Photography: © 2018 Craig Doumouras

About McGowans Falls

McGowans Falls is a large tiered waterfall situated on Relapse Creek, west of West Takone in Tasmania.  Access to McGowans Falls is from Relapse Creek Road, a Forestry Rd that branches off Farquhars Road. There is no signage in the area to indicate where the waterfall is, nor are there street signs to indicate where each road is.  Being forestry roads, the tracks are unsealed gravel roads, suffering from some very large potholes. We recommend an SUV vehicle, or a 4WD be used if you wish to visit these falls, and surrounding area. Caravans, and motorhomes should avoid the area entirely. A makeshift area has been created by hiking enthusiasts for car parking that could accommodate 2 vehicles parked one in front of the other.

A small rock cairn with a pink ribbon on a stick marks the spot to park!

The hike to the waterfalls is relatively quick, requiring 30 minutes for an able bodied / fit person to complete. The hike, for the most part, journeys steadily on a gentle downhill slope, as it meanders through rather dense dry forest. Pink ribbons tied to trees will guide you on the direction to go, so ensure you keep a look out for them. The track will take you directly to the very top of the waterfalls, where a plaque is placed in the ground.

In memory of Douglas William McGowan In memory of Douglas William McGowan

The walk to the base of the falls

The best views of McGowans Falls are from the base of the waterfall, and after a quick scout of the area surrounding the plaque embedded in the soil, more pink ribbons were found to guide you down. The trek down is difficult, and dangerous, with very steep slippery sections, with parts of the track needing to be negotiated on cliff faces. If you have a fear of heights, then this part of the hike should not be undertaken. It is also necessary for proper hiking boots and gloves to be worn. Trek Carefully and slowly, ensuring every step you take IS on stable ground.

Navigation Issues

McGowans Falls remains a mystery to find for many people. There are a few reasons for this:

  • The Arthur River 1:100,000 Topographic Tasmap Edition 4 2014 has completely omitted McGowans Falls from their map, where as it was displayed in previous editions.
  • Google Maps has mistakenly called the road you park your vehicle 'Farquhars Road', instead of the correct name 'Relapse Creek Road'.
  • Due to logging in the area, many of the visual resources found in other forums and websites can be misleading, with some websites accidentally directing you in the opposite direction.

Waterfalls Of Tasmania has verified the drive to McGowans Falls, as well as the hiking track with a handheld Magellan GPS. The tracking data can be seen on the Google Map below.


On the 14th October 2015, 'McGowans Falls' was officially registered with the Tasmanian Nomenclature Board. Douglas McGowan was a ranger in charge of the Lapoinya and West Takone logging areas in the 1970's. The area where McGowans Falls is situated were scheduled to be logged by the A.F.H (Association of Forest Holdings) contractors, and Douglas McGowan was responsible for surveying and assessing the area for the group. During his scouting expeditions, Douglas discovered the watergall, and recommended to headquaters that they should preserve the waterfall, and the surrounding forest as an area of beauty, history, and environmental significance.

Hike and Waterfall Information

Land TenureFuture Potential Production Forest (Crown)
GPS Coordinates-41.164211 , 145.454636
Road AccessUnsealed Road, potholes
Walking Distance1km
Walking Time1 hour return
Grade of WalkHard, and very steep
Creative Commons License TopographicBasemap from theLIST © State of Tasmania