girl rides bike in front of Aframe house to show accommodation at Esperance Chalet Village while driving the south west edge

How I Did A 14 Day Road Trip Along The South West Edge

girl rides bike in front of Aframe house to show accommodation at Esperance Chalet Village while driving the south west edge


I recently embarked on an epic adventure along The South West Edge – a road trip from Perth to Esperance in Western Australia that travels through wine regions, towering old-growth forests, pristine coastlines, and loops back across the outback. I created my own version of The South West Edge that begins in Nannup, exploring en route along The Edge during the last two weeks of September. Here’s how I did it. For tips, tricks and costs – scroll to the end of this post!

Day 1: Perth to Nannup (2hrs 40mins | 221kms)

To begin my version of The South West Edge road trip, I drive the 2hrs 40mins from Perth to Nannup in Australia’s South West, starting at the tranquil Barrabup Pool. The gravel crunches under my feet as I step out of the car and take in the green scene before me. The pool glistens, gently lapping at the sandy banks from water flowing further up-stream. There is silence – all but for the sound of the tree tops rustling in the breeze and the occasional chirp of a bird. It is true serenity and I’m immersed in it, completely surrounded by nature. I stay a while, dip my toes in the water but quickly jump back from the icy cold – it’s a better swimming spot during summer – and enjoy a picnic lunch on the wooden deck of the jetty, soaking up the beauty.

Portrait image of girl sitting over green waters edge
Barrabup Pool, Nannup

I roll into the quaint town of Nannup and am immediately welcomed by Saturday markets, selling trinkets of jewellery, artwork, crochet creations and wooden carvings. I enjoy a hot coffee at Melo Velo café, and stroll past boutiques and a restaurant or two on the main street, which is lined with tulips from the Nannup Flower & Garden Festival (usually held over a weekend in August each year but this year extended for five weeks).

Portrait image of a girl in Nannup Lavender Farm garden
Nannup Lavender Farm

Afternoon tea is a homemade scone with jam and cream and a pot of tea on the patio at Nannup Lavender Farm before checking into Holberry House Bed & Breakfast, where my upstairs Queen Room with ensuite is homey and inviting. In the communal areas, I soak up the sunshine in the greenroom, make a cup of tea in the living room and read a book in the sitting room before catching the sunset over the rolling hills opposite the back of the property. A two minute drive to the main street and I’ve ordered the creamy garlic prawns from the Blackwood Café for dinner, which I devour in their garden setting.

Overnight: Holberry House.

A girl sits in the greenroom at Holberry House in Nannup
Holberry House Bed & Breakfast Greenhouse

DAY 2: Nannup

Continental breakfast is served in the dining room – freshly baked homemade muffins and crusty bread with a spread of local jams, local seasonal fruit, yoghurt, cereals and tea and coffee. All to be enjoyed while looking out at the gardens and watching the birds.  

Morning breakfast spread at Holberry House B&B to show continental breakfast serving
Continental breakfast at Holberry House

I need the energy from breakfast for my hike to Beyonderup Falls, which are found tucked behind a Private Property on Balingup-Nannup Road. A beautiful scenic drive along this road, which winds its way around the rivers, valleys and lush green rolling hills of Nannup, takes me to the property opposite Beyonderup Falls Country Escape.

The Nannup Flower & Garden Festival includes Open Gardens, so first I greet the friendly old man at Gullyfoot Garden and meander through his and his wife’s vibrant, colourful display of wildflowers and native plants. The couple lend me a strong stick to aid with the steep hike up to the falls, which are hidden in the valley behind their property. Afterwards, I accept a complimentary cup of tea on their verandah, where rainbow parrots, blue fairy wrens and red robins frolic in bird baths; the sun shining in the blue sky above the garden.  

Beyonderup Falls, Nannup

Later, I take the steep, uneven gravel road through towering pine forest to get to Tank 7, grateful for a four wheel drive. The sweeping views of lush, green rolling hills are uninterrupted from here – a vantage point popular with photographers. As the sun goes down, it casts rays of amber orange over the trees and hills in the distance and I exhale in awe. 

sunset views at Tank 7 to show landscape view from here
Tank 7 at sunset, Nannup

The fire is crackling when I return to Holberry House and shortly after my arrival a steaming bowl of home-made potato and leek soup (which I ordered earlier) arrives on a platter, complete with warm crusty bread and fresh biscuits for dessert.

Overnight: Holberry House.

Day 3: Nannup to Pemberton (55mins | 77kms)

It’s a short 300m walk to the suspension bridge that provides a clear view of Beedelup Falls in Pemberton, which is absolutely pumping. The gully is surrounded by lush greenery and I follow the boardwalk stairs up and around on the loop trail to the viewing platform at the top of the falls.

