Waterfalls of the Otways
The Ocean Road drive is famous for the 12 Apostles but it has so much more to offer as well. Beautiful waterfalls high in the Great Otway National Park are well worth devoting some time to see when touring the region, these are some of the best waterfalls in Victoria.
Some of the falls are very easy to reach and others take a little more effort, bushwalking through the spectacular cool temperate rainforest of the Otways. Erskine and Triplet Falls are the largest and best known out of over 12 waterfalls to be found.
The area around Lorne has the highest concentration of waterfalls as well as over 60 kms of walking tracks linking together, providing enough hiking to keep visitors here for days or even weeks.
Some of the walks could be included in a Great Ocean Road itinerary of 2-days or more.
- Occasionally a walk may be closed due to track upgrades, fallen trees or it may have been permanently closed for whatever reason – please abide by any signage.
- If water levels are high, some tracks can become dangerous, take care and do not continue any walk if river levels are high.
The waterfalls in the Otways have been listed below in alphabetical order.
Visitor Information Centres along the way can provide maps and current information on conditions or closures.
These falls are quite high in the Otway Ranges and definitely worth the drive to see, not massive but very pretty. The roads around this area cross over the Otways and require a bit of driving on unsealed sections. It’s one of my favourite areas as fewer people tend to visit.
The walk to the falls is reasonably strenuous, taking about an hour / 3 kms.
Carisbrook Falls tumble down the rock face and it is a good walk to the falls beneath lovely Sheoak trees. It is a 20-minute walk, reasonably steep in parts and accessed from the Great Ocean Road, 12 kms east of Apollo Bay.
Nearby Kennett river is the perfect place to spot Koalas in the wild.
Cora Lynn Cascades
From the Blanket Leaf Picnic Ground which is off the Erskine Falls Road near Lorne, the walk is 2.2 kms/1.5 hours. It is a reasonably strenuous walk but rewarded with the pretty cascades and surrounding forest.
A 6 km/2.5 hour walk to the Cumberland Falls is well signposted and very popular. The Cumberland Gorge has a couple of good lookout points that can be hiked to as well as the walk to the falls. Opposite the holiday park is a good beach, making this one of the most popular camping parks in the area. Cabins are also available to rent. Find more Lorne Accommodation options and stay in the area perhaps.
Access to the falls walk is via the car park at the Cumberland River Holiday Park, 7 kms west of Lorne.
Erskine Falls Walk, Lorne
Driving to Erskine Falls
About 10kms drive from Lorne, Erskine Falls is one of the most visited waterfalls in the area. From the car park, over 222 steps lead down to the viewing areas. The first viewing platform, from above the falls, is pretty but following the steps down the steep track provides the best vantage point to see the falls.
Get there by following the Erskine Falls Road out of Lorne, signage is clear.
Lemonade Creek Cottages is the closest accommodation to Erskine Falls and a great walking track to the falls starts nearby (about 4 kms each way). The cottages are quite rustic and set on a lovely property.
Walk to Erskine Falls from Lorne
Dropping about 30 metres, the falls can also be approached by following a beautiful bushwalking track from the township of Lorne. It is 7.5 kms each way and passes by two more waterfalls – Straw Falls and Splitter Falls.
Read more about the walk here.
The drive from Melbourne to Lorne can be done as a day trip, an overnight stay in Lorne (or longer) is recommended if planning to do this beautiful waterfall walk.
One of our favourite waterfalls. The drive along Binns Road to the falls is unsealed and feels quite remote. The track to the falls is only 20 metres to a viewing platform and 1 km to the lower viewing area.
Nearby, the Californian Redwood Forest is well worth visiting too. Planted in 1936 the ‘Sequoia Sempervirens’ is quite an unexpected sight.
Binns Road runs from the Beech Forest-Lavers Hill Road all the way down to the Great Ocean Road, not far from Apollo Bay.
Kalimna, Won Wondah & Henderson Falls
The pretty Kalimna waterfalls have two sections, lower and upper. Won Wondah and Henderson Falls are also popular and they can each be accessed from the Sheoak picnic area (different to the Sheoak Falls carpark). It is quite an easy 3km hike on well sign-posted tracks, though can get a bit muddy in winter.
If Garvey Track (beyond Sheoak picnic area) is open, it is possible to drive a bit further and do the shorter walk to the Kalimna falls.
Sharps Free Camping Area
It is possible to free-camp nearby at Sharps Camping Area, read more information from the Parks Vic website. Spaces are very limited and the site fills quickly.
Little Aire Falls
Little Aire Falls walking track passes through Mountain Ash and cool temperate rainforests before coming to a fabulous cantilevered platform with super views over the waterfalls. There is a fairly steep climb back to the carpark.
The walk is 2.5km /2.5 hours return and is reasonably strenuous.
The falls walk starts from the Triplet Falls carpark on Phillips Track, off the Beech Forest – Lavers Hill Road. Excellent signage makes it easy to follow the trails.
Marriners Falls, Apollo Bay – Closed.
Such a shame these falls are now closed as it was quite an adventure to get to them years ago. Whether they will re-open, we do not know.
Another pretty waterfall close to Lorne. About half the height of Erskine Falls, but well worth the walk.
Starting from the Allenvale Road carpark and following St Georges River, the walk only takes about 1.5 hours return and covers 3.5 kms. Signage is clearly marked from the car park.
Allenvale Mill Free Camping
There is a free camping area at the Allenvale Mill area, limited sites on a first come basis with no reservations. This is a walk-in camping area, a short walk to the campground of about 200 meters. It is on a first come basis. Read more about the free camping area.
The highest waterfall in the Otways, the Sabine Falls bushwalk takes 2 hours return from a picnic area off Sunnyside Road. They are not the best-known falls and do not get the numbers of visitors that some waterfalls attract, but are worth adding to a ‘waterfalls bucket list’.
Access is from Sunnyside Road which leads off the Ocean Road or via Forrest-Apollo Bay Road.
Sheoak Falls & Swallow Cave
From the car park off the Great Ocean Road (a few kms from Lorne), the walk to Sheoak Falls is only 2.2 km return and best viewed after rains and in the winter months. Swallows can often be seen nesting in nearby ‘Swallow Cave’ during Springtime.
The falls flow down the rocks and may not be the most spectacular in the Otways, but are still worthy of a visit, especially as the car parking is so easily accessible.
Views to the ocean are beautiful and the walk can be extended to ‘Castle Rock’ – 7km / 2hours return.
Stevensons Falls is a popular day hike in the Otways and one of the best waterfalls. From the nearest car park, it is only a 500-metre walk to the falls.
From the nearby campground, the hike is 4.6 kms / 1.5 hours.
Access is from the Colac-Skenes Creek Road near Barramunga.
Stevenson’s Falls Free Campground
There is a free campground near the falls with basic facilities and about 50 un-powered campsites – the area can become very muddy after heavy rains. It is on a first come basis and does get crowded at peak times.
Dogs are permitted in this campground.
Definitely one of the prettiest falls in the Otways with a good walking track that has been upgraded and is suitable at any time of the year.
The walk through mountain ash and myrtle beech forest is superb, 2kms return / 1 hour. Read more here.
Access is via Phillips Track off the Beech Forest Lavers Hill Road, passing the Otway Fly Treetops Walk on the way.
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