The next hike we did was a mid-morning stop along our campervanning route around Tazzies. We pulled off onto a gravel road a little while after leaving Lake Mackintosh and passing through Rosebery, and followed it to its end at the Williamsford car park which forms the Northern approach trailhead for the Montezuma Falls hike. We packed our backpacks and hit the trail.
The trail follows the historic North East Dundas Tramway that ran from Zeehan in The South East to Williamsford and facilitated access to mining sites in the Mount Dundas and Mount Read areas. It operated until 1925 and the rails were removed in the early 1940s leaving just a nice wide flat track carving its way along the Ring River through a rainforest.
As we entered the trail, we were immediately swallowed up by the magical wonderland of plant life including leatherwood, myrtle, sassafras and giant tree ferns. The trail was damp and cool, with a few puddles along the way. The first half is a very gradual descent with an abundance of water trickling down over eye-catching fungi on the embankments to the left and rushing down the stream below on our right side, and the occasional moss-covered wooden bridge assisting in crossing the fresh creeks where necessary. This proved to be a great trail for a very relaxed and social walk with nice long chats while soaking up the nature. Along the way, some remnants of the mining era can be seen with what appeared to be deep, dark prospecting shafts dug into the side walls of the slopes.
We could hear that we were getting close to the waterfall and after approximately 5.5km from the start, we arrived at a metal suspension bridge which spans the river below the falls, and towers above derelict pieces of timber, moss-covered concrete piers and rusty bolts which are the only remains of an old wooden trestle bridge that was 50 metres long and 15 metres high and took five months to build. From the middle of the bridge we stared straight into the roaring mouth of the Montezuma falls, the tallest in Tasmania at 104 metres. The scenery is truly spectacular with the gushing water tumbling down from great heights on one side, the deep river valley below, and then the seemingly endless dense forest sweeping away as far as the eye can see on the other side.
On the other side of the bridge, the track continues for another 14.5km to Melba Flats and even beyond that for another 8km to Zeehan, but in our case, aside from an exploratory stroll off the trail to dig a hole, the falls were as far as we were coming this day and made for a great location to picnic on our lunch fodder, both controversially gluten-free and gluten inclusive, that we had carried with us.
We went up to the platform right by the foot of the falls to bask in its wondrous spray and take a few photos before starting to make our way back. Just as we started the return leg of our walk, we were visited by a tiny bird that seemed particularly fond of human interaction and at one point even settled for a few brief moments on one of our shoes. Aside from that, the return route was as pleasant as the way in, but otherwise uneventful, and followed the same track to emerge once again at the car park for us to continue our journey by campervan further south.
The entire walk took us 3 hours at a very leisurely pace, including our lunch break, and the round trip was approximately 11km with 197m of elevation gain.