Walking to Lilydale Falls

Short wide waterfall, showing streaks due to long exposure.

Lilydale Falls flow down the Second River, near Lilydale, Tasmania, Australia. There are two falls accessible by a short walk along a well-made track.

Getting There

The falls car park was a short drive from Launceston, just north of the town of Lilydale. The road was sealed all the way up to and including the car park. A sign a few hundred metres before the turnoff to the car park would have been helpful. The turnoff itself was clearly marked by large signs.

Track

The track surface was mostly gravel. The first section along the south bank of the Second River was wide and flat. It would be possible to push a wheelchair along this part to the footbridge with some effort. Once over the footbridge, the track climbed well above the river level, then down a steep set of steps to the lower falls lookout.

The track to the upper falls was longer with fewer steps, and featured boardwalk over the most inconvenient sections. Walkers of almost all ages can, and have, reached the upper falls lookout.

A very rough track led from the lookout to the top of the upper falls. This followed the edge of a cliff is and not recommended for children.

River

The Second River flowed under ferns and over several small cataracts between the two feature waterfalls. The flow varies widely with the seasons. It shrinks dramatically in summer, while winter and spring floods pile up flood debris. Past floods had left whole trees wedged across both falls. Photographs from 1908 also show such remains, although they are probably not the same trees.

There is a “Third River” a short distance north of the “Second River”. Both flow into Pipers River. The LISTmap doesn’t acknowledge a “First River”. The “Forth River”, true to its spelling, has nothing to do with the Second and Third Rivers.

Plants

A rich assortment of ferns thrived in the shaded and damp environment on the banks of the Second River. Trees also grew wherever they could fit, and moss grew on top of everything else. Fungi were surprisingly rare.

Video

This video follows the Second River downstream from the upper falls to the lower falls. Walkers will first see these sights moving upstream.

Facilities

Road Sealed
Parking Large
Shelter Yes
Toilets Yes, but not wheelchair-accessible. For those, go to Lilydale.
Latest visit 19th March 2017

Opinions

Walking Stick

Walked to the upper falls with ease, and climbed the steps to and from the lower falls with some difficulty.

Ambler

Found a lot to see and photograph, taking 2 hours to walk only 1.7 kilometres.

Racewalker

Made the return walk to both falls in 13 minutes, then spent the next 5 hours walking the 30 kilometres back to Launceston.

Should I visit?

If you are in the Launceston area, you should. It is easy to drive to, and you can walk to both falls in 20 minutes, or spend 2 hours exploring the site. Visit in winter or spring to see the falls at their best, but not in times of actual flood.

If you want a full day’s excursion, visit some other attractions in the area, such as Merthyr Park.

If you would have to spend multiple hours driving to the falls, you may prefer to go elsewhere, and take a longer walk to a more spectacular waterfall.

References

Trove – Documents tagged “Lilydale Falls”

All photographs from this walk

Map from this walk

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