Image of Erskine Falls during a chasing waterfalls trip to Lorne in Victoria Australia

Erskine Falls, Great Otway National Park, Lorne – Victoria, Australia

Image of Erskine Falls during a chasing waterfalls trip to Lorne in Victoria Australia

I don't know how it happened.

To give you some context, I just looked at my bank account balance. Touch ID wouldn't let me into the Commbank app the first two tries, so that should've been the first sign. I knew I didn't want to know the balance, not really. But I persisted, cringing while I hovered my thumb over the home button. Success. Or, not so success. Depends which way you want to look at it. Either way, here I am, trying to work out how I've managed to end up with a mere $10.34 staring back at me. Yeah, it happens to the best of us.

Okay...I lied...I know how it happened. It all started when I went searching for a cheap car rental deal. My best friend Morgan has been visiting from Perth, so we decided to spend one of her weekends here road tripping to Lorne to find waterfalls. Well, I decided. And dragged her along with me.

It was actually easy booking a Suzuki Swift from Advance Car Rentalonline, and then accomodation in a bungalow at Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park2, both of which were cheap and problem-free (see footnotes for more information). And off we went. To hell with being able to afford rent and food, and having time to do uni work, right?

The drive from Melbourne to Lorne is just under 2 hours, and relatively easy. The majority is along main freeway roads which eventually turn into the infamous Great Ocean Road.

Great Ocean Road is a windy, 240 odd km scenic drive along the south-east coast of Australia. It stretches between Torquay to as far as Allansford and is Australian National heritage listed. With sharp edged cliff-faces on one side and bright turquoise ocean on the other, it's a unique journey. Though it's fairly easy to get distracted from the road if you're the designated driver - so pull over in the little stopping bays if you want to admire the view.

Once we reached the sea-side town of Lorne (which is also beautiful, by the way) we set off to find Erskine Falls. The falls are part of the Great Otway National Park, and approximately 15 or so minutes inland from Lorne (I mean, Google maps says 14, but they forget to add in the time spent driving with uncertainty wondering if you're in the right place). Refer to the map below as an indication of the simplicity of this drive if you're lost. As far as falls go, they are well signposted.

Road Map to Erskine Falls. Google Maps  (2017).

You'll eventually reach a very obvious turn off - where you have one of three choices. 1. Continue straight on Erskine Falls road 2. Veer right onto a gravel road, and 3. Turn right into Erskine Falls Access road. If it's not obvious, you want number 3. You'll be pleased to know there are no unsealed roads to get to these falls.

Road Map Erskine Falls Access Road. Google Maps (2017).

There is, however, a ridiculously steep slope. When you drive down (at which point I was praying that lil' Suzuki wouldn't conk out on me) and find a carpark with this sign, you know you're in the right place.

Like I said, these falls are well signposted as they are a well-known tourist attraction. The walking distance is also very minimal - but don't be fooled. The descent is quite hectic (and as always, you have to come back up - huffing and puffing. It's a killer).

We went to the Upper Falls lookout first - it's on the way to the Lower Falls - about 80m down the track. Trudging past ginormous, Australian trees. Trust me, you have to see these for yourself because photographs don't even do them justice. They're huge.

We reached a small platform, where there's a sneak peak of the falls through thick greenery. I was very excited at this point. You can't tell from the photograph, but we are quite high up. Erskine falls drop about 30 meters into a rocky gully surrounded by ferns and lush greenery.

I had a great time playing with my camera settings. I use a Nikon D5100 with an 18-55mm lens, and I captured my shots by changing the shutter-speed. I'm still learning - Year 12 photography was a long time ago - but it's all part of the fun for me.

Considering it was overcast and the lighting was dark at times, I think I did a relatively good job. I was happy with my shots taken with 1/60 shutter speed and below, though I had to rest the camera on logs and rocks to keep it steady to avoid blurring. I should really invest in a tripod to be honest, but don't forget, I'm a broke uni student.

After copious photos (I mean, you've got to get the perfect one) we began the descent. The stairs were slimy, steep and slippery, but aided by a metal railing. It didn't take long to reach the bottom, and when you're surrounded by such luscious trees, it's okay if you take a little longer to soak it all in.

Once at the bottom, a small bridge platform is situated with a clear view of the falls. Like I said, it's a well-known tourist attraction in the area, so it was no surprise that there were a few people around. Sometimes you just have to share the beauty of nature with other people, even if you wish you could have it all to yourself.

The view from the platform is great, but I'm always one for exploring that little bit further. Back towards the stairs and away from the bridge platform, there's a small section off to the left which leads onto the riverbank.

This is where there are Australian signs that make you want to turn around. Don't - you'll be fine if you take care and use your common sense.

The river flows through mossy rocks and makes for great photographs. We were visiting in May when there hadn't been much rainfall, so it wasn't too hard to manoeuvre over the rocks to the other side.

If you happen to visit when there's a heavier rush of water, or during winter months (June-August), then it may be harder, more dangerous or even impossible to cross.

I struggled to step on the rocks with my heavy backpack, and my camera bag slipping off my left shoulder. But we made it across and continued along a muddy, slippery terrain. Which we soon realised we weren't actually meant to be on. Oops.

I can't stress enough how beautiful this place is. As you can see, it's very green and mossy, much like a Balinese rainforest, only less dirty.

Finally after ducking under logs and almost slipping over multiple times, we made it closer to the falls. The slower shutter speed settings I was talking about before achieved the below shots, with the water frosted and smooth in contrast to the ferns and moss.

Patience is key when you're visiting popular tourist attractions. You have to wait your turn to get a shot free of other people, and make sure you allow other's the same in return.

