Dip Falls – hiking along the waterfall to its bottom

From the well-signed car park for the Dip Falls, we went on a track that descended alongside the northern banks of the waterfall.

Dip_Falls_082_11302017 - Looking across Dip Falls towards the overlook across the Dip River on the descent to the waterfall's base
Looking across Dip Falls towards the overlook across the Dip River on the descent to the waterfall’s base

There were some lookouts along the way to peer across the large field of basalt cliffs as well as the upper sloping tier of the falls.

But it was pretty much a steep downhill walk along stairs as each step yielded views from a variety of positions and angles.

The steps got steeper and the terrain more lush as we descended closer to the waterfall’s base.

Eventually after about 160m from the car park, we reached the lookout platform pretty much smack in the middle of the Dip River.

Dip_Falls_088_11302017 - Looking down at the steps leading to the base of Dip Falls
Looking down at the steps leading to the base of Dip Falls

So we could look right up at the sloping basalt wall responsible for Dip Falls.

The overall size of this waterfall made it difficult to capture its grandeur from down at this lookout.

Even just the smaller lower drop with its wide semi-horseshoe rim and steeper, more pronounced basalt columns was too wide to capture in a photograph.

Nevertheless, the short descent to get down to this lookout was very worthwhile.

Dip_Falls_095_11302017 - Approaching the lookout right in front of the base of Dip Falls at the bottom of the short walk
Approaching the lookout right in front of the base of Dip Falls at the bottom of the short walk

Indeed, this would be the viewpoint to take that selfie or couple shot as the sloping wall of water and/or basalt would be right behind you as the backdrop.

Experiencing Dip Falls – view from the overlook

After we climbed back up the long series of steps to return to the car park (requiring about 15 minutes return), we then headed another 200m up the unsealed Dip Falls Road.

We then crossed the bridge spanning the Dip River as we headed towards another trailhead.

That track led to an alternate overlook on the opposite side of the Dip River and its basalt field below.

Dip_Falls_002_11302017 - Approaching the overlook of Dip Falls across the Dip River from the walk towards its base
Approaching the overlook of Dip Falls across the Dip River from the walk towards its base

From such a lofty position high above most of the waterfall, I’d argue this would be the spot to try to take in Dip Falls’ overall scale.

The photo you see at the top of this page was taken from this very overlook!

Indeed, it was next to impossible to try to capture the whole scene in one shot without a fisheye lens or some serious signal processing for stitching or shooting in panoramic mode.

Nevertheless, just having that grand perspective really added to the overall Dip Falls experience.

Experiencing the Big Tree

Dip_Falls_054_11302017 - On the short walk leading to the Big Tree in the Dip River Forest Reserve
On the short walk leading to the Big Tree in the Dip River Forest Reserve

Finally, when we returned to the car, we then drove another kilometre down Rabalga Road to the short walk for the Big Tree.

Once at the short 100m walk, I was able to walk amongst other towering eucalyptus trees until I reached a dead-end with an obvious boardwalk surrounding the wide girth of the Big Tree itself.

It had a bulbous base with some knobs or knuckles higher up its trunk.

But when you consider its full size, it really did compare to the thick trees we’ve seen elsewhere around the world.

Dip_Falls_050_11302017 - The bottom of the Big Tree in the Dip River Forest Reserve
The bottom of the Big Tree in the Dip River Forest Reserve

For example, the Big Tree was comparable to Sequoia trees back in our home state of California as well as some of the kauri trees in New Zealand’s North Island.

Given the relatively short drive to get here, we easily could have walked to this optional excursion to really soak in the rainforest ambience of the Dip River Forest Reserve.


Dip Falls resides in the Dip River Forest Reserve near Mawbanna west of Burnie, Tasmania. It may be administered by the Burnie City Council or the Circular Head Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may want to visit the Tourism Tasmania ebsite.

