If you want an easygoing day trip from Melbourne, then visiting this trio of waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park is just the job. With quick hikes in and stunning views, it’s a real crowd pleaser, but Kate Bradley’s found the secret to beating the masses and enjoying the full glory of Hopetoun, Triplet and Beauchamp Falls.


Highlights

  • Only 2.5 hours drive from Melbourne CBD
  • Multiple short walks and swims very close together
  • Visiting just after a rainstorm, when the falls are at their best, will usually result in very few tourists
  • A pitstop at the Otway Brewery on the way home is never a bad thing
Raging Rapids \\ Waterfalls Of The Great Otway National Park, Kate Bradley, Final Destination, Beachamp Falls, woman, sitting, long exposure

Final Destination – Beauchamp Falls

Away From The Crowds In The Great Otway National Park

I’m usually one for long, technical day hikes and climbs but, occasionally, the thought of a mini road-based trip really appeals to me. This was one of those days. Being injury stricken had given me a serious case of cabin fever, so when the Victorian rainstorms hit the Great Otway National Park earlier this month it gave me the perfect excuse to load up my day pack and hit the road.

I’ve frequented this region many times previously and though its often swamped with tourists, if timed correctly you can find yourself in an incredibly serene environment. I visited on a Friday (the day after the rain finally died down) and I didn’t come across a single other person on the Beauchamp Falls, Hopetoun Falls or Redwood tracks. This time around I didn’t manage to visit Triplet Falls due to a tree fall.

I find it quite a peaceful and easy drive getting to the Otways, especially since the roads are sealed almost the entire way and the small sections of gravel road are very well maintained.

Upon arriving at Hopetoun and Beauchamp Falls, the temperature plummeted to 7ºc and it began bucketing down, which made the boardwalk sections of the tracks a little slippery (nothing a good pair of runners or hiking boots can’t handle) but the rewards were immense.

Raging Rapids \\ Waterfalls Of The Great Otway National Park, Kate Bradley, Magnificent mountain ash flanking the Beauchamp Falls track, tree, trunk, solid, strong

Magnificent Mountain Ash flanking the Beauchamp Falls track

Hopetoun Falls

The track down to Hopetoun Falls is extremely short, approximately 20 minutes return, with steps and mostly boarded sections. You will pass through towering Mountain Ash, lush ferns and beautiful Myrtle Beech and Blackwood to find a viewing platform at the base, where you can view the waterfall in all its glory. This track is not a loop, so you will return via the same route.

Beauchamp Falls

Beauchamp Falls track is similar, although a tad longer (approximately 45 minutes to an hour depending on your fitness level) and is mostly a gravel track with some staired/boarded sections. There is a moderately steep incline midway through that would be manageable for most skill and fitness levels.

I’ve swum at the base of the falls a few times during the summer months, which can be quite beautiful, though on this particular occasion this was not viable due to the sheer force of the water tumbling from the top.

See our article on How To Stay Safe Around Water // Swimming Hole Safety before deciding whether a swim is a good idea on any given day. 

This track is not a loop either, so after making your way back from the base of the falls to the trail, continue on to the platform where the falls can be viewed from above, then return via the same route.

A great campsite with toilets and fire pits is available at the start of this track if you were considering making your trip multi-day. I have stayed here a few times and highly rate it.

In all of my visits to the Great Otway National Park, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed the falls raging so ferociously – this made for some incredible photo ops that I don’t think I’ll manage to capture again anytime soon.

Raging Rapids \\ Waterfalls Of The Great Otway National Park, Kate Bradley, Lush fern forests along the Hopetoun Falls track

Lush fern forests along the Hopetoun Falls track

Essential Gear

  • Rain jacket, jumpers, warm base layers
  • Waterproof/resistant daypack – especially if you have a camera
  • Good runners/hiking boots (waterproof helps)
  • Snacks and a decent amount of water
  • Overnight camping gear if considering making this a multi-day trip

How To Get There

From Melbourne and surrounds, you’ll find yourself on the M1 travelling west towards Geelong.

Bypass Geelong, travelling towards the Great Ocean Road, where you will bypass the exit for Torquay/Anglesea/Queenscliff.

Turn off the M1 onto Collins Road, where after 3.3km you will turn left onto Colac-Forrest Road and then quickly onto Old Yeo Road.

After travelling 10km on Old Yeo Road, turn right onto Barongarook Road, then left onto Colac-Lavers Hill Road.

34km later, turn left onto Beech Forest-Lavers Hill Road and then onto Binns Road which is the entrance to the Beech Forest Reserve.

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Camping

Skill Level

Beginner/Intermediate

Distance Covered

346km drive, 10km walk total if all 3 falls are completed.

 


More outdoor magic near Melbs…

French Island // Melbourne’s Wilder Island Adventure

Wombat Loop Mountain Bike Trail // Melbourne (VIC)

Four Hidden Hiking Gems in Melbourne’s Outer-East

Top 5 Overnight Hikes Near Melbourne