Nelson Falls, located in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tasmanian Wilderness in the West Coast region of Tasmania is a beautiful sight all year round, and becomes a raging torrent after heavy rain. The falls are situated off the Lyell Highway which connects Hobart in the south-east to Queenstown in the west and runs through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
Nelson Falls is one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks and at 20 minutes (1.4 kilometres) return is an easy waterfall for most people to access. The walk follows a meandering river, taking visitors through a dense, mossy forest featuring myrtle, sassafras, and a wide variety of ferns. The forest feels alive and is perpetually green and moist due to the high rainfall.
Nelson Falls is part of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. The cascade waterfall has a drop of approximately 30 metres, its waters flowing along the Nelson River into Lake Burbury.
As you stroll along the boardwalk, you’ll see a series of interpretation signs with information about the plants found in the forest, including at least seven species of fern. Among the forest trees are many ancient species that once dominated the Australian landmass but are now only found in the wetter regions of Tasmania and the south-east and eastern mainland regions of Australia.
These panels challenge visitors to journey back to a time, hundreds of thousands of years ago, when Tasmania was connected to Australia by a land bridge that formed part of the great supercontinent of Gondwanaland. This bridge enabled the local Aboriginal groups who lived in these areas to travel back and forth until the sea levels rose, separating Tasmania from the mainland.
Australia has its own ‘wild, wild west’ in the World Heritage-listed wilderness of Tasmania’s West Coast. It’s a place filled with natural beauty and amazing history, where Tasmanian tigers used to roam, miners came to make their fortunes and pioneers forged paths through the harsh landscape.
The West Coast is mainly rough and isolated, making it the perfect location for an early convict settlement. Up until the 1930s the West Coast was so isolated, the only way in or out was by sea. In fact, many visitors still have trouble understanding the attraction to living in such an isolated part of Tasmania, yet the West Coasters love its rugged beauty.
The region is as varied as it is vast, with temperate rainforests, wild rivers, deep lakes, alpine plains, majestic mountains, glacial valleys, and wild, exposed coastlines. Nelson Falls is a stunning natural attraction not to be missed on a drive through Tasmania’s West Coast wilderness.
It takes about three hours from Nelson Falls to reach any of the three major Tasmanian cities. Hobart is around 233 kilometres away, with Launceston 228 kilometres and Devonport 222 kilometres from the falls.
Nelson Falls is one of Tasmania's 60 Great Short Walks. A return trip is 1.4 kilometres, around 20 minutes. There is so much to see along the way though, it’s worth leaving at least an hour up your sleeve to explore.
Summer on Tassie’s West Coast is usually mild with maximum temperatures averaging between 17 °C and 21 °C though it can drop on some summer days to below 10 °C. The snow line in winter is around 900 metres, with sea-level snow falls happening several times throughout winter.
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