Guide Falls | An Easy Waterfall Not To Miss In Northwest Tasmania

Hidden in plain sight, tucked between lush green farmlands and not even a 5 minutes walk from the car park, Guide Falls can be found cascading over a sheer black basalt cliff into the Guide River that flows through Tasmania’s northwest. 

We spent a week on Tasmania’s northwest coast, wandering from one waterfall to another, and almost forewent Guide Falls due to its popularity among tourists and the simple nature of the walk. In the end, we chose to add it to our day trip to Leven Canyon and boy are we glad we did!

It’s easy to underestimate a waterfall that is so easily accessible, but as soon as you walk into the small ravine, the civilised world disappears and you’re left staring at a striking landscape moulded by ancient volcanic history. 

In this post, you’ll find helpful details that you can use to plan your trip to Guide Falls, including inspiring images, the best time to visit and other things to do nearby to make your drive worthwhile. 

Standing at Guide Falls, Tasmania as the waterfall is gushing heavily

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Visiting Guide Falls, Northwest Tasmania’s Most Surprising Waterfall

700 m return

10 – 20 mins

Elevation Gain
22 m

Highest Elevation
192 m

Entrance Fees

Toilets, picnic area, BBQ facilities, wheelchair access to falls from the upper car park

Grade 1 – some stairs are present but not mandatory to see the falls

Where Is Guide Falls

Guide Falls is located 20 minutes south of the seaside town Burnie, nestled into a small basalt depression surrounded by lush rolling hills filled with farms and winding country roads. The closest locality (small rural town) is Ridgley, and the closest town with basic needs is Burnie. 

It’s doable to visit Guide Falls as a day trip from Launceston, which is found 1 hr 50 minutes west, but most visitors would choose to stay a little closer in one of the many coastal towns lining the north coast. 

How To Get To Guide Falls, Tasmania

The only way to visit Guide Falls is by car as there is no public transport or tours available. If you don’t have your own vehicle, we recommend using Rental Cars to find the best deals on hire cars. 

Guide Falls has two car parks, one at the base of the waterfall and one at the top. The directions below will lead you to the base of the waterfall, where we recommend parking. To get to the top car park, simply continue past the base car park for another 100 m or so. 

Note: Parking at the top of the waterfall will eliminate the need to walk on any stairs or uneven paths.

Directions From Burnie To Guide Falls

From Burnie’s town centre, drive south along Mount St (B18) for 5 km until you reach a t-intersection. Turn right (southwest) onto Ridgley Hwy (B18) and follow the road for approximately 10 km. 

Just after the small town of Ridgley, you’ll turn right onto W Ridgley Rd (C104) for 2 km and then turn left into the Guide Falls lower car park. 

Directions From Launceston To Guide Falls

It’s a very easy and scenic drive from Launceston, where you’ll follow the Bass Hwy (1) west all the way to Burnie. Once you reach Burnie, simply follow the directions above to complete the drive to Guide Falls. 

Guide Falls Walking Notes

After parking at the lower car park beside the picnic shelter, follow the trail south as it meanders along the river’s edge on a sealed path shaded by giant tree ferns and skinny eucalypts. 

As you wander along the simple path, keep an eye on the Guide River where giant charcoal-coloured boulders stem the languid flowing water to create mini waterfalls. 

Within a few minutes, you’ll come to a basalt cliff covered in a furry film of moss and small ferns that will lead you the last few metres to Guide Falls across an uneven natural path of slippery rocks and mud. 

Reaching The Base Of Guide Falls

As you round the last corner towards Guide Falls, you’ll finally receive a complete view of the waterfall cascading over basalt columns into a wide plunge pool 30m below. Another equally tall basalt wall connects perpendicular to the falls, creating a deep oasis for moss, lichen and numerous fern species to thrive. 

You can hop across the slippery rocks flanking the plunge pool for a closer look at the waterfall and from here, you’ll likely be covered in the swirling mist within seconds. 

To gain a new perspective of Guide Falls, and to view the smaller Upper Guide Falls, return to the sealed path and ascend the stairs south towards the top of the waterfall. 

Walking To The Top Of Guide Falls

The stairs wind their way alongside oddly shaped rock walls for less than 100 m to reach the top of Guide Falls. Once you reach the top, a fenced-in path allows you to view the waterfall from different vantage points.

