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17 Of The Best Great Ocean Road Waterfalls

The Great Ocean Road is famed for its stunning coastal views, but if you drag yourself away from this famous road a little inland, you will be treated to some of the best waterfalls in Australia. The Great Ocean Road waterfalls do not get the recognition they deserve as they are overshadowed by the famous coastline, but this guide will hopefully persuade you off the beaten track for some very rewarding views and hikes to remember.

We have also listed which waterfalls on Great Ocean Road are family-friendly, which are safe for a refreshing swim and which are our favourite so that you can plan your Great Ocean Road itinerary accordingly.

Although this road trip was one of our favourite day trips from Melbourne this is not just because of the epic scenery but because of how peaceful these waterfall hikes were compared to the crowded spots along the Great Ocean Road. They are the perfect escape from the city, or relaxing way to stretch your legs from the long road trip.

fern gully with stream in victoria, australia

As a tip, we have enjoyed a Great Ocean Road trip in both Summer and Winter. We highly recommend going in Winter as not only do you avoid the crowds and tour buses, but this is the best time to see the Great Ocean Road waterfalls in full flow. During the Summer months, many dry up to only a trickle so aren’t worth the detour – a little heads up to bear in mind when planning your trip!



Most of the Great Ocean Road waterfalls are in The Otway National Park (known as the Otways) so as a tip, camp here if you can as this will provide the perfect base to explore the waterfalls fully.

We loved camping in Australia and found it a budget-friendly way to truly immerse in nature and get a head start on the hiking trails as well as view the Otways waterfalls at the picturesque sunrise or sunset.

We were overjoyed to discover how easy it was to go camping along Great Ocean Road – with many free campsites as well as epic paid camping grounds. There are many campsites in the Otways as well as nearby the icons of the Great Ocean Road including our favourite, Kennett River Holiday Park where we woke up to koalas above our campervan!

Don’t forget your camping essentials and a camping recipe or two to keep you fuelled for a day of adventuring through the Great Ocean Road waterfalls.

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Tent With Backback In Front


1. Erskine Falls

Location: Erskine Falls Access Rd, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
Hike distance to 1st lookout: 300m return (15 minutes)
Hike distance to 2nd lookout: 700m return (30 minutes)
Difficulty: Easy

We might be peaking early, but let’s start our Great Ocean Road waterfalls guide with one of our favourites – Erskine Falls. Erskine Falls is situated 15 minutes from Lorne, one of the most popular stops on the Great Ocean Road and our first of many Otways waterfalls on this list. Darren would vote Erskine Falls as his favourite because, at 30 metres high, it is one of the highest waterfalls on Great Ocean Road, therefor one of the most impressive.

However, I’d vote it a favourite because it requires minimal effort to reach there thanks to a 15-minute trail – my kind of hike. There are two trail options; the first is ideal for families with small children as it’s simply a viewing platform 15 minutes from where you park up. The second is more strenuous with 240 steep steps down to conquer. Take your time and you’ll be at the base of the falls within 30 minutes.

erskine falls cascading into fern gully near Lorne Victoria

2. Straw Falls

Location: Erskine Falls Access Rd, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
Hike Distance to Falls: 500metres from Erskine Falls (2.2km return – 1 hour)
Difficulty: Medium

Straw Falls are one of the lesser-known Great Ocean Road waterfalls. This is partly because they are overshadowed by their popular neighbour – Erskine Falls. It may also be because the falls are only accessible when water levels are low as you need to cross the river, but low water levels also mean less impressive falls, so timing is critical.

From the viewing platform at Erskine Falls, you will notice a smaller path to the right, head along this thin trail on the bank of the Erskine River for around 500m before crossing the river where you will spot the sign for Straw Falls.

Note, due to the river crossing and the overgrown path, this is not a trail advised for young children as it’s borderline scrambling in parts.

