Distance: 1 kilometre return
Grade: 2 (suitable for most with steep steps)
Distance from: Hobart - 255 km, Launceston - 249 km, Devonport - 200 km
The west coast of Tasmania has a long mining history. Gold was originally found at Iron Blow in Gormanstown back in the 1800's. Miners arrived in droves to discover more profitable copper and they began to strip the land bare. Now, due to copper smelting and large-scale excavation, the hills around Queenstown are an ethereal moonscape devoid of vegetation. Instead, the land is unnaturally stained to serve as a beautiful reminder of what happens when greed gets out of control.
Due to the temporary closure of the Mt. Lyell Mine for maintenance back in 2014, and the subsequent loss of tourism dollars for Gormanstown, the Tasmanian government built the $555,000 walking track to Horsetail Falls. Completed in 2017, the stepped boardwalk clings to a steep hillside to bring you to a viewing platform. You'll get a side-on view of the massive falls pouring out of Morse Creek, Queenstown's mountains and the ocean beyond. This quick and beautiful detour is a great way to stretch your legs during a long west coast drive and the 1-kilometre return walk is easily done in conjunction with Gormanstown's other lookout -- The Iron Blow Lookout across the Lyell Highway.
The towering falls, cascading down a mountainside in the shape of a horse's tail, can be seen to the south from the Lyell Highway just before descending to Queenstown. You'll find the carpark and walking trail across the Lyell Highway from Iron Blow Road.
The drives from both Launceston and Hobart will take you about 3.5 hours. Devonport is a bit closer sitting 200 kilometres away to the north. That drive will take you 2.5 hours.
The wooden boardwalk is elevated off a steep hillside, but there are handrails. Supervise children at all times.
There are many steps up to the lookout which requires a minimal level of fitness.
The wooden boards may be slippery after a rain. Make sure to wear shoes with a good grip.