Victoria has an abundance of waterfalls – some cascade through fern-filled rainforests, others surge over inner-city weirs. And one of the great things about them is how accessible they are from the city and suburbs – you don’t have to drive far to access them, and when you do get there, you don’t have to walk too far to reach the best viewing spots.
In partnership with Click for Vic, an initiative that encourages Victorians to spend time and money their own backyard, here are five of our favourite waterfalls.
Hopetoun Falls, Beech Forest
Great Otway National Park is home to the bulk of Victoria’s best waterfalls, and Hopetoun Falls is king amongst them. Plunging 30 metres onto rocks below, framed by spray-splattered rainforest, this is a textbook waterfall – and the setting, among ferns and beech forest, makes it particularly picturesque.
The falls can often be obscured by the trees at the top viewing platform, so if you’ve come this far, walk 200 steps down to the viewing platform at the bottom of the falls. It’s a great spot for capturing the milky movement of the water with your camera using a slow shutter speed, particularly with the Aire River snaking over moss-covered rocks in the foreground.
It’s also a 30-minute drive to Triplet Falls (more on those below), so you can tick off two of the best regional waterfalls in one outing, then head to Apollo Bay for a meal or overnight stay.
Mackenzie Falls, Zumsteins
These powerful falls are located in Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park, about a 30-minute drive from the town of Halls Gap. They thunder 30 metres above the gorge, giving the surrounding rocky landscape an almost Top End feel. (Bonus: they’re the only falls in the Grampians that flow year-round.)
The falls are a 10-minute walk from the car park, but if you’re feeling energetic, there’s also 9.7-kilometre circuit hike (allow three to four hours). If on return you’re feeling the heat and keen for a swim, beware: the inviting-looking pool at the bottom of the falls is deceptively dangerous and swimming is not permitted.
Triplet Falls, Wyelangta
These falls in Great Otway National Park are a wonderful example of how forests work in harmony with watercourses. Ancient mountain ash and myrtle beech trees – plus a lush shelf of ferns – give the falls rich visual texture and a stunning backdrop. It makes the juxtaposition of the old timber mill (with artefacts still visible, slowly being reclaimed by the forest) all the more striking.
A walkway lined with log carts leads through the rainforest to an elevated viewing platform, part of a two-kilometre loop walk. Triplet Falls appears to flow straight through the trees, instead of falling over rocks as other waterfalls do. The falls may lure you here, but it’s the pristine native forest that’s the star. Allow one hour for the walk.
Dights Falls, Abbotsford
Dights Falls is actually a weir – originally built to power a flour mill – on the Yarra River, just downstream from the junction with Merri Creek.
Despite its location in an inner-city suburb three kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD, Dights still has a remote feel (if you can ignore the hum of the Eastern Freeway). Walking or biking along the Yarra Trail is a great way to see it, and nearby there’s a detailed mural detailing the significance of the site to the Wurundjeri tribe of the Kulin nation, who once used the natural rock barrier to catch fish. Best access is from Trenerry Crescent in Clifton Hill.
Mason Falls, Kinglake West
Kinglake National Park is home to lyrebirds, lush fern gullies, towering mountain ash trees and one of the most accessible waterfalls close to Melbourne (the drive takes about 80 minutes).
The falls resemble a sublime backyard water feature, tumbling in Zen-like fashion down tiered levels of rocks. This is a top all-day picnic spot, so bring a packed lunch (there are barbeques too) and settle in for a day of relaxation in nature – and don’t forget to pack binoculars for the plentiful birds.
Parts of this region were devastated by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, and the 7.8-kilometres Running Creek walk takes you through impacted areas. For a shorter walk you can explore the cool pools at the top of the falls, ideal for paddling.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Visit Victoria. Support Victorian producers by buying online through Click for Vic and hitting the road to visit in person.