Waterfall walks in the Otways
The Otways region of Victoria is renowned for its magnificent stretches of surf beaches and coastal scenery that is part of the famed Great Ocean Road. Yet in the hinterland of the Otways is a wonderland of natural attractions that underscore the rich natural diversity of this region.
In the Great Otway National Park are wonderfully moist rainforests that provide a welcome, cool respite for beach-going holiday makers during the summer months. To see these rainforests at their best, visiting in the cooler months is recommended, as the numerous waterfalls that are scattered throughout the park are spectacular after periods of rain.
Erskine Falls, due to their proximity to the major tourist town of Lorne, are the most well-known and visited falls in the Otways. At 30 metres high, they are lovely to visit and the walk to the viewing area is short and easy.
However, there are so many more wonderful waterfalls in the Otways that deserve your attention. Venturing further west, Triplet Falls is one of the most striking, with both upper and lower cascades. The track to these falls traverses an enchanting forest with mountain ash trees towering overhead, which are thought to be as old as 200 years. The 2km circuit walk, which includes elevated views of the falls, takes around one hour. The damp forest conditions means there is an abundance of flora and fauna to capture your attention on the way, including a variety of mosses and fungi growing on the forest floor.
From the carpark servicing Triplet Falls, there is another walking route of 4.5kms or 2 hours, which takes you to the Little Aire Falls through an amazing array of mountain ash forest and fern gullies. The keen and fit will be able to complete both walks and the toilets and picnic tables at the carpark will ensure your visit is comfortable.
In the Aire Valley Road vicinity of the Otways are two more waterfalls that are worth a visit. Beauchamp Falls requires an hour’s return walk from the carpark. After heavy rain it is particularly memorable, displaying a white rectangular cascade of water gushing down to a pretty pool. The outlook at the falls, with splendid ferns, blackwood trees and beeches all around, is picture perfect. Nearby Hopetoun Falls can be seen from a viewing platform adjacent to its carpark. To get a closer look there is a steep path through a glade of ferns that takes around 15 minutes to descend, but do allow extra time for the return walk which is uphill.
For the true waterfall aficionados, there are numerous other waterfalls to visit across the length of the park, ranging from the modest 8 metre high Henderson Falls to the 130 metre high Sabine Falls, the tallest in the Otways, which requires the dedication of one hour’s walk each way.
There is so much forest to explore that the options for waterfall spotting and walking routes could keep you occupied for months.
The closer sections of the Otways can be explored in a day trip from Melbourne, but for decent waterfall walks, or to travel further west into the region, longer stays are best. There are numerous accommodation options ranging from camping sites to luxurious hotels, so there is something for every budget and taste.