Short steep walk down to Turpins Falls on the Campaspe River
This can be a nice swimming spot out in central Victoria, or at the very least, it’s a nice short walk to see a billabong at the base of the waterfall on the beautiful Campaspe River.
At the base of the waterfall is a large plunge pool that is even bigger than an Olympic size swimming pool with an easy entry into the water on the opposite side of the waterfall.
There’s a lot of shade from a whole heap of trees surrounding the waterfall lake. On a hot day, either go for a swim or cool off on the rocks beside the water and sit beneath a tree.
If the season isn’t right for swimming, then it’s the season of a larger waterfall and a more exciting sight. During the wetter months of the year, Turpins Falls can be flowing heavily and create a wide waterfall that stretches for metres across the top of the Basalt cliff. The waterfall is about 20 metres tall and in the dryer months, the volumes of water can heavily decrease to a trickle, sometimes even completely stopping.
Generally speaking, to see the highest flow of water over Turpins Falls, head here in the morning and of course late in winter or after a lot of rainfall. Almost every day, the waterfall has a heavier flow in the morning.
Getting to Turpins Falls
Turpins Falls is a bit more than 30 minutes to the north of Hanging Rock or around a one and a half hour drive direct from Melbourne.
It’s best to use your GPS as the signs can be hard to see. There has been a rumor going around for a while that since a bunch of deaths in a short period of time from people cliff jumping and hitting rocks, some locals now try to cover the signs and make it a bit harder for tourists to find Turpins Falls.
Once you arrive at the Turpins Falls car park, there’s a path that takes you on a short walk that zig-zags up and down, back and around to the bottom of the waterfall. Parts of it are a little steep, but there’s a hand rail for most of it and an obvious track the whole way.
You’re no longer allowed to explore around the top of the water fall as a way of trying to discourage cliff jumping, so the path leads directly to the base of the waterfall.
Sometimes, the park operators will close the path and park if they feel it’s unsafe.
Swimming at Turpins Falls
On a hot day, the waterfall lake can be a great place for a swim, it even use to be the home of the local of swimming club in the 1930’s.
The walking trail from the car park goes to the opposite side of the lake at the base of the waterfall.
Where you’ll enter is shallow with a gradual decline and looks directly at Turpins Falls.
It can be nice to sit in the shallows as the water can heat up. There are some spots that are in full sun or if that’s too harsh, there are other places where you can still be in the shallow water and also under the shade from the trees at the edge of the lake.
If you head out to the deeper parts, it can become really cold and there are loads of stories of large creatures brushing past peoples legs, so keep an eye out.
Cliff Jumping from the top of Turpins Falls
Although it’s a nice walk down to the waterfall lake and can be a good swimming spot, Turpins Falls isn’t a good place to go cliff jumping.
Due to the fluctuating water level of the lake at the bottom of the waterfall and the stone being dark Basalt, it can be extremely difficult to see submerged rocks and other objects beneath the water.
People do still jump off the cliffs at the top of the waterfall into the plunge pool and have been doing so for more than 100 years, although for some of them, it has been their last jump. Over the years, quite a few people have been killed or ended up with some serious injuries from hitting rocks below the water. It’s now banned to jump off Turpins Falls and also completely prohibited to trek to the top of the waterfall.
On a hot day, there’s a good chance of seeing locals jumping off the top of the waterfall. We don’t recommend that you go near the top of the waterfall, anywhere off track or jump off Turpins Falls, but if you do, make sure that you first see a local safely do it and copy them.
& here’s a short, terrible video of when we went there a while ago to give you a bit more of an idea of what it’s like at the base of Turpins Falls: