Swarming with Swallows, but look at the cascades!
Swallow Cave sits in the middle of some cascades with the cave being on the opposite side of the creek from the walking trail and timber viewing area. The cave is interesting and for bird lovers, the view of the Swallows coming and going is undisturbed and alone, it’s worth the short and steep walk.
Although the cave and abundance of birds is nice to look at, the cascades are main attraction.
The Sheoak Creek starts cascading and turning into the Sheaok Falls right about here, just out the front of Swallow Cave. The area is referred to as Swallow Cave, instead of something like ‘Swallow Cave Falls’ as the cascades are the top part of the Sheoak waterfall.
To stay safe, there’s a timber platform with a guard rail as the main Swallow Cave viewing area. It’s not allowed, but in the right conditions, plenty of people work there way down the first part of the cascades and explore the area right next to the water, although this can be fatally dangerous if someone was to slip in, especially after some heavy rain.
Getting to Swallow Cave
The shortest route to Swallow Cave is about a 1.2 km walk from the Sheoak Falls car park on the Great Ocean Road. The walk is mostly flat and gives you the chance to get beneath the canopy of Eucalyptus trees and other Australian natives. There are a few short and steep parts to the trail on the way to Sheoak Falls, but they all have either timber steps or stairs carved into the hills, so it’s easy and only requires a low level of fitness.
Just before getting to the waterfall, you’ll see a sign pointing to a big and steep set of stairs that takes you to Swallow Cave. It’s about 500 metres from here and the only steep and mildly challenging part is the first set of stairs.
Once you make it up the stair case, you’ll get a view down to the waterfall before coming around a corner and seeing the cascades. There’s a river crossing where you can step across some large rocks in the water, but only if the water level is low enough and the conditions are safe for you to easily walk across. The path then goes back towards the waterfall, down a small set of timber stairs and brings you out to the viewing platform that’s opposite Swallow Cave.
A longer hike to Swallow Cave & Sheoak Falls
When you’re heading to Swallow Cave from Sheoak Falls and cross the river, instead of heading down to the cave and walking the opposite direction, you’ll arrive at Sheoak Picnic Area in about 2.5kms.
The walk is mostly flat the entire way, except for some short steep parts that are easy to get up and down. The trail goes alongside the Sheoak Creek for a large part of it, where you’ll see another small waterfall. Each step that you take gets you further into the Otways forest where you’ll eventually begin seeing Soft Tree Ferns and other rainforest plants.
It’s a nice stroll with a beautiful, big picnic area with facilities at the end. You can even drive directly to the picnic area and hike to Swallow Cave from there, with the option of walking to 3 other close by waterfalls with trails ranging from 1.5-4.5 kms in different directions or a circuit that connects most of them.