Beedelup Falls, Pemberton

Being the budding photographer that I am, I swing my legs over the boardwalk on the right-hand side of the bank (if you’ve started the loop in a clockwise direction) and carefully slide into the gushing stream; camera and tripod hanging over one shoulder. I inch cautiously toward the falls, meticulous in placing my gumboots in stable crevices of rock so as not to slip and slide down the river. From here I find at least one good composition, snapping long exposure shots with my Nikon D750 and Nisi Advanced Filter Kit – making it worth the adventurous risk.

Sunset at RAC Karri Valley Resort, Pemberton

All checked in at RAC Karri Valley Resort, I crawl the car along the driveway, past kangaroo-dotted paddocks and then beside the gleaming glass-like water of the lake toward my Lakeside Room. I dine at the Lakeside Restaurant, peering out the glass doors toward the dark lake, and savour every bite of the best four mushroom risotto I’ve ever eaten, alongside a glass of Frankland River Cabernet Sauvignon.

Overnight: RAC Karri Valley Resort.

Four mushroom risotto at Lakeside Restaurant

Day 4: Pemberton

Sunrise at Pemberton Pool is morning mist rising from the glassy water and sunlight filtering romantically through the trees; with not another soul around. Breakfast is a fried egg and smoky bacon bagel with a side of hot coffee at Wild at Heart café.

Girl in red dress at Pemberton Pool to show morning mist and beauty of natural environment
Pemberton Pool at sunrise

When the sun has risen to 10am, it’s time to join Pemberton Discovery Tours on the Beach and Forest Eco Adventure Tour into the heart of the Warren and D’Entrecasteaux National Parks. We meet at their office on the main street, and the group piles into the car for a half-day of adventure. It’s a bumpy – yet somehow comfy – ride in the 4×4 Troopy. My body jiggles as we bunny-hop down the steep slopes of the sand. We accelerate up one final hill and reach the impressive Yeagarup Dunes.  The white expanse goes on and on, a vast landscape that disappears into the distance. It’s one of the world’s largest moving sand dune systems, and it is breathtaking. We continue on to Yeagarup Beach, where it is indeed beach, just beach – for as far as the eye can see. We arrive back in Pemberton a little after noon, but not before devouring fresh homemade rolls with tea and coffee in the forest.

Two people stand on Yeagarup Dunes to show proportion and their huge size
Yeagarup Dunes, D'Entrecasteaux National Park in Pemberton

My adventure continues with an exhilarating adrenalin-inducing climb to the top of the tallest old fire lookout tree, the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree. At 75metres-tall, my heart rattles in my chest as I grasp each steel rung of the ladder winding its way up the trunk, hardly daring to look down. But the view is worth it, high above the tops of the trees, the forest expanses forever.

Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, Pemberton

Before heading back to my accommodation, I pick up some fresh produce from Wild at Heart, which also sells fresh fruit & veg, cheese, nuts and crackers. Back at the resort, my balcony that hangs directly over the lake is frequented by parrots, eager to say hello. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese platter as the sun goes down and watch as it ricochets pink hues over the clouds in the sky.  

Overnight: RAC Karri Valley Resort.

girl enjoys wine and cheese on balcony with lake view to show Lakeside View rooms at RAC Karri Valley Resort in Pemberton
Lakeside Room balcony at RAC Karri Valley Resort, Pemberton

Day 5: Pemberton to Walpole via Northcliffe (1hr 47mins | 128kms)

It’s a short drive to Northcliffe, where I begin the 1.2km loop trail of Understory Art and Nature from the Northcliffe Visitor Centre. Just $10 grants me entry and I’m offered an umbrella for the walk. The immersion of art and nature is fascinating, with works of art integrated into the trees and the trail. It’s peaceful and unique, and the perfect warm up walk for my next challenge just a 20minute drive away…    

a girl looks up at artwork that winds up a tree trunk to show Understory Art and Nature walk in Northcliffe
Understory Art and Nature Walk, Northcliffe

There’s not another soul around as I begin the 5km-return hike to Lane Poole Falls. The track is relatively flat, with soft, leaf-littered earth beneath my feet. A final extremely steep 200m descent on slippery orange mud leads me to the viewing platform for the waterfall, which is gushing well from winter rains.

Then it’s on to Walpole, where I’m grateful to cosy up in my Luxury Queen Ensuite Glamping Tent at Coalmine Beach Holiday Park, complete with a heated towel rack, hot shower and electric blanket to keep me warm and snug.

