Preston Falls ("Delaneys Falls")

Gunns Plains / Ulverstone, Tasmania, Australia

About Preston Falls (“Delaneys Falls”)


Hiking Distance: 250m round trip
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2006-11-27
Date last visited: 2017-12-02

Waterfall Latitude: -41.28636
Waterfall Longitude: 146.06467

Preston Falls was an attractive waterfall where the Preston Creek plunged some 25m into a deep gorge.

For a waterfall of this size, it was also one of the easiest waterfalls to visit in Tasmania.

Preston_Falls_17_020_12012017 - Preston Falls
Preston Falls

Julie and I only had to go on a short 120m track amongst blackwood forest towards an overlook yielding the view you see above.

That excursion took us less than half-hour away from the car on each of our visits (we visited this place in late November 2006 and early December 2017).

The short walk made us consider whether there was a way to get a more intimate experience available by getting to the waterfall’s base.

Unfortunately, to our knowledge, there was neither a safe nor sanctioned way of doing so.

Preston_Falls_17_007_12012017 - Julie descending on the short track leading to the lookout for Preston Falls
Julie descending on the short track leading to the lookout for Preston Falls

Besides, the signage and fencing set up all around the cliffs seemed to further hint at the dangerous nature of attempting to reach the base.

Situated near the idyllic Gunns Plains not far inland from Ulverstone, we came here as part of a short detour.

Typically, we came here when we found ourselves either driving along the Bass Highway between Burnie and Launceston or heading further inland towards Cradle Mountain from one of the other coastal towns in between like Devonport.

Either way, Preston Falls provided us with an opportunity to stretch our legs, get some fresh air, experience rural Tassie, and get good vibes from a waterfall to boot!

Preston_Falls_17_014_12012017 - View over the top of Preston Falls from the bridge over its creek
View over the top of Preston Falls from the bridge over its creek

In either of our visits, we could have extended the visit to check out other attractions like the Gunns Plains Caves, but we had passed on them.

Contrasting Experiences at Preston Falls

The first time Julie and I came here in late November 2006, it seemed like everything about that visit pointed to bad timing on our part in every way.

Not only did Preston Creek have low flow (we weren’t sure if it was drought-related or just downstream of a small watershed), but our mid-morning visit on a sunny day resulted in terrible shadows.

The shadows were such that we essentially were only able to see and photograph half the falls as it was half in light and half in dark.

Preston_Falls_002_11262006 - This was how we experienced Preston Falls back in late November 2006
This was how we experienced Preston Falls back in late November 2006

Based on this experience, this north-northeast-facing waterfall was best seen when the sun would be high up on the horizon to minimize the shadows (e.g. late morning or midday).

Either that or it would best be experienced early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the shadows would be long enough to have uniform lighting around the waterfall.

The second time Julie and I came here in early December 2017, it was in between fronts of a powerful storm.

It was the same system that caused flash flooding across the Bass Strait in Victoria, and it created some heavy rainfall prior to our visit and not much longer afterwards as another wave of dark clouds were rolling in.

Preston_Falls_17_043_12012017 - Looking downstream from the lookout at the end of the Preston Falls Track as another dark band of clouds from an incoming front seemed to be headed our way during our December 2017 visit
Looking downstream from the lookout at the end of the Preston Falls Track as another dark band of clouds from an incoming front seemed to be headed our way during our December 2017 visit

Nonetheless, given the cloudy skies, it really didn’t matter what time of day we came here.

It definitely helped that the rains had replenished Preston Creek, which certainly improved our experience a lot since that ill-timed first visit.

Controversy around nomenclature

Finally, there was some controversy in the literature (even back in 2006) regarding the waterfall’s name.

It was claimed that this waterfall should have been called Delaneys Falls or at least the Lower Preston Falls.

Preston_Falls_17_045_12012017 - Broad view of Preston Falls
Broad view of Preston Falls

Apparently, the actual Preston Falls was somewhere further upstream (which was said to be less well-known and less accessible).

We had never visited that other waterfall, and on both of our visits, we encountered signage that still referred to this place as Preston Falls.

