Waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road

Most people head down the Great Ocean Road for the incredible coastal drive, surf beaches and laid-back towns. However, what many don’t realise is the spectacular waterfalls that are tucked away in the Great Otway National Park. If you head a little inland, you’ll be able to explore some of these incredible hidden gems amongst the forest along the coast.

After doing five trips down the Great Ocean Road in the last two years, I’ve slowly worked my way to most of the falls and cascades around Beech Forest and Lorne. If you’re planning a road trip, check out these waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road, which are must visits in my opinion.

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Waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road

If you have some time up your sleeve, I can highly recommend planning your Great Ocean Road trip around a few of these incredible waterfalls. Some are easily accessible from Lorne, while others require a slight detour off the Great Ocean Road to Beech Forest.

No matter how much time you have or how long or short you want to walk, there are waterfalls anyone can go chasing on the Great Ocean Road. Here are my favourites!

Read next: The Ultimate Guide to the Great Ocean Road

Erskine Falls
Erskine Falls

1. Erskine Falls

  • Location: 10km from Lorne via Erksine Falls Road
  • Walking distance: 500m return
  • Walking time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Erksine Falls are certainly the most famous of the waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road. The beautiful waterfall tumbles 30 metres down into a lush valley. Being close to Lorne, it’s easily accessible and almost always busy with people.

The first viewpoint is just 100m from the car park, but I highly recommend taking the 250 steps down to the base of the falls. Here, you’ll find a designated viewing platform which offers a much better view.

You can cross the river carefully on the rocks and follow the Erksine River Walking Track. This actually heads all the way to Lorne on a slippery 7.5km trail along the river, but you can also just follow it for around 300m to another set of cascades called Straw Falls.

Sheoak Falls
Sheoak Falls

2. Sheoak Falls

  • Location: 6km from Lorne on the Great Ocean Road
  • Walking distance: 1km return from main car park (or a longer 7km hike option from Sheoak Picnic Area)
  • Walking time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Located right on the Great Ocean Road, this is a very easy waterfall to visit near Lorne. For this reason, it’s quite popular but I would still highly recommend a visit. From the car park just off the Great Ocean Road, it’s just a short 500m walk on a combination of paths and boardwalk to the falls.

The waterfall tumbles 15m down an impressive rock face surrounded by ferns. It’s best after rainfall, as it can be reduced to a trickle in summer.

Swallow Cave
Swallow Cave

If you’re keen for more of a hike, then I’d recommend doing what I did and walking to Sheoak Falls from Sheoak Picnic Area, which is a 4.5km drive from Lorne via Allenvale Road.

From this car park, you can take the beautiful walk along a well-kept path through the forest down to Swallow Cave. There’s a nice side-trip to a lookout of the cave and cascades, then you can return to follow the trail across the creek and down to Sheoak Falls. One way, this is about 3.5km. To return to your car, you can either return the same way or take the even longer and more challenging option to Castle Rock and back to the picnic area via Garvey Track, which is around 6km one way.

3. Henderson Falls

  • Location: 4.5km from Lorne to the Sheoak Picnic Area via Allenvale Road
  • Walking distance: 3.6km return
  • Walking time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy

This was one of my favourite little spots near Lorne. It’s less visited than other waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road, so I had it all to myself on my visit.

The walk begins from the Sheoak Picnic Area. It’s a relatively easy ramble through the beautiful forest on a dirt track. It’s well-signposted, so make sure you keep an eye out and follow the signs to Henderson Falls, as the trail crosses over other trails and a dirt road.

About 1.3km in, you can admire Won Wondah Falls, before continuing onto Henderson Falls. There are a couple of wooden bridges to help you cross streams, before you finally emerge through the trees to this hidden gem on the Great Ocean Road.

You can walk right up to the base of the falls and relax on the logs nearby. You can either return the same way, or if you’re feeling energetic I can highly recommend continuing onto Phantom Falls via The Canyon for a longer hike. This is an extra 3km one way and then you can return via the St George River Track outlined below.

Phantom Falls
Phantom Falls

4. Phantom Falls

  • Location: 2.5km from Lorne to the Allenvale Road Carpark
  • Walking distance: 3.5km return
  • Walking time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Another great waterfall near Lorne, Phantom Falls can be accessed a few different ways. However, most people park at Allenvale Road Carpark and take the trail that follows the St George River past private property towards the falls.

This trail is moderate rated, as it starts off flat but climbs steadily for the last half with a steep section that can be difficult in muddy conditions. At the top of the falls, you have to descend some stairs from the vehicle track down to the bottom. From there, you can explore around the base of the falls.

It was such a peaceful spot when I was there and I sat on the rocks admiring the sounds of the cascades for a while.

You can either return the same way, or continue onto Henderson Falls via The Canyon to make a much longer loop hike, if you have the time and energy. This loop hike is around 8km and takes in several falls at once which is perfect for a day of chasing waterfalls.

Read more: Best Walks on the Great Ocean Road

Lower Kalimna Falls
Lower Kalimna Falls

5. Lower Kalimna Falls

  • Location: 4.5km from Lorne to the Sheoak Picnic Area via Allenvale Road
  • Walking distance: 6km return
  • Walking time: 1.5-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

This is a really unique waterfall to check out near Lorne. The walking track is a relatively well-trafficked trail starting from the Sheoak Picnic Area.