Overnight: Coalmine Beach Holiday Park.

long exposure photo of Lane Poole Falls to show how much water flow during spring
Lane Poole Falls, near Northcliffe

Day 6: Walpole

There’s much to be explored in the Walpole Wilderness, more than you would expect. I opt first for a visit to Fernhook Falls, a 30 minute drive away along South West Highway followed by a right onto the gravel Beardmore Road. Near a campground, there’s a very short, flat walk along a bitumen path to a boardwalk that follows the Frankland River downstream to Rowell’s Pool. Once again, I find a spot on the bank – to the right after the first boardwalk before reaching the picnic tables – to access the rocky terrain of the falls for a better picture.

drone photo of Fernhook Falls to show how large they meander down the Frankland River in Walpole
Fernhook Falls, Walpole

Next I tackle Mount Frankland, where the steep 500m-ascent (1km-return) is rather remarkable – over 300 stairs take me to the peak. The sweeping views toward the Walpole coast and the mountains in the distance are uninterrupted. An eagle circles and soars high in the blue sky above me, screeching to its companion as it glides through the air.

drone photo to show the view from Mount Frankland
Mount Frankland, Walpole

After watching the sunset from Coalmine Beach just walking distance from my glamping tent, I cook spaghetti bolognese in the shared camp kitchen and chat companionably to other friendly travellers about their journeys.

Overnight: Coalmine Beach Holiday Park.

landscape image to show sunset at Coalmine Beach in Walpole
Sunset at Coalmine Beach, Walpole

Day 7: Walpole to Denmark via Peaceful Bay (1hr 23mins | 83kms)

My morning begins with a WOW Wilderness Eco Cruise, where local operator Gary – Gazza! – makes our group giggle frequently with his wild sense of humour and animated story-telling. His knowledge of this part of the world is immense, and we learn about the landscape, the colonisation history, and much more while we cruise down the Walpole inlet towards biodiverse and untouched landscapes. We get to disembark on an island and explore the flora and fauna, as well as the wild ocean on the other side. Back on board the vessel, we enjoy tea and coffee with a side of freshly baked tingle cake – a special treat unique to the tour.

landscape image of beach view on an island to show experience had on WOW Wilderness Eco Cruise in Walpole
WOW Wilderness Eco Cruise, Walpole

Next I head for the Peaceful Bay Caravan Park Fish & Chip shop, which is renowned for having the best fish and chips going around. Freshly caught local Kingfish is served on a bed of crispy chips which I enjoy by the beach, and it truly is spectacular – fish so tender and juicy, and chips so perfectly salty that the gulls eye them carefully, but they’re not getting a single crumb today.

photo of fish and chips to show best fish and chips from Peaceful Bay Caravan Park
Fish and Chips from Peaceful Bay Caravan Park

On my way to Denmark I stop at Lights Beach and admire this tremendous stretch of coastline with its aquamarine waters – regrettably the William Bay National Park home to peppermint-tinged coves at Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks is closed for carpark upgrades, otherwise I would’ve paid them a visit (hopefully they will be reopen in November 2020), but Lights and Ocean Beach are just as beautiful in their own right.

Elephant Rocks, William Bay National Park in Denmark

The Cove accommodation is tucked away in the forest, and The Sanctum welcomes me with its glass exterior and wooden-cabin aura. I start the log fire and enjoy a glass of red wine while watching the embers crackle and burn.   

Overnight: The Cove Chalets.

The Sanctum accommodation at The Cove, Denmark

Day 8: Denmark to Albany via Shelley Beach (1hr 18mins | 77kms)

It’s time to chase the sun as the radar predicts a storm is rolling in. I travel to Albany, but not before stopping at Shelley Beach to soak in the wild rolling waves, thick green coastline and orange dusty road leading to the shores. The wind here is treacherous, so I only stay long enough to admire the view from the lookout.

Shelley Beach, West Cape Howe National Park near Albany

Albany’s City Centre is a hive of activity as I pop into the Visitor Centre on the main street to ask advice on finding the Queen of Sheeba orchid in the nearby Gull Rock National Park. A few map instructions later, I slip on my gumboots for maximum snake protection (you can never be too careful in Australia), and trudge onto the overgrown fire trails in Gull Rock National Park in search of The Queen. My eyes scan the vegetation, looking; searching. I don’t find her, but I do stumble upon other orchid species and colourful wildflowers, as well as a bungarra lizard (sand goanna) slithering its way up the road, before the rain hits. I shelter at my accommodation, but if you’re looking to eat out you mustn’t pass on Liberté, a Parisian inspired bar in the historic London Hotel serving French Vietnamese concoctions which I’ve enjoyed on previous trips to Albany.  

Overnight: Albany Holiday Units.

close up of rare orchid to show biodiverse wildflowers found en route along the south west edge road trip in spring
Orchid in Gull Rock National Park, near Albany

Day 9: Albany to Hopetoun (3hrs 32mins | 331kms)

The giant painted grain silo – an outdoor art mural as part of the PUBLIC Silo Trail – greets me as I head into Ravensthorpe, and I know I’m officially in Australia’s Golden Outback. It’s been a long, never-ending road to get here, but there’s only 30 more minutes until my next destination; Hopetoun.

image of art on a giant grain silo to show art mural on the PUBLIC Silo Trail in Ravensthorpe along the south west edge road trip
Ravensthorpe PUBLIC Silo Art

However it’s windy and grey during my time in Hopetoun, so I relish in the shelter of my cabin. If it wasn’t for the weather, I’d drive the 20 minutes out to Barrens Beach and West Beach to check out the epic coastline here, or venture inland to explore the biodiverse Fitzgerald River National Park; perhaps tackle the climb to the summit of East Mount Barren, or hike one of the many walking trails which at this time of year will be lined with the many wildflowers of botanical significance in this region.    

