O’Grady Falls, Mt Wellington Park, Hobart – Tasmania, Australia

It all started when I couldn’t find my suitcase.

I was supposed to be boarding my flight to Tasmania the next morning at 8am, so when I got out of bed on Saturday morning the first thing I did was go out to the shed (I always dread going out to the shed, you know, there’s spiders!) to get my suitcase.

However, when I finally slid the metal latch across with a screech and checked the spider invested shed, my suitcase was nowhere to be found.

Ah, I know! I must have left it up in one of my housemate’s cupboards, where my large case was. (My room has no storage whatsoever). That’s what I had done – brought it inside so I never had to visit the deathly spider room ever again. Clever me.

So I grabbed the step ladder and waddled to my housemate’s room, holding the ladder in front of me and trying to avoid banging the metal against my shins. I searched high and low in both rooms, becoming frantic by the second. But it was no use. The suitcase was not. In the house.

At first I thought I was going mad. Suitcases don’t just disappear! There was no logical explanation. No one else was home, so I quickly messaged my housemates while I was flying out the door to meet a friend for coffee. One of them replied, suggesting maybe I had put the small case inside the larger case I owned, and it was like a light-bulb moment. Of course! What a smart cookie. That’s exactly what I had done – and completely forgotten about it. I relaxed, convinced that when I got home my case would be ready and waiting for me.

I climbed to the top of the step ladder and skilfully slid the huge case (which weighs about 8kg without anything in it! Hence, I wasn’t taking that one) to the ground. I unzipped it quickly and flicked it open only to find – nothing! Fuck.

My heart sunk in my chest. It was almost 3pm. I had no suitcase of the right size and weight (Jetstar flights, always a killer) and I was freaking out. I “phoned a friend” in a panic, and managed to sort out borrowing her perfectly sized suitcase, which cost me a $4 bus trip and a $6 Uber to get back to my house so I could finally pack.

Anyway, everything was fine in the end. Really this is just a long winded story to teach you the lesson I learned – always locate your belongings FAR earlier than the day before your trip.

Anyway, after a whirlwind, I found myself in Hobart, Tasmania. And after a quick 20min shuttle bus to the Hobart Transit Centre, I was all checked in to The Pickled Frog Backpackers and ready to begin my adventures.

The Pickled Frog was by far the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in, and probably the best I ever will stay in (I know what you’re thinking, how could you possibly know that, Annabel? You’ve not yet experienced the others your future holds! But trust me, I just know). A longer review of this place can be found in the footnotes, and then you’ll understand. (If you’re not a hostel person and prefer a hotel, try hotels.com for comparison prices).

One thing I will say about this hostel is that it had a few free perks. On Mondays and Wednesdays, they took free shuttles up to the top of Mt Wellington to see the view. I signed up as soon as I arrived on Sunday, figuring I would go waterfall exploring after the free 15-20 minute drive to the summit.

Halfway up (at least I think it was halfway up, who knows) we stopped to observe (and collect) water from one of the many natural springs in Tasmania. Fun Fact: Mt Wellington’s fresh water is used for the majority of the drinking water in Hobart, and for Cascades beer by Cascade Brewery, Australia’s oldest brewery established in 1824.

We had the choice to get out at a stop along the mountain and walk the two or so hours to the top, but I decided to continue on the shuttle and see the views first. Also, at times the road we were on, Pinnacle Road, is closed due to weather such as snow (when the weather is good, you can follow this road all the way to the summit), so always check before you venture out.

Mt Wellington Park, contrary to popular belief, is actually not a National Park. Part of the land is privately owned and therefore cannot be registered as a National Park. The area of Mt Wellington Park is, according to the Wellington Park website, 18 250 hectares in size. (A hectare is defined as each 10,000m squared). The mountain itself is 1271m (4166 ft) at its highest peak, and is only Tasmania’s 49th tallest mountain. But the views are still on point.

There’s plenty of boardwalks so that you can see the view from different angles, as well as a sheltered glass lookout to protect you from the wind. Did I mention the wind was absolutely howling and freezing cold? You’ll 100% need warm clothes, gloves and a beanie at the top of Mt Wellington. I couldn’t handle the cold, vicious wind.

Some people chose to begin the walk back down the mountain, which apparently takes around three or so hours, seven if you want to walk all the way back to Hobart city. However, I opted to get the shuttle to drop me closer to the waterfall trails I was interested in this day.

The view from The Pickled Frog shuttle bus window.

