Erskine Falls

Great Otway National Park / Lorne, Victoria, Australia

About Erskine Falls


Hiking Distance: 440m round trip (to base)
Suggested Time: 25-35 minutes

Date first visited: 2006-11-17
Date last visited: 2017-11-19

Waterfall Latitude: -38.50693
Waterfall Longitude: 143.91337

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Erskine Falls was probably the most impressive waterfall amongst the cluster of waterfalls around the town of Lorne in the Angahook-Lorne State Park (part of the larger Great Otway National Park).

It possessed a 30m drop (some signage here might have suggested it was 38m tall) though it looked slender probably because it was a little bit on the light side in terms of its flow.

Erskine_Falls_030_11162006 - Erskine Falls
Erskine Falls

That said, the recent rains that seemed to have precipitated mostly in the Otway Ranges appeared to have momentarily fought off the drought that really impacted our waterfalling experiences during our November 2006 trip.

We also saw the falls in a similar condition on a more recent November 2017 visit, where Western Victoria was hit by a few storms prior to us showing up.

Had the rains and the wild weather not occurred, then who knows whether the falls would have looked anything close to the condition you see in the photo above?

Experiencing Erskine Falls

This was one of the easier waterfalls to visit as the route to its car park was all paved (see directions below).

Erskine_Falls_17_006_11182017 - Julie starting on a quick visit to the Erskine Falls
Julie starting on a quick visit to the Erskine Falls

The walk encompassing both the upper and lower viewing areas was short and easy to follow, and everything was well-signed.

Overall, Julie and I spent about 35 minutes to check out both viewpoints and all the walking in between.

We also had the option to visit Straw Falls, which was further downstream.

Given that it involved a bit of a detour on a much rougher track and it wasn’t a necessary part of a visit to Erskine Falls, I made a separate writeup describing that experience, which you can read here.

Erskine_Falls_003_11162006 - A more top-down view of Erskine Falls as seen from the Upper Viewing Area
A more top-down view of Erskine Falls as seen from the Upper Viewing Area

The upper viewpoint, which was a mere 80m from the car park, provided us with a top-down view of the Erskine Falls.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of foliage that was in the way that kept this viewpoint from being anything special.

In fact, it left us wanting more so we continued on the walkway for the remaining 140m.

This path went down several steps eventually getting down to the level of the Erskine River.

Erskine_Falls_17_015_11182017 - The track descending towards the bottom of Erskine Falls
The track descending towards the bottom of Erskine Falls

That was where the main track terminated at the second lookout area yielding a more frontal view of the falls (as pictured at the top of this page).

Although the official track ended somewhat set back from the waterfall, we witnessed numerous people continue the scramble to get all the way up to the plunge pool and base of the falls.

We didn’t pursue this in either of our visits, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide if you want to do this or not.

The Falls Festival

Finally, being a Triple J Radio listener since our first trip to Australia back in June 2006, it’s worth noting that Erskine Falls has the distinction of being the waterfall referred to in the annual Falls Festival.

Erskine_Falls_17_022_11182017 - Context of Julie checking out Erskine Falls at the lookout, which was set back from the waterfall itself
Context of Julie checking out Erskine Falls at the lookout, which was set back from the waterfall itself

This was a very popular music and arts event taking place around the New Years holiday.

The original location of the festival was located in Lorne though the more recent venues in the area were off the Erskine Falls Road (not far from the waterfall above the Lorne Township).

The event had grown from the single-day “Rock Above The Falls Festival” in 1993 into the multi-day, simultaneous-multi-location event that spans Australia in places like Byron Bay, Marion Bay, Freemantle, and others.

