Image of Splitter Falls taken on Chasing Waterfalls trip to Lorne, Victoria

Splitter Falls, Erskine River, Lorne – Victoria, Australia

Image of Splitter Falls taken on Chasing Waterfalls trip to Lorne, Victoria

Splitter Falls are hidden along the Erskine river, about 1.5km further on from Straw Falls and 2km from Erskine Falls. During my research of the many waterfalls in the area, I couldn't find any photographs of Splitter Falls, just the fact that they existed. So I had no idea what I was looking for when my new-found friend Brad and I set out to find them. 

We began by following the 'path' that continues alongside the Erskine river from Straw Falls. I call it a 'path', because it's more or less just the edge of the river bank.

It can be difficult to make out the path at times - water and weathering has had quite an effect on their condition. We treaded carefully forward into the thick, fern greenery.

Soon we came across a mossy wooden stump, which we thought indicated we were on the right track. As it turns out, these wooden stumps actually mark the spots where it's best to cross the river.

This visit was in September, and the water levels weren't too high. Still, prepare to get soaked feet, even if you wear gumboots like I did.

Once across the river, my gumboots squelched with every step, my socks soaked through with freezing water that sloshed around as I walked.

Stumbling on the thin, mossy path, we pushed forward to the sound of my sloshing shoes.

Until we reached a second river crossing. 

As you can see, the stump marking this crossing has been dislodged, and it can be difficult to make out the one on the other side. 

Eventually, you'll spot it. We soaked our feet in the cold river once again, wobbling our way across. I certainly wouldn't have attempted it if the  water levels were higher. The river is rippled with sticks and stones, and you can't always see where you're stepping. Plus, the force of the water makes it a tricky task.

We made it across, all electronics safe and dry, and continued on.

If at times it seems that the path has come to an abrupt end, keep scanning the scene with your eyes. Eventually you'll spot the stump-markers, even if they are hiding behind boulders, and you'll know to cross the river.

Other times the path is clear, which makes it easier. Brad and I sped up our pace during these sections, eager to find the falls and get back to town for some food (I'd only packed two muesli bars and a banana - rookie mistake).

Be sure to watch your step constantly, as there are lots of obstacles along these paths, such as rocks and tree roots.

Speaking of which, there came a point where a huge fallen tree blocked the path. It had clearly been there for quite some time; it was laid with earth and overgrown shrubs. It seemed we couldn't go any further, and our spirits sunk. 

And yet we had come so far...

Puffed and exhausted, I heaved myself up onto the log, and scrambled over to the other side (with great difficulty). Sure enough, the path continued. My motto? Just keep going.

It wasn't long before we came across our next road block, though. We balanced precariously on mossy, slippery rocks to get around this one.

But we made it, and continued on.

It felt as though the walk was never-ending, and for much of it we were following a narrow part of the river. 

Until we reached a bright, small clearing. The river was a little wider, the water gushing a little stronger. It was a good sign. 

Excited, we bounded ahead and followed the path as it begun to steep upwards. 

And suddenly, through the thick trees and quite some distance downhill, there were some falls. My heart sank. I learned the hard way that when you can't find an image of a waterfall, more often than not it's because they're not accessible. 

Splitter Falls, Erskine River, Lorne - Victoria, Australia peaking through trees

But that didn't stop Brad. He bounded into the thick, grassy terrain of the bank's slope and headed down towards the falls. "You coming?" he yelled. 

Cautiously, I stepped into the tangled roots, peering at the descent below me. There was no way I was getting down there. But, sure enough, slowly and carefully I made my way down onto the muddy bank. Though I would not recommend - it was super slippery and ultimately dangerous. But I made it! And it was awesome to capture these falls that possibly have never been captured before. 

I would never have done it if I was by myself. So thanks so much to Brad for making me go out of my comfort zone! I couldn't have done it without you.

Quick Facts

Last visitSeptember 2017
Best TimeSpring: August - November (when river levels are low). No access to falls base.
Start / FinishErskine Falls Rd Carpark
Unsealed RoadsNo
Walking distance1.5km from Straw Falls (about 2-2.5km from Erskine Falls). Can be completed 7.5km one way ending at Lorne River Mouth.
Time2-3hrs return.
DifficultyStrenuous, many river crossings. Do not attempt if water is high.
FacilitiesNone, nearest toilets Blanket Leaf Carpark
Lat & Longunknown
NearbyStraw Falls, Erskine Falls
WatercourseSplitter Creek

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Image of Straw Falls on Chasing Waterfalls trip to Lorne, Victoria

Straw Falls, Erskine River, Lorne – Victoria, Australia

Image of Straw Falls on Chasing Waterfalls trip to Lorne, Victoria

Many who visit the well-known Erskine Falls in Lorne are oblivious to the impressive Straw Falls, just 400 meters further along the river. 

