10 January 2022

Trekking to Waterfalls in Otway over Xmas & New Year 2022

The driveWest Gate Bridge (M1) - Geelong bypass (A1) - Birregurra turn off (C119) - 
Forrest (C119).

Otway Ranges:  Short Walks & Day Walks
  • Stevensons Falls:  From the turn off, the road down to Stevensons Falls is narrow, winding and steep and can be slippery after rain.  Drive safely.  There is a free camping area, which is located before the turn onto the road to the falls carpark with no facilities.  The 4.6km return walk from the campground took about one and a half hours.  Shorter walk return (500m) option is from the falls day carpark
Stevensons Falls video clip in 1 minute
  • Hopetoun Falls is located in Hopetoun Falls Reserve on Binns Road and is signposted.  The car park is small.  Please park responsibly.  There are no picnic facilities.  Take your rubbish out with you.
  • Beauchamp Falls:  Also located on Binns Road.  A new free car camping area was provided.  There are a few grassy walk-in sites.  BYO water.  I had soup and cold salad for dinner while the sky put on a show.  The missing phone caused some stress and a late night as a result.  However, I was so happy when it was in sight.  It was where it should be.  How couldn't I see it? 
Beauchamp Falls and the new camping area

A short video clip of Hopetoun Falls and Beauchamp Falls
Front pix: top of Hopetoun Falls from the viewing platform near the car park
Post of the Otway in Dec 2014
  • Triplet Falls & Little Aire FallsThe start was from Triplet Falls Carpark / Phillips Track with toilets.  It is signposted.  The Triplet Falls loop (1hr / 2km) was closed; hence, there was no access to the bottom of the falls and it took about 20 minutes or so to reach the viewing platform of the triplet cascades.
    The Little Aire Falls Walk start was just off the Triplet Falls track near the carpark.  The notice of 'the track was open' was at the junction of the two tracks.  It was about 2.5km one way and pleasant to walk through rainforest.  It tooks about 1hr to reach a viewing platform and it was worth the walk-in.  The return tooks about 45minutes.

GPS Track to Triplet Falls and Little Aire Falls

An original sawmill site seen near the beginning of the walking track to Triplet Falls.
Little Aire Falls from the viewing platform about 30 m away

A short video clip of Triplet Falls and Little Aire Falls.
  • Mariners FallsThe Mariners Falls Track is off the official list of Walks & Waterfalls.  It has been closed for two years.  A few sections of the track were filled with blackberries.  Second attempt in long pants and garden gloves was a success.  I thank to a few walkers who started earlier and 'cleared' the path.  It's not a good news that it's permanently closed.  But, I can understand why... 
Blackberries were real pain (L), Falls Creek (R)

A short video clip of trekking to Mariners Falls
  • Blanket Bay to Parker Hill (2 hrs / 4km One way): part of Great Ocean Walk through coastal forests.  The lookout before the descend to Parker Inlet was awesome.  This section of GOW was suggested by a local I met at Paradise Picnic Area.  In fact, I had done pack carrying this track several times and for sure at least once the GOW in FULL (95.8 km, extended pack carrying).  The GOW hikers reminded me of what I have achieved in life.
Blanket Bay (L &R), Parker Hill from a viewing platform.  A local was happy for a pose 

A short video of trekking from Blanket Bay to Parker Hill and return
  • Rainbows FallsStart and finish at Cape Otway Lighthouse Carpark.  It is signposted (5.5km / one way).  This walk (part of GOW) provides great coastal views.  However, soft sand can make it a retiring walk.  Check out tide conditions before taking the walk.  If unsure, there is an option to walk to Rainbow Falls via the inland path, which is signposted at a sandy track junction. 
The dune from a boardwalk down to Station Beach.  Almost there!

 Station Beach and Glenaire Beach from the track
  • Aire River & Glenaire BeachStart and finish at Aire River Bridge via Hordern Vale Road.  Walk along a 4WD track to the Aire River mouth and Glenaire Beach.  It was a warm day and the river path was so inviting; therefore, I 'missed' the loop leading to the Escarpment Lookout.  The signpost of 'Escarpment Walk' on the left near the start had been removed!  There were a few canoes at the river mouth and a few flying fishing guys at the beach, where I enjoyed barefoot walking.  On the way out, I didn't bother to put them on till I could not stand the heat of the soft sand track.  It was just a further 50m or so to get back to the car.  Now, I can understand why they wanted to drive their 4WD in & out, even though the track is only about 1km one way.
Aire River and Aire River Mouth (R)

Castle Cove from a viewing platform on Great Ocean Rd, 
next door to Air River, Air River Mouth and Glenaire Beach
  • The Gables & Wreck Beach:  Start and finish at The Gables Carpark via Moonlight Head Road.  The Gable short walk (20 minutes / 800m return) takes you to a lookout with spectacular views of high sea cliffs.  The anchors of the Marie Gabrielle & Fiji shipwrecks can be viewed when tide and sea conditions permitting.  There are more than 350 steps to descend and turn right on reaching the beach.  If low tide, the anchors can be in view from the start at the beach.  A binocular could be put in good use.
Views from Gable Lookout

Wreck Beach
Lorne Forest / GOR
  • Carisbrook Falls: is signposted on Great Ocean Road and a 10 minutes walk from the carpark offers views over Carisbrook Creek and good views of the falls
Carisbrook Falls (L), GOR from Sheoak Falls Track, Sheoak Falls

Photo of me was taken on the second last day of Year 2021 by one of the two ladies from Cheltenham.  It seems that I have seen more of the Otway than they have.  Information of interesting places were given out and they would not have any problem to travel to those in a jeep.  Their interest was to find some waterholes for a swim; but, my poor memory failed to give the answer.

