Mathinna Falls

Fingal Valley / Upper Esk, Tasmania, Australia

About Mathinna Falls


Hiking Distance: 1.2km round trip
Suggested Time: 45 minutes

Date first visited: 2006-11-24
Date last visited: 2017-11-25

Waterfall Latitude: -41.39949
Waterfall Longitude: 147.89741

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Mathinna Falls was an attractive waterfall that seemed to have a backcountry quality about it even though the walk to reach its base was fairly short.

Technically, there were actually four waterfalls that comprised the overall Mathinna Falls ensemble, but the name generally referred to the last and most accessible waterfall of the group (pictured below).

Mathinna_Falls_17_037_11242017 - Meetus Falls
Meetus Falls

That main waterfall was said to be on the order of 20-25m tall.

Julie and I did spot hard-to-see upper tiers of the falls during our latest excursion here in late November 2017.

However, with all the thick foliage covering the cliffs containing those waterfalls, some daring scrambling was necessary to even get a better and closer look of them.

Julie and I made a pair of visits – once in November 2006 and another time in November 2017.

On each of our visits, the waterfall had similar flow so I’d imagine that the thick vegetation combined with appreciable rainfall collecting at the source of Delvin Creek maintained enough soil stability to sustain its apparently reliable flow.

The presence of ferns suggested that the forest tended to receive a lot of rain, and even though the area had seen a fire or two (which was evident on our hike), there was enough life and growth in the area to mask out the dead trees and blackened trunks.

Hiking to Mathinna Falls

Mathinna_Falls_17_009_11242017 - This part of the Mathinna Falls Track had a boardwalk, which was there to protect the fragile soil, especially where the ferns were growing as the soil had the most moisture in those spots
This part of the Mathinna Falls Track had a boardwalk, which was there to protect the fragile soil, especially where the ferns were growing as the soil had the most moisture in those spots

The track began from a primitive car park and picnic area at the end of the Mathinna Falls Rd (see directions below).

The path immediately followed along Delvin Creek for pretty much the entire walking route.

The terrain shifted from shady rainforest to more open lightly vegetated forest, and then it flipped back to thick vegetation as the gorge walls closed in on us right at the falls.

The track narrowed and hugged the banks of Delvin Creek towards the end as the hike was a little rougher the closer to the falls we were.

When we were close enough to see the falls, we had to do a little rock scrambling in order to get the most satisfying views from within the creek itself.

The ruggedness of the final stretch of the hike hinted that rock slides might have occurred over the years between our visits.

Mathinna_Falls_17_033_11242017 - Finally making it to the base of Mathinna Falls
Finally making it to the base of Mathinna Falls

I say this because I swore that on our first visit here in late November 2006, we didn’t have nearly as much difficulty getting a clean look at the falls as we did on our second visit.

Anyways, the overall distance of the hike was on the order of 1.2km round trip, which took Julie and I about 45 minutes to complete.

Upper Mathinna Falls?

Although we were aware of the upper waterfalls, we didn’t attempt to reach them in either of our visits.

Anecdotally, we’ve been told that doing the rough scramble to go higher could be done, but it was risky.

We didn’t even know where to begin such a scramble, but if I had to guess, I recalled that at about 360m from the trailhead, there was a sign pointing the way to the falls as the trail bent to our right.

That sign appeared to have concealed a faint and overgrown trail of use, and I suspected that any attempts to climb higher up the falls would start from back there.

Authorities

Mathinna Falls resided in the Mathinna Falls Forest Reserve. It is administered by the Break O’Day Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Mathinna_Falls_17_005_11242017 - Starting on the Mathinna Falls Track.  According to this sign, it was only 20 minutes return, but it turned out that we took at least twice as long as that
Mathinna_Falls_17_008_11242017 - Julie on the Mathinna Falls Track
Mathinna_Falls_17_013_11242017 - Walking through a more open part of the Mathinna Falls Track, where some of these trees looked like they might have experienced a bushfire or two
Mathinna_Falls_001_11232006 - Julie on the walk to the Mathinna Falls from the same less dense forested section in late November 2006
Mathinna_Falls_17_016_11242017 - Continuing on the primitive Mathinna Falls Track
Mathinna_Falls_17_020_11242017 - This sign pointed us to our right as the trail bent that way. I suspect that the sign might have been placed there to conceal a trail of use that might have led to the hard-to-reach upper waterfalls
Mathinna_Falls_17_022_11242017 - Julie pushing further ahead as the Mathinna Falls Track got closer to the end
Mathinna_Falls_17_024_11242017 - The track got rougher towards the end as it narrowed and involved some rocky terrain
Mathinna_Falls_17_026_11242017 - Julie almost at the Mathinna Falls as large ferns were lining the narrow track along Delvin Creek
Mathinna_Falls_17_029_11242017 - Julie checking out Mathinna Falls at the end of the track
Mathinna_Falls_17_046_11242017 - Checking out Mathinna Falls from the middle of Delvin Creek during our November 2017 visit
Mathinna_Falls_023_11232006 - Checking out Mathinna Falls and its plunge pool from our first visit back in late November 2006. Note how much less rockier the foreground was compared to our more recent visit
Mathinna_Falls_17_051_11242017 - Another look at Mathinna Falls from further downstream along Delvin Creek
Mathinna_Falls_003_11232006 - Somewhat distant view of Mathinna Falls as Julie was approaching its plunge pool from the left during our first visit in late November 2006. That approach wasn't possible on our latest visit in late November 2017
Mathinna_Falls_17_069_11242017 - This partial and angled view of Mathinna Falls was taken from right at the very end of the track without going into Delvin Creek itself
Mathinna_Falls_17_079_11242017 - Julie starting the hike back from Mathinna Falls
Mathinna_Falls_17_087_11242017 - Getting to experience the majestic trees towering over the Mathinna Falls Track once again
Mathinna_Falls_17_088_11242017 - Back at the picnic area and trailhead for Mathinna Falls

