How To Find The Best Waterfalls Near Burnie, Tasmania

Tasmania has a wealth of natural beauty, with rugged peaks slicing the horizon in every direction and deep verdant valleys harbouring over 200 waterfalls that fill the state. And while you’ll likely stumble on a waterfall no matter where you wander, this is especially true for the hills surrounding the northwest town of Burnie.

We’ve spent a great deal of time scouring the plunging gorges and lush mountainsides in search of these sometimes elusive waterfalls. And while we haven’t quite finished our search, we’ve experienced enough to write this detailed guide so you can easily form your own adventure chasing the wild waterfalls near Burnie. 

In this guide, you’ll find all the information needed for each waterfall, including who it’s most suited for and beautiful images to fuel your wanderlust. Plus, we will continue adding to this list every time we tick off another of the many waterfalls near Burnie in Tasmania’s northwest.

Guide Falls from above, one of the best waterfalls near Burnie Tasmania

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7 Of The Best Waterfalls Near Burnie Tasmania

To eliminate any form of bias on our part, we’ve listed the below waterfalls in order of distance from Burnie. While some of these waterfalls were easily accessible and well-known, others were found bordering private land and at the end of some wild roads.

Before you plan to take on any of the lesser known waterfalls, please remember and practice the 7 Leave No Trace Principles and respect the landowners and any guidelines you come across regarding the waterfalls in question. 

Additionally, when travelling along unsealed roads in Tasmania it’s very common to find fallen trees blocking your path or the road in a worse condition than expected. We suggest checking with local information centres for road updates and ensuring you have a paper map of the area before driving deep into the reception evading hills. 

With that said, let’s discover the best waterfalls near Burnie.

Oldaker Falls

Distance: 680 m return
Time: 5 – 10 mins
Elevation Gain: N/A
Difficulty: Grade 1
Trailhead: 4 mins from Burnie city centre at Burnie Park

Facilities: Toilets, BBQ and picnic area, playgrounds, rubbish bins
Entrance Fee: None
Best For: Young families or a morning/afternoon walk in town

Oldaker Falls located in the town of Burnie Tasmania

Hidden in a mini gorge tucked away in between the residence of Burnie, you’ll find Oldaker falls, a man-made waterfall that casually flows into a bubbling stream on course for the sea. The natural watercourse flows through the middle of the well-maintained Burnie Park which offers various casual strolls through gigantic tree ferns on a groomed path. 

From the spacious car park opposite the ocean, you can follow the path southwest beside the bubbling watercourse towards the top of the cascading Oldaker Falls. You’ll find a sign across the bridge that indicates Oldaker Falls is found 340 m to the right of the duck-filled pond. 

Oldaker Falls is an ideal place to escape the city, let the kids run wild, or enjoy a quick morning jaunt before beginning the day. Along with the waterfall, there are several picnic areas, BBQ facilities and playgrounds to while away an afternoon. 

Guide Falls

Distance: 700 m return
Time: 10 – 20 mins
Elevation Gain: 22 m
Difficulty: Grade 1 – some stairs are present but not mandatory to see the falls

Facilities: Toilets, picnic area, BBQ facilities, wheelchair access to falls from the upper car park
Entrance Fee: None
Best For: Everyone
Trailhead: 20 mins south of Burnie off W Ridgley Rd 

Guide falls flowing heavily in winter on a road trip around Burnie

Perhaps the most popular waterfall near Burnie, Guide Falls is well worth the short detour it takes to reach the black basalt walls hidden in a ravine within the lush countryside. Guide Falls rushes over the basalt columns into a wide pool 30m below. Flanked by another equally tall wall where moss and lichen thrive, Guide Falls will leave you breathless with its unique beauty and tranquillity. 

Located 20 minutes south of Burnie, Guide Falls is a short 5-minute walk from the lower car park to reach the base. The path follows Guide River south, passing giant – almost cylindrical – boulders coated in a yellow-green moss. The river filters through, creating a set of mini waterfalls to feast on before the main event. 

Surrounded by damp trees and green ferns, this is a beautifully preserved pocket of nature that’s readily accessible to all. From the top car park, you can view the falls from a different vantage point via a wheelchair-accessible path. There are also steps leading up to the top of the falls from the bottom for those that parked at the lower car park. 

St Josephs Falls

Distance: Approx 400 m return
Time: 5 – 10 mins
Elevation Gain: 22 m
Difficulty: Grade 2 – bush-bashing through blackberry bushes required

Facilities: None
Entrance Fee: None
Best For: The slightly more adventurous
Trailhead: 26 mins southwest of Burnie off Oonah Rd at the crossing of St Josephs River

St Josephs Falls near Burnie

St Josephs Falls is a stone’s throw away from Oonah road, but you would have no idea it’s even there when you drive by! Located in a deserted clearing without a single sign, St Josephs Falls requires some bushbashing to reach the top. 

On a hairpin corner before a bridge that crosses St Josephs river, a small opening offers just enough room to fit your car. On the opposite side of the road (in the crease of the bend) a faint track leads along the river through a tangle of blackberry bushes. 

It’s not until you’re almost standing on top of the falls that you get your first glimpse of the river dropping over the charcoal black precipice into an almost heart-shaped pool approximately 20m below. 

While it’s not the most inviting walk to reach St Josephs Falls, it’s a worthy sight that takes less than 5 minutes to reach. It is possible to get to the base of the waterfall for the more adventurous, but without gloves or thick pants, we didn’t want to tackle the mess of blackberry bushes that stood in our way. 

