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Explore the best Lorne Waterfalls near you.

Kookaburra in the Great Otway National Park - Great Ocean Road Locals

Had a busy week and you’re looking for a bush walk with the experience of a waterfall near Lorne ? 

We take you to the 3 Lorne waterfalls that are our favourites  – but there are others in the area too, that will compete for being the best.

 

They all offer a variety of terrain – uphills, downhills, steady tracks, steps, great views, forest glades and an opportunity to get out into the bush and invoke all your senses.  

Our top Lorne waterfall picks :

1. Erskine Falls

2. Sheoak Falls

3. Phantom Falls

1. Erskine Falls, Lorne

Erskine Falls - Lorne Waterfalls in the Great Otways National Park - Great Ocean Road Locals

Erskine Falls walk - Beautiful walk up to falls. Lovely bush and wild life.

  • These falls are the most popular and the most well known, of all the Lorne waterfalls.  The falls cascade over one of the highest drops (30 metres) in the Otway National Park. With lush forest surrounds, you’ll love the peaceful atmosphere that the falls provide.
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Being close to Lorne, it will take you approximately 9 km’s drive from the Lorne town centre to access the car park.  You are aiming for Erskine Falls Road, at the end of which are the Erskine Falls.

 

There is a viewing platform 100 metres from the car park, which is accessible via an easy walk. This is great for those who only want a short walk and your view is of the upper Erskine falls. Walking down to the base of the lower falls is longer (steep descent) with over 200 steps, but well worth it. Be conscious that you’ll need to go back up those steps again to return to the car park.


Top Tips for walking the Erskine Falls :

  • These are the most well known falls close to Lorne, so can become very busy. Try and schedule your trip out of school holidays and public holidays. Go early to get a car park.
  • Should you be a serious hiker, there is also a 28.2km circuit route, called the Erskine Falls Circuit Walk, detailed in the following website, Trailhiking.com Keep in mind it is a long (Grade 4) one day hike that will take approx. 8 hours to complete. Along this circuit you will visit Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave Falls, Phantom Falls, Henderson Falls, Won Wondah Falls, Lower Kalimna Falls, Upper Kalimna Falls and Cumberland Falls.
  • Check to see if the walking track is open/closed prior to you getting there.  There may well be closures due to recent fallen trees or heavy rainfalls at any time during the year.


Common Questions asked about the Erskine Falls:

  • Can you swim at Erskine Falls ? Not recommended although some people do paddle in the shallow waters. There are also plenty of rocks under the water that are very slippery, so it’s best avoided.

 

  • Distance from Torquay to Lorne ? Allow yourselves approx. 1 hour drive to get to the falls.  This will enable you to enjoy the scenery on the drive through.  Best to leave early as the Erskine Falls are popular with day trippers. Torquay (blog post) is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road and a bustling coastal town. 

 

  • Distance from Lorne to Apollo Bay ? Approx 1 hour by car.

 

  • Camping Allowed ? There are a number of beautiful camping sites available at nearby parks which are also close to Lorne. Some do not have any facilities (eg showers, toilets) but are free, enabling you to set up camp and enjoy the natural surrounds. Bookings are required for others, so it’s best to check before you head out.

2. Sheoak Falls, Lorne

Sheoak Falls - Lorne Waterfalls in the Great Otways National Park - Great Ocean Road Locals

Sheoak Falls walk - you get good views of the ocean and then the valley.

Being a close drive from Lorne (15 mins), Sheoak Falls are a must during the summer season.  Magnificent views of the coastline from the boardwalk are possible, and it’s an approximately 1.5 km return trip (approx. 1 hour) from the car park. The carpark is located 5.7km past the Lorne Visitors Information Centre, along the Great Ocean Road.

 

Best visited after some good rainfall, these 15metre cascading falls are less well known and therefore quieter than Erskine Falls, which can be ideal for many families. It’s a close walk from the carpark, but be mindful there are quite a few stairs, so wearing good shoes with grip, and assessing your fitness abilities prior, is important.  The waterfall is hidden from the road, but there is a platform and chair which will enable you to have a breather and soak up the atmosphere.

 

Following the falls, you can continue for another 500 metres to see Swallow Cave.   Nesting birds are present from Spring to Autumn when you’ll see the swallows flying in and out of their honeycomb nests in the walls of the cave.


