Guide Falls Reserve: Tranquil waterfall walk

Guide Falls, Tasmania.

In typical Tasmanian style, this waterfall and nature reserve is another blink and you’ll miss it destinations. But if you do happen to catch the sign post just outside the Ridgley township, then you’re in for a treat.

Guide Falls Reserve has it all. Great facilities, some stunning short walks full of waterfalls and ferns, and it’s the perfect spot to enjoy some tranquility in nature.

Water twirling between rocks
The river in motion

Guide Falls Short Walk

Just like Fern Glade, Guide Falls has a lovely short walk between the lower car park and the upper car park.

For simplicity, I’ve split these into two separate walks depending on which car park you choose to start from.

Guide Falls with all the smaller cascades shown
View towards the main falls

Lower walk

The lower walk is the longest of the two, but still remains a fairly easy 20 minutes return walk.

The walking trail follows the curves of the Guide River on a well built and fenced gravel path that climbs from the lower car park to the base of the main waterfall. The path is on a slight incline but nothing to strenuous.

The scenery is beautiful with multiple cascading falls, running river and plenty of natural Australian bush land and trees to enjoy along the way.

Small river cascade of Guide River, Tasmania
Cascading river

The path seems to come to an end once you reach the stairs to the upper car park, but a quick swing around the rock wall and you find yourself in a natural amphitheater full of ferns and a wall of flowing water right in front of you.

Waterfall hiding behind the rock wall
The falls hiding behind the rock wall

It’s a nice little oasis on a hot day due to the natural cooling effect of the cold running water and the shade created by the rock walls.

Tree surrounded by ferns
Guide Falls has plenty of ferns!

Upper Walk

The walk from the upper car park is very short and only takes around 5 minutes return to complete.

The walking trail itself is a simple concrete path that leads steeply down the grassy hill to the upper lookout platform.

From this platform you get a fantastic panoramic view over the top of the main waterfall and down into the waterfall basin.

From here you can head down the steep flight of stairs and turn right to complete the lower walk in reverse or turn left and head to the base of the main waterfall.

Be prepared to get covered in a fine mist when you’re on the upper lookout platform when the waterfall is flowing heavily. And bring something to clean your camera lens if you plan to take some photos.

River with two small cascades
Scenery along the Guide Falls lower walk
River Cascade
Tranquil river cascade


Guide Falls has a heap of facilities to cover everything from a quick visit to a full day family gathering.

Adjacent the lower car parking area are public toilets, a covered BBQ and picnic area, so you can BBQ in any weather conditions, as well as some lovely river side picnic tables for when the sun is shining.

There is plenty of well maintained grassed area for kids to play and explore the nearby river.

Rocky riverbank along the Guide River, Tasmania
Riverbanks to explore
Grassy river bank at Guide Falls Reverse, Tasmania
Plenty of grassed area to explore

Best time to visit Guide Falls

While Guide Falls is a beautiful spot for a short walk year round, it’s the waterfall that we really want to see.

The waterfall changes dramatically throughout the year due to the changing seasons.

If you want to see the waterfall at full capacity, with roaring waters and mist thrown into the air due to the sheer power of the falls. then you want to visit in winter (June to August) with the increased rainfall and water runoff making Guide Falls fairly dramatic.

During the summer months (December to February), the water flow does shrink dramatically. We still think it’s worth a visit though.

With the limited amount of water flowing, it’s possible to see the rock wall behind the waterfall. This turns into an awesome wall of green moss that’s pretty cool to witness.

Guide Falls in winter
Guide Falls in winter
Guide Falls in summer
Guide Falls in summer

Getting there

Guide Falls Reserve is located 17kms outside of Burnie on the North West coast of Tasmania.

Take the B18 out of Burnie towards the town of Ridgley. Pass through Ridgley and continue for around 1km.

Keep an eye out for the sign designating the turn off to Guide Falls Reserve (West Ridgley Road).

Follow West Ridgley Road until you reach the gated entrance to Guide Falls Reserve.

Triple cascading waterfalls on Guide River, Tasmania
Small triple cascades
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