Preston Falls

Distance: 400 m return
Time: 5 – 10 mins
Elevation Gain: N/A
Difficulty: Grade 2 – some stairs

Facilities: Small car park and sign
Entrance Fee: None
Best For: A quick detour on the way to Leven Canyon
Trailhead: 40 mins southeast of Burnie off Raymond Rd

Preston Falls flowing into the forest while visiting the best waterfalls near Burnie

Preston Falls is a plunging waterfall found in a deep forested gorge south of Gunns Plains. It’s an easy addition for any day trip from Burnie, especially if you’re on the way to Leven Canyon, located a further 20 minutes south.

Before I go on, I should explain that there is an unsettled debate about whether this waterfall is actually called Preston Falls, Upper Preston Falls or Delaney’s Falls. Whichever is its rightful name, the signs at the car park off Raymond Rd say Preston Falls so that’s the name we’ll refer to. 

A brief and easy descent from the car park, through a forest laden with tree ferns, will deliver you to the top of Preston Falls – a free-falling waterfall that drops approximately 25 m to a small pool littered with forest debris. The concaved rock shelf from which the falls flow provides the perfect conditions for a dense ecosystem of moss and ferns to grow behind the curtain of water.

My research has concluded that It is possible to get to the bottom of Preston Falls, however, it isn’t a legitimate trail and requires a little off-track navigation down a steep and loose slope to reach. 

Detention Falls

Distance: 1.6 km return
Time: 30 – 60 mins
Elevation Gain: 90 m
Difficulty: Grade 2 / 3 – some scramble sections and need for navigation

Facilities: None, begins on private land
Entrance Fee: None
Best For: The more adventurous with some navigation skills
Trailhead: 40 mins west of Burnie off Hawleys Rd

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

Found in a hidden valley surrounded by fertile farmlands west of Burnie, Detention Falls offers a sprinkle of adventure as you wander through windswept woodlands to reach the quartzite-laden gorge where Detention Falls flows. 

Foamy tannin-stained water spirals over a mass of misshaped quartzite boulders into a plunge pool 30 m below. The rocks have been worn smooth over time, creating small depressions and tunnels for the water to flow more freely. 

While it’s a relatively simple walk to reach the distant viewpoint of Detention Falls, the experience is far better when you’re standing atop the moss-covered boulders. However, this does require some trailblazing across the steep gorge to reach the top of the waterfall and is only recommended for those that have experience rock scrambling and finding almost non-existent tracks. 

McGowans Falls

Distance: 1.4 km return
Time: 30 – 60 mins
Elevation Gain: 100 m
Difficulty: Grade 2 / 3 – some navigation needed and steep sections

Facilities: None
Entrance Fee: None
Best For: The more adventurous with some navigation skills
Trailhead: 55 mins southwest of Burnie off Relapse Creek Rd

McGowans Falls, Tasmania flowing lightly in the winter time

McGowans Falls is widely different from the rest of the waterfalls near Burnie in that the bulging blackened cliff allows the water to flow peacefully over the rounded rocks in thin streams, each on its own course. 

A short 10 to 15 minute walk, made simple by the sheer amount of ribbons clinging to tree branches, will deliver you to the top of McGowans Falls. But to properly experience this majestic waterfall, continue down to the base where the shallow creek allows you to walk right up to the cool damp rocks.  

The walk to the base requires a bit of skill to stay upright as the gradient steepens dramatically. But with plenty of trees to hold onto, it’s a relatively easy task. 

Perhaps the most difficult part of visiting McGowans Falls is actually reaching the elusive trailhead. To find out more information about this waterfall walk, click here to read our in-depth guide for McGowans Falls. 

Dip Falls

Distance: 600 m return
Time: 10 – 20 mins
Elevation Gain: N/A
Difficulty: Grade 2 – stairs required to reach the base of the waterfall

Facilities: Picnic tables and toilets
Entrance Fee: None
Best For: Everyone
Trailhead: 1 hr 15 mins west of Burnie off Dip Falls Rd 

Dip Falls on a moody day with heavy water flow over the cascading waterfall

Located along a winding country road in the heart of the northwest, Dip Falls is slightly out of the way but we guarantee it’s worth the effort! Not only for the scenic drive, but Dip Falls is like none other we’ve witnessed in Tasmania. 

Dip Falls is a two-tiered waterfall cascading over a mass of cubic-basalt formed rocks that act as little stepping stones for the water to bounce over like a slinky. There are two walking tracks that offer varied views of Dip Falls, the higher one which crosses a bridge to reach the southern side of the waterfall is wheelchair accessible. 

The northern path descends a collection of stairs through a thriving rainforest to the base of the second tier. From here, you can scramble onto the nearby boulders and feel the force of the falls drench your skin. 

To make your time spent more worthwhile, you can make a stop at Blue Hills Honey for some delicious honey tasting or a bite to eat. They even offer a tasting of honey whiskey and a variety of meads!

Standing underneath McGowans Falls, Tasmania
McGowan’s Falls

We hope you’ve gained enough information to plan your adventure searching for waterfalls near Burnie. As I said in the beginning, this list isn’t finished so be sure to check back occasionally for additional waterfalls. As always, please feel free to ask us for any extra information or tell us about your favourite waterfall in the comments below. 

Happy Waterfall Hunting!