Phantom Falls are a lesser known gem found in Lorne, Victoria. Beginning from Allenvale Mill Carpark (which is awfully difficult to find on Google maps) the walk meanders through a private orchard before heading up a steep gravel track - but the destination is well worth it.
First up on the agenda was finding Allenvale Mill Carpark - which is actually called Allenvale Road Carpark on Google maps. Nearby is the Allenvale Campsite and other walking tracks (see above and below photos).
The road to reach this carpark is unsealed, but in relatively good condition. I winced and grimaced every time the hire car went over a bump, but the little Swift made it just fine.
To begin the walk to Phantom Falls, head down hill, along the gravel road that continues to the right (past the carpark), until you reach the below sign.
The walk to Phantom Falls is only 3.5km return in total (ignore the sign), however you can choose to continue on a loop that includes Henderson and Won Wondah Falls, though it would take 8.6km in total, including The Canyon (a rock structure with 10 meter sheer faces).
Cora Lynn Cascades can also be reached from this trail, however it is a strenuous hike involving difficult river crossings and should only be attempted by experienced hikers (see my post on Cora Lynn Cascades for an easier route).
Anyway, my newfound friend Brad and I began along the thin, earthy path to Phantom Falls.
It was a rather beautiful walk on the sunny September day we were experiencing, and the path follows along the luscious river bank. However, this trail runs through private property, so respect the signage and don't travel with pets.
Soon we had to cross the river over a small metal bridge.
The track then opens out into the orchid farm.
Continue to the right and follow the wooden signs indicating a left turn to cut accross the field.
Here you can see the sheds on the private property, and wooden signs that aid in keeping hikers on track.
The muddy path appears again through the thick grass, and we continued straight.
Wild kangaroos can also be spotted grazing through the trees along this walk.
And maybe a horse or two...
My gumboots squelched in the wet ground as we trudged further along the path - be sure to bring appropriate footwear for these conditions.
Following the blue stream reassured us we were heading in the right direction.
Though the track is well signed, so if you follow those you'll find the falls easily in no time.
I had read that the track was strenuous and uphill, but so far nothing about it rang true. That is, until we hit the gravel road that steadily increased in altitude.
And suddenly not-so-steadily. My legs began to ache and burn with every step. Sweat dripped off my forehead and into my eyelashes. The photograph below doesn't even do justice of just how steep this track is.
And yet the views are simply incredible. Gazing down to the valley below was a great distraction from the difficult ascent.
This photo is taken from the top of the steep slope, looking back down at our achievement. It only lasted for about 500 meters, but it felt much longer. In any case, we had made it.
After the hill, the track levels out and continues on a relatively straight, flat surface.
Here, you've covered 1.6kms and are about to reach Phantom Falls.
One final sign indicates the other tracks available. Click here for more information on the circuits and hiking trails in the area.
We continued down to Phantom Falls.
To get to the base of the falls requires a descent down some fairly steep steps, all the while peering down at the gushing stream below.
Halfway down the stairs, I got my first glimpse of the falls.
And then we made it. The sunlight streamed in, casting the falls in a dappled light that made for a gorgeous setting. I had to trudge through the freezing, gushing water of the stream to get this shot, water filling my gumboots and soaking my socks.
But it was worth it, as it always is when it comes to waterfalls. The blue-as-blue water of the river here was simply magnificent, and I would definitely recommend a visit.
After a while of shooting and a disaster as Brad dropped his camera body and lens into the stream, we decided to head back. Despite the tragedy of the camera, it didn't take much convincing to get Brad on board to head to Won Wondah and Henderson Falls, however we chose to drive to Sheoak Picnic Area to begin those trails. Click here for Won Wondah Falls! And here for Henderson!
|Last visit||September 2017|
|Start / Finish||Allenvale Mill Carpark|
|Unsealed Roads||Yes, average condition but manageable in 2WD.|
|Walking distance||3.5km return|
|Facilities||Allenvale Campsite, Lorne town closeby|
|Lat & Long||38.5432° S, 143.9466° E|
|Nearby||Won Wondah Falls, Henderson Falls, Cora Lynn Cascades|
|Watercourse||St George River|