Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls

Noojee / Baw Baw Shire / Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 2
Toorongo Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Toorongo Falls was an impressively tall waterfall (I'm guessing at least 30m tall) with reliable flow on the Little Toorongo River. The smaller Amphitheatre Falls was on the adjacent Toorongo river. The reliable flow of both falls could be attributed to the tendency of the Great Dividing Range (the dominant mountain range of northeastern Victoria) to attract rain. The observation of an abundance of ferns further indicated that I was indeed in a rainforest. In fact, the Great Dividing Range was also responsible for another reliable waterfall near Marysville further to the west at Steavenson Falls. Both the Toorongo and Little Toorongo Rivers fed the Latrobe River, which itself flowed through Latrobe Valley in the heart of Gippsland and eventually to the Gippsland Lakes further to the south.

In my experiences at these waterfalls, I was treated to such lush green fern-filled scenery that it made me momentarily forget that the area was undergoing a drought in each of my visits here. In the case of my first visit here in November 2006, it was in the midst of the country's worst drought in its recorded history that lasted most of that decade. On my second visit in November 2017, the entire eastern Victoria region suffered through an abnormally dry Winter and Spring. Indeed, the rainforest scenery here contrasted mightily to the everpresence of brown in almost every other place this side of Victoria that we had visited.

To experience both the Toorongo Falls, I had the option of doing a 1.2km out-and-back walk or doing a longer 2.2km loop walk that included the nearby Amphitheatre Falls (or Amphitheater Falls in American English). The loop part of the track began shortly after the footbridge over the Toorongo River. Each time I've visited this place, I've done the longer loop walk in an anticlockwise manner, which allowed me to first reach the Toorongo Falls after a moderate uphill climb to its viewing deck. While I was able to see parts of the Toorongo Falls on the climb up, it was the viewing deck allowed me to experience the main drop of Toorongo Falls. That said, it was clear that there were hidden tiers further upstream as well as cascading sections further downstream from my vantage point. So it was another case where pictures really didn't do this falls justice.

After having my fill of the Toorongo Falls, I then continued another 600m as the track made a less steep climb then traverse from the Little Toorongo River drainage to the main Toorongo River drainage. After the track made a descending bend to the left, I then encountered the lookout for the Amphitheatre Falls perched right above the middle of the river. Amphitheatre Falls was probably on the order of 5m where the Toorongo River shot through a chute in the underlying bedrock before meandering further downstream and joining the Little Toorongo River near the car park. The remainder of the track was predominantly downhill for the last 800m or so. Overall, in each of my visits, I spent about an hour away from the car, which was much shorter than the estimated 90 minutes that the signs had indicated.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

On the Maroondah Hwy, we were brought pretty close to Mt Dandenong, where there were some impressive views looking towards the greater Melbourne areaOn the Maroondah Hwy, we were brought pretty close to Mt Dandenong, where there were some impressive views looking towards the greater Melbourne area
We were based in the city of Melbourne when we made the long loop drive into Gippsland and back, and that included our detour to the Toorongo Falls among other waterfallsWe were based in the city of Melbourne when we made the long loop drive into Gippsland and back, and that included our detour to the Toorongo Falls among other waterfalls
To the far south of the Gippsland Region was the serene Wilsons Promontory, which featured the aptly named Squeaky Beach (shown here) which was not only beautiful but the sand also squeakedTo the far south of the Gippsland Region was the serene Wilsons Promontory, which featured the aptly named Squeaky Beach (shown here) which was not only beautiful but the sand also squeaked
Another look at the lookout at Toorongo Falls demonstrating that there were indeed more to the falls than what the overlook would showAnother look at the lookout at Toorongo Falls demonstrating that there were indeed more to the falls than what the overlook would show
Getting started from the car park at the Toorongo Falls Scenic ReserveGetting started from the car park at the reserve

Early on in the hike, this section of track between the car park and the bridge was not part of the loopEarly on in the hike, this section of track between the car park and the bridge was not part of the loop

The footbridge over the Toorongo RiverThe footbridge over the Toorongo River

Looking up at the Toorongo River from the bridge. This photo was taken in November 2006 and the scenery looked pretty much the same in the 11 years between visitsLooking up at the Toorongo River from the bridge. This photo was taken in November 2006 and the scenery looked pretty much the same in the 11 years between visits

Approaching the beginning and end of the loop hike taking in both waterfalls.  I kept right to go to the Toorongo Falls firstApproaching the beginning and end of the loop hike taking in both waterfalls. I kept right to go to the Toorongo Falls first