Overnight: Wavecrest Tourist Park.

Day 10: Hopetoun to Esperance (1hr 51mins | 184kms)

Today’s the day! I head off toward Esperance, excitement racing through my bones. I pass the ‘Welcome to the Shire of Esperance’ sign and wiggle in my seat – I’ve arrived. I head straight for Great Ocean Drive, past the Pink Lake that’s no longer pink (the lake that is still pink is at Middle Island off Cape Arid’s coast, accessible by seasonal cruises and flights), and follow the coastline here, which is unbelievably raw and can only be described as phenomenal. Coastal cliffs so high and treacherous and ocean for as far as the eye can see, which barrels against white sand beaches in hues of every blue. Though windy, it’s still easy to see the beauty here.

drone shot of road and blue ocean coast to show Great Ocean Drive en route along the south west edge road trip
Great Ocean Drive, Esperance

The wheels of my car crunch on the white sandy gravel as I roll into Esperance Chalet Village. From the parking bay, it’s a short stroll under the garden lights to my little white A-frame Studio Chalet. The door is unlocked, and the key waiting for me on the table where a vase of native dried botanicals is prefaced by seashells; with a postcard propped up between the two that reads ‘Welcome, enjoy your stay.’  

girl rides bike in front of Aframe house to show accommodation at Esperance Chalet Village while driving the south west edge
Esperance Chalet Village Studio Chalet

It’s a sanctuary here, with every little detail thought through. A cheeseboard with a cheese-knife and saucer sits on the mini kitchenette bench, alongside a coffee pod machine. The bed is perfectly made up with designer linen; four plump pillows and a burnt orange throw. The bathroom sports handmade soap, and an array of body wash, shampoo and conditioner bottles from Appelles Apothecary & Lab are displayed on a wooden stepping stool. The table with my key also features woven placemats frilled with puka shells and a chair covered in a white fur rug. I breathe a sigh – I feel at home.  

Overnight: Esperance Chalet Village.

Days 10-13: Esperance

Two out of the three days I spend in Esperance are too windy for my liking. On the first windy day, a failed attempt to climb to the summit of Frenchman Peak in Cape Le Grand National Park sets me off with emotion – the raw, uncomfortable side to being a solo traveller cripples me as the disappointment sinks in. It’s simply too steep and risky to tackle alone. But I soldier on – and know I’ll be back one day to conquer it with some company.

drone photo of mountain with road in front of it to show size of Frenchman Peak in Cape Le Grand National Park Esperance along the south west edge road trip
Frenchman Peak, Cape Le Grand National Park in Esperance

Then one glorious weather day turns it on, with sunny blue skies and not a whisper of wind. On this day, I wake early (6am) and head straight to Cape Le Grand National Park (45mins drive), passing seventeen kangaroos on the way. But there’s not a single roo on Lucky Bay Beach. Fortunately, the crystal blue hue of the waters and the pristine white sandy shores make up for it. The sand is damp and claps softly on my feet like wet cement as I walk to the water’s edge. I shade my eyes from the morning sun and gaze at the endless expanse of beach in the distance – where there’s only one other person taking a stroll.

drone shot of one person on beach with white sand and blue waters to show epic Lucky Bay Beach in Esperance on the south west edge
Lucky Bay Beach, Cape Le Grand National Park in Esperance

Next, it’s on to Hellfire Bay where the ocean gleans from cobalt blue to turquoise before crashing on white icing-sugar sands. The shores at Wylie Bay are equally as beautiful, where ocean from either side of some rocks surges to meet in the middle of a sand bank – a unique sight to see. The rest of the day is spent exploring Great Ocean Drive, marvelling at the blue waters of Blue Haven, Twilight, Ten Mile and Eleven Mile Beach. I dive into the sparkling, crystal clear (and freezing cold) waters of a rock pool and lay in the sunshine, content as can be.    

Overnight: Esperance Chalet Village.

drone shot of beach with turquoise blue waters and white sandy shores to show Hellfire Bay and the incredible beaches found along the south west edge road trip to esperance
Hellfire Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park in Esperance

Day 13: Esperance to Hyden/Wave Rock (4hrs | 384kms)

It’s a long drive through a completely different terrain to the one’s I’ve come from. When its present, the vegetation turns to thick, durable shrub – and to vast farmland when it’s not. Finally, I reach Wave Rock Road where I find the Wave Rock Caravan Park & Kiosk, the Toy Soldier Museum, The Lace Shop, Visitor Information Centre & Café and the infamous Wave Rock itself, all within a 150m-walking distance of one another.

a girl walks on ancient rock shaped like a wave to show sheer size and incredible natural landscapes to be found along the south west edge road trip from perth to esperance
Wave Rock, Hyden

I follow the short, flat path toward Wave Rock, whose mighty 110m-long curved rock stained with colours of grey, charcoal and orange towers above me at 15m-high. From here, it’s a short 1km stroll through budding bush and wildflower-ridden earth to Hippo’s Yawn, an eroded rock face resembling a sleepy beast which loops back to the Caravan Park. Yet another thing to tick off the bucket list!

