Nigretta Falls

Southern Grampians Shire / near Hamilton, Victoria, Australia

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 1
Nigretta Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

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.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

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 otherWannon 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 DunkeldOn 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 WarnamboolAfter 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 GrottoThe 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 FallsOn 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 Nigretta FallsJulie 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 to Nigretta FallsThis 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 closer to the base of Nigretta FallsGoing around this fence towards a short descending track leading cloesr to the base of the falls

Descending closer to the base of Nigretta FallsDescending closer to the base of the falls

Julie approaching the end of the short track across the plunge pool fronting Nigretta FallsJulie 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 timeLooking 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 Nigretta Falls as a squall was approaching and about to dump rain on usLooking 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 parkGoing back up the steps to the nearby car park

For a little bit of a before and after look at the Nigretta Falls, here's a photo taken from the viewing deck in November 2017For 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 agricultureOn 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 Nigretta Falls starting with the more recent November 2017 photoHere's another before and after look at the falls starting with the more recent November 2017 photo

Closer look at Nigretta Falls showing that it was at least tricklingCloser look at the falls showing that it was at least trickling


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Sweep checking out the falls from the observation deck


Sweep from near the base of the falls checking out the falls itself and surrounding cliffs before examining the menacing clouds before going up the steps for a more elevated perspective


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

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.

For context, Hamilton was about 33km (under 30 minutes drive) west of Dunkeld, about 96km (over an hour drive) south of Halls Gap, 100km (under 90 minutes drive) north of Warrnambool, 294km (about 3.5 hours drive) west of Melbourne, and 128km (90 minutes drive) east of Mount Gambier.




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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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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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