Rainbow Falls

Moonlight RidgeGPS Coords: -43.4736, 146.7874
Land Tenure: National Park

Updated on 02 Jun 2021

Rainbow Falls
© 2015 - 2022 Photography: Caedence Kuepper

Grade 5 Hike
Suitable for very experienced hikers only.

20km's12-14 hours returnRough unformed track No directional signage

No Modification of the natural environment.

Dogs are not allowed
Drones are not allowed
Unknown if accessible with a caravan
Unknown if accessible with a campervan or RV
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About Rainbow Falls

The magnificent Rainbow Falls, on Many Falls Creek in Southwest National Park, may well be the best totally unknown waterfall in Tasmania. There is no track leading anywhere near the falls, and they remain unnamed on maps. This is despite their huge size, with a 50 metre single drop in addition to 20 metres of upper cascades not visible from the base. As the (unofficial) name suggests, the east-facing falls may feature rainbows on sunny mornings, but even without a rainbow the colourful cliffs backing the falls, with shades of purple, white, orange and green are very befitting of the name. 

Reaching Rainbow Falls is a serious mission that should only be attempted by those experienced in off-track walking, requiring a full day trip of at least 12-14 hours return, best done as an overnighter unless you attempt it at the absolute height of summer. The creek tends to lose much of its luster in the drier months, so a trip in the wetter seasons or soon after rain is recommended to get maximum reward for the considerable effort required. To reach the falls, take the Moonlight Ridge Track from near Ida Bay, continuing until you pass the small campsite beside Moonlight Creek. Soon after the campsite, leave the track and head south, towards the headwaters of a tributary creek (unofficially - North Fork Creek). There are two realistic ways to head towards the falls. Travelling along the North Fork Creek itself is a rewarding mission, passing several nice waterfalls including North Fork Many Falls Creek Falls, but the log and moss-choked creek is a serious navigational challenge, with many dangerous sections with unstable ground skirting around cliffs. The other option is to head through the bush to the east of North Fork Creek, which avoids some of the particularly challenging aspects of the creek walk, particularly the areas around the waterfalls. That is not to understate the difficulty of this option, as it is still a seriously hard hike, and it has the downside of missing out on the gorgeous rainforest waterfalls along North Fork Creek. 

Whichever route you take, you will eventually come out to Many Falls Creek downstream of the main falls. There are some more significant falls downstream, but getting to these requires more serious abseiling skills and gear. The last section of the hike upstream is more of what you will be used to by this point, but it is not too long before you arrive at the big falls, passing a nice intermediate cascade along the way. 

DO NOT attempt to access Rainbow Falls from above. We attempted to exit this way on our first visit, having gone in via the North Fork Creek. While the views from the top of the falls were spectacular, the scrub was the worst you are likely to find anywhere, and it took close to four hours to make it from the base of the falls, to the top and then back to the main track. 

For experienced off track walkers this is a very rewarding trip, but it is not one to be underestimated. Rainbow Falls is both one of the best waterfalls in Tasmania, as well as one of the hardest to access. 


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Waterfalls near Rainbow Falls

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