I don't mind the wait though, because just staring at the falls is peaceful enough. We hid underneath fern trees during patches of rain, trying desperately to protect our electronics (maybe bring some waterproof gear, because we struggled in that department). But, hey, our phones and cameras survived and we got some amazing shots in the process.

So, yeah. I have $10.34 in my bank account after the car hire, accomodation, food, fuel and coffees. But it's payday next week, I have a roof over my head and there's frozen meals in the fridge. And I wouldn't change the experience for all the money in the world.

I also managed to revisit Erskine Falls in September 2017, and it was flowing much heavier after the winter months. See pics below!

Quick Facts

Last visit September 2017
Best Time April-November
Start / Finish Erskine Falls Rd Carpark
Unsealed Roads No
Walking distance Upper lookout 80m one way Lower Falls 220m one way
Time 1hr return
Difficulty Moderate, steep stairs
Facilities None (closest toilets are at Blanket Leaf Picnic area
Lat & Long 38.5070° S, 143.9135° E
Nearby Straw Falls, Splitter Falls, Cora Lynn Cascades (Blanket Leaf Picnic area)
Watercourse Erskine River

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Quinninup Falls, Wilyabrup – Western Australia, Australia

Some waterfalls are easy to find.

Others, like Quinninup Falls, you stumble across when you're sweaty and exhausted, trekking on the Cape to Cape track in Yallingup, Western Australia.

Finding the Quinninup Falls was on the top of my "To Do" list when I took a camping road trip to the South-West of WA. My friend Morgan and I were determined to find them - despite a complete lack of directions on Google, and absolutely no idea how or where to find them.

These falls are actually the reason I was inspired to make my Chasing Waterfalls blog. Well, they sparked the idea. With just our mobile phones as aid, it was really difficult to source information on where we needed to go and what we needed to do in order to get to these falls. I wanted to make it my life's mission to make it easy for people like me, so that time wasn't wasted driving up and down the wrong streets, or coming to an unsealed road with a shock. Things like that which would really help a budding traveller.

You see, these falls are tucked away on a segment of the Cape to Cape hiking trail along the Cape Naturalist Region - Leeuwin. Hence, we had to actually hike to find them, but which beach did we need to go to? Did we go left or right at the crossroads? That was dilemma number 1.

We started off in the complete wrong direction - at the end of Moses Rock Road, we went left and after a long dusty road, wound up in a very small carpark that backed onto huge sand dunes. We consequently thought we needed to get to higher ground in order to find the waterfall, because, well, water has to flow from up high, right?

So we hiked an unbelievably steep sand dune (photos do not do it justice but hopefully gives you some sort of idea) and aside from some pretty awesome views, we achieved nothing but losing our breath.

We aborted that mission, and decided to try the next beach (back the way we had come). See there are carparks left and right of the dusty roads, so it's a bit of a gamble if you don't know where you are going. (Don't worry, I will help you out).

We followed the road we had come from and eventually pulled into another carpark - packed-full, might I add (this is Moses Rock  Road Car Park on Google Maps). We stared out to the beach and argued for a second about which one of us were going to ask the local-looking surfers and oldies if we were in the right place. In the end it had to be me, so I manned up and asked, "Which way do we have to go to get to the falls on the Cape to Cape?" trying my best not to sound like a typical tourist.

They kindly gave us directions to drive right to the next carpark, and trek along that section of the Cape to Cape which was apparently clearly marked.

Road Map, Moses Rock Road Carpark, Wilyabup. Google Maps (2016).

So, to sum up. Drive to Moses Rock Road (which comes off Caves Road in Wilyabup) until you hit a fork in the road. Turn right along the white dusty gravel and park your car the first small carpark you come across. Get out, find the sign to the right of the road that says Cape to Cape, and begin the journey.

Because, a journey it is. We trekked through a thin track with barren shrub, and those small plants that smell like urine. Some sections were wet, and we got excited. But we were far from flowing water.

Which way, which way?

Word of advice - don't get excited until you reach parts that are sandy. A steep sandy hill (which you walk down - thank the lord) winds around a curve until you find rich, red/orange Earth.

Once you walk around the corner, the falls suddenly appear, as if out of nowhere. They are small, but beautiful. Smack bang in the middle of nowhere.

There's not a big area to admire the falls, so it can be a bit packed with people. Be patient and share the space with everyone. Also be mindful and respectful of the history this treasure bodes with the traditional owners of the land, the Nyoongar people.

We were game enough to get in - though it was absolutely freezing and the sliminess of the floor and debris, I would not recommend.

And yet.

You've travelled such a fair way, most likely in blistering Australian heat, so you may as well cool off under the fresh, clean water.

The walk back is hot enough, so a refreshing dip might be just what you need to help aid the hike. I'll definitely be back here in the winter time, as I've heard the falls get much heavier than they were during this time (September).

Looking for other adventurous, waterfall-y things to do in the area? Try Injidup Natural Spa at Wyadup Rocks nearby, or Yarlgadup Falls a little further in Margaret River.

And if you're heading towards Perth, there's an abundance of hiking trails and waterfalls in to choose from! Simply head here. 

Quick Facts

Last visit September 2015 
Best Time June/July
Start / FinishMoses Rock Rd Carpark 
Unsealed Roads Yes but in great condition
Walking distance 1.5km one way
Time 45 minutes one way
Difficulty Moderate
Facilities Toilets
Lat & Long 33.7463° S, 114.9953° E
Nearby Injidup Beach, Yallingup Maze, Margaret River Chocolate Factory
Watercourse unknown

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