Nigretta Falls (a lady from the visitor centre in Hamilton pronounced it "NYE-gret-uh") was pretty much a mandatory stop for us since it was very close to and easily accessible from Wannon Falls. This was where the Wannon River fell some 15-20m or so over an exposed reddish cliff composed of the harder erosion-resistant rhyolitic layer that was indicative of the history of volcanism in the region west of Hamilton in the Southern Grampians Shire. As you can see in the photo above, we happened to see the falls as a single segment though the falls could branch out into multiple segments if the Wannon River would have more significant flow during a rain storm in the Winter months. Under the higher flow conditions, we could understand how some people in the literature might refer to this waterfall as a "Little Niagara Falls".
Julie and I actually visited this waterfall twice - once in November 2006 and once again in November 2017. On that first visit, the Wannon River really didn't stand a chance against a combination of a drought that dominated the decade along with water diversion for the extensive agriculture in the region. Thus, we only saw it as a disappointing trickle, where not even an overnight rain storm was able to revive its flow. Our subsequent visit 11 years later followed a couple of days of heavy and unstable thunderstorms piling on to an already more substantial water table from rains earlier in the season. Given these observations, I'd consider this more of a seasonal waterfall despite it being on a river.
For all intents and purposes, we thought of this waterfall as a roadside waterfall. There was a viewing deck right off the nearest car park in the reserve, which yielded a pleasant panorama with a more top down frontal view of the falls. Shortly to the right of the viewing deck, there was a set of steps descending to the opposite edge of the plunge pool, where we were able to get a closer and more imposing look at the falls and its underlying cliffs. Given the amount of brownish foam in the Wannon River, we suspected that the agricultural runoff draining into the river system might have also polluted the watercourse. Thus, it might not be wise to swim here even on a hot day.
Finally, it was worth noting that this waterfall tended to face west. That meant that coming in the morning on a sunny day resulted in us looking right against the sun. So we knew that on a return trip, we had to come back here in the afternoon, when the sun would backlight the falls. This was the case on our November 2017 trip (at least when the storm clouds didn't block the sun), and it confirmed to us that the best time of day to take photographs was indeed in the mid to late afternoon.
Wannon Falls was also very close to Nigretta Falls, and it's easy to pair up the waterfalls as part of a singular driving route given their close proximity to each other
On the drive between Halls Gap and Hamilton, we noticed the shapely Mt Abrupt and Mt Sturgeon near the town of Dunkeld
After waterfalling the South Grampians Shire, we then continued south towards the Great Ocean Road heading east of Warnambool
The further to the east we went, the more dramatic the scenery of the Great Ocean Road became like at this sea arch known as The Grotto
On the Wannon-Nigretta Falls Road bound for Nigretta Falls after visiting Wannon Falls
Julie approaching the viewing deck right next to the car park for the falls
This was the moody panorama from the viewing deck by the car park where more dark clouds were threatening to dump their load on us during our visit
Going around this fence towards a short descending track leading cloesr to the base of the falls
Descending closer to the base of the falls
Julie approaching the end of the short track across the plunge pool fronting the falls
Looking right across the plunge pool from Nigretta Falls. Notice the dark color of the water and the brownish foam, which led us to believe that the water quality of the Wannon River must not be very safe at this time
Looking back at the falls as a squall was approaching and about to dump rain on us
Going back up the steps to the nearby car park
For a little bit of a before and after look at the falls, here's a photo taken from the viewing deck in November 2017
On our first visit to Nigretta Falls, this was what it looked like from the viewing deck. As you can see, it didn't stand a chance against a combination of a severe drought and the Wannon River being diverted for agriculture
Here's another before and after look at the falls starting with the more recent November 2017 photo
Closer look at the falls showing that it was at least trickling
We were able to reach Nigretta Falls from Hamilton by driving west on the Glenelg Highway (B160) for a little over 7km before a sign pointed us to turn right onto the Nigretta Road. Taking that turnoff, we then drove a little over 4km to the signed Wannon-Nigretta Fall Road. Turning left onto this road, we then drove over 3km to another signposted turnoff, then we turned right to go into the reserve. Once in the reserve, we continued another 600m towards the circular car park and viewing deck. Overall, this drive took us about 25 minutes, where most of the time was spent getting past the traffic lights and roundabouts within the city.
Alternately, we could also drive to the Nigretta Falls from the Wannon Falls picnic area (assuming we were visiting Nigretta last instead of first). From the picnic ground, we drove onto Camerons Rd, then headed north for roughly 350m to the Glenelg Highway. Turning right onto the highway, we then turned left onto Wannon-Nigretta Fall Rd (opposite the Morgiana Rd) after about 700m. Then, we followed the Wannon-Nigretta Fall Rd for about 7.5km or so before turning left into the reserve. This alternate route took us on the order of about 15 minutes.
One thing worth noting about the roads in Volcano Country, we encountered a few kangaroos in one morning when we showed up back in November 2006. Having had the misfortune of damaging a rental car from colliding with a kangaroo during a separate Australia trip earlier in the year, believe me when I say you'll want to go slow and stay alert for them. They seem to have a tendency to cross the road and hop right in front of the car when they panic and aren't able to control where they hop to in their frantic scramble to escape danger.
You can use the form below, but if you find our host's interface too troublesome to use (especially if you're trying to upload photos), then just send a text submission anyways using the form, but also let us know that you'd like to attach photos. If you've provided an email address via the form, then we can reply back acknowledging your request, and you can then reply to that email with your photo attachments. We're very sorry about this, but there's not much we can do about SBI's terrible interface.
What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
4k Australia I visited these falls after filming the floods .the locals said that this is the best they can remember the falls flowing https://youtu.be/im499YtSEjE …
September 2016 Nigretta Falls Thanks for my discovery of your great blog. I am sorry you had one of the 20,000 kamikaze kangaroo insurance claims per year. Also sorry you saw the falls …
Nigretta Falls I visited the falls in 2011 and they were flowing very nicely and I got some awesome photos, one of which I have attached. You can see more at my blog- …
Nigretta Falls at full flow Visited in August 2010, and Nigretta Falls was flowing very well - some of the trees at the base were submerged in the river.
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King George Falls Are Awesome
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Cedar Creek Falls Jan 2008
Hi, my name is Phil and I just wanted to share a photo of Cedar Creek Falls in full flow. Had you been there a few months earlier you would have seen it too. We had been staying in Proserpine...[more]
Hopkins Falls at full flow
We visited this falls in August 2010. The recent wet weather had the falls at a very high flow, and the spectacle was bringing in many of the locals to come and gawk...[more]
Hindmarsh Falls in full flow
We went to Hindmarsh Falls today (13/7/09) and it was in full flow. The past couple of weeks we have had consistent rain, especially in the past 4 days which...[more]
Dangars Falls - Great When Wet
I've been to Dangars Falls many times but I've never seen it totally dry. Once I was there just after a peak flood and it was spectacular. Sadly...[more]
Mongrel Bastards Mountain Bike Club
As a Queenslander in 'enemy territory' I was lucky enough to be allowed to tag along on a 75km mountain bike ride that started at Eltham to the South, took in Minyon Falls and looped back...[more]
Whoever penned the last sentence hadn't been there for some time. Signs on the most important intersection aren't apparent which cost me about 10 minutes, and another sign was overgrown with foxglove...[more]