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Upper Ford Falls
On Ford River located on top of Ben Lomond
By Craig Doumoruas
Published on 30 Jan 2021
I've been out of sorts a lot since Chirstmas of 2020. At the end of the year, I decided to try and locate a waterfall in the Cradle region situated on Harman Creek. It is near Moina, a small village, and on that walk I had a fall and injured my chest.
Fast forward a few weeks, I wanted to get out of the house. A friend of mine, Azra, was bragging to the world how she found a waterfall I had never been to, and that waterfall was on Ben Lomond, Tasmania's second highest mountain. I have always known about the waterfall, but had never gone to it. Never to be outdone, I decided to look for myself.
So, I got into my car (a Land Rover, not a Ford), and headed to Ben Lomond. From Launceston, the drive to Ben Lomond is really pleasant. The drive takes you past Corra Linn, a really pretty spot on the North Esk River, and then through gorgeous valleys surrounded by the big mountains of Ben Nevis, Ben Lomond and Mt Barrow. In the morning sun, the summer fields were golden, and was incredibly enjoyable to be driving through the region. Soon enough the turnoff to Ben Lomond came, and we left the highway to drive 18 kms on unsealed road to the top of the Ben Lomond Plateau.
On Topographical maps, there is a waterfall feature marked on them which is located relatively close to Jacobs Ladder and the lookout known as The Watchtower. However, the waterfall that Azra visited was closer to the ski village on the mountain, approximately 1km upstream. Her notes were good! She explained that you should drive towards the village until you see an area on the left hand side of the road that has reddish dirt, and park your car there. There is a track there as well, that leads to the waterfall. I followed her instructions together with my GPS, and worked my way towards Ford River. It didn't take long at all, possibly 10 minutes. Near the river, I had to climb up and over a few big boulders, and bounce off rocks to get a clear view of the waterfall. All of this was pretty easy, especially in summer when it's dry! I suspect in the snowy winters, it might be impossible to do!
With the chest injury I sustained a few weeks earlier, I was feeling very uncomfortable. The climbing of boulders in particular was giving me grief. But, I ploughed on.
The waterfall is rather cute! It isn't big by any stretch of the imagination, perhaps 2 or 2.5 metres in height. Usually a waterfall this small wouldn't get documented on the Waterfalls of Tasmania website, but given its ease to get to, and combining it with other walks on the mountain, it probably deserved to be mentioned.
I also learned that this waterfall is not Ford Falls. Ford Falls is downstream where it is marked on Topographical Maps. So, I drove to the car parking area near the lookout, and then tried to scramble my way towards the river. The vegetation is incredibly thick here, and the hard alpine scoparia will shred your skin if you try to pass through it. Also at this point, you're on higher ground than the river, with the river cutting its way through a gorge. I mapped out a way I thought would lead me to a place I could view the waterfall from a cliff, and carefully worked my way to that point. Unfortunately, I was stuck on a cliff edge, sore ribs pounding, and no view at all.
But what I could tell, simply by listening, there is a waterfall there, and it is larger than the waterfall I photographed upstream. I will need to plan another trip to Ben Lomond one day, and see if I can access the waterfall by walking downstream from Upper Ford Falls. For now, Upper Ford Falls will have to do!
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