Carisbrook Falls

Great Ocean Road / Wongarra / Kennett River / Apollo Bay, Victoria, Australia

About Carisbrook Falls


Hiking Distance: 600m round trip
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2006-11-16
Date last visited: 2017-11-19

Waterfall Latitude: -38.68868
Waterfall Longitude: 143.81098

Carisbrook Falls was probably one of the few waterfalls that we could quite seriously say was literally on the Great Ocean Road.

Most of the rest of the waterfalls required some bit of a drive further inland to access, but this waterfall was only a short hike away from the famous road itself (see directions below).

Carisbrook_Falls_17_026_11182017 - Carisbrook Falls and cliff context
Carisbrook Falls and cliff context

Yet despite its close proximity to the Southern Ocean, the short 300m uphill walk (600m return) that we went on took us into a lush but sun-exposed ravine.

At a lookout across this ravine was where we were able to get a distant look at this impressive 50m waterfall.

Experiencing Carisbrook Falls

It only took Julie and I about 15 minutes round trip to complete the excursion though I’d imagine it could be 30 minutes return (as the signs indicated) at a much more leisurely pace.

Despite the quantity of vegetation, the short uphill track passed through terrain that was noticeably drier and more windswept than what we were used to deeper in the Otways.

Carisbrook_Falls_17_010_11182017 - Ascending above the vegetation near the car park revealing the ravine below with some railings to help assure the unsure hiker
Ascending above the vegetation near the car park revealing the ravine below with some railings to help assure the unsure hiker

In fact, the smell of the neighboring vegetation kind of reminded me of the prickly sage and chaparral vegetation more prevalent in many of the waterfall hikes around Southern California.

I suspect that the reason for this would be its proximity to the ocean which would be more subject to salt from the sea spray as well as dessicating winds.

The track pretty much hugged the slopes of the ravine carved out by the Carisbrook Creek.

This persisted all the way to the end of the track, where we encountered a lookout of the Carisbrook Falls perched across this ravine.

Carisbrook_Falls_008_11152006 - This was how Carisbrook Falls looked when we first saw it in November 2006
This was how Carisbrook Falls looked when we first saw it in November 2006

We felt this was one of those look-but-don’t-touch waterfalls given that there seemed to be no reasonable access to get closer to it.

Instead, we were merely content to get our views from the overlook, whose flow seemed to vary from the average output you see in the photo above.

On our first visit back in November 2006, we experienced a somewhat lower flow as the visit took place in the midst of a nearly decade-long drought.

It was also hard to truly appreciate the size of the falls from such a distance, which didn’t seem to do it justice.

Carisbrook_Falls_014_11152006 - Context of Julie appreciating the Carisbrook Falls from its overlook at the end of the track
Context of Julie appreciating the Carisbrook Falls from its overlook at the end of the track

After all, we noticed there were some additional hidden tiers of the falls in the densely vegetated ravine below.

Waterfalling Excuse to enjoy the Great Ocean Road

Regardless of the state of the Carisbrook Creek, I tend to think of this excursion as an opportunity to stretch out and take a break from the very scenic drive along Great Ocean Road.

The stretch between Apollo Bay and Lorne was especially scenic and memorable.

It not only included the Carisbrook Falls, but it also included the famed Kennett River area not much further to the east.

Carisbrook_Falls_17_055_11182017 - The beautiful coastline along the Great Ocean Road near Carisbrook Falls
The beautiful coastline along the Great Ocean Road near Carisbrook Falls

At Kennett River, we happened to spot a koala high up on one of the gum trees there.

Authorities

Carisbrook Falls resides in the Colac Otway Shire near Apollo Bay, Victoria. It is administered by the Colac Otway Shire Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Carisbrook_Falls_17_001_11182017 - The car park at the start of the short track to Carisbrook Falls as seen during my November 2017 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_17_004_11182017 - There appeared to be some private property by the start of the short track to Carisbrook Falls as shown by this fence that I noticed during my November 2017 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_17_006_11182017 - On the ascending Carisbrook Falls Track during my November 2017 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_17_007_11182017 - The Carisbrook Falls Track quickly ascended along a slope hugging the ravine carved out by Carisbrook Creek
Carisbrook_Falls_17_013_11182017 - Continuing along the short ascent to the end of the track for Carisbrook Falls during the morning of my November 2017 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_17_015_11182017 - Approaching the overlook at the end of the track with Carisbrook Falls in view during my November 2017 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_17_017_11182017 - Looking at Carisbrook Falls during my November 2017 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_17_024_11182017 - Here's another look at Carisbrook Falls in November 2017
Carisbrook_Falls_17_038_11182017 - The end of the Carisbrook Falls Track in November 2017
Carisbrook_Falls_17_043_11182017 - Starting to head back down the Carisbrook Falls Track after having my fill of the falls during my November 2017 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_17_048_11182017 - Back at the car park for Carisbrook Falls during my November 2017 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_001_jx_11152006 - Sign at the start of the short track to Carisbrook Falls as seen during our first visit in November 2006
Carisbrook_Falls_002_11152006 - Full context of the Carisbrook Falls and ravine below as seen during our November 2006 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_004_11152006 - Broad look at what Carisbrook Falls looked like in November 2006
Carisbrook_Falls_018_11152006 - Julie walking back on the Carisbrook Falls Track towards the car park during our November 2006 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_019_11152006 - We noticed this green little bird checking us out while we were on our way to Carisbrook Falls during our November 2006 visit
Carisbrook_Falls_020_11152006 - Returning to the car park in November 2006, which seemed a little different copared to our recent visit in November 2017

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The car park for Carisbrook Falls is along the Great Ocean Road about 16km east of the main drag through Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road (about 4km east of Wongarra).

We looked for the car park on the left side of the road, which was well-signed.

Carisbrook_Falls_17_058_11182017 - A koala sign that was near the turnoff for Carisbrook Falls along the Great Ocean Road as seen during our November 2017 visit
A koala sign that was near the turnoff for Carisbrook Falls along the Great Ocean Road as seen during our November 2017 visit

Since we headed east, we noticed that there was also a koala sign nearby the turnoff, which can be used as an additional landmark so we wouldn’t miss this turn.

Going in the other direction, the car park would be on the right side of the Great Ocean Road about 7km (under 15 minutes drive) west of Kennett River and 29km (under 45 minutes) west of Lorne.

Lorne was about 142km (under 2 hours drive) southwest of Melbourne or 68km (over an hour drive) southwest of Geelong.

Left to right sweep showing the falls as well as the gorge it's in, then zooming in for a more detailed look at the falls

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Tagged with: otway, otways, colac, great ocean road, lorne, wongarra, victoria, australia, waterfall, apollo bay, sugarloaf, carisbrook creek, kennett river



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Photo from Carisbrook Falls base October 30, 2015 8:49 am by Shinytoaster - It is possible to get to the base of the waterfall. Near the start of the path to the platform, there is a path to the left which ends at the creek, after that you travel along the banks on which ever side looks easier. You will have to cross the creek a few times… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of 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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