Now, there are plenty of waterfalls on Mt Wellington, and lots of hiking trails. I won’t try to cover them all. But before I begin I will start by saying that Tasmania actually have some great tourist websites that will help you out. Check out Discover Tasmania and Wellington Park if you’re interested in more detail.

And last, but not least, they actually have an incredible waterfall guide, which is what I aspire to be (only better, hehe) which can be found at Waterfalls of Tasmania. Not a lot of places have something like this, and their interactive map is a godsend.

Anyway, I got dropped on a bend on Pinnacle Road, where the North-South track, Shoobridge Track and Circle Track can all be accessed from a close distance apart. Also, no driving on unsealed roads to get to Mt Wellington so that’s a plus. Refer to the map below.

Pinnacle Road, Google Maps. (2017).

Being dropped was probably ideal in this instance, because if you’re driving, the nearest place to park would be The Springs (where you can also access the North-South track, but you’d add a significant distance to your hike (see maps below).

O’Grady Falls in relation to The Springs carpark, Google Maps. (2017).
North-South Track from The Springs Road carpark to Pinnacle Road, Google Maps. (2017).

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be dropped. So here are some images of where I began. You can see the North-South track veers off to the left:

The Shoobridge Track is marked directly ahead, but also veers off to the left (Shoobridge and North-South do actually intersect a little further up):

Here you can see North-South Track in the far left corner, and Shoobridge heading off in front:

Then I turned to face downhill, towards the road. There appeared to be another track, but it’s actually just a little path that pops out onto the road. Head this way.

The track that you need in order to reach O’Grady falls from here is the Circle Track, which is a little further down the road. Be mindful of cars coming down the mountain at lightning speed (they’re nuts) as you walk.

You’ll then reach the Circle Track. Which as you can see from the sign, is 30 minutes one way to O’Grady Falls via the Betts Vale Track.

The walk was stunning. The air was crisp, and had a sharp bite to it, but walking made me warm enough almost instantly.

The earth wasn’t wet and muddy because there hadn’t been much rain when I went, but it was claddy and soft. Walking was relatively easy.

I came across my first bridge walk-way, which is always a good sign. A sign that the track is well travelled and in-tact, especially when you’re alone, is a good thing.

Shortly you’ll reach a thin wooden stump, with a path off to the right. If you continue straight, you’ll stay on the Circle Track. Turning right and heading further downhill leads you on to the Betts Vale Track. The below photo was taken once I had descended onto the Betts Vale Track and looked behind me to the sign.

I continued on. It’s worth mentioning that I actually did have phone service while I was in Mt Wellington (and I’m with Optus! I know! Shock horror!), but that’s probably because the mountain is only 17km or so from the city. I wasn’t worried about my battery dying either, as I had come prepared and bought myself a good quality portable charger. So I felt quite safe on my own, much more together than when I was frantically searching for my suitcase (har, har).

Further along the track, the path is very thin and windy, weaving its way through broken, mossy logs and around rocks. Take care when walking, and watch your step. Even in my Kathmandu hiking boots (my saviours)*, a rock or tree root could come out of nowhere.

*It’s here I should tell you that I am an affiliate for Kathmandu, so if you decide to purchase something from this link, I will receive some remuneration. Having said this, I absolutely love Kathmandu products and I wouldn’t endorse anything that I didn’t honestly believe in.

I reached another bridge. I love bridges on hikes, I feel they are so photogenic.

And then another! I began to name this trail ‘The Trail of Bridges’.

My photos may seem dark and moody, and that’s because it was. But don’t forget to look up, too.

Guess what? Another cute bridge!

As you can see, I don’t mind stopping frequently to admire the surroundings. Which I highly recommend doing. After all, it’s all about the journey, not the destination, right?

For me it’s about both.

After the final bridge – that’s five, I think there were five – you’re not far off from the falls.

The path turns man-made like, and maybe once it was. A pure concrete, eroded slowly but surely by the fierce conditions the mountain endures at times.

After the concrete-like path ends, you’re seconds away from a sneak-peak at the falls.

Excitement filled me as I caught a glimpse of the water, and saw yet another bridge.

If you’re curious, the warning sign says the “bridge maximum is 1 adult and 2 children.” It’s long and skinny, so I guess that makes sense. But it provides a great front-on view of these falls, shown in the cover photo of this blog post.

I was delighted to see the falls were actually flowing. I was worried that the lack of rain had dried them up, but luckily the mountain has plenty of rivers and streams that keep some of the waterfalls flowing year-round.

And the lesser water allowed me to venture down the bank, which wasn’t slimy or difficult, and stand in the shallow water (again, my Kathmandu water-proof hiking boots were my saviour, seriously, you should get some! I love them to death).