I made it my mission to find them during a four day trip down Great Ocean Road in which I attempted to visit 15 waterfalls. Yes, 15 waterfalls in four days. I know, I'm insane. But I did it. 

I'd been shooting Erskine Falls, my gumboots slipping and sliding on the mossy rocks into icy cold water, when I spotted him. Brad Royce, a fellow Instagram photographer (BWR photography) whom I had never met. So how did I know it was him? 

Well, his huge beard was unmissable, resembling his Insta profile picture. I think he recognised me first, however, because I was dressed in a rather oversized, bright yellow raincoat we had talked about taking photos with. 

I introduced myself with ease, and we instantly felt like old photography mates. I love those kind of friendships. So when I suggested we set off to find Straw Falls, Brad was just as enthusiastic as me.

To find Straw Falls, you follow the edge of the Erskine River. At the bottom of the staircase down to Erskine Falls, there is a smaller staircase off to the right that leads down onto the bank. Once down here, you need to cross the river to the left-hand side to follow the thin, windy, muddy path.

I wobbled and stumbled through the cold water, juggling my backpack and camera bag, thanking my lucky stars that the water levels weren't too high (if they were, I'd imagine you wouldn't be able to cross). Even in my Hunter gumboots, it was difficult. Though Brad didn't seem to have any trouble, rushing ahead in his sneakers. 

The air was crisp, but not too cold. September had brought slightly warmer days, but not so warm that the waterfalls had dried up. I guess you could call it perfect.

We meandered along the river bank, squinting our eyes at times to figure out where the path actually continued. 

The track isn't exactly well-kept, and we had to step over thick tree roots, mossy logs and rocks. Overlaid with lush, green ferns, at times it was dark and magical. 

And yet in others, it opened up to reveal the sky. That's the beauty of a trek along the riverbank - you never know quite what to expect. 

Following the river is also somewhat comforting. The gushing, fresh water right next to me assured me that I was travelling in the right direction. 

At times, it can be confusing to figure out which path is actually the track, but as long as you follow the stream, you'll get there in the end. And besides, venturing into the unknown and feeling that sense of uncertainty is part of what makes finding your destination so satisfying.

And sure enough, soon we saw the falls peeking through the ferns. 

Ducking under one last, fallen tree-trunk, the path suddenly turned to stone. 

I gasped in disbelief. I'd done my best Instagram stalking trying to see a shot of these falls so I knew what to expect, but I had no idea they were so large. The rock is a sheer drop, right in front of you. 

Low angle shot of Straw Falls
Image of Straw Falls wooden sign

It was great having Brad there to press the shutter release button for me on my camera - and having me in the picture really puts the size of the falls in perspective, don't you think?

They were far more impressive than I had imagined. We spent some time setting up tripods and trying desperately to get some angles that do the falls justice. I won't lie - it was tricky. But rewarding. 

After we were finished shooting, I suggested to Brad that we attempt to find Splitter Falls, which were apparently about another kilometer further along the river. At Straw Falls, it appears the track has ended, however if you search through the fallen debris, you'll eventually make out the path. It continues along the river, so we headed that way - stay tuned for the blog post!

Quick Facts

Last visitSeptember 2017
Best TimeSpring: August-November (need low river tide)
Start / FinishErskine Falls Rd Carpark
Unsealed RoadsNo
Walking distance400 meters from Erskine Falls (one way) Total 2.2km return.
Time1hr return
DifficultyModerate
FacilitiesNone, closest toilets Blanket Leaf Carpark
Lat & Long38.5067° S, 143.9169° E
NearbyErskine Falls, Splitter Falls
WatercourseErskine River

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Steavenson Falls in Marysville, taken on spontaneous chasing waterfalls visit

Steavenson Falls, Marysville – Victoria, Australia

Steavenson Falls in Marysville, taken on spontaneous chasing waterfalls visit

It was the first time I'd ever seen snow. Yes, ever. In my twenty-one years of living, I had never laid eyes on the cold, fluffy white stuff we call snow - let alone touched it, walked in it or skied in it. 

My mate Elliot was going up to Mt Buller in Victoria for a weekend, and I pretty much invited myself along. So, that's how I found myself with cramping I-just-skied-for-the-first-time legs while on the way to Steavenson Falls. 

Steavenson Falls in Marysville were a slight detour on our way home, so we decided to go check them out. 

