Erskine Falls

Great Otway National Park / Surf Coast Shire / Lorne, Victoria, Australia

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1.5
Erskine Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

To Julie and I, Erskine Falls was probably the most impressive waterfall amongst the cluster of waterfalls around the town of Lorne in the Angahook-Lorne State Park (part of the larger Great Otway National Park). It possessed a 30m drop (some signage here might have suggested it was 38m tall) though it looked slender probably because it was a little bit on the light side in terms of its flow. That said, the recent rains that seemed to have precipitated in most in the Otway Ranges appeared to have momentarily fought off the drought that really impacted our waterfalling experiences during our November 2006 trip. We also saw the falls in a similar condition on a more recent November 2017 visit, where Western Victoria was hit by a few storms prior to us showing up. Had the rains and the wild weather not occurred, then who knows whether the falls would have looked anything close to the condition you see in the photo above?

This was one of the easier waterfalls to visit as the route to its car park was all paved, the walk encompassing both the upper and lower viewing areas was short and easy to follow, and everything was well-signed. Overall, Julie and I spent about 35 minutes to check out both viewpoints and all the walking in between. We also had the option to visit Straw Falls, which was further downstream. Given that it involved a bit of a detour on a much rougher track and it wasn't a necessary part of a visit to Erskine Falls, I made a separate writeup describing that experience, which you can read here.

The upper viewpoint, which was a mere 80m from the car park, provided us with a top-down view of the Erskine Falls. Unfortunately, there was a lot of foliage that was in the way that kept this viewpoint from being anything special. In fact, it left us wanting more so we continued on the walkway for the remaining 140m, which went down several steps eventually getting down to the level of the Erskine River. That was where the main track terminated at the second lookout area yielding a more frontal view of the falls (as pictured at the top of this page). Although the official track ended somewhat set back from the waterfall, we witnessed numerous people continue the scramble to get all the way up to the plunge pool and base of the falls. We didn't pursue this in either of our visits, but we'll leave it up to you to decide if you want to do this or not.

Finally, being a Triple J Radio listener since our first trip to Australia back in June 2006, it's worth noting that Erskine Falls has the distinction of being the waterfall referred to in the annual Falls Festival (a very popular music and arts event taking place around the New Years holiday). The original location of the festival was located in Lorne though the more recent venues in the area were off the Erskine Falls Road (not far from the waterfall above the Lorne Township). The event had grown from the single-day "Rock Above The Falls Festival" in 1993 into the multi-day, simultaneous-multi-location event that spans Australia in places like Byron Bay, Marion Bay, Freemantle, and others.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Erskine Falls was up the hill from the beach town of Lorne, which was very popular, especially on a beautiful day like when this photo was taken in November 2017Erskine Falls was up the hill from the beach town of Lorne, which was very popular, especially on a beautiful day like when this photo was taken in November 2017
Nearby Erskine Falls was the Lower and Upper Kalimna Falls (the lower one is pictured here), which were a pair of dainty but attractive waterfalls near the Shoeak Picnic Area uphill from LorneNearby Erskine Falls was the Lower and Upper Kalimna Falls (the lower one is pictured here), which were a pair of dainty but attractive waterfalls near the Shoeak Picnic Area uphill from Lorne
The beautiful scenery along the Great Ocean Road, especially between Apollo Bay and Lorne, was full of photogenic spots to randomly stop and take inThe beautiful scenery along the Great Ocean Road, especially between Apollo Bay and Lorne, was full of photogenic spots to randomly stop and take in
At the conclusion of our drive along the Great Ocean Road (taking in waterfalls like Erskine Falls), we then spent some time sightseeing Melbourne. Shown here is the Shrine of RemembranceAt the conclusion of our drive along the Great Ocean Road (taking in waterfalls like Erskine Falls), we then spent some time sightseeing Melbourne. Shown here is the Shrine of Remembrance
The busy Erskine Falls car parkThe busy car park

Julie starting on the short walk to the lookouts for Erskine FallsJulie starting on the short walk to the lookouts for the falls

Looking down at the Erskine Falls from the upper lookoutLooking down at the falls from the upper lookout

Looking down at Erskine Falls from the overgrown upper viewing deck in November 2006Looking down at the falls from the overgrown upper viewing deck in November 2006

Descending the short track to the base of Erskine FallsDescending the short track to the base of the falls

Continuing the descent to the base of Erskine FallsContinuing the descent to the base of the falls

Towards the bottom of the descent to the base of Erskine FallsTowards the bottom of the descent to the base of the falls

At the lower lookout for Erskine Falls under sunny weather in November 2017At the lower lookout for Erskine Falls under sunny weather in November 2017

Julie checks out the Erskine Falls from the lower lookout on a sunny dayJulie checks out the falls from the lower lookout on a sunny day

Julie checks out Erskine Falls from a distance at the lower viewing deck in November 2006Julie checks out the falls from a distance at a lower viewing deck in November 2006

Sometimes with photographing waterfalls, it's better to have cloudy weather as this photo of Erskine Falls showed during our first visit back in November 2006Sometimes with photographing waterfalls, it's better to have cloudy weather as this photo of Erskine Falls showed during our first visit back in November 2006

Julie starting the ascent back to the car parkJulie starting the ascent back to the car park

Since Julie was fighting the flu during our 2017 visit to Erskine Falls, she didn't appreciate these steps very muchSince Julie was fighting the flu during our 2017 visit to the falls, she didn't appreciate these steps very much

Making our ascent to the car park just as another group of people were making their way downMaking our ascent to the car park just as another group of people were making their way down


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


L-shaped sweep from the lookout area of the falls before zooming in or a closer look at the falling water


Brief sweep showing the Erskine Falls from an upper lookout while also showing some people already at the base for a sense of scale


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Although there are many ways to get to the Erskine Falls Road from the main drag through Lorne, we'll first describe what we think would be the most straightforward route (i.e. involving the fewest turns). Even though the signs had us go on a more indirect route (which we'll describe later), we felt going this route was less confusing.

From the intersection of William St and the Great Ocean Road / Mountjoy Parade (B100) in the town centre of Lorne opposite the main part of the beach, we took William St inland. We stayed straight on Williams St for about 600m before continuing to go straight onto Erskine Falls Road.

We then followed Erskine Falls Rd for the next 8km before following a sign having us turn right to leave the Erskine Falls Rd for the Erskine Falls Access Road. We then followed the descending access road for the final 1.3km to the car park at its end. This drive took us about 20 minutes.

Given the narrow residential nature of William St, we noticed that the signage actually encouraged us to take different local routes to reach Erskine Falls Rd. From the roundabout opposite the visitor centre on the north end of town, we would take the Otway St for about 850m to a roundabout connecting with Gay St. We'd then follow the last (3rd) exit to get onto Gay St, which then eventually joined up with the Erskine Falls Rd (as well as William St) in another 200m or so.

Coming from the south end of town along the Great Ocean Road (B100), we could turn left at the roundabout onto Bay St. Then we could follow Bay St 450m up the hill to George St, turning right. Shortly after going on George St, we'd then encounter the roundabout where we'd take the 2nd exit to continue straight onto Gay St. Then, we'd follow this street as above to the Erskine Falls Rd.

For context, Lorne was 47km (a little over an hour drive) east of Apollo Bay, 142km (under 2 hours drive) southwest of Melbourne or 68km (over an hour drive) southwest of Geelong.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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