Parsons Falls | How To Find Tasmania’s Best Swimming Hole

When we think of translucent turquoise swimming holes in Australia, our thoughts naturally flit to Western Australia or the Northern Territory. Tasmania certainly doesn’t spring to mind immediately. But in fact, this beautifully diverse island state has its very own little oasis that few know about, called Parsons Falls.

Found tucked into a granite gorge on the Central Plateau, Parsons Falls is perhaps Tasmania’s best-kept secret. We accidentally stumbled upon this magical waterfall while researching various hikes within the Great Western Tiers nearby and boy are we glad we did!

Parsons Falls should not be missed if you’re travelling through the Central Plateau of Tasmania. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed and in this post, you’ll find important information about Parsons Falls, including which trail to take and the best time to visit.

Standing at the top of Parsons Falls in Tasmania

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of a product we recommend through one of our links, we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you! This helps to support our blog and enables us to continue providing you with helpful tips and exciting adventures, so thank you 🙂

Your Ultimate Guide To Exploring Parsons Falls In Tasmania’s Central Plateau

3.5 km return

40 – 60 minutes

Grade 2


Elevation Gain
117 m

Highest Elevation
1,123 m

Entrance Fees

Where Is Parsons Falls?

A kilometre or so from its source, Lake Mackenzie, Parsons Falls cascades from granite boulders into the Fisher River as it courses from the alpine plateau into the valley beneath Devil’s Gullet

Protected by the Devil’s Gullet State Reserve, Parsons Falls sits in the northwestern corner of Tasmania’s Central Plateau, 50 minutes south of Mole Creek and 1 hr 45 minutes southwest of Launceston.

How To Get To Parsons Falls

Parsons Falls Carpark

Due to its lesser-known status and remote location, there are no public transport or tour options for Parsons Falls. Access to a vehicle is essential for this waterfall adventure and if you are in need of a hire car, we suggest using Rental Cars to find the best deals.

Directions From Launceston To Parsons Falls

Leave Launceston via the Bass Hwy heading southwest towards Deloraine for 50 km. Take a left turn onto Mole Creek Rd (B12) and pass through town, following the signs to Mole Creek. After 28 km, you’ll reach an intersection outside the Mole Creek Caravan Park and turn left to stay on B12 (now Liena Rd). 

10 km later, you’ll turn left again onto Mersey Forest Rd (C138) and follow it south for 7 km until you reach your final left turn onto the unsealed Lake Mackenzie Rd (C171). After 20 km on the dirt road, you’ll arrive at Parsons Falls car park beneath Lake Mackenzie Dam.

Note: Although Lake Mackenzie Rd is unsealed, it is generally kept in good condition aside from a few corrugated sections. It’s easily accessible for all vehicles, however, the alpine road is subject to ice and snow in winter. If you’re visiting during these times, check for road closures via the Tasmania Police website.

Parsons Falls Walking Notes

Walking along the aqueduct at Parsons Falls

There are two routes listed on Alltrails for Parsons Falls and two car parks on Google Maps. The routes are named ‘Parsons Falls’ and ‘Parsons Falls From Lake Mackenzie Road End’, and their respective car parks are ‘Parsons Falls car park’ and ‘Parsons Falls Long walk car park’. 

Whichever you choose is up to you, however, the former car park has a giant sign stating no private access so take that route at your own risk. The walking notes below will be for the longer walk – which is only an extra 2 km.

Walking Across The Alpine To Fisher River 

Walking on the fire road of the Parsons Falls Walk

Beginning in a large gravel clearing beneath Lake Mackenzie Dam, you’ll pass through the boom gate to the south of the car park and onto a dirt road that leads towards a dry riverbed full of broken boulders. 

Note: The riverbed is subject to flooding, making it unsafe to cross if there is water flowing or high rainfall. If this is the case and you really want to reach Parsons Falls, take the shorter track located 1 km back along Lake Mackenzie Rd.

Hopping over boulders as you cross the dry river bed, you’ll slowly make your way onto the road once again. After 200 m, the dirt road begins to swing west, gently ascending to the open eucalypt forest ahead.

Parsons Falls Eucalypt Forest walk

Enjoying the intermittent shade of the larger snow gums, you’ll come across a junction 1.3 km into your journey. Little arrows guide you north as you take the right track towards the tall banks of Fisher River.

