Hopkins Falls

Great Ocean Road / Warrnambool / Wannon Division, Victoria, Australia

About Hopkins Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2006-11-15
Date last visited: 2017-11-17

Waterfall Latitude: -38.3334
Waterfall Longitude: 142.6188

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Hopkins Falls was our waterfalling excuse to visit the quieter west end of the Great Ocean Road near the coastal town of Warrnambool.

It was a short but wide waterfall on the Hopkins River (said to be 11m high and the widest in the country at 90m).

Hopkins_Falls_17_074_11162017 - Hopkins Falls
Hopkins Falls

Thus, it was flowing even during our drought-affected visit back in November 2006, where that drought lasted for the better part of the decade.

During a return trip back to the area in November 2017, the Hopkins River had significantly more flow and the picture you see above was an example of the falls in such a healthier state.

I’m guessing that a couple of days of heavy rains had rejuvenated the watercourses of Western Victoria during that return trip.

Experiencing Hopkins Falls

Flanked by wide open agricultural fields that were once part of a wide field of flowing basalt lava, the falls and its surroundings were easily seen from a handful of lookouts all within close proximity to the car park.

Hopkins_Falls_17_034_11162017 - Context of the wide open fields surrounding Hopkins Falls
Context of the wide open fields surrounding Hopkins Falls

We were able to experience all of these lookouts to better appreciate the falls from different angles while also reading the interpretive signs to get a better appreciation of its history and significance.

Overall, we spent about 30-45 minutes away from the car to take it all in, but the physical exertion was pretty minimal.

The lookouts nearest the car park revealed the Hopkins River upstream of the brink of the falls as well as the bridge (built in 1938) traversing the river.

This bridge was once the site of a treacherous ford claiming lives and resulting in several rescues during the days of European settlement in the late 19th century.

Hopkins_Falls_17_060_11162017 - One of the strategically-placed Fotopols to facilitate photos of Hopkins Falls
One of the strategically-placed Fotopols to facilitate photos of Hopkins Falls

The lookout nearest to the brink of the Hopkins Falls had a handy “Fotopol”, where I was able to screw on my DSLR camera for people shots and long exposure shots without the need for a tripod.

Another 105m down some steps led to a lower lookout that also possessed a Fotopol in addition to the lower and more intimate vantage point of the Hopkins Falls.

More Information About Hopkins Falls

According to the signage, three aboriginal clans (Kirrae whurung, Gundidj-mara, and Tjap whurrung) would gather around the area to catch abundant eel, share food, and socialize.

The indigenous name of the falls was said to mean “eels bite the stones” in the Kirrae whurung tongue.

Hopkins_Falls_17_005_11162017 - Looking upstream from Hopkins Falls towards the bridge across the Hopkins River. This crossing of the river had been trivial since its completion in 1938. Prior to that, however, this ford claimed many lives and forced even more rescues
Looking upstream from Hopkins Falls towards the bridge across the Hopkins River. This crossing of the river had been trivial since its completion in 1938. Prior to that, however, this ford claimed many lives and forced even more rescues

The eels were said to have migrated from as far as the tropical waters of Vanuatu to spawn.

More recently, the river (and falls) got its name from Major Thomas Mitchell who named it in honour of his friend Major John Paul Hopkins.

Both of them were amongst the early European explorers attracted by the abundant water and rich volcanic soil (and hence the agricultural presence we noticed during our visits).