And if you can’t already tell, I finally got myself a tripod! I know! Wohoo! It’s been a long time coming. This was my first time using a tripod for my waterfall shots, and I could already feel the difference.

I have a light, three-length setting tripod and captured these shots using the Shutter Priority setting on my Nikon D5100 (indicated by an ‘S’ on the setting dial), which allows me to manually choose the shutter speed and lets the camera choose the rest. I set my ISO on the base setting for my camera, which was an ISO of 100, and played around with shutter speeds below 1/4 of a second. The camera decides the aperture.

I also had the task of getting photographs of me near the waterfall without any help. But don’t worry, unlike when I visited Olinda Falls in the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, I didn’t almost lose my camera. I had the tripod, and I figured out how to use time lapse, which is a feature on my camera that allows me to set the time I want a photo to be taken, the time between the next photo, and how many photos to take. So with some trial and error – there I was! Don’t need nobody else after all, hehe.

O’Grady Falls were gorgeous, and I spent quite a bit of time playing around with my camera since it was my first Tasmanian waterfall. However, after a while I was ready to move on.

The Betts Vale Track continues after the thin bridge, passing the Woods Track (deviating off to the right and back up the mountain) before reaching a fork in the road between the Rivulet Track (on the left) and the O’Grady Falls Track (the right). Either way will eventually lead you to Huon Road, where you can catch a public bus back into Hobart. However, if you choose the Rivulet Track, you will pass Strickland Falls (though they’re not accessible from the track, I’m fairly sure you can spot them through the trees).

O’Grady Falls (Red Marker) in relation to Silver Falls and Strickland Falls, Google Maps. (2017).

I, however, had been told by my shuttle bus driver that Strickland Falls were not worth the trip (which he was incorrect about, and a blog post will be coming soon to tell you just how wrong he was!), so I opted to turn back and tackle the Woods Track to find Silver Falls. Click to head to the blog post!

Oh, and if you’ve made it this far CONGRATULATIONS! You get to know what happened to my suitcase!! So, a couple months back I lived with two girls who were moving out, and two new girls were moving in. There was a little period over Easter where their rooms were empty and I was heading to Perth for the weekend, so I had gotten out the small suitcase for a quick trip. Then I decided I wanted to take the big case and bring some of my things from Perth back to Melbourne with me. The new girls moving in had told me that I could store some of my stuff in their cupboards because I didn’t have any storage in my room, so I put the suitcase in one of their cupboards and left for Perth, forgetting to tell anyone what I had done. Therefore, when one of the girls who was leaving was clearing out the rest of her stuff, her and her parents mistook the suitcase for their own and took it with them. Voila! Mystery solved. LOL.


The Pickled Frog Backpackers

This was the coolest backpackers I’ve ever stayed in. Unlike the usual crammed, dingy places you endure at the likes of Nomads and STA Travel, ‘The Frog’ as people called it was unique and welcoming. I guess you expect the lowest of the low when you stay at a hostel, so I guess that’s why most people are pleasantly surprised. But it’s more than that.

First there was the ease of getting there – located in Hobart CBD on Liverpool street, and a short walk from the Hobart Transit Centre, airport buses all but drop you right on the doorstep.

The building itself is large and two-story, though it’s not overly difficult to lift your suitcase or pack up the two short flights of stairs. When you enter The Frog, drawings from guests-gone-by cover the right wall – any variation of frog you can think of, it’s there.

To the left and centre there’s some cosy couches, and a hammock in the corner. A wood fireplace warms the room with a crackle. Straight ahead you find the bar, where you can purchase a $20 beer card which gets you 5 beers (or cider, or any drink really) if it’s worth $5 or less (which a lot of them are). If you haven’t already done the math – that means you get one drink for free! Awesome.

The staff are friendly and approachable, full of jokes, laughter and accurate information about where to go and what to do. I handed over my $10 key bond (which you get back if you return your key) and was told I could leave my things in the storage until my room was ready (I arrived quite early, around 9am). A huge boot hangs from a string with a key to the luggage storage if you need a place to keep your things before or after you check in/out like I did. In the back area there’s more couches, booths, a t.v. with plenty of movies, the kitchen and a pool table.

I stayed in a 6-bed female dorm which was spacious enough for all of our things and still had some floor space. Upstairs, graffiti-like artwork covers the walls and makes the place feel groovy and funky. There are four showers and three toilet stalls in the bathrooms (seperate male and female), the condition was fine.

