Just as the local COVID pandemic lockdowns ease, so did a few days of heavy rain above the Great Otway National Park which is packed full of waterfalls, so we went and took a look at a couple of them.
We started by driving straight to the Great Ocean Road from Geelong and heading west from Anglesea, then just after passing Lorne, we pulled into the Sheoak Falls car park and started walking.
It’s not often that the trails around here are so well built, although we are on the Great Ocean Road which is Australia’s most visited tourist attraction, so I guess some heavy duty finishes are needed to keep this track from becoming a mud slide.
Just after leaving the car park, the trail goes over a small hill and onto a boardwalk, before heading down some timber stairs and along a concrete path next to the creek. About 500 metres into the walk, the trail goes up another small hill and gives a great back at the ocean.
Before we knew it, we had made it to the base of Sheoak Falls.
It felt like such a short walk, so we decided to take some stairs up and around the waterfall and then followed a trail that leads to where the creek starts to break up and become a waterfall.
A few hundred metres from the top of the stairs, we crossed over the Sheoak Creek and walked back along the other side until we reached Swallow Cave and the cascades that lead to the waterfall.
Swallow Cave was a nice surprise. There’s a timber viewing area opposite the cave that swarms with birds. Between the cave and viewing area are a couple of large cascades with loads of little streams working their way around the rocks. We hadn’t even heard of this place before, but it’s gotta be a highlight for the area around here that’s with-in a [relatively short] walking distance
By this point, we still had only walked for about 1.2 kms which didn’t even begin to make us feel like we had made the most of the lockdowns ending.
We headed back the Sheoak Creek crossing and saw that the Sheoak Picnic Area was another 2.5 kms upstream, so off we went.
The walk along the creek to the picnic area was below the canopy of the huge Eucalyptus Trees and eventually giant Tree Ferns too. As we got further, we entered the edge of rainforest.
It was a nice walk but we were on a mission to see some waterfalls, so it really just added 5 kms to the journey by the time we made it back to our car.
If we were smarter, we would have driven straight into the Otways and taken the hiking trail from Sheoak Picnic Area to Sheoak Falls, seeing as by the time that we would have made it back to the car, we could have chosen between three other walks to waterfalls that leave the picnic area.
It was time for a meat pie and sauce, so we drove back into Lorne and v-lined it straight to the bakery.
With our hunger fixed our waterfall appetite had grown. We decided to go and take a look at a much larger waterfall, in-fact, one that’s twice the size of where we had just been.
Erskine Falls is everything that you could ask for in a post-lockdown hike. It’s over 30 metres tall and one sheer cliff face that the water flows off and surrounded by dense rainforest.
We made our way to the base of the waterfall and crossed the creek so that we could get up and close to the plunge pool.
Other than the pie with sauce, heading here was the best decision that we had made all day. Without adding the extra few kilometres to the earlier trail, we could have instead spent the time hiking to Erskine Falls from Lorne where we would have gone past two other waterfalls, none-the-less, it was still a decent way to get back outside after being on house arrest.
We’re going to head to Halls Gap next weekend for a bigger hike. Be sure to come back to the BPTRV blog and take another look in about a week from now.