Overnight: Wave Rock Caravan Park.

Day 14: Hyden to Perth (4hrs | 332kms)

It’s back to Perth today, past a plethora of paddocks and hectares upon hectares of farmland. ‘Wide Open Road’ by The Triffids plays through the stereo and I wind my window down to feel some of the fresh air as I whizz past the landscape, ready to tell anyone and everyone who will listen all about my adventure. Ah – home, sweet home!


– You will likely have limited mobile phone service throughout this trip – with Optus I only had reception in the town centres and none at RAC Karri Valley Resort or in Hyden. If you are with Telstra you will have much more reliable reception throughout the trip, though still none at RAC Karri Valley Resort or at The Cove in Denmark.

– There was only free and well-working wifi available at Holberry House, Albany Holiday Units and Esperance Chalet Village, while patchy wifi was available at RAC Karri Valley Resort (and limited to 1GB with 10GB available for purchase), free wifi only at the onsite Bistro & Bar at Wavecrest Tourist Park, and free strong wifi only in the undercover area at Wave Rock Caravan Park.

– Due to limited service, I recommend downloading offline maps and always carrying a hard copy map book with you. Don’t always trust Google maps in remote areas – when I travelled from Lane Poole Falls to Walpole it took me through unsealed, boggy and tree-ridden roads in the Shannon State Forest. In this case, it’s best to head back towards Northcliffe from Lane Poole Falls and follow the route along the main roads of Middleton Road and South Western Highway.

– To this point, there are lots of unsealed roads on this trip, though all except Tank 7 would be manageable in a two wheel drive.

– Some of the distances between towns are quite long and there are no fuel stations between towns, so make sure to fuel up frequently – I’d advise to do so whenever you have an opportunity.

– If travelling alone (and especially if hiking alone), it’s important to always have plenty of water and a first aid kit with you. I have the ‘Emergency +’ app downloaded on my phone, which allows you to dial 000 in the event of an emergency even without mobile phone reception and will capture a GPS of your location. I always carry a PLB (personal locator beacon) with me as well just in case.

– You are required to pay entry fees into National Parks in Western Australia ($15 per vehicle for a day pass). The most cost-effective way to do this is to purchase a Park Pass – I opted for an Annual Park Pass with my RAC Members discount for $60.91.

– The total costs of this trip were roughly $2,000 for accommodation (a mixture of budget and borderline-luxury standards, so this could also be done for less if camping or willing to compromise on standard), $400-500 for fuel in a four wheel drive Subaru Outback that takes 91 Unleaded fuel, $140 for eating out (including alcohol) with $170 spent on groceries to make meals myself and keep costs down. Entry to Northcliffe’s Understory Art and Nature Trail is $10 per adult, the WOW Wilderness Cruise was $50 and Pemberton Discovery Tours Beach & Forest Eco Adventure Tour $125. This trip is doable on a budget of $3000 or less.

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Person in floatie in Rocky Pool, Gooseberry Hill

Rocky Pool, Gooseberry Hill National Park, Kalamunda, Perth – Western Australia, Australia


‘Hidden’ in Perth’s Hills lies a cute little oasis known as Rocky Pool. I’d always wanted to have an adventure here, but it’s not the easiest spot to locate. So after a few wrong turns, I’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s how to find Rocky Pool. 

Rocky Pool is located in Kalamunda in the Perth Hills along a watercourse known as Piesse Brook, which is best flowing in June and August. Begin your journey by setting your GPS to ‘Rocky Pool and NP PARKING AREA’ located on Schipp Road. 

An image screenshot of Google maps to demonstrate location of Rocky Pool NP Parking Area on Shipp Road
Rocky Pool and NP PARKING AREA located on Schipp Road. Google Maps (2020).
Rocky Pool Parking Area

From here, a Kalamunda National Park sign indicates the beginning of your hike. Strap on your hiking boots – it’s time to get walking!

When I visited Rocky Pool, my friend Morgan and I weren’t too sure if we were headed in the right direction due to a big metal gate at the start of the track – but you needn’t worry, this is just to stop vehicles from driving along the gravel road. 

Soon after our feet had trudged a little ways along the dusty gravel, we spotted some information signs about our location and the flora and fauna here, which was a good sign (pun-intended). 

We continued forward, surrounded by the stunning Australian bush, not really knowing the distance we had to travel or how to find Rocky Pool. But the surroundings were beautiful enough to soak in and enjoy along the way.  