But it wasn’t all about the facilities at The Frog. It was about the people, the culture. It felt like a huge frat house, though not everyone was crazy party animals, and if they were they didn’t get in-your-face about it. Being a family-owned and run hostel, The Pickled Frog had such homey feel to it, and you were guaranteed to make friends that you’ll probably keep for life if you continue on your travels. I will recommend it to anyone who will listen!


Quick Facts

Last visit June 2017
Best TimeJune-September
Start / FinishCircle Track, Pinnacle Road
Unsealed Roads No
Walking distance 2.5km return 
Time 2hrs return
Difficulty Moderate
Facilities None
Lat & Long 42.9101° S, 147.2537° E
NearbyStrickland Falls, Silver Falls
Watercourse Hobart Rivulet

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Olinda Falls, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Melbourne – Victoria, Australia

It was a Saturday morning.

My schedule? Assignments, assignments, and OH YEAH – more assignments. It was not in the plan to even leave the house. 

I peered longingly out of my bedroom window. It was sunny outside, a rare occurrence at this time of the year in Melbourne. Extremely rare. In fact, it almost never happened…

So, I made a split-second decision.

“Stuff it,” I thought, “It’s such a beautiful day, I’m not going to waste it.”

So, I put on my hiking gear and I packed a bag, locked the door behind me, and off I went on my adventure.

And an adventure it was. You see, I don’t own a car. That’s because I live in Melbourne and the public transport here is pretty good. That is, if you’re just travelling within the city. Where I was headed – the Dandenong Ranges – was practically the country-side.

SPOILER ALERT: I made it. Lol.

It took me (from Brunswick):

  1. The 19 tram from Brunswick Road/Sydney Road to Melbourne Central Station.
  2. The Lilydale Train line to Croydon (21 stops).
  3. The 688 Bus to ‘Upper Fern Tree Valley’ from Stop 6 outside Croydon station (which was actually super easy to find), then getting off after 37 stops. Thirty Seven! At Dandenong Tourist Road/Falls Road. Make sure to look up the latest routes on Public Transport Victoria, or download the PTV app.
  4. A 1.1km walk down a tremendous hill that is Falls Road (which I forgot I was going to have to walk back up. Ha. Ha. Ha….)
  5. I arrived! With total travel time at 2hrs 11minutes. The above photograph is outside the carpark – the track to the falls is off to the left.

There’s a lovely little picnic area here, as well as plenty of signage to help you on your way. I forgot to get a photograph of the map because a group of tourists were milling around it when I arrived, so I figured I’d get the shot on the way back. Of course, I forgot. Sorry everyone.

There’s also toilet facilities, which aren’t drop toilets but are still pretty dismal, and which only had freezing cold tap water.

The track to the falls is quick (roughly 300m), and all downhill.

Off I went, through an array of gorgeous Karri trees.

There are also a number of other walking tracks in this area for those that are keen hikers. Me? I’ll only hike if it will find me a waterfall. But if you want more information on the hikes in area, you can click here.

Then I reached the fork in the road with the track to the Lower Falls one way and the Upper Falls the other. You’d think my heart would’ve sunk at the sight of the fence blocking off the Lower Falls track, wouldn’t you?

In actual fact, I didn’t even bat an eyelid. I knew full well I’d be going down there regardless. I didn’t come all this way for nothing. But I decided to check out the Upper Falls first.

On the short walk to the Upper Falls, a little path had formed itself down the river bank. I knew I’d be scooting on down there, too. However, a little further along there’s a viewing platform, from which you can get some pretty gorgeous shots, too.

Still, typical me found my way as close to the water as humanely possible. I can imagine that in the crux of winter, it would be impossible to walk across the rocks like I did. At this time (May on the cusp of June) it was relatively tame.

I spent quite a bit of time meandering across the rocks to get some shots at different angles. It was a very peaceful day, with not too many people around, so I wasn’t disrupting anyones photographs.

I then decided it was time to venture further into the ‘exclusion zone’. I had planned to walk back up the path and squeeze past the fence, but a fallen log near the platform lookout of the Upper Olinda Falls allowed access to the blocked-off path. I wobbled across it and appeared with a view of the fence behind me. I know – #DareDevil #Rebel

There was a steep descent ahead of me, and I felt my heart clanging around in my chest. What challenge awaited me? Why had the path been blocked off? I was about to find out.

It was a bit anti-climatic, really. I thought I was going to have to scramble over huge fallen trees and debris and stuff. Turns out it was just the side railing that had been destroyed. The path itself was fine. I know, boring right?

