Pine Lake to Liffey Falls Ride

Cycle Tasmania, Road Ride, Pine Lake to Liffey Falls

A gorgeous and varied mountain and forest ride, descending from the subalpine highlands of the Great Western Tiers to tangled rainforest and one of the state’s prettiest waterfalls...all rewarded by one heck of a climb back.

Terrain

A long mountain descent followed by the same long climb back out. Lake Highway is a good, sealed (and wide) road, while the C513 to the falls is unsealed but usually in good condition - 11.2 kilometres of the ride is on dirt road.

Traffic

Lake Highway is one of Tassie’s least busy highways, so traffic presents no real problem. The C513 sees only tourist traffic into the falls, which get less visitors than their beauty deserves.

Access 

The shortest and easiest approach is from Deloraine, from where the Lake Highway heads south up into the Great Western Tiers. It’s about 35 kilometres from Deloraine to Pine Lake.

Food and Drink

There are no food or drink stops en route. For refreshment, head down to Deloraine.

Side Trip

At the start of the ride there’s a 900-metre walking track - one of Tasmania’s so-called Great Short Walks - to the shores of Pine Lake, an alpine tarn set among ancient pencil pines.

 

More Details

The ride begins on a subalpine high plain broken by the centuries-old pencil pines that surround Pine Lake. The lake is around 1200 metres above sea level, so it’s the gentlest of climbs to the Lake Highway’s highest point at 1210 metres. From here, it really is virtually all downhill, descending 450 metres over the highway’s next 10 kilometres. The best of the descent is the first section, passing frost-shattered rock and cruising beneath the ribbed escarpment of Projection Bluff.

Across the deep valley to the right are the equally dramatic walls of Liffey Bluff. Turning off the Lake Highway, the dirt C513 enters the Liffey State Forest, briefly skirting a logging coupe - a patch of arboreal baldness to give you even greater appreciation for the magnificent forest still ahead. It’s a flat ride along the C513 for a couple of kilometres, then it’s downhill again into the World Heritage area that cradles Liffey Falls. Occasional breaks in the forest offer views up to the rocky tops of the Great Western Tier bluffs, but mostly you’ll be encased in rainforest.

The short climb out from the Liffey River about 300 metres before the falls car park will seem disproportionately rude after so much downhill. At the road-end car park, park up your bike and set out for the 40-minute return walk to the base of the wide, moss-drenched falls, which form one of the most perfect natural sights in the state. The walk dips deep into the rainforest, past myrtle, sassafras and leatherwood trees and through a corridor of tree ferns. Savour the walk because the ride out means a 600-metre climb back up to Pine Lake.

It isn’t particularly steep - the average grade is 4.5% - but it is long, alleviated (somewhat at least) by the fact that the views of the Projection Bluff escarpment are even better from this approach. There’s a wonderful sense of satisfaction as you rise past the bluff back into subalpine country - hopefully there’s not an icy southerly blowing or the final four kilometres back to Pine Lake might seem eternal.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start at the Pine Lake car park and ride north along Lake Hwy (A5).
  • 0.7 Crest the Lake Hwy’s highest point (1210 metres) and begin the long downhill run.
  • 10.8 Turn right onto the dirt C513.
  • 12.7 Veer right, staying with the C513, signposted here to Liffey Falls.
  • 13.9 Enter the Liffey Forest Reserve World Heritage area.
  • 16.1 Cross the Liffey River and begin climbing towards the car park.
  • 16.4 Enter the Liffey Falls car park. To return towards Pine Lake, turn around and ride back along the C513.
  • 16.7 Cross the Liffey River.
  • 20.1 Veer left on the C513, signposted towards the A5.
  • 22.0 Turn right onto Lake Hwy.
  • 32.1 Crest the high point of the Lake Hwy.
  • 32.8 Finish the ride back at the Pine Lake car park.
  • Trail map

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    32.487 km / 20.187 mi

    Total Distance

    910 m / 2,987 ft

    Total Ascent

    910 m / 2,987 ft

    Total Descent

    1,207 m / 3,959 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
    Fitness Level: High
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 32.8
    Elevation Gain: 680
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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