Dip_Falls_001_11302017 - Julie on the short walk to the overlook of Dip Falls, which was merely a short 200m jaunt from the trailhead
Dip_Falls_003_11302017 - Looking down from the upper lookout towards the base of the upper drop and the lower lookout in front of the base of the lower drop of Dip Falls
Dip_Falls_015_11302017 - Trying to show as much of the upper drop of Dip Falls that I could from the upper lookout
Dip_Falls_041_11302017 - Zoomed in look over the lip of the lower drop of Dip Falls with the context of the rainforest as seen from the upper lookout
Dip_Falls_055_11302017 - After experiencing the overlook of the Dip Falls, we then headed over to the Big Tree.  Here's a view looking up at one of the tall eucalyptus trees on the way to the Big Tree in the Dip River Forest Reserve
Dip_Falls_057_11302017 - Looking at some other giant eucalyptus trees around the Big Tree
Dip_Falls_067_11302017 - The boardwalk that went around the wide girth of the Big Tree
Dip_Falls_070_11302017 - Looking all the way up to the top of the Big Tree
Dip_Falls_077_11302017 - After having our fill of the Big Tree, we then started on the walk to reach the base of Dip Falls
Dip_Falls_127_11302017 - Looking up at part of the basaltic slope from the lower lookout of Dip Falls providing a glimpse of the organ-like hexagonal columns holding up the Dip River
Dip_Falls_129_11302017 - Closer look at the pronounced basalt columns underlying the Dip Falls as seen from its base
Dip_Falls_114_11302017 - Looking downstream from the lookout as the Dip River meandered through a lush rainforest setting
Dip_Falls_125_11302017 - Julie starting the long climb back up to the car park from the lower lookout for Dip Falls
Dip_Falls_131_11302017 - Julie continuing up the long series of steps to get back up to the Dip Falls car park
Dip_Falls_134_11302017 - With the long climb up, we got to catch a few more partial glimpses of Dip Falls along the way
Dip_Falls_136_11302017 - Julie almost back up to the top of the long series of steps from the bottom of Dip Falls
Dip_Falls_141_11302017 - Julie returning to the car park for Dip Falls

Since the largest city nearest to Dip Falls was the coastal city of Burnie, we’ll start the driving directions from the city centre.

Leaving the Esplanade in the Burnie CBD, we headed south to the Bass Highway on Mount Street.

After turning right to go onto the westbound lanes of the Bass Highway (A2), we then proceeded to drive nearly 63km to the signposted Mawbanna Rd (C225).

This was a very scenic drive revealing beaches and mesa-like coastal bluffs of Tasmania’s northwest coastline.

With a future visit, we’ll be sure to spend more time here.

Note that our GPS really insisted that we leave the Bass Hwy (A2) and take the shorter route via the Montumana Rd at the turnoffs at about 40km and 46km from Burnie.

However, I’d advise against it as we had to leave Montumana Rd to follow a narrow and fairly rough unsealed Newhaven Rd eventually linking up with Mawbanna Rd after about 15km.

Dip_Falls_073_11302017 - The sign and car park for Dip Falls
The sign and car park for Dip Falls

The Mawbanna Rd was pretty much all sealed until the very end.

Anyways, once we were on the Mawbanna Rd (C225), we then followed it south for about 25km to the Dip Falls car park on the right.

The last 2km of the Dip Falls Rd was unsealed.

In order to reach the Big Tree, we went another 200m beyond the Dip Falls car park, then turned left onto the Rabalga Rd.

After another 800m on Rabalga Rd, we then parked next to the trailhead for the Big Tree.

Overall, this 90km drive took us nearly 1.5 hours.

To provide you with some geographical context, Burnie was about 101km (under 90 minutes drive) north of Cradle Mountain, 46km (over 30 minutes drive) west of Devonport, 99km (over an hour drive) northwest of Deloraine, and 147km (over 90 minutes drive) west of Launceston.

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Left to right sweep showing the scenery and the imposing waterfall with its basalt columns

Nearly 360 degree sweep checking out the steps to get here, then following along the creek before ending at the falls

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Tagged with: dip river, mawbanna, circular head, tasmania, australia, waterfall, big tree, black river, cowrie bay

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Dip Falls and Ridgley waterfalls July 16, 2015 10:16 pm by Caedence Kuepper - Recently we were up on Tassie's north coast, seeing several waterfall along the way. We were heading home later in the day, so we tried to make the most of the day. First up, we decided to go check out Dip Falls. I had been looking forward to seeing this falls for quite a while.… ...Read More
Dip Falls September 11, 2013 5:37 am by Jeff Crowe - Dip Falls is a beautiful two tiered Waterfall ,situated at Mawbanna ,far North West Coast - Tasmania . It can be viewed from a lookout above or take the steep stepped walk to the base of the Falls .The rock formations make for a beautiful cascading affect and is best viewed in the Winter Spring… ...Read More

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About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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