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Mathinna Falls was in a fairly undeveloped forest in the northeast of Tasmania. We managed to get here from two different approaches – one from Hobart and another from Launceston. The key to our visits in both cases was to get to the town of Fingal before heading north into the forests. So we’ll first describe how to get to Fingal from Launceston then describe how we got to the falls going north from there. Later on, we’ll describe how we got to Fingal from Hobart. Although I’m aware that there could be other ways to get here, in my mind, these routes minimized the amount of unsealed driving from the two most populous cities in Tassie.

From Launceston CBD, we headed south towards the Midland Hwy (Hwy 1), and then we kept going south in the direction of Hobart to remain on the Midland Hwy. At around 54km south of Launceston, we then left the Midland Hwy and turned left onto the Esk Hwy (A4). After about 51km, we entered the town of Fingal, where a sign pointed the way to our left for Mathinna Rd (B43).

Mathinna_Falls_17_002_11242017 - Looking back at the unsealed road to get to the car park for the Mathinna Falls Reserve
Looking back at the unsealed road to get to the car park for the Mathinna Falls Reserve

We followed Mathinna Rd (B43) for about 25.5km to the town of Mathinna (note the Evercreech Forest Reserve access was along the way here), then we turned right onto the Mathinna Plains Road (C423). At about 1.3km, we then turned right onto Claytons Rd (I finally started seeing Mathinna Falls signs here), and then after 900m another sign had us turn left onto Mathinna Falls Rd. From there, I pretty much followed the signs the rest of the way along Mathinna Falls Rd to the car park.

The last 6km of the drive was unsealed, and the rock was progressively rougher with potholes and washboards the further we went. The final 600m was practically single lane road with some fairly bad ruts and gullies. Even though we made it with a low clearance 2wd vehicle, there were a couple of sections at the end where we had to take it slow.

Overall, it took us just under 2 hours to do this drive.

Mathinna_Falls_17_004_11242017 - The car park for the Mathinna Falls Reserve
The car park for the Mathinna Falls Reserve

From Hobart, we made the long drive north about 207km on the Tasman Hwy (A3) towards the Chain of Lagoons where there was a little shortcut on Elephant Pass Rd (leading to the town of Gray) on the left and eventually turning left onto the Esk Hwy after 16km at St Marys. It was also possible to remain on the A3 for another 22km beyond the Chain of Lagoons before turning left onto the Esk Highway (A4) and taking it for about 10km southwest to St Marys.

Anyways, once we were on the Esk Hwy at St Marys, we went west for another 20km to the turnoff onto Mathinna Rd (B43) at Fingal. Then, we followed the directions as above from Fingal to Mathinna, then to the falls.

For some geographical context, Launceston was about 103km (over an hour drive) east of Devonport, 167km (over 2 hours drive) west of St Helens, and 201km (nearly 2.5 hours drive) north of Hobart.

Downstream to upstream sweep ending off at the falls as seen from the middle of the creek


Looking up at the falls from an angle right at its base

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Tagged with: break o day, fingal, st helens, northeast, tasmania, australia, waterfall, mathinna, launceston, delvin creek, lyons, upper esk, ringarooma, pyengana



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

The AGONY And The ECSTACY (Mathinna Falls) May 7, 2009 10:55 am by Ian Smith - It bode ill. "I can't remember the last time it rained," the man in Devonport had said. And there I was looking forward to photographing waterfalls. Things change though; by the time I reached St. Helens two days later I listened to the news and they said Mathinna had had 52 mm. Fate had dealt… ...Read More
A World Away (Mathinna Falls) August 3, 2008 10:02 am by Ian Smith - I was looking for waterfalls, unashamedly searching the internet for them. Thus it was that I came across Mathinna, situated in an area I'd never been before; but Tassie's like that, there's all sorts of stuff just off the main roads if you're prepared to venture. To get there you have to find Fingal, west… ...Read More

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