To avoid having to spend ages blowing up our floaties once we arrived at Rocky Pool, we saved time by carrying them with us. But it wasn’t completely practical…

More information signs along the way let us know we were headed in the right direction, so we trudged on along the gravel track and crossed a small bridge and stream. 

Pay attention to your surroundings, because there are many indicators to help guide the way. 

Parts of the track were flat, while others headed steeply uphill and downhill. 

We passed rushing water with a smile – this is a good indication that Rocky Pool will be flowing. June to August is the best time for a steady stream, while September and October are good times for swimming in the warmer weather. Sadly, during November to May in summer, Rocky Pool is usually dried up. 

In the hot October sun, we headed uphill for a steep section of the track. 

But more water on either side of us reassured us that the hike would be worth the effort. 

While walking this 2km trail, the beautiful biodiverse flora and fauna surrounding us was in abundance. 

We didn’t see any animals, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there… 

A section of the Bibbulmun track crosses here, so we knew we were in true hiking territory. 

We continued on the straight and narrow, until we found the sign we’d been looking for!

Before we knew it, Rocky Pool appeared as if from nowhere, in a clearing among the trees. The water in the pool was brimming, and we wanted to sit a while and admire the view. 

But then it was time to get a little closer. The stream was flowing clear and fresh over the rocky terrain – an indication of where this place may have got its name. 

And yet the pool itself remained as clear as glass. 

We couldn’t wait any longer, so we hopped into the freezing-cold waters. Though cold,  they were a refreshing relief from the hot sun of the day. 

Person in floatie in Rocky Pool, Gooseberry Hill

It was such a tranquil and beautiful spot where we could be immersed by nature. I highly recommend the hike! When you’ve finished soaking in the beauty of Rocky Pool, you might like to explore the nearby Lesmurdie Falls. 

Quick Facts

Last visitOctober 2017
Best TimeJune-August for flow, September-October for swimming. Dries up in summer (Nov-May)
Start / FinishRocky Pool and NP PARKING AREA on Schipp Road (return trail)
Unsealed RoadsYes, in winter months become stony and loose with wet potholes, spring time are recovered and smooth
Walking distance2kms (one way)
Time30-40mins (one way)
Lat & Longunknown 
NearbyLesmurdie Falls 
WatercoursePiesse Brook 

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Girl sits with MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians National Park in background

3 Melbourne Waterfalls Perfect for Swimming When Summer Begins

Where to go for the best Melbourne Waterfalls

With summer approaching, it’s a perfect time to plan water-filled adventures to embrace (and escape) the heat. As any Melbournian will know, this city is notorious for four seasons in one day and a year dominated with cold wind and rain. So when summer finally rolls around, we can’t wait to hit the beach. But it’s not just beaches that serve up all the fun – there are a few waterfalls too! Why not hit one of these three Melbourne Waterfalls Perfect for Swimming When Summer Begins? Here they are:

Turpins Falls Water Swimming Hole

Turpins Falls has an amazing, large pool at their base which is great for swimming. However, the water here is freezing cold, even in summer, so be prepared. It’s also rather dangerous to jump from rocks here, as deaths have occurred in the past. Be smart about it and don’t take any risks and you’ll be sure to have a fun time.

Bring floaties for extra relaxing fun.
Unsealed road with small car park. 

2. MacKenzie Falls, Grampians National Park

Girl sits with MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians National Park in background

Although you’re not actually allowed to swim at MacKenzie Falls, a lot of people do. If you’re not game enough to break the rules, the falls are powerful enough that if you find a nice spot to sit, you’ll get the fresh cool spray delicately landing on your skin. It’s bound to cool you down on a warm day while you sit and admire the beauty that is these falls. 

Roughly 3 hours from Melbourne.
No cell phone reception at base.
Steep, strenuous descent with lots of stairs.
Bring lots of water and snacks.
There are plenty of other hikes and waterfalls in the Grampians, so make the most of your trip there. 

3. Beauchamp Falls, Great Otway National Park

Beauchamp Falls visited during Chasing Waterfalls trip in Lorne

Not exactly a ‘swimming pool’ but still one of the great Melbourne waterfalls, Beauchamp Falls in Great Otway National Park flow year-round. This makes it a perfect spot to visit for a refreshing splash or dip in this pristine river. 

Roughly 3 hours from Melbourne.
Steep, long trail with lots of deep stairs and a metal staircase at the end. 
Spend some time exploring the Great Ocean Road on your way there.
While you’re there, check out the many other nearby waterfalls such as Hopetoun Falls and Triplet Falls.

There you have it! Three Melbourne waterfalls perfect for swimming when summer begins – or just exploring at any other time really. 

If you want some waterfall itineraries, try my Itinerary for a Day in Lorne, Victoria pt 1, and A Day in Lorne, Victoria pt 2.

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Injidup Natural Spa Rock Pool Drone Photo

Injidup Natural Spa, Wyadup Rocks, Yallingup – Western Australia, Australia


Crystal clear waters. Wild, thick waves. A make-shift waterfall. A hidden rock pool treasure. The beauty that is, Injidup Natural Spa at Wyadup Rocks, Yallingup.