A short video clip (just over 1 minute) of Sheoak Falls
Post from the visit to Sheoak Falls in 2014

Revisit to Kalimna Falls, Henderson Falls & Phantom Falls
A nice, shady and quiet spot for a meal or two before trekking to these waterfalls.

Sheoak Picnic Area
Lower and Upper Kalimna Falls

Henderson Falls and Phantom Falls

While most of holiday makers were enjoying sunbathing at the beach and/or a dip in the sea, I was myself taking all in.  The water was so inviting and I hesitated to leave.  

Kalimna Falls, Henderson Falls and Phantom Falls video clip in 2 minutes

The last day of the year in daylight saving, I left the crowds on the Great Ocean Road and Lorne and took time to drive home.  

20 December 2021

Cora Lynn Falls and Steavenson Falls in Yarra Ranges

Marysville is located about 95km northeast of Melbourne.  Access is via Maroondah Hwy (B360) through Lilydale, Healesville, Narbethong, and then turn onto Marysville Road (C512).  Not long after driving past Healesville and not far before reaching Narbethong, the road is narrow and winding and care should be taken.  There are turnouts for slow vehicles.

Useful information can be obtained at Marysville Visitor Information Centre.  At the time of this writing, Lady Talbot Drive is closed; therefore, The Beeches Rainforest Walk, Taggerty Cascades, Keppel Falls, and Phantom Falls were off the plan.  Having a bit of the time, I headed to a bakery for a quick bite.  After lunch, it was rather warm and so a forest trail, was chosen.  

Cumberland Falls and Cora Lynn Falls Trail is a part of Cumberland Walk in Yarra Ranges.  The walk is located about 17km southeast of Marysville and the access is via Marysville - Woods Point Road (C513).  On arrival at the car park, I was reminded of the walk I had done with one of my closest friends years ago.  

After having a drink of water, a check on a GPS route, and a compass setting, I set off, crossed the road, and took the foot track, which led south.  The track was marked with orange triangles.  Walked the track for about 700m to the junction with a signpost.  Turned left onto the trail to Cumberland Falls and turned right onto the trail to Cora Lynn Falls.

Inaccessible Cumberland Falls.  Only the top of the falls could be viewed (R).

Back-tracked to the junction and a further 100m of walking to the Cora Lynn Falls.  The viewing platform here also reminded me of the previous trip.

Cora Lynn Falls.  What a beauty!  Worth a drive.

After I left the Cora Lynn Falls car park, I drove back to Marysville and a further 4km of driving to the  Steavenson Falls car park.  It was after 6.00pm and so the car park was very quiet.  I was one of the few last visitors.
Evening views of Steavenson Falls from different viewing platforms

09 December 2021

Walking The Otways

Walks near Lorne
The driveWest Gate Bridge (M1) - Geelong bypass (A1) - Winchelsea turn off (C151) - 
Dean Marsh - Benwerrin with a camping ground on the way to Lorne.

Wild camping due to the fully-booked campground on Saturday night. BYO potty
Day One: On Top Of Goslings Falls:
  • Northwest of Lorne
  • Start/End: Neck Track on Benwerrin - Mt Sabine Road 
  • Distance: 5 km marked with pink ribbons.
  • Moving time by two oldies over 60's: about 2 hours 30 minutes 
  • Best time to walk: Spring.  Avoid wet days and watch out for snakes on sunny days.  Wear long pants, gaiters and gloves.
GPS track and profile of Goslings Falls Walk.

Walk the fire trail Neck Track for about 600 m to a knoll.  Leave the Neck Track, turn right onto a narrow foot path, and the first marker (a pink ribbon) can be spotted after a further 20 m of walking.
The track was rather scrubby and the sun was out.  It was a mistake to not put my long pants on.
About half of the way down to the creek, a snake was seen on the track, lying across the path.  It did not know that it was being watched.  To move the snake, we stamped on the ground and finally, it made a move, slithering quickly into the low scrubs, after feeling the ground vibration.  It was the first snake we had spotted since the CoVid lockdowns in Victoria were lifted.

The track was rather steep when we got close to the creek.  On reaching the creek, we were unable to follow the creek bed to get to the bottom of Goslings Falls because of fallen trees.  It was about 100 m away to the north.  