3. Phantom Falls

Location: Allenvale Road, Henderson Track, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
Hike Distance to Falls: 3.5km return (around 90 minutes return)
Difficulty: Medium

Located 12 minutes inland from Lorne, Phantom Falls is the next Otways waterfalls on our list. The trail begins at Allenvale Road Carpark. There are signs although they state the trail is 2.5km but it is actually 3.5km return. Follow the trail through lush rainforest until you reach a small bridge over the river which leads to private property. Don’t worry, access is permitted as long as you’re a responsible traveller and follow the signs for the walking trail to cause minimal disturbance to the private orchard as possible.

Keep your eyes peeled for wild kangaroos here and stop for a wee snack to rustle up some energy for the steep gravel hill that awaits with the most spectacular views over the valley.

Soon you will begin the descent down to Phantom Falls – note the steps are steep, but there are handrails to aid you. Although only 15 metres high (half the size of Erskine) Phantom Falls are still a firm favourite of Great Ocean Road waterfalls due to the picturesque trail and the stunning water from the St George River.

You can then continue the trail to two more Great Ocean Road waterfalls – Henderson Falls & Won Wondah Falls. However, this creates an 8.6km track (this includes The Canyon – a fascinating rock structure), so unless you are an experienced hiker, we have a shorter trail instead which we recommend below.

If you are not ready for the adventure to end, you can camp near Phantom Falls at Allenvale Mill campsite. The campsite is only suitable for tents, there are 16 pitches in total, and there are only drop toilets (you’ll become well accustomed to these guys when camping in Australia.) However, the campsite is free so it’s a fab spot if you’re looking for a base to explore the Otways waterfalls or rest up before continuing your Great Ocean Road trip the following day.

waterfalls plunging into fern gully in victoria, Australia

4. Little Aire Falls

Location: Phillips Track, Beech Forest VIC 3237, Australia
Hike Distance To Falls: 5 km (Around 2 hours return)
Difficulty: Hard (mainly because signage is not obvious, allow plenty of time to avoid getting lost in the dark)

Although it’s one of the longer trails on our Great Ocean Road waterfalls list, Little Aire Falls are one of the most spectacular Otways waterfalls and well worth the trek. Located around 45-minute drive from the famous 12 Apostles, Little Aire Falls are located on the same track as Triplet Falls (next on our list.)

Park up at the end of Philips Track in the Beech Forest, passing the popular Otway Fly treetop walk and zipline park. Although Little Aire Falls is a two-hour track, you will be distracted by the lush fern and towering ash forest as you venture up and down clusters of steps, boardwalks and thin, muddy trails before arriving at the elevated platform. Although there is no access down to the base of the falls, the elevated metal platform offers incredible views of the roaring falls.

5. Triplet Falls

Location: Phillips Track, Beech Forest VIC 3237, Australia
Hike Distance To Falls: 2 km (1 hour return)
Difficulty: Hard 

As mentioned, Triplet Falls and Little Aire Falls both starts from the same car park situated at the end of Phillips Track. At the car park you will spot various information signs with advice for hiking in the area.

You will also note the advised 1 hour for the Triplet Falls trail. This is accurate if you complete the loop and the three main viewing platforms. However, if you avoid the loop and instead return the way you came (detouring to see Little Aire Falls) it will take nearer 2 hours.

Unlike other Great Ocean Road waterfalls, the path to Triplet Falls consists of many metal grates which help protect the ecosystem of the forest floor. Unfortunately, it also features A LOT of steps, which little legs may get very tired of quite quickly especially as they’re quite inconsistent – sometimes steep downwards, sometimes a steep incline although overall a great work out!

The trail will lead to 3 platforms, each one better than the last as you get higher up the forest canopy and your view of the falls becomes less obstructed. You will soon learn how the falls earned their title as you witness the three-tiered waterfall nestled among the moss and ferns.

Once you’ve photographed the falls, you can continue the loop back to the car park or return the way you came to take the detour to Little Aire Falls. Many thanks to Wayfaring Views for the photo.

6. Currawong Falls

Location: 115 Bambra Rd, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231, Australia
Hike Distance To Falls: 12km loop (3.5-hour return)
Difficulty: Medium – steady incline but long distance

Currawong Falls are one of the first waterfalls on Great Ocean Road and the perfect spot to stretch your legs before continuing your road trip. Situated around 30 minutes along from Bells Beach (one of our favourite stops on our Great Ocean Road itinerary) and around 15 minutes before the Memorial Arch sign.

