Horsetail Falls: Impressive Mountain Waterfall

Horsetail Falls is an impressive seasonal waterfall.

It’s located just outside Queenstown, which is a beautiful historic mining town hidden in a valley on the slopes of Mount Owen deep in the wild western region of Tasmania.

Reaching the falls is a short five-kilometre drive from Queenstown up the Lyell Highway on a mountain road made up predominantly of hairpin turns.

Discovering Horsetail Falls

As avid waterfall hunters, we always knew the waterfall existed. And we even had a rough idea the falls was located somewhere in the vicinity of Queenstown. But we discovered the falls entirely by accident.

While driving up the zig-zagging mountain road out of Queenstown headed towards our destination for the day, Iron Blow Lookout, we got our first sighting of the falls.

Turning the sharp hairpin corner, the views opened up and in the distance, we caught our first glimpse of the lovely mountain vistas and the falls far away on the horizon.

I knew right away that I was going to be making a detour to check out this waterfall.

But after an early morning start, and a long day of driving, my family didn’t agree. So doing what all avid photographers do, I left them in the car while I went waterfall hunting.

Horsetail Falls Boardwalk

The 30-minute return walk begins with a short gravel pathway that quickly changes to a sturdy wooden boardwalk which wraps around the mountainside.

The boardwalk on the side of the mountain
Horsetail Falls Boardwalk

The first two-thirds of the boardwalk is relatively flat and easy-going, with only the occasional step to tackle. Whereas the second half leading up to the viewing platform is made up almost entirely of steps with short sections of boardwalk in-between.

The raised boardwalk, which is perched high atop the mountainside provides some fantastic views out over the valley floor below and the surrounding mountain ranges that encircle Queenstown.

On a clear day, the view above the mountains allows you to see far off to the horizon beyond.

Looking back towards the mountains, the huge Hollywood-esque sign welcoming you to Queenstown can be seen high up on the mountain as well as the Lyell Highway curving its way up the mountainside.

Mountain with welcome to Queenstown written in rocks
Welcome to Queenstown sign

Around the halfway mark, the falls come into view. Cascading down the mountainside off in the distance.

Boardwalk heading towards Horsetail Falls, Tasmania
The first glimpse of Horsetail Falls

Unlike Dip Falls with its huge size and powerful raging water, these falls are a delicate single stream falling high from the mountainside.

Unlike most waterfalls, Horsetail Falls seemingly has no visible water source feeding them. The water just gushes out of a high rocky outcrop and tumbles 50 metres down the jagged mountainside.

Horsetail Falls flowing down the side of the mountain
Horsetail Falls

This single fall impacts the rocks below and breaks the falls into two before disappearing into the vegetation at the bottom of the valley.

Viewing The Falls

The boardwalk to the falls ends at a viewing platform with a high vantage looking out over the falls. But you only need to walk to around the halfway mark to get a nice view of the falls.

Viewing platform at Horsetail Falls, Tasmania
Viewing platform

Finishing the boardwalk at the viewing platform gives you a slightly side-on view of the falls which I didn’t think was the best angle. The view, in my opinion, is inferior to the straight-on view from around the halfway point of the boardwalk.

Stopping halfway also means you miss most of the steps that occur near the end of the boardwalk.

Entry Price

Entry to Horsetail Falls is free.

Opening Hours

Horsetail Falls is open 24 hours.

Facilities

  • Car park

Location

Click to view map to Horsetail Falls.

When To Visit

Due to the seasonal nature of the falls, it’s best visited during winter when heavier rainfalls increase the flow.

Recommended Equipment

  • Wet weather gear
  • Warm clothing
  • Water

Safety Advice

  • A few of the inner sections of the boardwalk are unfenced. Young children will need to be supervised in these areas

Conclusion

Horsetail Falls is not only a beautiful waterfall, the surrounding scenery is stunning also.

The boardwalk provides an easy and pleasant walk that’s worth a visit.

Nearby Attractions

  • Iron Blow
  • Queenstown

This site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. If you make a purchase via these links, we receive a referral commission, without any extra cost to you. This helps us fund the blog and continue to share our content with you. Read our legal page for more info.

Share this post on social media

Join For exclusive updates

Join now

Leave a Comment