It’s a gentle walk along an old timber tramway through the towering forest. The waterfall is definitely not as grand as the others on this list, but the unique aspect is that you can actually walk behind the water curtain under the cave that it tumbles over.

This makes for some really beautiful photos and it’s a popular spot for people to hang out for a while.

You can either return the same way or continue onto Upper Kalimna Falls, which is another 1.2km one way.

Beauchamp Falls
Beauchamp Falls

6. Beauchamp Falls

  • Location: Beech Forest off Binns Road, about 23km from Lavers Hill/Great Ocean Road
  • Walking distance: 2.6km return
  • Walking time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy

After being closed for some time, I was stoked to finally get to visit these falls near Beech Forest recently. It’s a stunning spot hidden deep in the Otways and surrounded by logging plantations. In my opinion, it’s certainly up there with the best Great Ocean Road waterfalls!

The walk starts from the Beauchamp Falls Campground and Carpark on a dirt road off the Beech Forest Road. The walking trail is a well-maintained path through the pretty ferns and tall trees down to the waterfall.

At first, you can admire the waterfall from a viewing platform at eye-level with the falls. But then, you should definitely continue down to the end of the trail at the base of the falls. You can easily navigate some rocks there to get a closer look.

Return the same way – it’s slightly uphill on the way back.

Hopetoun Falls
Hopetoun Falls

7. Hopetoun Falls

  • Location: Binns Road in Beech Forest, about 25km from Lavers Hill/Great Ocean Road
  • Walking distance: 1km return
  • Walking time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Widely considered to be the most beautiful waterfall on the Great Ocean Road, Hopetoun Falls has become a must visit in Victoria. Set amongst a moody setting of green ferns, fallen trees and misty spray, the waterfall cascades 30m down a ledge in the Otways.

At the top of the falls near the carpark there’s a viewing platform, but this doesn’t offer anything compared to what you’ll see from the base. Continue down the trail, which consists of about 200 stairs through the forest.

At the bottom, you can continue on the boardwalk which takes you to the base of the falls. There’s a designated viewing area there with a barrier. While you’ll notice many people jump over the fence and get closer to the falls, try to refrain from doing this as the barrier is there to protect the fragile ecosystem of the rainforest.

Triplet Falls
Triplet Falls

8. Triplet Falls

  • Location: Phillips Track in Beech Forest, about 21km from Lavers Hill/Great Ocean Road
  • Walking distance: 2km loop
  • Walking time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

While most people pay a visit to Hopetoun Falls an d Beauchamp Falls, I’d highly recommend taking the extra time to head to Triplet Falls as well. Located at the end of the dirt road, Phillips Track, there is a carpark from where the loop hike starts.

The 2km loop takes you through a very cool and shady ancient forest area in the Otways. There are a couple of elevated platforms to view the falls from, but because of their location in the steep gully, you can’t really get as close to them as the other falls in the area.

Still, Triplet Falls is a wide cascade which makes a roaring sound that you can hear before you see them. There are some stairs on the loop to get back to the carpark, but nothing overly demanding.

Stevensons Falls
Stevensons Falls

9. Stevensons Falls

  • Location: Upper Gellibrand Road in Burramunga, about 32km from Skenes Creek/Great Ocean Road
  • Walking distance: 1km return
  • Walking time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Stevensons Falls are definitely the least visited waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road. They’re definitely quite a detour off the coastal route, but if you have extra time or are looking for a free camping spot, then it’s a great spot.

Located on the dirt road, Upper Gellibrand Road, off the Forrest-Apollo Bay Road, the falls can be reached either from the day visitor carpark or the campground.

From the carpark, it’s a short 500m one way walk along the creek on a dirt trail to reach the base of the waterfall. Otherwise, it’s a long 4km return from the campground. Both walks are relatively flat though.

The 15m high waterfall is a pretty impressive sight as it tumbles over a rocky cliff in the forest. You can explore across the rocks in the creek to get a closer look or different perspective.

Read next: Best Campsites on the Great Ocean Road

Lower Kalimna Falls
Lower Kalimna Falls

Recommended Day Hike Essentials

  • Proper footwear: It’s important to wear sturdy footwear while hiking. There are so many options on the market, but I’ve been impressed with the Keen Targhee III hiking boots over the last couple of years.
  • Daypack: A good daypack will help you carry all your things comfortably while on trail. I like my Osprey Tempest 30L daypack, which is perfect for a wide range of day hikes.
  • Hiking poles: For steep, rocky trails, hiking poles can be extremely useful in easing the strain and pressure on your body. I’ve used Helinox trekking poles for years and love how light and compact they are.
  • Hydration reservoir or bladder: Carrying enough water is important. I prefer to take a 3L hydration reservoir or bladder so I can sip on water throughout the day.
  • Personal Location Beacon: No hiker should head out on a trail without an emergency device. A PLB is a safety essential so that you can call for help whenever and wherever you are in the wilderness.
  • First aid kit: Another safety essential, you should always carry at least a basic first aid kit with you on any day hike.
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