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The Great Ocean Road waterfalls are an unmissable sight if you’re planning a trip to coastal Victoria. A treat for the senses, the sound of falling water is ultra soothing, while magnificent views make for fabulous photo opportunities.
Getting to the falls is also a pleasure, as you’ll become immersed in the region’s beautiful, natural surroundings along the way. So pack up a picnic, throw binoculars into your bag and follow this guide to the waterfalls of the Great Ocean Road. Just don’t forget to check for seasonal road closures or regional weather warnings before setting off.
Waterfalls near Lorne
Cora Lynn Cascades
The walk to Cora Lynn cascades takes you from Blanket Leaf car park through Great Otway National Park. The two-kilometre walk is an adventure in itself – you’ll trek though dense woodland, beneath towering eucalypts and dramatic tree ferns. Once you reach Cora Lynn, water flows down over numerous shale ledges. The picturesque site is framed by green ferns and abundant mosses.
The Lorne area is renowned for impressive waterfalls, yet 30-metre Erskine Falls still stands out. A key bonus of this site is its proximity to Lorne and the Great Ocean Road. The choice is yours – take a long stroll through lush rainforest to access Erskine Falls, or park up for a five-minute walk from the car park if you prefer. While getting to the lower lookout involves a more taxing, visitors are rewarded by views of one of area’s highest drops.
10 metre Henderson Falls is perfect for combining with a picnic, as it’s accessed via a gentle 1.8km climb from Sheoak Picnic Area. The ideal time to visit is after a rainy spell, when Henderson Falls truly roars. You can combine a visit with Won Wondah Falls which you’ll pass along the way, before reaching the fern gully where the falls cascade into a small pool beneath a mossy cliff face.
The moderate, scenic walk to Phantom Falls begins at Allenvale Mill car park, and at 3.5km return, should take around an hour-and-a-half. You begin by crossing St George River, then pass an orchard before following an uphill track – including some steep loose gravel sections. The final section is a descent towards the deep pool at the base of Phantom Falls. Those like a more strenuous walk may continue uphill to Cora Lynn Cascades.
It’s the dramatic setting that really makes Sheoak Falls special. A natural amphitheatre surrounds you as 15 metres of water tumble down over a dark rock face into a tree-fringed pool. This tranquil and spectacular site is one of the most visited waterfalls near Lorne. The site can be reached via a half-hour walk from the car park off the Great Ocean Road, which is located just 3 kilometres from Lorne.
Upper and Lower Kalimna Falls
Long before trams traversed the streets of Melbourne, a timber tramway transported wood to Lorne Pier via a deep valley. You can reach Kalimna Falls from Sheoak Picnic Area, tracing the footsteps of Victoria’s early pioneers. Keep an eye out for original sleepers here and there as you head towards the cascades of Lower Kalimna Falls. After that, those who continue can reach 15-metre Upper Kalimna Falls beyond. The entire walk involves a flat, 8 kilometre trip.
Waterfalls near Apollo Bay
Carisbrook Falls is really easy to access from the Great Ocean Road, making it a great pitstop. An uphill walk of around 300 metres takes you to a dramatic and sun-drenched ravine, where you can view this 50-metre waterfall from the lookout point.
Hopetoun Falls plunges some 30 metres into the Aire River, emitting a refreshing spray on a hot day. There’s an elevated upper viewing platform, or visitors can clamber down 200 steps to reach the base. The upper platform is just 20 metres from the car park, or you can take a 500-metre trip down the stairs to the base.
There are two ways to Stevensons Falls, both over easy terrain. Choose between a 500-metre return walk, or the longer option at just over 4.5 km. The shorter option begins at the day carpark, from which you take the second bridge. The longer walk starts out at the campground, from which the track to Stevensons Falls initially meanders along by the Gellibrand River. From the day visitor area, you can then cross the water before passing beneath lofty Douglas Fir trees. A final descent towards to the river takes you to the viewing platform at Stevensons Falls’ base.
Triplet Falls is one of the most loved spots in Great Otway National Park. This magical site features sizeable sections of boardwalk which take walkers through ancient Myrtle Beech and
Mountain Ash forests. En-route there are three separate and enthralling cascades to discover. This pleasant walk via shaded rainforest and large tree ferns includes sections of steep steps close to the start, making a trip to these waterfalls less suitable for those with limited mobility. The two-kilometre track takes you on a loop back towards the car park, via the remains of an early twentieth century mill.
Waterfall near Warrnambool
At an impressive 90 metres wide, Hopkins Falls in Cudgee are the largest in Hopkins River. They can be reached via a 15-kilometre drive from Warrnambool. Visitors can witness the dramatic curtain of water that plunges 12 metres deep from two viewing platforms. These falls are at their best during winter, when you may even see baby eels at the site as they migrate upstream. A popular barbecue and picnic area is located above the falls, complete with gas barbecues.
Tips for visiting waterfalls
Safety first is vital when visiting Victoria’s stunning waterfalls. To stay safe, ensure you always access waterfalls only via marked trails and dedicated viewing points. The natural pools at the base of many waterfalls can be very appealing after a long, hot walk, but to swim here may expose you to hidden hazards dangers such as strong currents, sharp rock edges or concealed debris.
Look for safety signs, and only swim where this is expressly permitted. Never jump into a waterfall from a cliff edge, or swim close to or beneath one. Exercise caution when walking, especially during or following wet weather. Remember that even marked tracks may be slippery or very rocky.
Which of these Great Ocean Road waterfalls will you visit?
Which Great Ocean Road waterfall will you see first? From pretty Cora Lynn Cascades and roaring Henderson Falls to 5-metre Carisbrook Falls, the dramatic amphitheatre setting of Sheoak Falls or the boardwalks at Triplet Falls, there’s plenty of choice in this scenic region close to the sea.