by Chris Burns, Hop To It Tours
One of the special things about the Great Ocean Road is the variety of things that can be done on it. Especially famous for the 12 Apostles and Bells Beach, quite often the Great Otway National Park gets overlooked when planning out what to do on your Great Ocean Road trip.
The Great Otway National Park is an area that spans over 1032 square kilometres. With the environment including Mountain Ash gums and sub terrain rainforest it is a vast, green wonderland. In amongst it are some beautiful rainforest walks that lead to really picturesque waterfalls. We are going to take you through a few of them.
If you’re trying to stay as close to the Great Ocean Road as possible or time restricted then the two waterfalls near Lorne are probably your best bet.
About 9km north of Lorne, Erskine Falls is the largest single drop waterfall in the Great Otway National Park (at just over 30m) and also probably the most accessible from the Great Ocean Road. Whilst the track to the falls is only 200m, it is a sharp descent that awaits you, but the views down the bottom are more than worth it. If you have a way of getting there without driving then the 9km track along the creek back to Lorne is definitely worth doing too, otherwise it is a short but sweet visit.
Kalimna Falls can be divided into an Upper and Lower Falls and the car park (at the Sheoak Picnic ground) is also easily accessible, just past Lorne on the Great Ocean Road. Unlike Erskine Falls though it is a 8km round trip walk to get there, along the route of an old timber railway. Kalimna Falls is a beautiful 15m drop and well worth a visit.
Further along the Great Ocean Raid is Beech Forest, about 20km inland from Apollo Bay. This region has some amazing off road tracks to take if you have a 4WD but if not these four waterfalls can be accessible with a normal car (albeit still on a dirt road).
Probably the strongest of all the waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park, Stevensons Falls is about a 20-30m drop and is easily accessible via a picnic and camping area on a 500m trail, taking you along the Gellibrand River.
Just along the same road you find the Otway Fly is Triplet Falls, a beautiful nature walk and also impressive three tired waterfall. Here you can only see the waterfall from the side but the viewing platforms are nonetheless very peaceful and the 1.8km loop walk through the ancient rainforest comes highly recommended (but is steep at times).
A little more of a strenuous walk, the three kilometre path takes you through similar terrain to Triplet Falls with large myrtle beech and blackwoods surrounding you. You eventually arrive at a large pool where the Beauchamp Falls thunders down into from about 20m above.
Similar to Erskine Falls, Hopetoun Falls is about a 30m drop into the Aire River and easily accessible from the car park. Whilst it can be done as a quick stop, this is one of the most photographed waterfalls by professionals in the Otway National Park and it is easy to see why!
Whilst you can tell from the photos how beautiful this region in, one thing that can’t be described is how peaceful it feels. Spending time in the Great Otway National Park as part of your Great Ocean Road trip is a must, especially if you have time to camp out in it. The sounds of the wind rustling through the trees, birds and cicadas chirping and water flowing is serene and needs time amongst it to appreciate it properly.
If you’re keen to visit some of these places and indeed camp in the area then why not jump on our 4 day camping trip to the Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park. Our third night is spent in out own private camp group in amongst the Otway Forest and we also have time to visit a few of these special waterfalls!