The trail starts at Distillery Creek picnic ground which can be accessed from Bambra Road (turn North off Great Ocean Road.) From the picnic area follow the steady dirt track to the falls. The trail also treats you to beautiful views over the Aireys Inlet coastline as well as a lush fern gully and the Melaleuca Swamp. Keep your eyes peeled also for wildlife in the area such as snakes and kangaroos!

Note: there is no actual way of getting to the bottom of these falls from the track, and as the trail is a lengthy 3-hour loop, your walk will be disappointing in Summer if the falls are completely dry so plan accordingly to avoid a wasted effort.

7. Kalimna Falls – Upper & Lower

Location: Sheoak Picnic Area, Garvey Track, Lorne, VIC 3232
Hike Distance To Upper kalimna Falls: 4.1km
Hike Distance To Lower Kalimna Falls: 2.9km (allow 3 hours to do both)

Next up on our guide is another two popular Great Ocean Road waterfalls, located around a 15-minute drive from Lorne. The trail starts from the Sheoak Picnic Area and traces the historic timber tramway route, used between the 1890s & 1920s. It’s one of the best Great Ocean Road waterfalls for a quick stop as the trail is gentle and only takes 40 minutes to reach Lower Kalimna Falls.

Another reason Lower Kalimna Falls are one of the most popular Otways waterfalls is that they offer the unique experience to access behind the falls. This means you can admire the cascades plunging into the fern- fringed pool while remaining sheltered under the overhanging rock.

Upper Kalimna Falls are just as impressive. They are located on the same route a further 1.3km walk through the forest. From here you can return via the same route (passing Lower Kalimna Falls) to a bridge then onwards to a higher track which offers beautiful views over the gully. Or turn onto the Garvey track which follows back to the picnic area.

waterfall plunging over rock infront of cave in victoria, Australia

8. Swallow Cave Falls

Location: Sheoak Falls Car Park, 2530 Great Ocean Rd, Lorne VIC 3232
Trail Distance: 2.2km return (1 hour total)
Difficulty: Easy (although there are stepping stones in parts, so avoid after heavy rainfall)

Technically we’re cheating adding Swallow Cave to our Great Ocean Road waterfalls as it’s actually the upper part of Sheoak Falls. If you fancy a little detour since you’re in the area, look out for the fork in the trail which either goes to the right which leads down to the base of Sheoak Falls or you’ll notice another set of stairs up to the left.

Take these stairs as they lead to a viewing platform which overlooks the impressive “Upper Sheoak Falls.” It’s fascinating to witness where the cascades begin at the river behind Swallow Cave, and then continue plummeting down the sheer rock face.

9. Sheoak Falls

Location: Sheoak Falls Car Park, 2530 Great Ocean Rd, Lorne VIC 3232
Trail Distance: 2.2km return (1 hour total)
Difficulty: Easy

If you’re looking for Great Ocean Road waterfalls but don’t have that much time to stop, Sheoak Falls should be top of your list. From the car park to cascades is a mere 10 minutes and you can complete the trail and be back at the car within the hour.

The trail to the falls is a 500m boardwalk which allows beautiful vistas over the coastline before heading back to bush where you climb some mossy steps before descending into the falls. Of all the Otways waterfalls this is one of the most rewarding trails as the Sheoak Falls are an impressive 15 metres high!

As a tip: save this fall for later in the day as twinkling glow worms emerge around here after dark providing a captivating view.

large waterfall plunging into brown pool

10. Cumberland Falls

Location: Cumberland River Holiday Park 2680 Great Ocean Rd, Cumberland River VIC 3232
Hike Distance To Falls: 6km return (2.5 – 3 hours)
Difficulty: Medium

Just 15 minutes from Lorne, is Cumberland River Holiday Park where you begin the trail to Cumberland Falls. The reason Cumberland Falls are one of our Great Ocean Road waterfalls is that you can hop in for a refreshing swim nearby in Jebb’s Pool.

