The waterfall in the Hindmarsh Tiers region is a location that I can’t recall ever visiting before. Or, if I had visited this place, it would have been a very long time ago - most likely on a school excursion - with a memory blurred between numerous childhood trips to similar places dotted around the Fleurieu region.
There are quite a few waterfalls found across the Fleurieu, but since the sound map started in 2011 I’ve only documented one: the well known Ingalalla Falls located a short distance from Hay Flat Road and adjacent to a huge area of Second Valley Forest.
Hindmarsh Tiers is a large, mostly pastoral region located between Myponga and Mount Jagged. A fairly elevated terrain from the outskirts of Myponga, the road largely levels off as you pass long paddocks filled with cattle and sheep. Large plantations of pine can be sighted in the distance, whilst clusters of remnant vegetation line the roads and are densely tucked amongst lower lying areas. The side road leading to the Hindmarsh Falls is surrounded by beautiful native scrub and stringy barks. A short walk leads down towards the lookout of the falls.
The falls are fed by the Hindmarsh River to the north and the waters zig-zag through narrow channels of mossy, etched rock, before a steady stream of water plunges below into a chain of rock pools.
The ‘noise’ generated by natural sources is always fascinating - such as waves crashing and wind through trees - since close listening often reveals the finer acoustic qualities of the overall sound, suggesting and even - in some instances - indicating certain properties that define non-acoustic characteristics of a landscape. What struck me on this visit was how dominant the sound of the falls were, with the steady roar of the cascade swelling from below, with engulfing sibilance filling the air.
For this recording, I positioned a first-order ambisonic recorder in a scrawny casuarina tree near the path leading down to the falls lookout. From here, the roar of the cascade was prominent, with also a discrete hint of birdsong to be heard if you squinted your ears. Indeed, a passage of birdsong from what sounds like reed warblers and possibly fairy wrens can be heard at the four-minute mark, and just prior to this, there is what sounds like a dad and his daughter making their way enthusiastically down to the lookout.
However, it’s the cascade that clearly dominates this recording and I encourage you to listen closely to the complex densities of sound and seek out the spatial qualities of the soundscape as well. In this respect, the binaural mix of this ambisonic recording certainly serves this document, closely resembling as it was heard on the day of my visit. I will certainly be returning to Hindmarsh Falls again in the future.
Where was I during this recording? Well, although the path officially ends at the lookout, there are remnants of a previously ‘official’ path leading down further into the valley. As I’d left the recorder, I discovered that my companions had disappeared on this forbidden path and I decided to tag along. Now, typically I would discourage anyone from veering off designated paths for a myriad of reasons, but in this particular instance I believe it constitutes a fairly innocuous act, providing of course that you behave yourselves and apply the usual amount of discretion and common sense where the ground is uneven, slippery and the drops are steep and long. Also appropriate footwear - every time.