The signage looked different than the first time, but the track remained pretty much the sameThe signage looked different than the first time, but the track remained pretty much the same

The ascending track followed along the Little Toorongo RiverThe ascending track followed along the Little Toorongo River

Most of the elevation gain was in this series of steps which definitely induced some sweat even on a cool misty morningMost of the elevation gain was in this series of steps which definitely induced some sweat even on a cool and misty morning

A rest bench with a partial view of the Toorongo Falls up aheadA rest bench with a partial view of the Toorongo Falls up ahead

Continuing the climb up to the viewing deck for the Toorongo FallsContinuing the climb up to the viewing deck for the falls

Finally making it up to the viewing deck for Toorongo FallsFinally making it up to the viewing deck for the falls

For a little bit of a before and after comparison, here was the Toorongo Falls as seen on our first visit in November 2006For a little bit of a before and after comparison, here was the Toorongo Falls as seen on our first visit in November 2006

Continuing the loop hike uphill towards Amphitheatre FallsContinuing the loop hike uphill towards Amphitheatre Falls

The loop track continued climbing as it went from the Little Toorongo River drainage to the Toorongo River drainageThe loop track continued climbing as it went from the Little Toorongo River drainage to the Toorongo River drainage

By this point, the narrow track skirted the slopes of the Toorongo River drainageBy this point, the narrow track skirted the slopes of the Toorongo River drainage

Approaching the switchback at the northernmost point of the loop trackApproaching the switchback at the northernmost point of the loop track

The metal viewing area for Amphitheatre Falls protruding onto the Toorongo RiverThe metal viewing area for Amphitheatre Falls protruding onto the Toorongo River

The diminutive yet gushing Amphitheatre FallsThe diminutive yet gushing Amphitheatre Falls

This was the Amphitheatre Falls as seen on our first visit back in November 2006This was the Amphitheatre Falls as seen on our first visit back in November 2006

Last look at the Amphitheatre Falls before I took off (in November 2006)Last look at the Amphitheatre Falls before I took off (in November 2006)

Following the hand rails on the last leg of the loop trackFollowing the hand rails on the last leg of the loop track

Hiking alongside the Toorongo River with ferns growing on both sides of the narrow loop trackHiking alongside the Toorongo River with ferns growing on both sides of the narrow loop track

Back at the stick-in-the-lollipop leg of the loop hikeBack at the stick-in-the-lollipop leg of the loop hike


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


360 degree sweep starting with following the flow of water before checking out the branch that fell then ending off at the falls again


Sweep checking out the downstream view as well as the surrounding ferns and trees before examining the creek through the grates and ending off at the falls itself


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Each time I've visited the Toorongo Falls, I've done so from Melbourne. Even though there are many ways to get here throughout Gippsland and the Dandenong Ranges, I'll just focus on the most straightforward driving directions from the city centre.

From the Melbourne CBD, I drove southeast on Batman Ave (which was actually a CityLink Toll Route), which eventually joined up with the Monash Freeway (M1) bound for Warragul. I continued driving on the M1 east for about 87km (the M1 became Princes Hwy along the way) to the Drouin Mt Baw Baw exit (C102/C426).

After taking the exit, I followed the signs for Mt Baw Baw which pretty much followed the C426 via Old Sale Rd then Main Neerim Rd. After about 42km along the C426 Road, the Main Neerim Rd then joined up with the Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road (C426). After about 8km along the Mt Baw Baw Tourist Rd (passing through the town of Noojee), I then kept left to leave the C426 to go onto the Toorongo Valley Rd. At that point, I followed the Toorongo Valley Rd to its end after 6km to the car park for the Toorongo Falls Reserve. The last 1.2km of the Toorongo Valley Road was unsealed.

Overall, this drive took me about 100 minutes (would take longer if avoiding the toll roads in the city and if there were lots of logging trucks to try to pass).

For some geographical context, Noojee was about 39km (over 30 minutes drive) north of Warragul, 94km (over an hour drive) northwest of Traralgon, 130km (about 1 hour and 45 minutes drive) north of Foster, and 130km (100 minutes drive) east of 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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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Toorongo Falls - April 2011 
On Sunday the 10th of April 2011, I packed up the photo gear into the car and made the trek to Noojee to photograph these iconic falls, taking in the surrounding …

Toorongo Falls  
Thank you Johnny & Julie for such a beautiful website!! Here are some pics of the waterfall as it was on 21 November 2010. My partner and I visited …

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