The most frustrating thing about Googling “hiking tracks” in a particular location is that nobody tells you exactly how it is. There’s no “Waterfall Itinerary for A Day in Lorne.” Sure, there’s plenty of information on each track, their distance, where they begin. But there’s a scarcity of sites that tell you the best order to do them in. Or, which ones can be done in the same day. Luckily, I’ve spent hours researching waterfalls and tracks and testing them to create the best day trip itineraries I can.
So without further adieu, here is a Waterfall Itinerary for A Day Trip in Lorne that you can follow to a tee. It includes: Erskine Falls, Straw Falls, Splitter Falls, Sheaok Falls & Swallow Cave Falls. Total hiking distance is roughly 5.5kms.
Step 1: Arrival and Accomodation
If you’re like me, you’ll be driving to Lorne from Melbourne, or somewhere else. (I hired a car from Advance Car Rental, but you can also try Car Next Door – click here for $15 off your first trip).
Start your day early and allow enough time to arrive in Lorne by midday at the latest. Lorne is 2hrs and 11 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD. I arrived at 11:30am.
I’d also booked accomodation at the Lorne Coachman Inn, purely because of price and availability. (It was $100 per night, so on my own it was a bit pricey, but for a couple, it’d be great). However, the best option is probably an Airbnb. There are no shortage of beautiful places to stay in Lorne on Airbnb, so definitely have a scout!
Another one of my favourite places to stay in Lorne is the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park – their Riverview cabins are great value. If in doubt, I always like to look on Hotels.com, or Expedia (I’m affiliated with these sites to receive remuneration if you book, but honestly have found them so helpful) and also Hotel Trivago (whom I’m not affiliated with).
Using a combination of these sites helps me work out what I can get for the best price (Airbnb in Lorne turned out to be the best, but was booked out when I was looking).
Head straight to your accomodation if you want, to drop off supplies and extra baggage. This is a good time to mention that Lorne only has a Foodworks supermarket, which is very expensive. It’s worth doing a food shop prior to arriving in Lorne to save some extra cash. Anyway, since my check-in wasn’t until after 2pm, I drove straight to my first stop: Erskine Falls.
Erskine Falls are only a 13 minute drive from Lorne’s town center. They are an impressive 30 meter drop into a fern gully. The track begins from the Erskine Falls carpark with the first viewing platform only 80meters away. The base of the falls are 220meters further down some 300-odd steps. Allow 1 and 1/2 hrs return if just visiting Erskine Falls. However, Straw Falls and Splitter Falls can be found further along the riverbank.
To find them, head back towards the staircase from the lower viewing platform. Turn left down some stairs onto the river bank. Here, you can cross the river (if the water levels are low) to a thin path on the other side.
Click here for more information on finding Erskine Falls and specific directions along the river bank.
Straw Falls can be found by following the thin, windy track that hugs the Erskine River – away from Erskine Falls. After about 400meters, they appear on the left, cascading down a sheer rock face. You’ll know you’re in the right place because a wooden sign on the rock reads “Straw Falls.” Here, you can turn back the way you came to get to the carpark, or continue on to Splitter Falls.
Splitter Falls are another 1.5kms further along the Erskine River. Getting to them requires multiple river crossings. There are also potential obstacles, such as fallen trees and debris, along the track. At times it is tricky to see where the track continues. If you follow the river bank, eventually you’ll find them. This should only be attempted when water levels are low.
However, there is no access to the base of Splitter Falls, and they can be difficult to see through trees and shrub. A friend and I climbed down the steep bank to their base in order to capture the image above. I do not recommend this. If you’re not a crazy waterfall enthusiast like me, giving Splitter Falls a miss won’t ruin your day.
But if you’re like me, and love to visit the “unvisited” places, click here for more information & instructions.
Step 2: Lunch:
If you started your Erskine–Straw–Splitter Falls journey at midday, it will be well and truly past lunch time (the whole hike should take roughly 3 – 3 and 1/2 hours. However, I’m sure you indulged on some road-trip snacks during the morning’s drive, and packed some snacks for the trek. In any case, now’s a good opportunity to take a break, refuel and recharge.
There are plenty of great cafes along Lorne’s main strip (pictured below). Stroll along it and take your pick. Personally, I love Bottle of Milk cafe for the burgers & beers, but you might want to save that one for R&R at the end of the day. I’ll leave that to you.
Once you’re recharged, it’s time for the next step!
Sheoak Falls are another easy, 10 minute drive from Lorne’s town center. The carpark comes straight off Great Ocean Road (not to be confused with the Sheoak Picnic Area, which is much further away). You can access the falls both from the Great Ocean Road carpark (1km return) and the Sheoak Falls Picnic Area (7km return). Personally, I’m a fan of the quicker option. I’m all for maximising my time, and seeing as much as I can in one day. All without exhausting myself with over 6 hours of hiking.
So, to sum up, drive to the Sheoak carpark and experience the short boardwalk to Sheoak Falls, a beautiful display in an amphitheatre-type gorge.
When you visit Sheoak Falls, you’ll notice the track come to a fork. You can head down to the right (the base of Sheoak Falls) or up to the left (to Swallow Cave). This is not signposted.
Head up to the left after visiting the base of Sheoak Falls and find the first viewing platform, which provides the stunning view pictured above.
Continue further along the track, which curves around to another viewing platform on the other side (see the edge of the platform in the far right of the above picture). However, this requires a river-crossing which should not be attempted if the water levels are high.
Click here for more information on Swallow Cave (Upper Sheoak Falls) .
Step 4: Rest & Relaxation
After a big day, it’s time for some you-time. This section of Great Ocean Road has lots of stopping bays. Since it’ll be nearing the day’s end, a great option for some rest and relaxation is to find a spot on the beach or along the coast and watch the sunset.
If that’s not your thing, head back into town and find somewhere to grab a meal and a drink. (Perhaps time to treat-yo-self at Bottle of Milk – burgers, chips and a beer? Don’t mind if I do). You’ll need to regain energy for another big day ahead. Click here for a second day trip itinerary in Lorne.
|Total Hiking Distance||5.5km|
|Total Driving Distance (if from Melbourne)||174kms|
|Total Driving Time (if from Melbourne)||2hrs 45 mins|
|Average Total Cost for this day (AUD) 1 person||$200|
|Car Hire Cost (small 3 door automatic with 300kms per day free, hired from Advance Car Rental)||$33 per day|
|Fuel Cost (for this day trip)||doable with 1 tank – roughly $35|
|Accomodation Cost (per night, 1 double room)||$100|
|Food and Drink Cost||$30-40|
|Nearby Towns||Skenes Creek, Apollo Bay|
|Other Waterfalls in this Area||Cora Lynn Cascades, Phantom Falls, Henderson Falls, Won Wondah Falls, Lower Kalimna Falls, Upper Kalimna Falls|
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