Injidup Natural Spa Rock Pool Drone Photo

While not technically a waterfall, there is a place where the ocean meets the land. Where wild rocks have moulded into a water-fall like formation. The water from the ocean crashes over the top of these rocks, and gushes down into the crystal clear pools near the beach. A beach water-fall, if you like. This is Injidup Natural Spa.

Getting there

Injidup Natural Spa is a highly sort after spot for West Australian’s delving into the beautiful South-West region. A must-visit if you’re ever close by. And if you know where you are going, it’s not too hard to find (you have to be pretty good at manoeuvring over rocks, though).

Driving down Caves Road, away from Yallingup you need to turn (right) onto Wyadup Road. Now this is where it gets confusing, if you refer to the map below it shows Injidup Beach as being further down, along Cape Clairault Road. Ignore this. Follow Wyadup Road until the very end, which will curve around to the right. Here, you’ll find a relatively small and not-very-well-structured carpark. (I’ve marked it on the map with a red circle). You may have to pull up on the edge of the gravel if it’s a busy day.

Road Map. Wyadup Road. Google Maps (2016).

Once at the carpark, there is no real or clear path down to what is known as “Injidup Natural Spa”, but a few thin, windy dirt tracks. These begin off to the left and allow you to pick and choose your preferred route. After the initial descent, it is a lot of people’s first instinct to head to the left, towards where you can see visible, white sand. However, if you continue down to the right (which will turn into precarious rocks) you will find the sanctuary. 

Below you can see the ‘falls’, where huge waves from the ocean on the other side collide with the rocks, sending a wash of white water and spray over to this pool. Water trickles (or violently washes, depending on the size of the wave) down the grooves in the rock. And voila, waterfall! Or close enough.

What to bring

I’d suggest bringing along some good-grip sand shoes as opposed to thongs or sandals. However, I find the easiest way is actually with bare feet, using my toes to curl and grip and dance along the rocks, aiding my balance on the rocky terrain. Up to you, though.

It’s also imperative you bring along some sunscreen, a water bottle, towel, and of course, don’t forget your bathers. You’ll want to swim in the crystal clear waters, no matter how cold they are. Trust me.


As you can see, Injidup Natural Spa has become quite a popular spot, so there’s not a lot of privacy or opportunity for a people-less picture. At least not in the summer months, anyway. I mean, you can try your best and wait very patiently. Either that, or get up at 4am and venture for sunrise for a quiet shot.

Leave no trace

Another sad thing I noticed on a recent trip is the amount of rubbish left behind. Clothes, beer bottles, you name it, lie in the sand and in rock crevices. This sanctury will only last if we look after it. So please – LEAVE NO TRACE. Take your rubbish with you and help preserve this beautiful place so we can all enjoy it for years to come. 

Injidup Rock Pool with no waves, calm and clear water

But wait, there's more!

After doing my own exploring with friends, I found a quiet, peaceful rock pool tucked away in the endless mountains of rock. Now I won’t give away exactly where you need to go to find this one, because there needs to be some element of mystery, but if you (carefully) go exploring among the rock-mountains, I promise you will not be disappointed. Read more about my opinion on secret versus share phenomenon here. 

Girl climbing into blue rock pool
Mermaid in a rock pool taken from drone above


Magical, right? I have no other words.

Quick Facts

Last visitSeptember 2019
Best TimeSeptember – March
Start / FinishWyadup Road Carpark, Injidup Beach
Unsealed RoadsNo
Walking distanceless than 100m from carpark
Time3hr drive from Perth
Lat & Longn/a
NearbyBoranup Forest
WatercourseIndian Ocean
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Top 10 Waterfalls to Visit Great Ocean Road

Top 10 Waterfalls to Visit Great Ocean Road

A trip along Great Ocean Road wouldn’t be complete without paying a visit to the copious waterfalls in the area. You might not know it, but the coast is dotted with fabulous waterfalls, nestled in gorges, valleys and among the Beech forest. But which ones are worth visiting? Luckily, I’ve got that covered. So here are the Top 10 Waterfalls to Visit Great Ocean Road.

Erskine Falls are by far worthy of the Top 10 Waterfalls to Visit Great Ocean Road. Flowing pretty much year-round, Erskine Falls drop 30 meters into a luscious fern gully. A descent of 300-odd stairs only 100meters from the car park leads to a viewing platform at the base of the falls. 

No facilities (nearest toilets at Blanket Leaf Picnic area)
No unsealed roads.
Wear waterproof boots if planning on taking river bank paths and river crossing to get closer to the falls (signposts advise against this).

Click here for more information on finding Erskine Falls.

Lesser known than Erskine Falls, Straw Falls can be found by crossing the Erskine River behind the viewing platform at Erskine Falls and following a thin muddy path along the bank. After about 400meters, Straw Falls will appear on the left, a sheer rock face with flowing water. 