Top Tips for walking the Sheoak Falls :

  • If walking from the Sheoak Picnic Area to Sheoak Falls, it can be a challenging 3.6km (approx. 2 hours) hike. Don’t attempt this visit if you are not a strong walker as there are some steep sections, that may also be muddy following rainfalls.

 

  • Parking can be limited.

 

  • Check to see if the walking track is open/closed prior to you getting there.  There may well be closures due to recent fallen trees or heavy rainfalls at any time during the year.


Common Questions asked about the Sheoak Falls :

  • Can you swim at Sheoak Falls ? Yes, but we would only suggest you do, when any debris or stagnant water has been flushed through. Best avoided when the falls are at their lowest.

 

  • Distance from Torquay to Lorne ? Approx 1 hour by car.

 

  • Distance from Lorne to Apollo Bay ? Approx 1 hour by car.

 

  • Camping Allowed ? There are a number of camping options close to the Sheoak Falls that are best suited for summer months, due to high rainfall in the area in the winter months. Some are free and others require a booking permit.

 

3. Phantom Falls, Lorne

Phantom Falls - Great Otway National Park - Lorne Waterfalls

Phantom Falls walk - Beautiful walk amongst the ferns to the waterfall.

To get to the falls, drive to Allanvale Mill car park, and it’s well signposted from there. (You may approach it from another direction as there are a number of different ways to reach the Phantom Falls).

Phantom Falls are located on the St George’s river.  It’s a round trip of approx. 1.5 hours (approx. 3.5kms) of steady walking. Walking through the forest ferns is a beautiful experience and with many birds around (especially parrots), it makes for a wonderful outing.  The 15 m waterfall cascades over rocks into a deep plunge pool below. However there are some steep sections so wear good walking shoes.

This walk is definitely for the intermediate walker/hiker.  When we walked this track, there was a lot of mud, and plenty of loose gravel up an incline, so good shoes are a must. From the Allenvale Mill car park, you cross the river and then walk on the outskirts of an orchard (must look amazing when spring blossoms are out). Following that, there are flat parts and uphill parts that can be challenging.  All the way though, there is gorgeous scenery of the river and ferns and farms on either side.  It’s a beautiful walk, and well worth taking the time to do.  We walked it after plenty of rainfall, so the falls were full and in the sunlight, looked magnificent. 


Top Tips for walking the Phantom Falls :

  • This walk to Phantom Falls can be started after a picnic at the Sheoak Picnic Area. You’ll take in the sights of the Won Wondah Falls, Henderson Falls and The Canyon on your way to Phantom Falls. You can also start and finish this walk from the Allenvale Mill car park. 

 

  • Check to see if the walking track is open/closed prior to you getting there.  There may well be closures due to recent fallen trees or heavy rainfalls at any time during the year.


Common Questions asked about the Phantom Falls :

  • Can you swim at Phantom Falls ? Best avoided, unless you’ve made contact with the Lorne Visitor Information centre – rocks can be slippery and it’s often difficult to see what debris is under the water.

 

  • Distance from Torquay to Lorne ? Approx 1 hour by car.

 

  • Distance from Lorne to Apollo Bay ? Approx 1 hour by car.

 

  • Camping Allowed ? There are some great free campgrounds close by to the Phantom Falls.  Although they are very limited in terms of facilities, they do enable you to be absorbed into the natural surrounds and truly relax. 

 

A few items to remember for your day trip :

Walking to the Lorne Waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park - Great Ocean Road Locals

Thinking of a Picnic ?

While you are in the area, why not include a stop over at The Sheoak Picnic Area ? It’s a beautiful spot offering picnic tables, wood fire BBQ areas and toilet facilities with plenty of fern glades around. From here you can access a number of different waterfall walks in the area, with varying fitness requirements ie Henderson Falls, Phantom Falls, Kalimna Falls and Won Wondah Falls.

Parks Victoria has plenty of detail on these walks.  

Blanket Leaf Picnic Area also provides another opportunity for a stopover picnic. Erskine Falls is a short drive (approx. 2 kms) from the Blanket Leaf Picnic Area.

