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Diary of a Wannabe Fungi Hunter – Adventures in the North West - Three waterfalls

Coastal Wattle near Smithton

Day 4 -There was a sign just outside the campground that said “To Dip Falls.” With all that rain, it should be a good time to see them. Although it drizzles on and off again, it is.  There are two types of waterfalls in Tasmania. Those like this one which you can almost drive right up to, have a well -made track, signage and even a lookout so you can really see it, though it’s 25 Km off the highway. Then there are the wild waterfalls, the ones you have to struggle for like Adamson’s Falls– up in the mountains with rough roads, few signs and difficult tracks. You rarely meet another soul on these. Here cars come and cars go. People spill out.  I meet some of them on the stairs with their iPads and smartphones. Five minutes later they are gone. The falls are so impressive I want to look at some of the others in this area.

Upper level Dip Falls - Class 1 Waterfall - Note railing on viewing platform - Taken with the big Canon
Taken with its little brother

The lower Fall - that's a lot of water. Our rivers are normally brown because of the tannnin in the vegetation, especially tea tree and button grass, but I would say there's a good bit of topsoil going over these falls too

 My map shows another one on the other side of the Dip Range. I think I may have visited it once with a Bushwalking Club, but could never find the way there again. Rather than go all the way back to the main highway and then driving all the way down again on a parallel road, I take what looks like a shortcut cross country. This is deceptive. The roads are sealed but winding and narrow, passing over rolling hills and going around the edges of lush green paddocks. 

There's beautiful country in between

Like Marrawah, this is dairy country.  Signs on gates say they are proud suppliers to Devondale Dairies or have little purple ones saying their milk goes into Cadbury’s Chocolate and you are more likely to be run over by a speeding milk tanker than a log truck, but all is not well. There are also a lot of “For Sale” signs, many of the little country towns look a tad run down and everywhere there is that relentless clearing.

Tree farm in progress

 There’s also a lot of storm damage. Fallen trees have been pushed to the side of the road. I move smaller branches - the tyre poppers, out of the way, drive around bigger ones. It all takes longer and uses more fuel than if I had whizzed down the highway, but I am always curious about places that I haven’t seen.

There are no signs but a local person gives me vague directions. After few false starts which lead me up people's driveways, I come to the right gate. This is private property and I would have asked first, but there’s no one home. I do a lap of the farmer’s turnip field before realising I should have gone straight through two more gates. The huge bull in the next paddock gives me the evil eye. The flimsy wire fence between us doesn't look as if it would keep us apart for long. I put my head down and walk past as briskly as I dare.

There’s a warning sign at the top of the hill “Do not Proceed” but the orange barrier tape has been wound back and there are lots of recent footprints leading onwards, so I proceed too, though very, very carefully. There are reasons why I am not the world’s greatest photographer. I am not brave enough to risk life and limb. I don't do war zones. Nor am I as dedicated as the friend I met in Vanuatu who boiled enough water for five days and carried it in on foot for the 10 Km walk to a volcano so that he could capture the precise moment at which the sulphur clouds parted to reveal the crater which no one had seen for years.

It seemed a shame to have gotten this far and not seen anything

I go just close enough to this waterfall to take a couple snaps with the small camera, but don’t venture on the broken lookout. I feel like a tourist. Didn’t want to risk the big camera on an uncertain scramble like that and besides, I have found that the small one gives better depth of field. The big one takes better pictures and is much better for fungi of course, and there are a couple, but it doesn’t have the slightly wide angled lens that the small one does to capture waterfalls in one frame. Not that the photos convey the spectacle in any way. I feel immensely relieved and a trifle smug when I make it back to the car. You don't get that so much with the easy waterfalls.

There are still a few fungi here, including my favourite Porpolomopsis Lewellinae

Detention River Falls -You only get a glimpse of these.....
Unless you are prepared to go out on ledges like this. These falls thunder into a gorge dizzyingly far below. I haven't trusted rocky outcrops since London Bridge - one of the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, collapsed in 1990. Until then I thought Geology at least was forever. Now there are only Seven Apostles left. After all this rain and the power of the water.... no way!

My third waterfall for the day takes me to Ridgely, just inland from Burnie. Who would have thought that such a large and lovely waterfall existed so close to civilisation? We must have passed by within 1 or 2 kilometres hundreds of times on our way to Burnie. This is a Class 1 fall with very pretty  picnic grounds.

Late afternoon at Guide Falls - sunbeams play on the water vapour as I approach. This is a very easy waterfall to get to, and in a pretty setting too

There are curious rocky outcrops here too. If any Geologists happen to be reading this please tell me their origin. They don't appear to be erratics carried down by ice. Are they relict volcanic plugs or intrusions of some kind?

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Some of the strange rocky protrusions at Ridgley