Look for the sign “Straw Falls” bolted into the rock. 
Wear appropriate footwear which will grip on the muddy banks.
It is likely that you won’t have mobile phone signal. 

Click here for more information on finding Straw Falls.

Another easily accessible waterfall which is largely underrated. The stunning gorge home to Sheoak Falls can be found by driving to a stopping bay on Great Ocean Road. The walk is roughly 500meters over a boardwalk structure that provides views of the ocean before cutting inland. The path turns to concrete and then heads up some earthy stairs before winding down to the falls.

Visit after heavy rainfall for most impressive falls.
No facilities, but Lorne town centre only 12 minutes away.

Click here for more information on finding Sheoak Falls.

On the way to Sheoak Falls, a fork in the track gives options to head down to the base of Sheoak Falls (to the right) or up another set of stairs (to the left). Heading up the stairs leads to a viewing platform for Upper Sheoak Falls. The cascade begins from the river behind Swallow Cave and gushes down a sheer rock face. To get the above shot, I followed the track further to a river crossing and a second viewing platform. 

Waterproof footwear required if river crossing. Only cross if it is safe to do so – when water levels are low.

Click here for specific information and directions to Swallow Cave (Upper Sheoak Falls).

The turquoise blue water of Phantom Falls is just the icing on the cake that is this pleasant walk. Beginning from the Allenvale Road Carpark (Allenvale Mill Campsite/Carpark), the 3.5km return trail meanders through lush forest before cutting across an orchard on private property. It then heads up an extremely steep gravel hill before reaching the staircase down to the falls.

Facilities available at Allenvale Campsite. 
Unsealed roads are required, but suitable for 2WD.
Other loop trails exist in the area. To learn more about other trails, click here.
Or, if you’d like a step-by-step itinerary, click here. 

Click here for more information on finding Phantom Falls.

Henderson Falls make the Top 10 Waterfalls to Visit Great Ocean Road because they’re one of my favourites. No bias or anything…The track begins from the Sheoak Falls Picnic area and is a relatively flat and easy 1.8km walk. The biggest bonus? Access to walk right up to their base.

The track can get extremely muddy. Be prepared with some gumboots like my Hunter gumboots – check out my Top 5 Things to Take on a Waterfall Adventure.
Make the short deviation to Won Wondah Falls on the way. Though no access to their base, it’s a quick 2mins to the viewing platform.
Unsealed roads required to get here, but suitable for 2WD.

Click here for more information on finding Henderson Falls.

A stunning waterfall with a cave behind it, Lower Kalimna Falls are found via a 6.5km return trail. This trail also begins from the Sheoak Falls Picnic Area (unsealed road to get there).

Continue on for another 1.25kms to Upper Kalimna Falls (making the total hike 8.5kms return).
Track is extremely muddy at times and requires appropriate footwear such as gumboots. Check trail conditions before beginning.

Click here for more information on finding Lower Kalimna Falls. 

Beauchamp Falls are a beautiful sight located deep in the Beech Forest, roughly 50minutes from Apollo Bay. The 2.5km return trail is moderate with some steep sections and staircases. While there’s no official access to the base of the falls, it is possible to reach the riverbank if being careful. The best thing about Beauchamp Falls? They are fuelled by the Deppler Creek which provides significant water flow year-round.

Camping is permitted at Beauchamp Falls.
Facilities include 2 drop toilets and picnic tables.
Unsealed road is bumpy with potholes so take extra care. However, a 2WD will survive.

Click here for more information on finding Beauchamp Falls.

Another 15minutes on from Beauchamp Falls, Hopetoun Falls are equally impressive. The 1km (ish) return trail is deceiving due to extremely steep stairs for the majority of the walk. A viewing platform provides a great view, though there are also ways to sneak down closer to the falls.

No facilities available. 
Unsealed roads are bumpy with potholes but doable in 2WD. 

Click here for more information on finding Hopetoun Falls and getting closer to their base.

Last but certainly not least is Triplet Falls. Located another 25minute drive from Hopetoun Falls, the 2km return Triplet Falls trail begins from the car park at the end of Philips Track. 

Facilities include drop toilets and picnic tables.
Little Aire Falls located another 2.5kms or so on from Triplet Falls.
Unsealed roads are bumpy with potholes but doable in 2WD.
It is likely you won’t have mobile phone coverage in this location.

Click here for more information on finding Triplet Falls.

And there you have it! The Top 10 Waterfalls to Visit Great Ocean Road. As a little disclaimer, these are all best visited after heavy rainfall. I visited these in September 2017 and the weather was perfect – not too cold, not too hot, and yet the waterfalls were in full flow! 

If you’re planning a trip, be sure to check track conditions before you go. If you’d like specific itineraries for day trips to these waterfalls, you can check out my Waterfall Itineraries! Happy waterfall chasing! 



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