Following beside a small aqueduct, you’ll come to an inconspicuous trail on the left after 200 m. The trail descends through the trees and onto the staircase leading down to Fisher River.

Walking down the stairs next to the big water pipe at Parsons Falls

Descending To The Top Of Parsons Falls

After descending the long staircase alongside a giant water pipe and turning left at the bottom, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a tropical destination as you drop down to the boulder-strewn riverbed and leave the manmade structures behind.

Standing at the top of Parsons Falls in Tasmania

Ahead of you is a breathtaking valley of tall eucalypt trees and grey boulders worn into odd shapes by the coursing river. Hopping along the half-submerged boulders, you’ll reach the top of Parsons Falls 100 m later

Reaching The Base Of Parsons Falls

Parsons Falls flowing into the moody cold water

Peering over the waterfall and into the impossibly clear pool below, you’ll hardly believe your eyes at the startling aquamarine water contrasting against the grey/brown boulders encompassing the swimming hole.

But for the best views and a swim for the brave, continue to the base of Parsons Falls. Search for a pink tag hanging on a tree just before the waterfall’s edge on the south side of the river. This little tag will lead you into the trees and down a steep track covered in roots and rocks to the pool below.

As you emerge from the trees and onto the boulders flanking the swimming hole, you’ll finally be gifted with uninterrupted views of Parsons Falls languidly flowing into the aquamarine water below.

Find yourself a flat boulder and enjoy an afternoon of swimming or simply take in the secluded oasis in Tasmania’s alpine region.

Returning To The Trailhead

Unfortunately, we didn’t notice the pink tags leading into the treeline until we were down at the base of Parsons Falls, having scaled the boulder cliff instead. But they were much more noticeable from the base so if for some reason you happen to make the same mistake as we did, we suggest returning via the forest route as it’s a thousand times easier and safer!

The return walk to Parsons Falls via the longer route took us 1 hour to complete, excluding time spent at the base of the waterfall. It’s an easy trail, with only a small technical section to get to the swimming hole. However, there are minimal navigational signs so it’s best to use Alltrails or something similar to ensure you stay on the correct track.

Best Time To Visit Parsons Falls

Parsons Falls provides a drastically different experience when you visit in summer compared to winter. In summer, you’re sometimes gifted with warm enough weather to swim in the alluring water. But in winter, the alpine often transforms into a snowy wonderland that creates a magical experience at Parsons Falls.

Note: If you’re visiting in winter, the track can be a little more treacherous so take your time and only continue if you feel comfortable with your skills walking on snow or ice.

What To Bring

The walk to Parsons Falls takes approximately 1 hour along an easy trail, allowing you to pack provisions for swimming and a picnic without much effort. Yet we still recommend wearing sturdy shoes to reach the base of the waterfall.

Here is our basic list of items that we recommend taking on your walk to Parsons Falls.

Leave No Trace

Parsons Falls is located in a remote alpine area deep in the central highlands of Tasmania. There are no facilities nearby, the closest toilet and rubbish bin being 50 minutes away at Mole Creek.

Please follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles while exploring Parsons Falls – or anywhere for that matter. This includes taking all your rubbish with you (including food scraps and tissues) and planning your trip to include a toilet stop before you arrive in the alpine.

Where To Stay Near Parsons Falls

It is possible to visit Parsons Falls on a day trip from Launceston, which is only 1 hr 45 minutes east of the waterfall. However, Parsons Falls is located in the northwestern corner of Tasmania’s Central Highlands, where there are multiple other attractions worthy of exploration. 

We recommend staying closer to Parsons Falls in Mole Creek or Deloraine, which both provide an ideal base for exploring the surrounding regions.

Camping Near Parsons Falls

Final Thoughts

We didn’t know what to expect when we went searching for Parsons Falls, believing that the photos we’d witnessed of the swimming hole must have been saturated. But we can now attest to the fact that the water is strikingly clear and an impossible shade of aquamarine. 

Spending an afternoon sunning yourself on the rocks beside Parsons Falls is the perfect way to end a day in the alpine, where you can visit Devil’s Gullet first – located 10 minutes north.

Have you experienced Parsons Falls? We’d love to hear your thoughts and other suggestions for what to do in the area. And as always, please ask us any questions you may have about getting to Parsons Falls in the comments below.

Happy Adventuring 🙂