They are quite easy to find, located approximately 1 hr and 45 minutes from Melbourne in the town of Marysville. There is a carpark located at the end of Falls Road, though it's ticketed so make sure you bring some loose change with you (I think about $3 AUD should suffice). 

We headed towards the path. This area has been recently touched up, with a great toilet facility and undercover space with a sign and map. 

The walk is only 700 meters return and will take about 15 - 20 minutes (depending on how fast you walk and how much you linger to admire the falls). 

The paths are well-kept, consisting of a flat, grey gravel. It makes the walk very pleasant and easy - great for families with small children (which there were plenty of). 

It's also very well signposted, and there are a number of walking trails in the area. 

The first staircase you come across simply leads down to another walking path. 

Continue straight, following signs for the falls. 

Soon, you'll see a peak of the falls. Steavenson falls plunge a total of 84 meters, and have been a favourite since the 1860s.  

If you look closely, you'll notice the falls continue way up to the sky. No, that's not cloud! That's the falls. Pretty cool, huh?

There's another staircase which leads down towards a metal bridge which provides a great viewing platform for the falls. 

It was a bright, sunny, day which I can't complain about, but I was lucky I had my Hoya ND 8 stop filter to help with the long exposure shots in the sun. 

If you head back up the stairs and continue straight on the gravel path, there's a second viewing platform closer to another section of the falls. 

It was quite beautiful up there, and the sunlight danced to create a rainbow. The extreme force of the water sent cold spray into the air and onto our faces.

Time ticked on, and we had to leave if we wanted to make it back into the city at a reasonable time. 

Ah, yes. I should also mention that there is a path up towards the very top of the falls. However, with our cramping legs and exhausted muscles from skiing the day before, we opted not to put ourselves through the torture of climbing up the who-knows-how-many-stairs. (Very unlike me, but hey). 

I turned and took one last glimpse of the falls and vowed to come back one day and tackle the stairs. But the beauty of them made the trip worthwhile. 

Quick Facts

Last visitSeptember 2017
Best TimeJune-September 
Start / FinishSteavenson Falls Carpark, Falls Rd (paid parking applies)
Unsealed RoadsNo 
Walking distance700meters return
Time30minutes return
DifficultyEasy
FacilitiesToilets
Lat & Long37.5322° S, 145.7732° E
NearbyMarysville, Mt Buller
WatercourseSteavenson River 

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Image of Trentham Falls from a chasing waterfalls day trip in Victoria

Trentham Falls, Coliban River, Melbourne – Victoria, Australia

Image of Trentham Falls from a chasing waterfalls day trip in Victoria

It all started with a beer.

A beer that turned into two, then red wine, then I think whiskey? Then back to cider for some reason (honestly, why?). Followed by Jäger, gin and tonic, and other various concoctions – I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. In any case, it was the reason I found myself tremendously, inconsolably hungover right before my planned trip to Trentham Falls (the largest single-drop waterfall in Victoria at 32meters).

My mate Ben, who I’d met in Tassie (you might recognise him from my trip to Mt Field National Park to see Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls) was picking me up at 10am, at which point I was lying in the fetal position on my couch, a glass of undrunk Berocca in front of me.

So I guess my first tip is: don’t go out drinking before going for a 1 hour car trip to see a waterfall. Ben was in the driver’s seat, laughing his head off at me every 5 seconds. I have to admit, it was pretty funny.

Driving directions to Trentham Falls from Brunswick in Melbourne (89km total) are as follows:

  • Leave via Brunswick Road/State route 38 towards McKay Street and continue for 1.9kms
  • Turn right onto the State Route 43/Citylink ramp to Bendigo/Airport/Hume Hwy (this is a partial toll road, for more info on toll roads click here – Ben also informed me that you can choose “avoid tolls” in Apple maps, so that’s another option)
  • Merge onto Citylink/M2 and follow for 6.7kms
  • Keep left at the fork and continue on Calder Fwy/M79 following signs for State route 40/Bendigo for 50kms
  • Take the C792 exit towards Woodend (which is a quaint little town perfect for finding lunch) keeping left, follow signs for C792/Woodend
  • Merge onto Black Forest Drive/C792 and continue for 6.8kms
  • Turn left onto Anslow Street
  • After 750meters, turn left onto Forest Street/C317 and follow this for 19kms
  • Turn right onto Trentham Falls Road/C317 and follow for 2.3kms
  • Trentham Scenic Reserve Road will come up on your right, turn here and it will lead you to the falls carpark, which has picnic tables and toilet facilities

Here we began our journey to the falls.

