Mawbanna, Tasmania Tigers, Dip Falls and The Big Tree

Having found out about Dip Falls from the tourist information in the shop at the foot of Stanley’s The Nut, I drove in search of a waterfall, not expecting anything good. Considering nobody else had ever mentioned Dip Falls to me, I hardly expected to be blown away by it. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong in this instance.

The drive there was rainy, quiet and winding. The A2 is the main road from Stanley down to Burnie, but to get to Dip Falls Nature Reserve you have to turn off onto the C225 just after Black River. This is a 27 kilometre drive to the nature reserve down long winding roads, some of which are gravel.

On the way there I passed through one village. Mawbanna. The name hardly shoots out at you as famous. But Tasmanian’s will know that in Mawbanna, was the last know shooting of a Tasmanian Tiger.

The Tasmanian Tiger interests me. It wasn;t really a tiger, more of a fierce dog. Apparently it’s extinct, because there have been no confirmed sightings, or photos took since the 1980s. The last know Tasmanian Tiger in a zoo died in the 1930s. 

Here in this lonely farming village of Mawbanna, a man named Mr Wilf Batty apparently shot dead a Tasmanian Tiger (know scientifically as a Thylacine) back in 1930. A memorial signpost marks the spot, with a photo of Wilf and his Tiger.

You will talk to people in Tasmania who all believe the Tasmanian Tiger is still around. They reckon it is in the south west corner region of Tasmania. They could well be right. This area is the world’s last true wilderness. Most of it is unventured by man. It’s just forest! There are maps of the area and paths have been made in the National Park, but the area has no people living there. At night you could well see Thylacines. And if you do, there won’t be many of them.

It has stripes to the rear of it’s back – hence the name Tasmanian Tiger. It appears alongside the Tasmanian Devil on so many tourist souvenirs on this island. Who knows whether they still exist or not. But I’ve never seen one – so this signpost detailing the last known killing of a Tasmanian Tiger for me is the nearest I got to seeing one.

On down the road past Mawbanna is a Honey Farm, and soon we are in a wilderness of our own as we enter the Dip Falls Nature Reserve. basically a deserted rainforest. There are some road signs there, and for tourists this is helpful, as otherwise I’d never know where the waterfall is. You cannot hear it. I saw the entrance to the best viewpoint for Dip Falls, but decided to drive on up to see the other “attraction” in the area – The Big Tree.

It’s basically just a massive tree in amongst all the smaller trees! But this one is big. I do the 10 minute return circuit walk to it. Through a dense rainforest. To add glamour to my walk. It’s raining. There are a few insects about, but no animals. That I could see. I take a few photos of the tree. I try to put the camera at the foot of the tree and get the whole tree in the photo. I can’t. The tree is too tall.

It is a 400 year old Eucalyptus Tree. I cannot smell the eucalyptus. Unlike when i lived in Parramatta when that gorgeous aroma met my nose everytime I walked through the park and golf course behind my Belgian Street flat. The Big Tree is 62 metres tall. It is 16 metres of a circle round the base. You can tell I read the information board next to it…

It’s big put it that way, and it was quite amazing actually. All the trees around it were nowhere near as big! The trunk looks like a combination of trees all joined together. But it’s not. It’s just one big tree! I won’t pretend it’s one of the highlights in Tasmania, and the real reason for this leg of my trip was doing some different types of sightseeing. So I ask “how many people have seen this tree?” and “how many people wearing a Glentoran shirt have seen this tree?” Not many, I’d imagine.

Once I’d done the Big Tree, it was time for Dip Falls. It was pretty breathtaking. And I’ve seen a fair few waterfalls. There were two main ways to see Dip Falls – firstly from a custom built ledge near the top of the waterfall, and second from the bottom of the waterfall. I did both, and also walked across the bridge above the waterfall, where you can’t see Dip Falls, but you see the Dip River flowing down towards the waterfall. It was astonishing.

The river that leads to Dip Falls is so calm and slow. You wouldn’t even think it was moving or flowing at all. On one side of the bridge it appears motionless, on the other side it’s ready to fall over 30 metres down a waterfall.

From the custom built ledge, you see Dip Falls in all its glory. It’s the best vantage point by far. It’s fast and furious. It colours into yellow, brown, clear and white on it’s way down. My mind is taken off the water however, and into the rocks. 

It’s all quite symmetric and pretty. The rock formation seem to be long narrow columns like chipped wood. Straight away I thought of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. It is our world heritage site on the north coast of my country. It is world famous.

Here at Dip Falls I saw that same frothy water as I seen at the Giant’s Causeway. I saw the same hexagonal rocks after the first hurdle fall of water. It’s not quite as impressive as the Giant’s Causeway. But it’s natural and beautiful. And you wonder to yourself how these hexagonal rocks all came to be.

Volcanic eruptions are the best explanations and they’re probably right. Earlier the same day I’d seen Stanley and The Nut, which is also the result of volcanic and earth movements. These rocks in the middle part of Dip Falls are special. After that I walked all the way down to the bottom and saw the rocks closer up.

I was pleasantly surprised by me wee trip to an unknown and unpublicised hat-trick in North West Tasmania. Here’s the hat-trick:

1. Dip Falls (massive flowing waterfall with special rocks)
2. The Big Tree (in the middle of a rainforest)
3. Mawbanna (tranquil village where the last Tasmanian Tiger was shat)









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