The walk to Meander Falls in the Meander Forest Reserve was not really planned… my original plan was to do an overnight walk to the Walls of Jerusalem. But with the weather forecast predicting rain and snow, I decided to leave the tent in Sydney and do a couple of day walks instead. My pick for the first day, being fairly close to Walls of Jerusalem National Park (as I’m still doing the Walls of Jerusalem hike the following day) was the relatively unknown walk to Meander Falls, returning via Split Rock. The weather forecast was also much more favourable to the east, compared to the Walls. It ends up being a fairly late start – about 10:45am – by the time I reach the well sign-posted start of the walk.
The Meander Falls track follows the Meander River upstream, ascending fairly steadily but not steeply at the start, and crossing some side streams.
The track is not always obvious – I veer off a couple of times before realising my error – but there’s frequent orange triangles marking the correct route. The track is sometimes above the Meander River, which can be glimpsed through the thick forest cover below..
…at other times the Meander Falls track is close to the river, and there are a few boggy sections where some care is needed to avoid wet feet.
There’s a very steep section after about 3km, before the first glimpse of Meander Falls in the distance. The forest also changes subtly from here, being a bit more open than the semi-rainforest I’ve been walking through along the lower reaches of the Meander River.
The Meander Falls get more impressive as you get closer, falling 130 metres over two tiers.
As the track nears Meander Falls it becomes somewhat indistinct, but it’s easy to find a way down the slope to the base of the falls. It’s an impressive sight and I regret not taking my DSLR and a wide angle lens, as I can barely fit the entire waterfall into the photo. I’m the only person here and I enjoy the serenity of the waterfall and the clear pools at the botton… Although not for too long, as it gets cold pretty quickly once I stop moving!
I re-trace my steps, but only for about 300m, as I’m going back via the Split Rock Track (also referred to as the Cleft Rock Track) to make this a circular walk. The Split Rock Track is a bit rougher but still easy to follow, as it descends and crosses the Meander River.
It’s not entirely clear where the track goes as it climbs up from the river to a massive scree slope. But once on the scree, a series of cairns provides an indication of the route that climbs the slope.
Looking back, Meander Falls can be seen again in the distance.
Once the top of the scree field is reached, the track traverses thick heath, with a few boggy sections and oversize puddles for good measure… my topographical map suggests that there is a side-track to the top of Meander Crag, so I make this detour hoping to get some good photos from the top.
There isn’t a track – at least not one that I can find. I manage to bush-bash to the base of the rocky summit, and climb up some of the way before it starts getting very steep. And very windy. There’s nice views over the Meander Conservation Area with Huntsman Lake in the distance, from halfway up the mini-mountain.
After descending back to the Split Rock Track, I continue through the low heath before crossing another smaller scree field.
The track then enters into taller forest again, and descends quite steeply on a rough track. Rough as in lots of tree roots, uneven terrain and steep and slippery sections – but the trail is easy to follow.
There’s numerous small cascades, streams and sections of rainforest that make it pleasant walking.
As the trail descends, it goes through an enormous cleft in the rock – I can see where the track’s name is derived from!
At the bottom of this enormous split rocks there’s a waterfall, which is quite picturesque with the water cascading in front of a large and mossy overhang. According to my map, they don’t have a name…
…but I’ve also realised when looking at the map that I’ve made a small but annoying error: I’ve continued down the main Split Rock Track, and missed a turn-off to an alternate trail that goes past a number of falls. There’s another track that goes along the front of the waterfall and heads back up the hill. I feel compelled to head back up the hill to see what the other waterfalls I’ve missed look like. The track crosses another creek and small cascades, and I’m almost surprised I haven’t attracted any leeches (at least, not yet!).
The next falls – which are marked on the map – are the Shower Cave Falls. While the drop is not huge, there’s a fair amount of water cascading over the rock face, surrounded by ferns and towering trees above.
Continuing up the narrow track through the heavily wooded forest, it’s not far until the next named waterfall.
Split Rock Falls is even more impressive than the last one. It’s possible to walk behind the falls which spill over a large overhang, and the rocks around the base are weathered and pock-marked by the constant falling water. This would be a good spot for a picnic – I encounter a small group of people I et earlier who are having a break on the far side of the falls.
There are a couple more huge caves and overhangs on way back up to the main track – a few of these you could easily camp under (although the walk is not really long enough to warrant an overnight trip).
I rejoin the “main track” about 30min later. The junction is incorrectly placed on the topographical map, and there is a sign – but it’s lying on the ground and is slightly confusing. If you’re coming back via Split / Cleft Rock trails you definitely should take the “waterfall way” – look for the junction at 41.72463, 146.53076 (or Quamby Bluff GR 610 811).
Once back on the main track I re-trace my steps back down through Split Rock (or maybe it’s Cleft Rock?). The track descends fairly steeply through tall trees, past a few more overhangs and along sections of rainforest.
Eventually the track meets the Meander River, where a suspension bridge takes you back across to the starting point, finishing a 50m or so down the road from the main track I took up.
It’s been a great walk – no pun intended! The terrain’s been quite varied, there’s been a bit of route-finding to keep things interesting and the Split Rock Track back takes you past some very picturesque cacades and rock formations. It would be a fantastic walk to do in winter (with the right gear!) when the Meander Falls is frozen.
Route Summary 0.0km Start at carpark (606m asl) 4.0km Junction with Split Rock Track (continue straight ahead for Meander Falls) 4.5km Meander Falls (1,060m asl) 5.0km Split Rock Track 5.6km Approx location of side-track to Meander Crag 7.6km Junction with alternate track via waterfalls 9.3km Waterfall track rejoins main Split Rock Track 10.6km Return to Carpark Actual distance walked longer due to some side-trip and back-tracking.
Accommodation near Meander Falls
It’s a bit of a drive from anywhere to get to the start of the Meander Falls track… The closest major town is Deloraine, which has a range of hotels and cottages and is about a 30min drive. I stayed at Mole Creek, a very small town about 40min away (chosen as it’s the closest accommodation to Walls of Jerusalem, my original destination). There’s not much in Mole Creek – but the Mole Creek Hotel has cheap rooms and offers a decent pub meal.