Authorities

Erskine Falls resides in the Great Otway National Park near Lorne, Victoria. It is administered by Parks Victoria. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Erskine_Falls_17_010_11182017 - Looking down at the Erskine Falls from the upper lookout during our November 2017 visit
Erskine_Falls_17_012_11182017 - Descending the short track to the base of Erskine Falls during our November 2017 visit
Erskine_Falls_17_013_11182017 - Continuing the descent to the base of Erskine Falls during our November 2017 visit
Erskine_Falls_17_019_11182017 - At the lower lookout for Erskine Falls under sunny weather in November 2017. Notice some people who hopped the barricade and scrambled right up to the plunge pool
Erskine_Falls_17_026_11182017 - Julie starting the ascent back to the car park after having her fill of Erskine Falls in November 2017
Erskine_Falls_17_067_11182017 - Since Julie was fighting the flu during our November 2017 visit to Erskine Falls, she didn't appreciate these steps very much
Erskine_Falls_17_068_11182017 - Making our ascent to the car park just as another group of people were making their way down during our November 2017 visit. We couldn't help but notice this orange stuff, which might have been damage as a result of a landslide or something
Erskine_Falls_17_079_11182017 - One last look at the Erskine Falls from the upper viewing lookout during our November 2017 visit
Erskine_Falls_011_jx_11162006 - This was the sign at the Erskine Falls Trailhead during our November 2006 visit, which looked a bit different from our November 2017 visit though the info stayed the same
Erskine_Falls_002_11162006 - Looking down at Erskine Falls from the overgrown upper viewing deck in November 2006
Erskine_Falls_004_11162006 - Context of Julie checking out the Erskine Falls from the upper lookout during our November 2006 visit
Erskine_Falls_012_11162006 - The walkway leading down to the base of Erskine Falls during our November 2006 visit
Erskine_Falls_015_11162006 - Julie checks out Erskine Falls from a distance at the lower viewing deck in November 2006
Erskine_Falls_024_11162006 - Sometimes with photographing waterfalls, it's better to have cloudy weather as this photo of Erskine Falls showed during our first visit back in November 2006
Erskine_Falls_034_11162006 - Broad look at the context of Erskine Falls as seen from the lookout in November 2006 visit
Erskine_Falls_022_jx_11162006 - We noticed this sign at the trail junction leading to Straw Falls on our way out of Erskine Falls during our November 2006 visit
Erskine_Falls_023_jx_11162006 - Sign indicating some of the hazards we'd be facing if we continued to Straw Falls during our November 2006 visit

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Although there are many ways to get to the Erskine Falls Road from the main drag through Lorne, we’ll first describe what we think would be the most straightforward route (i.e. involving the fewest turns).

Even though the signs had us go on a more indirect route (which we’ll describe later), we felt going this route was less confusing.

From the intersection of William St and the Great Ocean Road / Mountjoy Parade (B100) in the town centre of Lorne opposite the main part of the beach, we took William St inland.

We stayed straight on Williams St for about 600m before continuing to go straight onto Erskine Falls Road.

Then, we followed Erskine Falls Rd for the next 8km before following a sign having us turn right to leave the Erskine Falls Rd for the Erskine Falls Access Road.

Finally, we followed the descending access road for the final 1.3km to the car park at its end.

This drive took us about 20 minutes.

Erskine_Falls_17_002_11182017 - Looking back at the descending Erskine Falls Access Rd from the Erskine Falls car park
Looking back at the descending Erskine Falls Access Rd from the Erskine Falls car park

Given the narrow residential nature of William St, we noticed that the signage actually encouraged us to take different local routes to reach Erskine Falls Rd.

From the roundabout opposite the visitor centre on the north end of town, we would take the Otway St for about 850m to a roundabout connecting with Gay St.

We’d then follow the last (3rd) exit to get onto Gay St, which then eventually joined up with the Erskine Falls Rd (as well as William St) in another 200m or so.

Coming from the south end of town along the Great Ocean Road (B100), we could turn left at the roundabout onto Bay St.

Erskine_Falls_17_001_11182017 - Looking towards the start of the one-way loop drive at the car park for Erskine Falls
Looking towards the start of the one-way loop drive at the car park for Erskine Falls

Then we could follow Bay St 450m up the hill to George St, turning right.

Shortly after going on George St, we’d then encounter the roundabout where we’d take the 2nd exit to continue straight onto Gay St.

Finally, we’d follow this street as above to the Erskine Falls Rd.

For context, Lorne was 47km (a little over an hour drive) east of Apollo Bay, 142km (under 2 hours drive) southwest of Melbourne or 68km (over an hour drive) southwest of Geelong.

L-shaped sweep from the lookout area of the falls before zooming in or a closer look at the falling water


Brief sweep showing the Erskine Falls from an upper lookout while also showing some people already at the base for a sense of scale

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Tagged with: surf coast, lorne, great ocean road, otway, otways, angahook, victoria, australia, waterfall, straw falls, erskine river



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

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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