Green pastures flank the seemingly out-of-place waterfall, which is immediately surrounded by damp trees and green ferns, making the preserved pocket of nature even more breathtaking in contrast. Wandering along the top lookout points will reveal half-submerged rocks that are almost perfectly broken into pentagonal shapes as if they all broke evenly at the same time.  

Note: The top car park is roughly 20 m east of the lookout at the top of Guide Falls, along a wheelchair-accessible path. For those with mobility limitations, you can simply park at the top car park and enjoy the view of the waterfall from the upper lookout.

Returning To The Car Park

After exploring the top of Guide Falls, not forgetting to look for Upper Guide Falls, continue back down the stairs towards the lower car park. 

The walk around Guide Falls, taking in both the upper and lower vantage points, will take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. While it’s not a wild adventure to reach the waterfall, the quick stop is well worth it in our opinion – especially if you include it in a full day of chasing waterfalls near Burnie. 

Best Time To Visit Guide Falls

Guide Falls Tasmania, trickling down the cascading river

Guide Falls is at its most impressive during Spring and Winter when Tasmania receives most of its rainfall. Unlike McGowans Falls, which we prefer exploring when the water tumbles calmly over the stunning rock wall, Guide Falls offers the greatest show when it’s raging. 

The best time of day to view Guide Falls is in the morning when the sun is shining perfectly on the dark basalt cliffs that are partially hidden by the cascading water. 

Leave No Trace

Much of Tasmania’s charm comes from its remoteness and abundance of wild places and endemic wildlife. These places, along with those closest to civilisation, need to be protected and respected. 

Please help fight the war against natural destruction and follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles when you’re out in nature – or anywhere for that matter. 

Guide Falls is equipped with rubbish bins, toilets, car parks and sealed trails to help you follow the guidelines with ease. 

What To Bring

The walk to Guide Falls is very short and therefore, requires nothing but yourself, a pair of grippy shoes and perhaps a rain jacket if the waterfall is surging. If you’re planning a picnic at Guide Falls, grab your items at Burnie before setting off as that will be the last town where you can purchase any goods. 

Here is our basic list of items that we recommend taking on the Guide Falls walk

Other Things To Do Near Guide Falls

You could easily fill a few days exploring the northwest region of Tasmania, which is littered with walks, waterfalls, beaches and tasty produce. Here are a few of our recommendations for other things to do near Guide Falls. 

McGowans Falls 

McGowans Falls, Tasmania flowing lightly in the winter time

A 20-minute walk through a thriving and messy forest will deliver you to McGowans Falls, located along an old logging road near West Takone. The best views can be found at the base of the waterfall, which requires a little scrambling and the trusting of ropes to reach.

Detention Falls

Detention Falls flowing fast into the vibrant forest lined with green tree ferns

Detention Falls is hidden among farmlands and dry eucalypt forests just outside Milabena. The waterfall flows over miss-shaped quartzite boulders into a plunge pool 30 m below. The walk to Detention Falls takes approximately 20 – 30 minutes and passes through a wildly windswept woodland before emerging into a deep gully of fern trees and tall eucalypts. 

Guide Falls Farm 

Guide Falls Farm is located right beside the waterfall. At the Farm, you can enjoy a delicious meal at the Grazings Restaurant or wander through their shop. They’re best known for their events and large group experiences. Visit the Guide Falls Farm website for current opening hours and upcoming events. 

Leven Canyon

Standing along side River Leven on the Leven Canyon Floor walk

Leven Canyon is located just over an hour southeast of Guide Falls and will leave you in awe once you walk up to the edge of Tasmania’s deepest ravine. There are two walks you can do at Leven Canyon, one that will take you to the top of the ravine and one that will allow you to experience to true power of the River Leven from the canyon floor.  

Hellyers Road Distillery

Hellyers Road Distillery is located in Havenview, just over 5 minutes south of Burnie, and overlooks the picturesque Emu Valley. The distillery offers tastings, tours and a delicious lunch at their restaurant. Their Whisky Walk Distillery Interpretation Tour is the most popular thing to do there and will allow you to hear whispers of their well-kept secrets. 

Where To Stay Near Guide Falls, Tasmania

Guide Falls is situated just inland of the northwest coast, where there are plenty of stunning accommodation options to choose from. You’ll also find a couple of camping options nearby, most of which are either free or cost very little. 




Camping Near Guide Falls