Tis’ pretty hectic damage, though. But I continued on just fine without the aid of the railing. I guess if it had been a wet, rainy day it would’ve been more dangerous. Travel at your own risk, I guess.

Before long I came to a fork in the road – which was actually three seperate paths, marked with a wooden stool, a big tree and more hand-railing.

Path number 1 veers off to the right:

Path number two veers off to the left, down some steps which are just planks of wood and then mud:

And path number three, which isn’t really a path, so much as it is a slope made clean by rainwater, is straight ahead:

I decided to veer right first, in an attempt to get closer to the Upper Falls. I had peered down at them from the top viewing platform, aching to go further down and get better angles for photos. I hoped this path would lead me there.

Success! I managed to find the endless cascades of the Upper Falls, and a thin path along the right of the river bank made it easy to walk along and get closer.

As you can imagine, with heavy rainfall in the midst of winter this may not be accessible. It kind of reminded me of The Lion King 2, when the river suddenly gushes and fills with water, covering everything in its path. But luckily for me, my fate was less drastic than Zira’s. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to go and watch The Lion King 2 right now. Like seriously, quit reading this and go watch it.

Anyway, then I ventured back to the fork in the road (where the wooden seat was) and tackled the path that wasn’t really a path, slipping and sliding my way down (literally, this was dangerous so be very careful if you plan on doing this).

The difficulty was rewarding, however, when I reached some mini-falls. These were probably my favourite along the entire bank.

Now, because I still haven’t invested in a tripod (give me a break – I’m a broke uni student!), I had to rest my camera precariously on slippery rocks. It actually almost slid off once, but I caught it. Thankfully. The mini heart-attack I had when that happened was enough for me to give up on the photographs.

However, before that little incident, I managed to capture some shots on self-timer.

I look pretty relaxed, hey? Haha don’t be fooled – my camera’s self-timer only allows up to 10 seconds of delayed photography, so I had to sprint (on slippery mud) and leap over the rock on the right-hand side – yeah, the one covered in the green moss – in order to get to that spot.

Green mossy rock^^

And there I am wearing my Lu Lu Lemon Top which makes me look like I have horrendous back-fat. But IT’S FINE. I GOT THE PHOTO. Anyway this was the last shot I took before I almost lost my camera down the stream of freezing water, so I made my way back up to the main path.

P.S. If anyone wants to be my hiking/waterfall buddy and take aesthetic photos of me, don’t be shy! Enquire within.

I then started the short journey to the Lower Falls along a thin, muddy path. All in all, the difficulty rating of this track is relatively easy.

I continued on, down a windy section of the path that veered around to the right and opened up into the Lower Falls platform.

It was peaceful, seeing as the path was blocked off, and I had the place to myself.

As you can see, the falls keep going further downstream. I wondered what they look like from here on. But the access ends here, so I will never know. Luckily, the Lower Falls were beautiful and distracted me.

I rested my camera on the ledge of the platform to achieve these shots (don’t worry, this time I kept the strap around my neck and didn’t abandon the camera, so there was no chance of it falling to a cold, wet death).

Again, further up there were some more mini-falls. I simply loved experimenting with photos, and taking in all the beautiful surroundings and the different nooks and crannies of this waterfall. I really am surprised they don’t refer to them as cascades.

Overloading you with photographs just to try and spark some inspiration in you. I highly recommend going to visit!

Plus the Dandenong Ranges itself is a beautiful area of Victoria. I felt the air turn chilly and crisp the moment I arrived. But it was amazing – clean, fresh air free from all the city’s pollution. I was relieved to be free of cigarette smoke, if even for a little bit.

Quick Facts

Last visit May 2017
Best Time June-October
Start / FinishDandenong Ranges National Park Carpark
Unsealed Roads No
Walking distanceUpper 350meters Lower 500meters
Time 1hr return
Difficulty Moderate
Facilities Picnic tables, Toilets
Lat & Long 37.8341° S, 145.3700° E
NearbyDandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens
Watercourse Olinda Creek

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Sheoak Falls, Great Ocean Road, Lorne – Victoria, Australia

My muscles were aching.

I stretched back in the driver’s seat and pushed my foot on the accelerator. I was determined to get to Sheoak falls – the second falls of the day – before sunset.

My friend Morgan and I had exhausted ourselves visiting Erskine Falls earlier in the day, but I wasn’t about to let that get the better of me. Our shoes were muddy and wet, laid out on my rain jacket in the boot, leaving us in soaked-through socks. Our hair was mangled onto our foreheads, my jeans were filthy, and I was starving, but we ventured on.

