Stepping out of the car, gravel crunches underfoot and bracing, cold air envelopes the face.
A blue sign reading “Ralph Falls” leads you into glistening green forest.
Mist swirls around the canopy, and the sound of trickling and dripping water floats through the air.
Moss trails from branches of aged trees and a black gravel path wends its way through the rainforest, heading gently downhill.
Ralph Falls is one of Tasmania’s tallest waterfalls, cascading 90 metres down a sheer cliff face, and is easily viewed from a short walk that leads to Norm’s Lookout.
Norm Brown was a tenacious Ringarooma resident who campaigned for a walking track to the falls, as well as a link road between Pyengana and Ringarooma.
The link road was initially started as an employment program in the great depression, but stalled after running out of money.
In 1979 Norm championed the cause and gathered the support and volunteer-hours of local residents and businesses, who came together to complete the link road and the walking track to the falls.
Finally opened in 1998 Ralph Falls became an accessible tourist area, although still little-known given its beauty.
A sign on the way proclaims the lookout “Norm’s Lookout” in memory of the local’s passionate advocacy of Norm Brown in ensuring the road and walking track were completed.
The road winds upwards through the Mount Victoria Forest Reserve to the parking area for Ralph Falls, which has toilets, picnic facilities and shelter.
Wandering through the lush rainforest, with vivid green dripping ferns and moss, towering trees and whorling mist it is easy to see why Norm Brown felt it important to allow people access.
Birds hop indignantly across the forest floor and the increasing sound of cascading water tells you the falls are coming closer.
The lightening of the dim forest under the canopy lures you on, and the lookout juts out from the forest, seemingly hanging in the air.
The lookout hangs over the plummeting side of the hill, and walking out on the cold, windy winter afternoon it feels like you’ve reached the end of the world.
The view is hidden behind constantly shifting clouds of mist, the falls are the only visible thing, dropping down into the blanket of white, disappearing from view before the water reaches the bottom.
The cold wind stings the face, but it is the beauty of the scene that takes the breath away.
Even without a view, Norm’s Lookout doesn’t disappoint in grandeur and splendour.