We continued on and we hit the All Trails marked track (All Trail GPX file of Goslings Falls Loop with the start from Wickhams Trk).  Then, it was a steep descent to the top of the falls, from which we could only see just the valley.  Our attempt to look for a viewing spot for the falls also failed.  The descent to the bottom of the falls looked very steep and so we gave up.  What a disappoinment! Then, the track turned west and up about 250 m, then turned north, running paralell with the creek and then the track went west again about 250 m to reach the Neck Track.  Not far now: about half of km to the knoll, the turn off for the creek this morning and a further 600 m back to the car.

Once we got back to the car and campsite there was still enough time left for a short walk as Daylight Saving means longer days.  So we decided to visit Erskine Falls and then Lorne for dinner.

Late Afternoon Visit to Erskine Falls and Dinner in Lorne

Day Two: Terrace Falls and Pennyroyal Falls
After feeding the King Parrots at the campground, we went to the south end of the Dunse Track to start the walk, but because of road work on the Dunse Track, a planned loop of Terrace, Pennyroyal, Acquila and Wymbooliel Falls via the Dunse Tk was abandoned.  Instead, only Terrace Falls and Pennyroyal Falls were visited via the north end of the Dunse Tk.

King Parrots at campsite, 
GPS Track with the falls on Acquila Creek. The OSMap was used because it's updated regularly

The left bank before Terrace Falls where a black snake was seen. 
Unnamed falls (R) where I found my first leech, while trying to take photographs and video clips.

Terrace Falls (L) and Pennyroyal Falls (R)

Waterfalls on Acquila Creek in Otways

Something unexpectedly took place at the Pennyroyal Falls.  Allan lost his footing and had a minor fall while trying to find a seating spot for lunch at the base of the Falls.  A bit of first aid was needed and a spray-on plaster was put in good use.  We returned to the camping ground and relaxed.  King parrots provided good company and amusement, then hot water was needed for the soup and to rehydrate the meal.  Our neighbors were two young ladies who travelled in a small hatchback that was used for their sleeping platform with the hatch opened throughout the night.

An excellent campground with basic facilities including two long drop loos and a water tank.
The fees charged were also reasonable.  We camped here for three nights.  

Day Three: We attempted to walk to Wanliss Falls but failed to be able to follow the All Trails route.  There was only one gpx file for this walk on All Trails and it was not a curated track either, so the track that hadn't been checked out by All Trails.

The start of the Wanliss Falls track is at the junction of Benwerrin-Mt Sabin Rd and Dunse Track.  
Wanliss Falls are located just few kms Northwest of Erskine Falls and about 5 kms South of this junction.  The walking track from the junction was so well-defined that we followed it and not the All-Trails route and so got well off track.  We had not stopped to consult our navigational aids such as map, gps and compass, and so missed the point where we should have left the well-defined track to head south for the falls.  If we had continued onward, we would have been led down to the top of Erskine Falls on the Erskine River.  We back-tracked (a snake seen here earlier) and tried to locate the correct route, but failed.  It was over-grown and the scrub was thick.  The day was also humid.  It was too warm to go on and so we both gave up with this route.

GPX file of Wanliss Falls on All Trail (L), Vicmap Topo
Our GPX route of Wymbooliel Falls (R), VICMAP

So the alternative was to walk to the Wymbooliel Falls via the Pennyroyal Track (or Pennyroyal East Link Tk on OSM) as it was so close.  There were several alternative ways to get to the Wymbooliel Falls and we chose the short one.  When we got back to the car, we drove to the Pennyroyal Tk, had lunch at the gate, then set off to the Falls.

The turn off was just about 200 m away down the Pennyroyal Track and marked with a yellow ribbon tape tied around a big tree.  After leaving Pennyroyal Track, it was about 400 m walk west to take us down to the creek and track junction.  After a quick visit to Wymbooliel Lower Falls, we returned to the junction and then walked about 30 m up the main creek and found the start of the track to take us to Wymbooliel Upper Falls on the right. 

Wymbooliel Lower Falls

 The route was well-marked with pink ribbons and the distance to the steep descent was only about 150 m.  The turn-off down to the falls was extremely steep and care should be taken if you attempt it.  A 20 m to 30 m rope is almost essential to get you down to the bottom of Falls.  We didn't have a rope so we gave up when we were only about half way down.

On the way down to the upper falls 

The Last Day's Morning:  Straw Falls, Splitter Falls and Erskine Falls
We drove to our campsite via the inland route from Melbourne.  Hence, we wanted to drive back via the coast with some interesting stops on the way and Straw Falls and Splitter Falls were chosen.  We had been to these falls some years ago in a dry season.  There had been lots of rain in The Otways recently and so the falls should have been worth revisiting.  A plan was not needed.  Just follow the Erskine River Walking Track from Erskine Falls.

Straw Falls 

Waterfalls on Erskine River

The Straw Falls were great but the Splitter Falls were difficult to view from the Erskine River walking track and the Splitter Falls themselves were inaccessible from the track.  However, on the return walk back to Erskine Falls, there were a few accessible minor falls and cascades that were well worth a short bush-bash to get close to the falls.

Unnamed Falls (L) and Splitter Falls (R)

After leaving the falls, we drove down to Lorne for a fish and chips lunch.