The view from a stopping bay on Great Ocean Road, Lorne.

The sun was already beginning to set, which made me anxious. But it made for a very pretty drive along Great Ocean Road, and Sheoak falls are only 5km from Lorne (we were staying at Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park), so in reality we had plenty of time. Or so I thought.

Directions to Sheoak Falls:
If you type “Sheoak Falls” into Google, it will tell you they’re right next to the carpark, as per the below.

Sheoak Falls Carpark. Google Maps (2017).

However, they’re actually more like where I’ve put the location tag in the image below. The carpark comes straight off Great Ocean Road, though, so it’s not hard to find your starting point.

Road Map. Google Maps (2017).

We soon came across the small car park off to the right (which is well sign-posted). However, once we were there, it wasn’t obvious which direction would actually lead us to the falls. Then we found the sign below, next to a mulch track off to the left.

I’d also heard Sheoak Falls were fairly easy to access, so we decided to hedge our bets. We jammed our feet back into our muddy shoes, waved goodbye to little Suzie and headed uphill on the mulch track.

The view of the carpark from the track (behind us).

Turns out I had heard correctly, and it was a pretty easy and basic track along a wooden boardwalk through shrubs and bush. My feet made the wood creak as I plodded along in the chilly air, taking in my surroundings.

The great, unique thing about these falls is having a view of the ocean as you walk. With green cliff scenery on one side, and the windy road with turquoise sea on the other, we were quite content.

It doesn’t last forever, though, and soon we had to deviate down some stairs and inland towards the falls.

We began the descent, taking each step slowly and one-at-a-time. And just as well – my heart nearly leapt out of my throat when I placed my foot on the 12th step from the bottom, which ricocheted forwards. I stumbled down the next few steps, but regained my balance without face-planting. Luckily.

It was minuscule in the scheme of things, but it made me giggle. This is one of the reasons I write my blog – to give people the tips and tricks they would never get from a National Park website. So, yeah, beware of the 12th step from the bottom! *Update* As at September 2017, this has been fixed.

Once I had tackled ‘death by wobbly step’, we reached a long, skinny concrete path that leads into the valley.

I’m quite surprised at how quickly we walked, considering how tired we were from all the day’s adventures (which you can read more about here). But time was of the essence and we wanted to make it to the falls before the sun disappeared behind the cliffs and left us in darkness.

Not to mention without the ability to take photos – I know! Disaster, right? If we couldn’t take pics – how would anyone know that we went!? It’s sad, but true. Ah, but really we just like to capture the beauty. Check out my Instagram for more!

So anyway, when we were faced with more stairs, we only moaned a little before charging upwards. What’s that saying? When the going gets tough, the tough gets going?

Still, the track to these falls is relatively simple and the stairs do exist for your aid. I just have a thing about stairs. My glutes twinged with each step, tightening almost to the point of cramping. I have a love/hate relationship with the feeling. I mean, on one hand you know it’s helping tone those butt-muscles we all want so badly. But on the other, well, it bloody hurts!

We made it, though. If even through clenched teeth. As you can see, these falls are not as commercialised as some of the others in the area, which makes them pretty special.

The uncommercialisegd, basic-as track I'm talking about.

Suddenly, we could see a glimpse of the falls peaking through the trees, and I got excited, clapping and carrying on.
“I can spy the falls, I see the falls, I’m going to some falls,” I chanted to Morgan. She just laughed at me in response.

It’s kind of childish how giddy I get when I see how close we are to flowing water, but I’m not ashamed. It’s part of what makes me who I am.

The view of the river from above.

Not long after seeing a glimpse of the falls, we reached a fork in the road. You can choose to head to the top of the falls or the bottom – though it’s not sign posted (bit obvious though, right?)

Seeing as we were quickly running out of daylight – I swear the sun is running a race when it begins to set – we decided to head downhill. It was a good choice. To read more about what’s up the stairs, Swallow Cave Falls, click here.

The bottom of these falls is an intimate area surrounded by gorge, which creates a stunning little hub to admire and take the photographs we so desperately wanted.

The air was completely still. It was crisp. There was nothing but the sound of the water running down the rock face. Green ferns bloomed at the water’s edge, which was murky and deep. I let out a sigh at its beauty.

Turns out the loss of sunlight was actually a great thing, because it allowed for some stunning photos tinged with hues of blue, and without the glare of the sun behind the rocks.

