Vanishing Falls, Southwest Tasmania

Here is a little film I made a few years ago for a local audio-visual show, that wasn’t uploaded to the web until today. This journey coincided with low water levels and therefore included far more packing than rafting. I offer the strongest possible advice; please do not attempt this journey unless you are highly experienced in carrying large loads through the most severe off-track terrain. Production is very amateurish but I hope you enjoy it. Regards, John

Thanks John, Sort of off topic, but a co-incidence non the less… After discovering I had put my pelvis out after a fall boulder hoping in NZ I visited a local therapist - They were telling me about a friends" recent trip in south west tasmania attempting to “find” the vanishing falls. Sounded like they had a group of four, managed to get there, but found them selfs stranded on the paddle out due to several days of heavy rain, they sat it out until running out of food and activation the epirb. The detailed story of the vanishing falls was highly intriguing and conjured up some pictures in my own mind.

Seeing your film has put it all into reality. Stunning part of the world, and what an amazing site to see a river disappear. Thanks for capturing the trip and posting it online.

Again, wonderful, thanks John (and Matt).

You guys do some hard yards.

Epic trip, thanks for sharing it ! What did those packs weigh??

Thanks all for your kind comments. Those packs were heavy, Fish; probably low 30s (kg). That was 5 years ago now, and we have both found some lighter equipment since then… trying to make it lighter every time a piece of gear needs replacement. The Carcass and the Big Yellow Taxi have both been replaced by HMG Porters, although Matt is looking for something slightly larger because he carries a lot of photographic gear.

The Big Yellow Taxi was custom-made to my design brief in 2001, by MD, at a time when they still had manufacturing facilities in Australia. The Carcass is the biggest expedition pack that WE make. It’s a horrendously big thing; looks like a skinned dead animal when full.



Jeeeez John, low 30’s!! i get woobly knees with a 20 kg pack! It only took me 4 days to walk from New River to Cockle Creek…and I still thought it was hard…little embarasing.


Four days for that section of the route is far more sensible than our single day, Steve. Not embarrassing at all!

For us, we just wanted to get the job done that day, and it was a hard, fast push. We both knew that piece of track very well, in fact we have suffered on it before; we walked it virtually six times in a week a few years ago when we double-packed inflatable kayaks in to New River to bag a remote summit; the Provis Hills. That story is from just before Alpackas came onto our radar, and is told in the videos below if you are interested.

Cheers, John