Mountain Valley is very, very remote. It does however have some spectacular scenery. We take a short drive to Preston Falls, a slender waterfall 25 metres high. It should be tranquil here, but as we begin descending the steps to the viewing platform another car pulls up and four girls burst out, shattering the calm. None of them looks old enough to drive, but presumably one of them must be. They are under-dressed and over-excited, shrieking and giggling as they make their way down to the falls, taking selfies and generally messing around. I’ve no idea where they’ve come from but dearly wish they’d go back there.
Of course I’m being unreasonable, they are merely young and boisterous, and I guess I was like that once too … though I struggle to remember it. But I resent their presence, intruding on the peace I had hoped to find here, and am even more put out because the experience is unfamiliar: generally speaking the places we have visited to date on this trip to Tassie have been deserted. So we quickly take our photos and move on, heading for Leven Canyon. At the canyon we take a circular hike, first trudging uphill through the rain to the lookout point 275 metres above the river. The view is spectacular:
From here its downhill all the way, 697 steps in total, until we reach a second lookout point. Our knees, hips, feet and lower backs protest mightily as we make the descent, and the only comfort is that it would be even worse if we’d done the circular route in the other direction and had to climb the 697 steps instead.
Having enjoyed the view it’s time to head back to the car, uphill of course. The information for walkers describes this as an easy walk for all ages, but I quickly suspect a misprint. Our aches and pains return, but we are comforted by the fact that the route takes us through the Fern Walk where grand old tree-ferns up to 5 metres tall and 150 years old line the path:
One of the things we have enjoyed most about walking in the Tasmanian forests has been the tree-ferns. They seem so exotic (which they are, to British eyes at least) and so tropical (which plainly they are not.) The unruly girls at Preston Falls, the pain in our limbs and the persistent rain are quickly forgotten as we immerse ourselves in the riot of delicate green foliage of the Leven Canyon Fern Walk, deep in the heart of Tassie.