Now here’s where my craziness creeps in. I brought my favourite Wittner knee-high boots with me in order to get the perfect ‘Instagram’ shot. It’s absurd, really, how we all struggle to do something different for social media. I mean, what are we trying to prove? Well, ultimately that we are trendy and can take cool pictures. But to be honest with you, I just really like my boots.

I’m thinking Wittner should hire me as their model though, right? Just kidding.

Really this was the ultimate test to see how well I could balance and hop on squelchy mud without ruining suede. Risky, but fun.

I enjoyed the fact that different angles gave different lighting and mood to the pictures of these falls. I could’ve admired them forever.It was so quiet and peaceful in the gorge, especially since we had ventured out so late. This was at about 5.30pm, so we had the place all to ourselves.

After taking the time to simply admire the falls, I decided to explore further.

I love to get as close to waterfalls as humanely possible. This usually consists of diving right into freezing pools, or sitting directly under the falls themselves. However, it was literally way too cold for any such business during this time in April/May. So I had to settle for scaling the rock face instead. As you do.

I also re-visted these falls in September 2017 on a day when they were tranquil and beautiful, and then two days later after heavy rainfall and storms. It will never cease to amaze me just how powerful nature is, and how a place is never the same when you return. 

The falls on a day in September 2017
The falls two days later in September 2017

I’ve probably overloaded you with photos, but I couldn’t help it. This place was just too beautiful not to share every single one.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy trip to a gorgeous sight-to-see, these are the falls for you. They certainly kept a grin on my face.

On my recent trip in September 2017, I decided to venture further up the stairs, and captured the view of Sheoak from above. I also made my way up to Swallow Cave to the Upper Falls – check them out!

Quick Facts

Last visit September 2017
Best Time July-September
Start / Finish Sheoak Falls Carpark
Unsealed Roads No
Walking distance1km return 
Time 30min return
Difficulty Easy
Facilities None
Lat & Long 38.5653° S, 143.9628° E
NearbyLorne town centre, Phantom Falls, Henderson Falls, Won Wondah Falls, Cora Lynn Cascades, Erskine Falls, Straw Falls, Splitter Falls
Watercourse Sheoak Creek

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Cora Lynn Cascades, Great Otway National Park, Lorne – Victoria, Australia

I woke up groggily.

A warm blanket was wrapped around me at Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park. I shifted my feet, my body stiff from a night’s sleep in an unfamiliar bed. A good sleep, though. Thankfully. My friend Morgan and I had a full day ahead of us.

We were headed to Cora Lynn Cascades, not too far from where we were the day before at Erskine falls. Google Maps told us it was only 8 minutes away, but when the automated voice said “you have arrived at your destination”, we were travelling along Erskine Falls Road and there was no clear stopping bay, so it was definitely incorrect.

Road Map. Google Maps (2017).

If you just keep driving a tad further, you’ll reach a small carpark off to the left named Blanket Leaf Carpark – this is where you need to begin.

I’ve marked it on the map below with a red circle. The end of the blue line is where the navigation will tell you to stop (probably because it’s the closest point to the falls). But it is wrong! I know, what an idiot, right?

Road Map. Google Maps (2017).

Nah but to be fair, we arrived easily. The carpark is right next to the road and a small picnic area, so my advice would be to secure your valuables or take them with you.

Once that’s all out of the way, it’s pretty clear as to which direction you need to walk – a track begins near the picnic area (which also has some tables & toilet facilities – granted they’re drop toilets, so not the nicest things on Earth, but hey, good to know all the same).

Once we began the track, we entered a world of green. Ferns and trees overtook the path with such beauty. It’s funny to realise that even as a writer, sometimes I still manage to be lost for words. But seriously. Just look at this greenery!

Now while it did look stunning, there was a downside. Heavy rainfall overnight had soaked the track through.

In fact it wasn’t much of a track at all, as much as it was a mud-bath-like consistency. And if that wasn’t enough, the vast majority of the trek was down extremely steep slopes. Safe to say we had a very slippery, squelchy 2.1km descent.

It made things very interesting, and each step was a risk. BUT, I’ve mastered the art of this. Hear me out. The key is to distribute your weight evenly onto your foot, with each step being a very careful, precise choice. Trust me. Take your time. If you fail to do this, you’ll slide drastically in the squelchy mud and almost feel your heart leap out of your throat in the process. This may make the trip longer than the estimated 1.5 – 2 hour return, but it’s better than covering yourself in mud.

Tip: step where there are thick leaves, or on the edges of the path to try and avoid slipping. Key word: try. You might still end up on your bum. I can’t promise anything.

