Strath Creek Falls

Mt Disappointment State Forest / Murrindindi Shire / near Broadford / Murchison Gap, Victoria, Australia

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 1
Strath Creek Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Strath Creek Falls (I've also seen it referred to as Murchison Falls; not to be confused with the one in Uganda) was barely hanging on to its last flows when we made a second visit here in November 2017. On our first visit, the 50m falls was practically invisible due to the Great Australian Drought that affected our November 2006 trip, and it was a drought that had persisted for the better part of that decade! For some strange reason, it seemed fitting that the falls resided in the Mt Disappointment State Forest for either of our visits here could certainly be characterized as such.

The Mt Disappointment State Forest sat in a fairly remote and rugged part of the Murrindindi Shire north of Melbourne that for one reason or another didn't seem to get the benefit of much rain in either of our visits to the country in November 2006 and November 2017. Like with many waterfalls in the fickle hinterlands of Central Victoria, seeing this falls flow would require a good deal of timing (i.e. not waiting for long after the last significant rain storm).

Once we reached the signed trailhead off Falls Road (see directions below), it was a mere 70m to descend to the Strath Creek Falls lookout, which was where the photo you see at the top of this page was taken from. That photo was taken in the late afternoon so the shadows were long on this north-facing waterfall. In order to avoid shadows, I'd imagine that the height of the morning or midday would be best since the sun was be directly above us. In any case, the track continued to descent for the next 430m eventually reaching Strath Creek just above the top of the falls. Aside from semi-obstructed views downstream, there really wasn't much reason to go this far past the lookout. And from seeing some of the shrines set up here to remember those who happened to lose their lives here, I'd imagine it wouldn't be worth exploring beyond the sanctioned track either.

Given our disappointing experiences at Strath Creek Falls, it was hard to believe that this was the inspiration and subject of some historical art masterpieces by Eugene von Guerard in 1862 and William Delafield Cook in 1979. According to a sign here, both their works could be found in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Such influential works could very well have established the Goulburn Valley as important places for agriculture, occupation, and tourism during the days of European settlement.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Speaking of art, who would've thought that street graffiti would become 'urban street art' within the Melbourne CBD like in this alleyway on Hoosier LaneSpeaking of art, who would've thought that street graffiti would become 'urban street art' within the Melbourne CBD like in this alleyway on Hoosier Lane
On the way to Strath Creek Falls, we made a brief stop at the Murchison Gap Lookout, showing this expansive landscape looking to the east though the brown indicated this area could use some rainfallOn the way to Strath Creek Falls, we made a brief stop at the Murchison Gap Lookout, showing this expansive landscape looking to the east though the brown indicated this area could use some rainfall
Not far to the northwest of Melbourne was the Organ Pipes, which was a pretty diversion for not only the basalt columns there but also for naturesque scenery like thisNot far to the northwest of Melbourne was the Organ Pipes, which was a pretty diversion for not only the basalt columns there but also for naturesque scenery like this
One of the popular hangout spots in the Melbourne CBD was Federation Square which was surrounded by the St Paul Cathedral to the north, Flinders Station to the west, and the Yarra River to the southOne of the popular hangout spots in the Melbourne CBD was Federation Square which was surrounded by the St Paul Cathedral to the north, Flinders Station to the west, and the Yarra River to the south
A sign pointing the way towards Strath Creek Falls at the start of the one-way anticlockwise loopA sign pointing the way to the falls at the start of the one-way anticlockwise loop

If there was no parking space available at the bottom, apparently, there were additional pullouts further up the hill, and these steps would make it easier to walk down and up the steep roadIf there was no parking space available at the bottom, apparently, there were additional pullouts further up the hill, and these steps would make it easier to walk down and up the steep road

The start of the short descending track to the lookout for Strath Creek FallsThe start of the short descending track to the lookout for the falls

On the descending track to the Strath Creek Falls LookoutOn the descending track to the falls lookout

Approaching the Strath Creek Falls LookoutApproaching the falls lookout

Finally checking out the Strath Creek Falls while it was flowing (barely)Finally checking out Strath Creek Falls while it was flowing (barely)

For a little bit of a before and after comparison, here's a look at the dry rock wall that was supposed to be Strath Creek Falls back in November 2006For a little bit of a before and after comparison, here's a look at the dry rock wall that was supposed to be Strath Creek Falls back in November 2006

Back during our first visit, it took me a while to figure out that this cliff wall was supposed to be where Strath Creek Falls ought to be flowingBack during our first visit, it took me a while to figure out that this cliff wall was supposed to be where the falls ought to be flowing

Beyond the lookout, the track continued to descendBeyond the lookout, the track continued to descend

The descending track skirted the rim of the ravine carved out by Strath CreekThe descending track skirted the rim of the ravine carved out by Strath Creek

The dead end at the top of Strath Creek FallsThe dead end at the top of the falls

Looking over the top of Strath Creek Falls into the canyon downstreamLooking over the top of the falls into the canyon downstream

After having my fill of the top of Strath Creek Falls, it was time to head back up to the car parkAfter having my fill of the top of the falls, it was time to head back up to the car park

Continuing the ascent to get back all that elevation lossContinuing the ascent to get back all that elevation loss

Finally back at the trailheadFinally back at the trailhead


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Trying to examine as much of the falls as I could from the official viewpoint


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We'll describe the most straightforward route from the Melbourne CBD since I'd imagine this would be the most common approach. While there are other rural approaches from the west, north, and east, this section could be very verbose if we addressed all those possibilities. The key is to get to the town of Broadford, which is right off the M31.

From Melbourne, we had to find our way out of the city and onto the Hume Highway, which eventually accessed the Hume Freeway (M31) from the M80 (Metropolitan Ring Road). At about 60km from the start of the M31 freeway, we took the Broadford Flowerdale exit (C382) then turned right to go east on the Strath Creek Road (C382).

After about 11km on Strath Creek Road, we then turned right onto the unsealed Murchison Spur Road. In 100m to the left, there was the Murchison Gap Lookout (a photo op as well as a chance to stretch out for a bit). After over 4km on the Murchison Spur Road, we then kept left to continue on the Murchison Road. We continued on the unsealed Murchison Road for the next 3.5km (entering Mt Disappointment State Forest along the way) before a sign pointed us to the left for Strath Creek Falls.

We then turned left onto the unsealed spur road and after 300m, we kept right at the fork to go anticlockwise on the one-way loop road. After another 350m of driving, the road then steeply descended the remaining 200m to the trailhead for Strath Creek Falls. I recalled the first time we were here in November 2006 that this steep section made me uncomfortable enough to turn back the wrong way and walk all the way down. However, on our most recent visit in November 2017, this steep section of road wasn't so bad, and I managed to make it down to the trailhead without any issue with the 2wd rental car.

To get out of here, we just followed the rest of the anticlockwise loop to return to the fork that started the one-way driving, and then return to the Murchison Road and return back the way we came.

Overall, it took us just under 2 hours to make this drive from the city to the falls. However, at least 30-45 minutes of this drive was consumed in snarling traffic and numerous long traffic lights in Melbourne.




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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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Strath Falls recovery following 2009 fires 
Strath Falls was severely burnt during the 2009 fires in Victoria . Almost 2 years on, and after a year of almost record rain, the falls are recovering …

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