Visiting a waterfall is one of the most unique experiences ever.
The view of foamy water falling over the rocks and into a pool leaving you in a mist of freshness is something that can only be described when you witness a waterfall for the first time, and when you go on a misty, cold winters day, the experience is second to none. Fortunately for us here in regional Victoria, we have waterfalls deliver all of this and more at an arms length away.
If you’re feeling like getting out of the house for a day and exploring the beauty that is the Great Ocean Road, we’ve tracked down 10 cascading rivers accessed by a range of awe-inspiring bush walks located just 10 minutes from Lorne, located just over an hour from Geelong and two hours from Melbourne. Just be sure to check updated information on the tracks ahead of your trip.
In a region known for its magnificent waterfalls, Erskine Falls stands out as one of the best, plunging (or trickling, depending on recent rainfall levels) down a 30-metre drop into the Erskine River.
To indulge in the beauty that it is, there’s an easy walk to the first lookout (about 300m), or a more strenuous but rewarding climb down 230 steps through lush rainforest to the second lookout, where you will see the waterfall in all its glory. The Erskine River Walk to Lorne continues off downstream from here if you are prepared for the 7.5km walk.
You can find the exact location here.
Won Wondah Falls
Amble along a gentle track to reach Won Wondah Falls. A short walk, just 3.6km long, the entire family can journey through the midst of a glorious fern gully, crossing paths with these spectacular natural phenomenons along the way. The falls plunge downwards into a valley which is covered by lush vegetation, making it rather difficult to view or access their base, however, beautiful nonetheless.
You can find its location here.
Some of Lorne’s best waterfall walks start from Sheoak Picnic Area, including this one. The Henderson Falls Walk gently climbs from here with a few small dips and raises through dense wet forest shadowed by towering eucalypt trees. You will finish your short journey (3km, one hour return trip) at the base of Henderson Falls, cascading over a moss-capped cliff face to a small pool below. There’s also a short diversion to see Won Wondah Falls.
Find it on alpaca maps here.
This walk from Sheoak Picnic Area to Phantom Falls is packed with highlights. You’ll see the aforementioned Won Wondah Falls and Henderson Falls, as well as the lost world of The Canyon on your way to Phantom Falls. After crossing the marvellous St George River and hugging the edge of an orchard, this walk climbs on a vehicle track above the rocky bed of St George river. A moderate 3.5km walk (one way), Phantom Falls is perfect for those lazy Sunday adventurers.
You can find its location here.
Upper and Lower Kalimna Falls
Embrace history with this gentle walk tracing the route of an old timber tramway used for transporting timber to the Lorne pier between the 1890’s and 1920’s. From the picnic area, the path winds through a picturesque creek valley that is lined with lush ferns and towering blue gums to Lower Kalimna Falls. The hiking trail can become quite muddy in parts, esepcially if it’s recently rained. Once you get there, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic beside the falls that plunge over an undercut rock ledge into a tranquil fern-fringed pool.
Continue on to Upper Kalimna Falls, where dense tree ferns frame the 15-metre falls as they cascade down the steep rock face onto mossy boulders below.
Find the route here.
If you’re ready to experience one of the most beautiful river Valleys in the Otways, this is it. With dramatic but magnificent cliffs, gentle streams, peaceful pools, and never ending views, these memories will stay with you forever. It’s about a 6km return walk, but we aware that there are numerous river crossing and some unsteady rocks under foot – nothing a decent hiking boot can’t handle. Those with a taste for adventure will fall in love with Cumberland Falls and never look back… we promise.
Discover its location here.
Sheoak Falls is a place of tranquillity and beauty just off the Great Ocean Road. To see it for yourself, it’s a 3.6km walk (one way) from the Sheoak Picnic Area through wet forest to the hidden cascades of Sheoak Falls. Here, the waters of Sheoak Creek cascade 15m down a sheer rock face into a pool surrounded by trees before continuing down to the ocean. If you’d prefer not to return to Sheoak Picnic Area via the same route, you can arrange to be picked up at Sheoak Falls Carpark.
This is one of the more popular waterfalls near Lorne and is a perfect break from your Great Ocean Road drive.
Map your journey here.
Swallow Cave is actually just the Upper part of Sheoak Falls, but no less beautiful and worthy of its own mention. On the way to Sheoak Falls (as above), there’s the option to head up a staircase on the left side, instead of walking down to the right. It’s here where you will find the quaint and beautiful Shallow Cave. A 2.2km return moderate walk, winter is stunning no doubt, but the caves truly come alive from spring to autumn, when the sun is shining and nesting birds are present.
Cora Lynn Cascades
The Cora Lynn Cascades may not be the most spectacular falls in the Otways, but they are certainly beautiful and worth a visit. The walk takes you through tall eucalyptus and shady, lush tree ferns to an open area at the base of breathtaking cascades, which flow over a series of exposed shale ledges, framed by luxuriant ferns and mosses. A 4.2km round trip (allow two hours) from the Blanket Leaf Picnic Area, pack up your lunches and prepare to get acquainted with the glorious earthly surroundings.
Please note, the track is very hilly – downhill from the picnic area to the Cascades and uphill on the way back so watch your step!
Explore its location here.