You will also probably want to wear proper hiking boots. Or, you could be fun like us and trek in cowboy boots or a pair of Nike free-runs. All I’m saying – it’s doable either way.

Although you’ll probably be ready to throw out the Nike’s once you’re done (especially if you go in the wet season, we were here around May and winter was well on it’s way).

Aside from the slippery, muddy slopes threatening to have us fall flat on our faces, the track wasn’t too bad. It was well sign-posted so you always knew which way to turn.

The above image is referring to the track that leads to Phantom falls (a 7km circuit) and is very strenuous. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to complete this as we had to get on the road back to Melbourne that day, but if you’re interested you can find more information on a very helpful PDF here. It’s actually one of the best documents I’ve seen on finding waterfalls. Yay for Great Otway National Park!

Anyway, like I said, it’s well sign-posted. You can also deviate and take Lemonade Creek Track to Erskine falls if you’re a keen hiker (which is roughly 4km one way).

We, however, were well on our way to Cora Lynn Cascades, so we continued through the squelchy mud.

Remember to watch out for fallen trees and debris. The weather conditions here can be unpredictable, so you’ve got to keep awake and alert at all times.

As well as the bright green areas, there was also dark gloomy moss when ducking under shrubs and delving over bridges. It really felt like we were in a different world.

Narnia? Maybe.

I loved how there was green in every shade – how the light dazzled when the sun came trickling through the trees. I think green is my favourite colour. I mean, how can it not be when it looks like this?

We then reached another ominous bridge – how far were we? There was no way to know.

There are two bridges along this trail, both crossing a small section of the Cora Lynn Creek.

We trekked out from the darkness and into more bright terrain, where there was plenty of wildlife to observe.

Spotted: A little birdy with a yellow breast perching on a skinny tree. He was in a rush to get somewhere, perhaps to find a young female birdy to play with. Let's hope he's not two-timing! Xo Xo, Gossip Girl.

Suddenly, we reached some steps which we thought must be a good sign, especially after such a long time spent on a thin muddy trail that had us wondering if we were EVER going to reach the falls.

But we were right, and finally the cascades peaked through the ferns.

However, sadly these cascades were not our end-destination. These appeared to be the beginning of the cascades, to which access is very limited.

This was the best shot I could get through the thick, wet greenery.

Unfortunately it was far too slippery and dangerous for us to get to these, but I have seen photographs of people at them so it must be possible on drier days.

I did give it a go, but it was way too slippery and I was worried I wouldn’t make it back up the bank. So I didn’t risk it.

If you continue further, walking along a mossy fallen log and down a skinny path, you’ll reach the steps leading to the ‘official’ cascades.

Down, down, down we go. Gently down the steps. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, oh yes…it was…wet? That rhymes, doesn’t it? Haha sorry for my awful jokes…Anyway…


We had found the cascades, which were the perfect setting for photos. The light levels were on point, and the falls themselves were flowing quite well.

I loved how the fern tree was growing right into the frame. They’re literally all you see while walking along, so it’s pretty cool to capture one with the falls in the same image. A true indication of the experience.

I really enjoy playing with my camera settings these days! 

As usual, just looking wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to get on top of the bedrock, so I carefully crossed the stream (soaking an entire foot and sock in the process) and climbed up the side of the waterfall.

Climbing looks as though it would be easy, but I can assure you, the excessive amount of residue and muddy terrain was no aid to my plight.

But hey, I made it! Getting back down was the real challenge, searching for groves to lock my feet into and clinging onto vines along the edge of the bank in order to get back down wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve done. But it was worth it.

I would highly recommend visiting the cascades, they were rewarding to finally reach. Though the walk back uphill was pretty difficult, so make sure you’ve saved up enough energy to make it back. Like I said, it’s worth it. Though I’m not sure my Nike’s would agree.

Quick Facts

Last visit May 2017
Best Time April-September
Start / Finish Blanket Leaf Carpark
Unsealed Roads No
Walking distance 4.2km return
Time 2hrs return
Difficulty Moderate/Strenuous
Facilities Picnic tables, Toilets
Lat & Long 38.5208° S, 143.9248° E
NearbyErskine Falls, Straw Falls, Splitter Falls
Watercourse Cora Lynn Creek

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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

How To Find Erskine Falls in Great Otway National Park, Lorne, Victoria

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! Also during this visit I ventured further along the river bank to find Straw Falls and Splitter Falls – check out those posts for more info!

Quick Facts

Last visit January 2019
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
NearbyStraw Falls, Splitter Falls, Cora Lynn Cascades (Blanket Leaf Picnic area)
Watercourse Erskine River

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