Authorities

Hopkins Falls resides in the Hopkins Falls Scenic Reserve near Warrnambool, Victoria. It is administered by Parks Victoria. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Hopkins_Falls_17_002_11162017 - Looking over the top of Hopkins Falls from the lookout right next to the car park
Hopkins_Falls_17_026_11162017 - Context of Julie checking out Hopkins Falls from one of the lookouts right next to the car park during our November 2017 visit
Hopkins_Falls_17_035_11162017 - Looking down from the brink of Hopkins Falls towards the lower lookout and the green pastures in the distance as of our November 2017 visit
Hopkins_Falls_17_041_11162017 - This was the convenient Fotopol positioned on the lookout near the brink of Hopkins Falls, which we noticed during our November 2017 visit
Hopkins_Falls_17_046_11162017 - Profile view of Hopkins Falls from the lookout at its brink during our November 2017 visit
Hopkins_Falls_17_057_11162017 - Starting on the short 105m walk down to the lower lookout for Hopkins Falls
Hopkins_Falls_17_058_11162017 - Continuing down the steps towards the lower lookout for Hopkins Falls
Hopkins_Falls_17_059_11162017 - Approaching the lower lookout for Hopkins Falls during our November 2017 visit
Hopkins_Falls_17_070_11162017 - Making use of the Fotopol to produce a long exposure shot of Hopkins Falls like this one during our November 2017 visit
Hopkins_Falls_17_087_11162017 - Hopkins Falls in context with a lot of broken up clouds from a clearing storm during our visit in November 2017
Hopkins_Falls_17_097_11162017 - Portrait profile look at the Hopkins Falls from near its brink as seen in November 2017
Hopkins_Falls_17_100_11162017 - Taking advantage of the Fotopol near the brink of Hopkins Falls to get this contextual shot during our visit in November 2017
Hopkins_Falls_17_102_11162017 - Looking down across the Hopkins Falls while using the Fotopol on our visit in November 2017
Hopkins_Falls_002_11142006 - Looking over the top of Hopkins Falls when we first came here in November 2006
Hopkins_Falls_003_11142006 - Looking down alongside the profile of Hopkins Falls in low flow during our November 2006 visit
Hopkins_Falls_006_11142006 - Profile view from near the top of Hopkins Falls in low flow during our November 2006 visit though from the ripples in its plunge pool, you can tell how windy it was that day
Hopkins_Falls_010_11142006 - Approaching the base of Hopkins Falls on our first visit back in November 2006
Hopkins_Falls_016_11142006 - Looking right at the Hopkins Falls near its base. It appeared that the lookout boundaries weren't set up during our first visit to the falls back in November 2006 so we were able to get pretty close to it back then
Hopkins_Falls_022_11142006 - Looking by some wildflowers in bloom before the Hopkins Falls on our first visit in November 2006

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We’ll describe the driving route from Warrnambool since that was the nearest major town along the Great Ocean Road.

Leaving Warrnambool, we drove east on the Princes Highway (A1) for about 8km east of the A1/B120 intersection.

There was a signpost pointing left for Hopkins Falls, and so we followed the sign and turned left onto the Allansford-Wangoom Road. Note that this turnoff was just west of the town of Allansford.

We then drove about 6.5km on the Allansford-Wangoom Road to the Hopkins Falls Road, where we then turned right (as also instructed by the signs).

We then followed the Hopkins Falls road for the next 4km before turning right into the car park just before the bridge over the Hopkins River.

Overall, this drive took us less than 20 minutes.

There were also alternate routes to what we described earlier.

One such route was to follow the B120 from the A1 in Warrnambool before turning right onto the Wangoom Road, then taking that road towards the Hopkins Falls Road.

Another approach was to stay on the Princes Highway (A1) east of Warrnambool then turning left onto a narrow Dwarroon Rd before turning left onto Hopkins Falls Rd and following it past the Hopkins River to the car park.

To give you some geographical context, Warrnambool was about 29km east of Port Fairy, 62km (under an hour drive) west of Port Campbell, 100km (75 minutes drive) southeast of Hamilton, and 266km (about 3 hours drive) west of Melbourne via an inland route. If taking the Great Ocean Road all the way from Melbourne, then this distance would be 355km (about 5.5 hours drive).

Video showing a sweep of the falls from the lower viewing area before climbing up the path towards the upper viewing area

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Tagged with: warrnambool, wannon, great ocean road, victoria, australia, waterfall, cudgee, port fairy, moyne



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Hopkins Falls at full flow October 20, 2010 7:28 pm by Aaron Nuffer - We visited this falls in August 2010. The recent wet weather had the falls at a very high flow, and the spectacle was bringing in many of the locals to come and gawk at the sight. The park was full, and visitors were parking along the main road outside the park to get a look.… ...Read More

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