Apsley Falls

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park / Walcha, New South Wales, Australia

About Apsley Falls

Hiking Distance: 4km round trip (to lower falls)
Suggested Time: 90 minutes

Date first visited: 2008-05-06
Date last visited: 2008-05-06

Waterfall Latitude: -31.04984
Waterfall Longitude: 151.76916

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Apsley Falls was actually a pair of impressive waterfalls that we encountered while touring the Oxley Wild Rivers Gorge system.

As you can see from the photo above, this waterfall seemed to be in somewhat low flow, but it was still pleasing to Julie and I (as reflected in its scenic rating).

Apsley_Falls_063_05052008 - Apsley Falls
Apsley Falls

However, our visit here immediately followed our visit to Tia Falls so we were a little surprised to see how much less water Apsley had compared to Tia.

We weren’t sure why this was the case at the time.

In any case, with Apsley Falls we definitely felt the sense that we literally walked along the edge of an abyss as all the overlooks and walks literally skirted the shadowy depths of the Apsley Gorge.

Experiencing Apsley Falls’ Closer Overlooks

Our visit started with a stair-stepped descent from the car park (see directions below) to a pair of lookouts literally jutting out over the shadowy abyss of the Apsley Gorge carved into the New England Tablelands.

Even the steps themselves gave us a little bit of that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling as dropoffs were all around us (good thing there were rails to hold onto!).

Apsley_Falls_025_05052008 - Apsley Falls from the Lions Lookout after a steep stair-stepped descent from the car park
Apsley Falls from the Lions Lookout after a steep stair-stepped descent from the car park

The first of the lookouts was called McMillans Lookout (named after a Walcha resident who built the original steps) where we got a direct cliff-obstructing view of the Upper Apsley Falls.

Apparently, the stairs to get here was a part wooden part metal reconstruction of the original wooden steps that used to go all the way down into the gorge.

These days, there was nothing left of the old steps, and this modern one didn’t go all the way down to the bottom.

Beyond McMillans Lookout, we also went down to the other lookout called Lions Lookout.

This one yielded a more open direct view of the falls, and photo you see directly above came from there.

Experiencing Apsley Falls via the Oxley Walk

Apsley_Falls_089_05052008 - Lower Apsley Falls was the goal of the Oxley Walk to fully take in the Apsley Falls experience
Lower Apsley Falls was the goal of the Oxley Walk to fully take in the Apsley Falls experience

Julie and I then returned to the car park where we proceeded to go onto the Oxley Walk, which led us to the Lower Falls.

This was a 2.7km walk that was said to take 90 minutes to 2 hours though I’d imagine that would be if one were to go at a very deliberate pace.

Julie and I managed to do the Oxley Walk as an out-and-back return walk to the views of the Lower Falls in a little over an hour (about 90 minutes total when considering the both walks taken together).

The walk started by crossing the Apsley River over a metal bridge.

During our visit, the river seemed to be a little stagnant as a bunch of purple things were growing on the river itself.

Apsley_Falls_042_05052008 - Looking up the Apsley River from the bridge on the Oxley Walk
Looking up the Apsley River from the bridge on the Oxley Walk

Beyond the bridge, we then went past a gate where the track then skirted the vertical-walled gorge.

As we continued on the Oxley Walk, we could look upon the Upper Apsley Falls from a variety of angles, including a direct view as you see pictured at the top of this page.

Julie and I then continued further along the gorge as the upper waterfall started to disappear from view.

Not long thereafter, we then found ourselves looking down into the profile of the next drop into the gorge.

This was where we started to notice the Lower Apsley Falls spilling into the head of this lower gorge.

Apsley_Falls_068_05052008 - Looking down into the context of the lower gorge where the Lower Apsley Falls spilled right into it
Looking down into the context of the lower gorge where the Lower Apsley Falls spilled right into it

The walk continued to follow the rim of this gorge until it stopped at a pair of views.

These overlooks allowed us to look directly at the lower waterfall.

Unfortunately, it was against the sun on the morning we visited so that didn’t let our pictures turn out very well.

In any case, this lower waterfall seemed to be just as tall as the upper waterfall.


Apsley Falls resides in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park near Armidale in New South Wales. It is administered by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Apsley_Falls_003_05052008 - Julie checking out Apsley Falls from the McMillans Lookout
Apsley_Falls_008_05052008 - Direct look at Apsley Falls from the McMillans Lookout
Apsley_Falls_014_05052008 - Continuing down the steps to the next overlook of Apsley Falls, which happened to be the Lions Lookout
Apsley_Falls_015_05052008 - Julie made it down to the Lions Lookout first
Apsley_Falls_019_05052008 - Direct look at Apsley Falls from the Lions Lookout
Apsley_Falls_027_05052008 - Looking down at the Apsley River, which was a bit on the stagnant side during our visit
Apsley_Falls_030_05052008 - Context of one of the lookouts with Apsley Falls
Apsley_Falls_041_05052008 - Crossing the metal bridge traversing the Apsley River
Apsley_Falls_090_05052008 - The gate we had to get through in order to reach the precipitous part of the Oxley Walk
Apsley_Falls_046_05052008 - Looking across the gorge towards the lookouts we had been to earlier
Apsley_Falls_054_05052008 - Looking directly at the Upper Apsley Falls
Apsley_Falls_059_05052008 - Closer examination of the Upper Apsley Falls
Apsley_Falls_070_05052008 - Looking directly down at the profile of the Lower Apsley Falls
Apsley_Falls_072_05052008 - Direct contextual view of the Lower Apsley Falls
Apsley_Falls_075_05052008 - Focused in on a direct look at the Lower Apsley Falls from one of the last two overlooks
Apsley_Falls_086_05052008 - Zoomed in view of the Lower Apsley Falls from the very end of the track

We came to this waterfall from Tia Falls (see that page for directions on how to get there).

From the Tia Falls turnoff, we continued northwest on the Oxley Highway (Hwy 34) for another 18km or so until we reached the well-signed Apsley Falls turnoff to the right.

If you were headed the other way from Walcha, go about 19km towards Port Macquarie and the signed turnoff will be to your left.

The drive from Port Macquarie to the falls would be 163km (over 2 hours).

From Armidale, the drive would be 84km (an hour). Port Macquarie was 391km (over 4 hours drive) north of Sydney and 548km (6.5 hours drive) south of Brisbane.

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Tagged with: oxley wild rivers, national park, walcha, armidale, port macquarie, new south wales, australia, waterfall, waterfall way, new england, tiara, oxley walk

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Apsley Falls in Full Flow May 30, 2009 2:10 pm by Ian Dutton - Taken 24 May 2009. The Apsley Gorge below the falls is also very spectacular and the falls are very easy to access, being only 1km from the Oxley Highway. Great camping and picnic spot too. ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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