Thanks to the easy trail to Jebb’s pool, it’s an ideal picnic spot for families and the natural waterslide there is an added bonus! From Jebb’s pool you then continue onwards to the falls.

However, the trail to Cumberland Falls requires numerous river crossings along stepping stones so it can be very dangerous after heavy rainfall – the area is also prone to leaches when it’s wet. If you have small children (or it’s wet and slippy), do not attempt the trail to the falls – stop at Jebb’s pool.

If you do continue to the falls, you will pass The Sovereign View lookout which (depending on the time of year) might offer absolutely no views as the thick ferns and rainforest canopy block your view. The other walkways will hopefully give you a more rewarding view before returning to Cumberland River Holiday Park.

11. Henderson Falls

Location: Sheoak Falls Car Park, 2530 Great Ocean Rd, Lorne VIC 3232
Trail Distance: 1.8km (approx. 1 hour each way)
Difficulty: Easy

Henderson Falls is another of the Otways waterfalls which start at Sheoak Falls Picnic Area. The are also another of the waterfalls on Great Ocean Road which are ideal for all ages and abilities as the trail is relatively flat and is only 1.8km.

Best of all, the trail leads right to the base of the falls so you can admire them towering up to 10 metres high. Henderson Falls are also a beautiful spot for a picnic before continuing your Great Ocean road trip.

12. Won Wondah Falls

Won Wondah Falls are actually on route to Henderson Falls, although you cannot access the base of the falls. Instead, there is a platform where you can view the beautiful fern gully and falls below. As a heads up to avoid disappointment, the view can at times be obstructed by the dense ferns – sometimes you might just hear Won Wondah Falls but be unable to see them!

close up of ferns with waterfall in background

13. Hopkins Falls

Location: Hopkins Falls Road, Cudgee, Victoria, 3265
Hike Distance To Falls: 30 minutes round trip
Difficulty: Easy

Hopkins Falls is one of the last Great Ocean Road Waterfalls as it is situated at the end of the drive, around 15km from Warrnambool. Unlike other waterfalls on this list impressive for their height, Hopkins Falls are a worthy stop due to their width. At 90metres wide, they are believed to be the widest waterfalls in Australia.

Powered by the Hopkins River, the falls cascade 12 metres over basalt rocks and are incredibly beautiful after rainfall. You will notice after heavy rain Hopkin Falls turn dark orange, this is due to the volcanic soil being washed down the river. There are two platforms to view these powerful falls in their full glory. The platform even has a handy camera stand – ideal for a selfie or family photo!

During the winter when the falls are most impressive, you are also likely to see baby eels (elvers) jumping through the falls onto rocks as they migrate from the Coral Sea which is 3000 km away. This natural phenomenon has been ongoing for decades as you will learn from the nearby signs which share aboriginal clans (Kirrae whurung, Gundidj-mara, and Tjap whurrung) who used to meet in the area to catch eel, share food and stories. Hopkins Falls are known as Thangang-poonart in the Kirrae whurung tongue which means ‘eels bite the stones’ after this amazing phenomenon.

As a tip: Eels are not the only wildlife in the area – keep your eyes peeled for koalas who are known to frequent the towering gum trees at Hopkins Falls.

14. Beauchamp Falls

Location: Beech Forest VIC 3237, Australia
Hike Distance To Falls: 1-1.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

Beauchamp Falls are one of the few Great Ocean Road Waterfalls which have water all year round, thanks to the Dappeler Creek water supply. Situated around 50 minutes from Apollo Bay, it is one of the most popular waterfalls near Great Ocean Road. Although the signs state 2.5km return, again it’s longer, taking around 1 hour – 1.5 hour to complete.

The walking trail begins from the picnic area located off Aire Valley Road (accessed from Beech Forest Road.) The path is well maintained so although steep in parts, the sturdy handrails and signage make it suitable for young children. There is no path down to the falls themselves unless you go rogue on a scramble down which is not advised if you’re visiting with children.

