Park your car and picnic at the Great Otway's waterfall central
Just a few kilometres out the back of Lorne and north of the Great Ocean Road, but deep in the Otway’s forest is Sheoak Picnic Area. Walk in most directions to find waterfalls, with trails ranging from 1.5-4.5 kms each way or you can even take a circuit walk to visit a whole bunch of waterfalls, eventually making it back to the car park about 20kms later.
Hiking trails that start at Sheoak Picnic Area
Sheoak Picnic Area is a big space with plenty of room for a lot of people. It’s well shaded by giant Eucalyptus trees and surrounded by dense forest. There are barbecues, shelters and facilities with lots of parking spread throughout the area.
It’s a stunning area to come to and have a tea break or lunch where you can explore among native Australian flora. Even with the dry Eucalyptus trees, there are loads of rain forest plants, including the ancient ferns.
From the Sheoak Picnic Area, there’s a short ‘Nature Walk’ allowing you to get a good view and feel for the forest without having to hike for kilometres. Otherwise, there are loads of other longer trails with the most popular one being to Sheoak Falls via Swallow Cave.
Sheoak Falls via Swallow Cave
The trail heads south-east from the Sheoak Picnic Area for about 3kms to Sheoak Falls. It’s an easy walk with only a couple of small but somewhat steep hills.
The entire trail to the waterfall is below the Eucalyptus canopy and you’ll be walking right beside tree ferns for most of the way.
The walk is down stream along the Sheoak Creek, so you’ll have to take some stairs to the bottom of the waterfall. Just before descending, there’s a short track for an extra 100 metres or so that takes you to the where the creek begins to break up and cascade before the waterfall, all opposite Swallow Cave. It’s possibly more stunning and interesting than heading down to the waterfall, so it’s recommended that you make sure to take a quick look on your way.
Other hiking trails leaving Sheoak Picnic Area
- Henderson Falls – 1.5 kms each way – takes about 1 hour to return to Sheoak Picnic Area
- Kalimna Falls – 4.2 kms each way – 4 hours return
- Phantom Falls – 4.3 kms each way – 3 hours return
- Castle Rock – 2.5 kms each way – 3 hours return
Getting to the Sheoak Picnic Area
The drive is almost as good as getting out at the picnic area and going for a hike.
There are only a couple of roads going out the back of the Lorne, from Lorne. Take Allenvale Road and drive for about 5-10 minutes along a winding road until you see the signs for the picnic area.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to head back to Lorne ton continue west along the Great Ocean Road, likewise if coming west from Apollo Bay.