Keep in mind when visiting these Lorne Waterfalls :

Try as much as possible to avoid these waterfalls during peak times over weekends, and especially public holidays. Otherwise you will be disappointed if the area is too populated and car parks full. 

You can pick up walking guides and brochures from the Visitor Information Centre in Lorne.

In most instances, only assistance dogs are welcome in Parks Victoria parks and reserves. Entry requirements apply for parks and reserves that are usually dog prohibited, such as national parks. Make contact with the Lorne Visitor Information Centre prior to setting out, to see if there are options available for you to walk with your dog on a leash. Most National Parks forbid dogs due to the prevalence of local wildlife.

Always take your own water as during the summer months, the days can be very warm and sometimes humid.

River crossings near some of the waterfalls may be necessary – ensure you are wearing good walking shoes which will assist you rock hopping, through muddy steps and steep inclines.

Great Otway National Park details and downloads are freely available – scroll until you find all information related to possible closures of particular walking tracks and waterfalls.

The Great Otway National Park :

Koala in the Great Otway National Parks - walk to the Lorne Waterfalls

The Great Otway National Park stretches from Torquay, along the world-famous Great Ocean Road and up through the Otways hinterland. Close to 130,000 hectares, it links the Otway National Park, Angahook-Lorne State Park, Carlisle State Park, Melba Gully State Park and State Forest areas. 

 

The Great Otway National Park is considered a cool temperate rainforest and boasts one of the highest rainfalls in the state.  Native trees include the famous eucalyptus trees, as well as giant beech, mountain ash and blackwood trees.

 

Keep a close eye out for koala, eastern grey kangaroo and platypus.  Birds include Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Kookaburras, Currawongs, Fairy Wrens and Crimson Rosellas.

 

The whole area is popular for walks through tall trees and fern glades, along with sweeping coastal views and forest vistas that make for beautiful photo memories.

 

A number of the bush walks in this area are along old timber tramway routes and stem back to the days when the forests were logged. 

 

Some of the trails include access to private land, and it’s important to be mindful and respect those who have provided these opportunities to experience waterfalls in Lorne.

The Great Ocean Walk :

Cape Otway Lighthouse - Lorne Waterfalls - Great Otway National Parks - Great Ocean Road Locals

Further afield, but a very popular walking attraction in this area is The Great Ocean Walk, a multi-day hike (104 kms) that starts in Apollo Bay and finishes at the 12 Apostles.

Along the way, you’ll see hills and valleys, secluded beaches and inlets and incredible views of this rugged coastline.

Highlights also include walking past the oldest surviving lighthouse on mainland Australia, Cape Otway Lightstation, and this one is considered the most significant. (You can opt to stay there as well.) Types of accommodation during the hike can be of your choosing.  

This hike is intended for those more adventurous and can include either hosted accommodation or camping. If you are intending to camp, please research the permits required. 

Camping Options :

A Lorne camping trip is a great way to truly experience the beautiful nature and wildlife of the area.

Driving along the Great Ocean Road and especially around the waterfalls in Lorne, there are numerous options to suit different budgets – paid or free camping sites. 

You may be considering taking your tent and camping for one night or more, but either way it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of forest vistas and beach views.  

And as a local, the best part is, that you don’t have far to travel. 

Other Accommodation Options in Lorne :

There is a high winter rainfall in the Otway National Park, so if you’re hesitant to camp during the winter months, you may prefer to stay in a Lorne Airbnb or hotel. 

You can research different options for your budget and still be within close proximity of the Lorne waterfalls and popular activities in the local area, that we’ve listed above.

It doesn’t matter if you are a serious hiker, road tripper, visitor or a local taking the family out for the day, these hours spent in nature go a long way to rejuvenate the spirit and get you back into a place of pure mindfullness. You will be surrounded by natural beauty, and can just soak up the fresh air and beautiful scenery at your leisure.

 

Things to do in Lorne :

Stand Up Paddle Boarding - Lorne Surfing-Great Otways National Park - Great Ocean Road Locals

We can help you with plenty of local ideas on activities in Lorne, where to go and what you’ll see.  

After your walk, why not wander the high street of Lorne and support a local café or restaurant ?

To take up the rest of the day, there are also plenty of popular family activities in the local area of Lorne which include :

 
The Lorne Visitor Information Centre can assist you with enquiries on any of these ideas and more.

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