Instead, you can admire the 20 metre high falls as they cascade into the large pool and luscious fern gully from the platform which was purposely built to avoid further erosion (and injuries) to the base of the falls. However, the platform is relatively new, so many locals and visitors still use the old track down to the base.

If searching for a campsite near the Otways waterfalls, Beauchamp Falls also has a free campground, which is one of the most popular free campsites on Great Ocean Road. Again, it is limited to around 15 sites and only has drop toilets but provides the perfect place to unplug and enjoy nature.

Thanks to Walk My World for the image.

woman standing looking at beauchamp waterfalls in victoria, Australia

15. Hopetoun Falls

Location: Aire Valley Road, Beech Forest, Victoria 3237
Hike Distance To Falls: 1km loop (30 minutes total)

Next up, Hopetoun Falls which are just 15 minutes away from Beauchamp Falls and are one of the most beautiful Great Ocean Road waterfalls as they plummet 30 metres into the Aire River.

It is one of the best Otways waterfalls for families, as the viewing platform is just 20 metres from the carpark – making it the ideal stop on your Great Ocean Road trip. You can then descend down 200 or so steps into the lush ferns to admire the base of the falls. Remembering, you then have to endure the hike back up those steps! In total, allow half an hour for both viewpoints.

As a tip: the carpark is very small and being one of the most popular waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road, it can be very difficult to get a space so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

stream in fern gully leading to waterfall

16. Cora Lynn Cascades

Location: Blanket Leaf Car Park, 650 Erskine Falls Rd, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
Hike Distance to Falls: 2.1km (1.5 hours)
Difficulty: Medium

We will warn Cora Lynn Cascades are notorious for their muddy trail so if you plan on visiting, bring welly boots! Unlike the other Great Ocean Road waterfalls, very few tourists visit them (possibly due to the mud) but possibly because they are deemed not as impressive as other waterfalls in the Otways as they neighbour the more famous Erskine Falls which kicked off this guide.

However, this is part of the charm of Cora Lynn Cascades – the tranquil walk and the falls’ short but scenic formation. They are truly unlike any other waterfalls on Great Ocean Road, which makes the muddy adventure worthwhile.

The trail begins in Blanket Leaf Car Park and leads you to the base of the falls. In total it takes around 90 minutes return due to the sludge and mesmerising flora and fauna that surrounds the trail providing numerous photo opportunities along the way.

17. Stevensons Falls

Location: Upper Gellibrand Rd, Barramunga VIC 3249
Short Hike Distance to Falls: 500m return (15-30 minutes)
Long Hike Distance to Falls: 4.6km (2-3 hours)
Difficulty: Easy/Medium

One of the most famous Otways waterfalls – Stevensons Falls is a colossal 122metres high making it the highest waterfall in Victoria. Located 4km South East of Marysville, Stevensons Falls are around 25 minutes inland from the Great Ocean Road.

Starting from the picnic area, there are two trail options to the Stevensons Falls. The short option is ideal for families with young children as it is only around 500metres long. Due to the water plummeting over five cascades however, you will likely hear the falls before you even reach the viewing platform.

The longer option is 4.6km, and parts of this route have been replaced with timber plantations which are not near as picturesque as the luscious fern gully from the shorter route.

Regardless of which route you opt for, Stevensons Falls are guaranteed to be a highlight of from your Great Ocean Road waterfalls adventure.

As a tip, if you’re not ready for the adventure to be over, why not go camping on Great Ocean Road and snuggle up under the stars at the nearby campground located on Roadknight Creek Road.

We hope our Great Ocean Road waterfalls guide has inspired you to leave the beaten track and explore a little more inland. From the lush fern gullies to the Otways waterfalls and the picturesque picnic spots in between, there is a waterfall spot for everyone.

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When Darren the WordPress wizard & excel enthusiast met Lauren the storyteller and wannabe wanderluster, a grand adventure was bound to happen. Through Faramagan they document their tales (and fails) with a refreshing and unfiltered approach. By avoiding adulthood one adventure at a time, they hope to inspire others to do the same.

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