LET'S GO CHASING WATERFALLS
With its diverse terrain and coastal margin, the entire Great Ocean Road region is a natural for waterfalls. Typically they offer shady respite from summer days and walkable access through forest settings alive with sights and sounds of wildlife. keep your eyes peeled for koala, echidna, wallaby, weird fungi, wildflowers and native birds.
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The picture perfect, rectangular shaped Beauchamp Falls, is about 4km from Beech Forest.
A moderate to difficult 1.5 hour return walk from the picnic area. The walk passes through magnificent mountain ash forests, with large myrtle beech, blackwood and thick ferns.
The track becomes steep before opening to the spectacle of the falls crashing over a ledge into a large pool. Dogs on leash are permitted. Located off the Aire Valley Road from Beech Forest Road.
What's more mesmerising? Gazing over a waterfall at eye-level or sizing it up from below? At Erskine Falls, near Lorne, you can do both.
Tumbling 30 metres down a rocky face in a fern filled rainforest setting. Erskine Falls drips with natural charm. It's the most accessible of the regions waterfalls.
From the car park 150 metres gets you to the first lookout platform where you can soak up the cascade in all its splendour.
For the second act, trek 200 plus steps down deep into the gully for a worm's eye view of the splash pool and falls.
The positive ions from Hopetoun Falls can be enjoyed either by a short stroll to the viewing platform or for the more intrepid a trek down to the base of the falls.
The path is steep to the valley floor where it passes through a glade of tree ferns to the foot of the falls, around a 30 minute moderate round trip. Alternatively, a viewing platform at the car park offers a view of the roaring water as it pounds into the Aire River. A picnic area is also located near the car park. The ease of access to the viewing platform make Hopetoun Falls a great, accessible option for all fitness levels and abilities.
Just south of Hopetoun Falls is the picturesque towering Californian Redwood plantation which is a must do if in the area. Located 26 kilometres east of Lavers Hill off Binns Road.
A short, easy walk from the car park and you're on the viewing platforms overlooking the 90metre wide Hopkins Falls near Warrnambool and ready to stake out a picnic spot.
Plunging 12 metres over dark basalt rocks, the curtain-like Hopkins Falls is the largest in the Hopkins River. Take in the views from the two viewing platforms overlooking the falls and take the easy path from to the platform below for postcard-worthy snaps. (Look out for the camera stands, too – who needs a selfie stick?). Visit the falls in winter to see them at their most impressive, also keep an eye out for baby eels jumping the rocky ledges during their winter migration.
Hopkins Falls is just a 15 kilometre drive from Warrnambool. It is a popular picnic spot, the area above the falls has barbecue and toilet facilities.
Upper and Lower Kalimna Falls
The Kalimna Falls walk follows the route of a timber tramway used for transporting timber to the Lorne Pier between the 1890s and 1920s. Very few trees escaped the logging.
The Lower Falls are not large, but you can get behind them and look out through the falling water to the large pool surrounded by mossy logs and rocks. The Upper Falls are a series of cascades viewed from a platform.
A 90-minute trail walk reveals the stunning apparition of 15 metre high Phantom Falls on the St George River, 2km from Lorne.
Go up, down and around on this varied walk. Cross the St George River, skirt an orchard, then follow an uphill vehicle track (with some steep sections of loose gravel) above the riverbed before descending to a pool at the base of scenic Phantom Falls.
Experienced walkers looking for a challenge can take the strenuous walk to Cora Lynn Cascades from the base of the falls. Find the Canyon and Sheoak Picnic Area via a track above the falls.
Photograph Credit - Leon Walker Photography
A 5 minute drive from Barramunga (between Skenes Creek & Forrest) is Stevensons Falls.
The track begins at the campground and meanders along the edge of the Gellibrand River to the day visitor area. From there, the walking track crosses the river and continues through stands of Douglas Fir trees and then back down to the river. The track ends at the viewing platform at the base of the falls. For the shorter walk, start at the day carpark via the second bridge. There is a large free camping area in peaceful valley, close to river & pines, where dogs and fires are permitted.
Distance: 500m return (short) OR 4.6km return (long) | Time: 20 min (short) OR 1.5hr (long) | Difficulty: Easy
A 1-hour 2km moderate loop walk through enchanting and ancient mountain ash forest near Beech Forest reveals Triplet Falls and its series of elevated viewing platforms. With large sections of expanded metal boardwalks, you will discover three distinct and impressive cascades flowing through shady rainforests and glades of mossy tree ferns. The walk is quite close to the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures located on Phillips Track near Beech Forest. The walk begins with some sections of steep steps so while it's not long, it is not suited to people with limited mobility. There are some very large mountain ash trees along the track which are estimated to be around 200 years old. Continuing on the loop back to the carpark, you come to the site of Knott's #1 Mill which operated for more than 20 years from 1909. The remains of a steam boiler overgrown by ferns is now the only evidence of one of the largest timber mills that operated in the West Otways region.
A small picnic area is also available for visitors to relax and enjoy the beautiful surrounds.