Douglas Apsley National Park declared a National Park in 1989 after public protest against clearing local forests for the paper manufacture.
This hike through the gorge can be done at low water level only. After heavy rainfall, the Apsley River is flooded. Check the weather forecast first. Don't hike through the gorge if there is much rain forecasted. Even roads can get flooded. One day after our hike in November 16 we experienced flooded roads, closed trails, and landslides. A couple of trails got destroyed.
The Apsley River waterhole is popular for swimming in the summer. We saw several people having a look to the waterhole, but none of them hiked the trail through the gorge. It’s still a hidden gem compared to Freycinet.
Pleasant temps around 20° C in the summer from December to March. Nights can be cold. More precipitation in summer. Warmest month on average is January. Winter with mild temps on average around 5-13° C. Frost is not common. In general, the eastern part of Tasmania is much drier than the western. Bear in mind it’s Tasmania rain can always occur.
It’s a National Trust property which means an entrance fee is requested if you are not a member, but it's worth to do.
In the winter only the short walk to the White Lady Waterfall is opened between 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. Devil’s Cauldron and the gorge can get closed by a gate.
In spring and summer, the whole gorge is opened from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Check the opening hours first. The gorge can get flooded and is closed after several days of heavy rain.
The short waterfall trail is very popular and gets crowded during weekends and bank holidays and especially in the pleasant summer months. Also, the gorge trail can get busy. Fewer people hike the trail mid-week and rain keeps the crowds away. Luckily, the hike is arranged in a one-way system clockwise due to the narrow and often slippery path. Start the hike at the waterfall entrance on weekends at 10 a.m. to enjoy the White Lady Waterfall before it gets too crowded.
Throughout spring and summer wildflowers like the bluebell and wood anemone both in May and also wild garlic are in bloom along the trail.
- Often they leave the gate open. This enables you to start the hike early morning before or in the evening in summer after the crowds. There is a donation box to put in the entrance fee.
- We recommend staying in Lydford for one night to hike to Widgery Cross which is still a hidden gem. Check out the place just around the corner. We highly recommend the Lydford Country House 15 minutes walk from the gorge.
Climate Tavistock (south of Lydford)
Lydford experiences a temperate climate. July and August are the most pleasant months with almost 20°C on average, but 30°C can occur in the summer. May, June, September, and October are cool with temps between 10°C and 17°C. November to mid-April are cold on average 3°C to 8°C. Usually, the temps in winter are above 0°C. The wettest months with drizzle and precipitation are October to March. Anyhow, don't forget your rain jacket. Rain may occur throughout the year.
If you see one waterfall in Oregon's Columbia River Valley, make sure it's Lower Oneonta Falls.
The Gorge is accessible year-round and can be visited any time. However, the real hike - starting at the big rock and logjam (see review below) - can only be done when the water is low enough and not as freezing as in winter or early spring. This is a unique hike where the river is the trail!
Weather and Water:
Hiking is almost impossible from late fall / early winter until early spring. In the winter and early spring, the water is freezing cold and even a wetsuit might not be enough. In the spring the water is also very high and streams are flowing at their strongest: That means there is a high chance of serious injury and it is indeed life threatening. Some try the hike as early as in May, which is possible. But still, the water is very cold then and will take your breath away. Temperature wise the best months are late June until mid-October.
Avoiding the Crowds:
The entrance is ridiculously crowded with Disney like queues, particularly during the extremely busy summer months. In general it’s very busy from spring until fall on weekends and on public holidays. In the summer you should avoid weekends or be there early, between 7:00 and 7:30 AM. Preferably combine both: Get up early and visit during the week. The best months to avoid crowds are September, after Labor Day (first Monday in September) until mid-October: The summer tourists are gone, the weather is pleasant and the fall foliage is just stunning. But still: Get up early for a much quieter experience.
While all the visitors flock to Niagara Falls, head away from that attraction to find something wildly fascinating and take it in without a tourist in sight.
Summer and Fall, dawn to dusk. We found that if you go early in the day, you'll likely be the only people on the trail or near the gorge for a few hours, which offers an unspoiled view of the fierce water.
Lake Bled is truly a magical place with so much to see and do. We arrived in Spring to our amazement to see a beautiful clear fresh water lake with an Island in the center.
It's a year-round destination, even beautiful in winter! Best weather with pleasant temperatures from May to September. However, it gets busy in the peak summer months. During the winter months it's much quieter.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Season/Months: If you want to dodge the crowds, don't go in July/August and try to avoid weekends in general. The high season starts mid-June with many tourists visiting the place. It usually gets very crowded in the summer. Crowds are also attracted during Christmas and New Years celebrations. April/May and September/October are great months with a pretty good chance of nice weather and fewer tourists than in summer. Very quiet months (besides Christmas and New Years Eve) are November until February. It can get cold with snow, especially in January. However, winter is a great time to enjoy this place since it's super quiet.
Time of Day: If you visit in the summer, you can avoid the crowds by starting your activities early in the day. For example, visit the iconic Bled Castle first thing in the morning: It opens at 8 AM. It starts to get really crowded around 10 AM. The next morning you could rent a boat and row to Bled Island. Again, if you do this early, you'll dodge the crowds and enjoy a peaceful lake and island. Special tip: When it gets insanely crowded later in the day, wander around Lake Bled, and you'll find at least some spots of solitude. Another idea is to hike a strenuous or longer trail. Most visitors do the short walks only.