Therefore, we’ve gone with that convention and won’t say anything more about the naming mix-up.

Authorities

Preston Falls resides near the town of Ulverstone, Tasmania. It is administered by the Central Coast Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Preston_Falls_17_005_12012017 - The Preston Falls Track initially descended from the parking bay down these steps as seen during our December 2017 visit
Preston_Falls_17_009_12012017 - Julie approaching a bridge crossing the Preston Creek en route to the Preston Falls during our December 2017 visit
Preston_Falls_17_029_12012017 - This was the improved view over Preston Falls in early December 2017 from the lookout at the end of the track
Preston_Falls_17_050_12012017 - Portrait view of Preston Falls as seen from the lookout during our December 2017 visit
Preston_Falls_17_065_12012017 - The bridge over Preston Creek just upstream from Preston Falls as we were headed back up to the parking bay to end our December 2017 visit
Preston_Falls_001_jx_11262006 - This wooden sign was there on our first visit to Preston Falls back in late November 2006. It was still known as Preston Falls back then.  Now, the wooden sign was gone, but a more modern one was in its place and still had the same name (in December 2017)
Preston_Falls_002_jx_11262006 - Descending the steps leading down to the lookout for Preston Falls as seen during our late November 2006 visit
Preston_Falls_004_jx_11262006 - Following the short well-developed track to the lookout for Preston Falls during our late November 2006 visit
Preston_Falls_011_11262006 - This was our Preston Falls experience back in late November 2006 in mid-morning when the sun also casted terrible shadows in addition to the low flow
Preston_Falls_012_11262006 - On our first visit back in late November 2006, we tried to figure out how best to take photos while reconciling the terrible morning shadow

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Since we visited Preston Falls as a detour from the Bass Highway (Hwy 1), we’ll describe such a route from either Burnie or Devonport.

The key town to get off the Bass Highway was near the town of Ulverstone.

Driving from Burnie to Preston Falls

From Burnie, we drove east on the Bass Highway (Hwy 1) for about 27km to the B17 exit for Ulverstone, Gunns Plains, and Leven Canyon.

At the end of the off-ramp, we then turned right onto Lovett St (B17).

Preston_Falls_17_003_12012017 - The parking bay for Preston Falls
The parking bay for Preston Falls

We then followed the B17 as Lovett St became Preston Rd, and after about 10km, the Preston Rd then reached a fork.

The left fork left the B17 for the C125 but remained Preston Rd.

The right fork remained on the B17 but became the Gunns Plains Rd.

Both ways lead to Preston Falls.

Preston_Falls_17_001_12012017 - The sign for Preston Falls by the pullouts at the trailhead
The sign for Preston Falls by the pullouts at the trailhead

Supposing we kept left to go on the Gunns Plains Rd (B17), we’d then drive about 9km to the town of Gunns Plains.

Then, we’d turn left onto Raymond Rd (C127) and follow it for about 4.5km to the parking bay for Preston Falls on the left.

Supposing we kept right to remain on Preston Rd (C125), we’d then drive a little over 9km to the signed turnoff for “Waterfalls” on Raymond Rd to our left.

This turnoff was a little over a kilometre past the town of Preston.

Preston_Falls_013_11262006 - The parking bay for Preston Falls as seen during our late November 2006 visit
The parking bay for Preston Falls as seen during our late November 2006 visit

Once on Raymond Rd, we’d then drive roughly 600m to the parking bay for Preston Falls on our right.

Overall, the drive from Burnie took us about 45 minutes.

Driving from Devonport to Preston Falls

Note that if we had come from Devonport, we would have driven on the Bass Highway (Hwy 1) west for a little over 18km before taking the same B17 exit as before (Ulverstone, Gunns Plains, and Leven Canyon).

Then, we’d follow the same driving directions as before starting along Lovett St (B17).

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.

Sweep starting with a partial downstream view before panning over to the plunging waterfall

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Tagged with: gunns plains, central coast, ulverstone, delaneys falls, tasmania, australia, devonport, burnie, waterfall, preston creek



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