The path to view the falls is very short, and not difficult at all – though there are a few stairs, they’re not very steep. I was quite thankful for this, my headache raging and my body devoid of energy.

We continued down, where much of the path is fenced off for your safety.

Soon we reached the top of the falls, though there is no access to them.

The reason being, Trentham Falls are, according to the signage, ‘nature in action’. Formed 5 million years ago when a volcano in Newbury erupted, molten lava caused the earth home to the Coliban river to collapse. Since then, Trentham Falls has flowed ferociously, with spray eating away at the rock face behind it.

This means that this magnificent creation will one day collapse on itself, and be gone forever. I find it so fascinating to visit waterfalls like this, knowing that one day it won’t be the same as what it was when I went.

Visiting the top of the falls wasn’t quite enough for us (despite my hangover, which was making me very nauseous and shaky at this point, Ben chuckling once again). So, we decided to venture to the bottom.

Now as you can see, access to these falls is actually forbidden now, though there are clear paths down to their base. These old paths are now blocked off because there are tell-tale signs (such as water dripping from the sides of the rock, and cracks appearing) that parts of the rock face could collapse at any moment. So I’ll say this once, loud and clear.

TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK. This is a very dangerous thing to do, and you just never know what’s going to happen and when. For me, I figure that if a rock face like that collapses while you’re under it, it’s pretty damn unlucky and it was probably your time to go. But I’m in no way, shape or form, suggesting you slide past the blocked-off gate like we did and travel to the bottom.

But anyway. That’s what we did. The thin, rocky & tree-root invested path snakes it’s way down the hill to the base of the falls. I found a spot to set up my tripod, and good ol’ Ben once again became victim to my photography obsession. He pressed the shutter release button for me once I had scrambled down to the falls (it was very steep and muddy, so take care and wear proper shoes if you do venture down). Luckily I had worn my Hunter gumboots so I could stomp in all the water I pleased.

It was my first time using my Hoya ND 8 stop filter, so I was pretty excited to take photos. I stood in the cold water in my gumboots and experimented with all the different angles.

The bottom is pretty magical, I will admit. The force of the falls causes immense whips of spray to ricochet into the air.

And of course, I climbed my way underneath them so that I could stand behind the falls. (Again, do NOT recommend this. But it was awesome).

This was my first time standing behind a waterfall. I had to trudge through unbelievably squelchy, slippery mud to get to this spot, but it was worth it. Looking out at the valley from behind the falls was something else entirely – a feeling I can’t quite describe.

And it was then that I realised my hangover was gone. The fresh, gushing water and beauty of the falls had made it vanish into thin air, much like the spray from the falls.

And that’s how I discovered the best way to get rid of a hangover. Out in the fresh air, surrounded by nature, with the water gushing and cold sprays landing delicately on my face, all my worries washed away. I was revitalised and reborn, ready to face the city once again. And I think that accurately depicts just how powerful nature can be.

 

Looking for more waterfalls to visit in Victoria? Try Turpins Falls in Langley, or Masons Falls and Wombelano Falls in Kinglake National Park. On the other side of Melbourne try Olinda Falls in the Dandenong Ranges. And if you’re up for a road trip, there are plenty of falls in Lorne, try Erskine Falls, Sheoak Falls or Cora Lynn Cascades.

Happy waterfall hunting!

Quick Facts

Last visitAugust 2017
Best TimeJune-October
Start / FinishTrentham Falls Rd Carpark 
Unsealed RoadsNo
Walking distance300 meters viewing platform, 1.2km return to base (access not permitted) 
Time30minutes return 
DifficultyRelatively Easy 
FacilitiesPicnic Tables, Toilets 
Lat & Long37.3704 ° S, 144.3248° E
NearbyTurpin Falls (40 minutes North) 
WatercourseColiban River 

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Turpins Falls, Langley, Melbourne – Victoria, Australia

“So should we go?”

I stirred my coffee clockwise, then placed the spoon back on the saucer and took a sip. My friend Scott sat across from me, waiting expectantly for my answer. It was already 2pm. I didn’t know if we had time to drive the hour it took to get to Turpins Falls, and back again before it was “supposed to rain”.

I looked out of the cafe window at the slightly overcast, but albeit mostly sunny afternoon.

“Alright, screw it, let’s go,” I replied.

We left Melbourne from Brunswick. Directions below:

  • Head west on Brunswick Road/State Route 38 towards McKay Street and continue for 1.9kms
  • Then turn right onto the State Route 43/Citylink ramp to Bendigo/Airport/Hume Highway (a partial toll road – more information on tolls in Melbourne can be found here).
  • Merge onto Citylink/M2 and follow this for 6.7kms
  • Keep left at the fork and continue on Calder Fwy/M79, following signs for Bendigo (State Route 40)
  • Follow this for 73kms and then take the exit towards Kyneton/Heathcote/C326
  • When you hit the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Edgecombe Road and continue for 11kms
  • Turn left onto E Metcalfe-Langley Road which begins as a sealed road, then turns into an unsealed, gravel road

After 3.5kms, turn right onto Shillidays Road, which the Turpins Falls carpark comes off from. This road is also unsealed, see photos below:

As mentioned, the E Metcalfe-Langley Road begins sealed and then fades into a dirt track, though it is in reasonable condition.

At the end of that unsealed road, you’ll hit a fork intersection. Turn right onto Shillidays Road (it is signposted, shown below):

After about 300 meters, the turn off to Turpins Falls carpark will be on the right. Keep an eye out for it, because initially we drove straight past it.

The ‘carpark’ is a wide, flat clearing. There are no facilities at Turpins Falls whatsoever – the nearest town is Kyneton about 15 minutes away.

Turpin Falls are literally straight ahead from the carpark. It’s here I should warn you that there have been deaths in this area, so mind your step and don’t take any unnecessary risks.

The path to access them begins off to the right, and meanders down the hill. But it’s still relatively easy.

From here you can see the very top of the falls and the river that fuels them.

The path zig-zags drastically in order to get further downhill.

About halfway down was the perfect spot to stand for a photo, so in typical Annabel style, I set up my tripod on the rocky, uneven path in the above photo. It wasn’t the easiest thing getting the right angle, and the sunny day we were experiencing wasn’t cooperating with photos. But nevertheless, I forced Scott to take photos of me standing and gazing at the falls. Sorry bro.

Much to Scott’s delight, we finished with the photos of me and headed further down the track, where I snapped a few more shots with my 300mm lens.

The path continues on, becoming narrower and allows access to the very base of the falls.

Be sure to stop along the way and admire the view of the open gorge, because it’s quite spectacular.

The sunlight was posing a slight issue with long exposure, so I took a few more zoomed-in pics to try and showcase the beauty of the falls.

After a rocky, slightly difficult last descent, we reached the bottom (view of the steps in below photo is taken from the bottom of the path).

There are many angles along the riverbank to view the falls, so I recommend taking your time and soaking it all in.

The large water-hole puts quite a distance between the bank and the falls. I would imagine it would be a perfect spot to visit in summer ft. #basicbitch floatation devices in the shapes of donuts and watermelons and all that jazz, which I’d so bring along (yes, guilty as charged).

This was probably my favourite angle to capture photos, because it eliminated the sunlight. For the most part.

After a fair while of Scott and I capturing shots on our camera’s (both Nikons, FYI), I wanted to get more shots of me standing in front of the falls but was too embarrassed to bring it up.

So I just continued finding new angles to photograph the falls – mostly in an effort to find the perfect spot for me to stand.

Just as we were about to leave, I finally broke my silence and started to half-winge half-joke that I wanted photos of me in front of the falls. Scott rolled his eyes, laughing. I took it as approval.

So I set up my tripod, but with Scott chuckling at me, it resulted in some very awkward photos of me feeling like a loser. Classic.

It was easier just to turn away so that I couldn’t see his smug face haha.

And he managed to capture my awkwardness perfectly:

Photo by @scotty_graham

I mean look at me! What a head…

Eventually, the sun begun to descend in the sky, and it was time to head back uphill.

Of course, right when the sun was being kinder for photographs. I looked longingly at the falls one last time…

I think this would be a really incredible spot to visit on a moonless night and capture some long exposure night shots. I vowed to come back and give that a go sometime, so keep an eye out for updates!

In the mean-time, I just had to make do with the gorgeous sunset on the drive home.

Looking for other day trips to do around Melbourne, Victoria? Try Masons Falls or Wombelano Falls in Kinglake, or Olinda Falls in the Dandenong Ranges.

Quick Facts

Last visitJuly 2017
Best TimeJuly-September for water flow, November-March for swimming (water is extremely cold, not recommended). 
Start / FinishCarpark on Shillidays Road
Unsealed RoadsYes, reasonable condition
Walking distance500 or so meters downhill (access to top of falls permanently closed)
Time30 minutes return
DifficultyModerate
FacilitiesNone
Lat & Long37.1348° S, 144.4831° E
NearbyKyneton, Hanging Rock
WatercourseCampaspe River

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