About Lower and Upper Kalimna Falls
The Kalimna Falls were actually two waterfalls for the price of one excursion. There was a Lower and Upper Falls where each had a different character about them. Both waterfalls were modestly-sized, but in this instance, it really wasn’t about their size that mattered. Instead, it was more about the serene and relaxing hike where peace and quiet were the rule. Meanwhile, the forest scenery and its rhythms (e.g. the distinct birdsongs and rustling of leaves) were allowed to sink into my mood and my body in a way that made this excursion different from the typical short waterfalling visits where it was easy to bag several waterfalls as if I was succumbing to the checklist mentality while not really appreciating the whole experience.
Speaking of the hike, I did have to embark on a journey that was 8.4km round trip. I managed to do this hike solo, and it took me a little over 2 hours return that encompassed all the hiking as well as the picture-taking. I’d imagine at a more leisurely pace, this could be more like a three-hour hike round trip. Nonetheless, the duration of this hike was probably what made the excursion more about the journey rather than the waterfalls themselves.
From the nearest trailhead (see directions below), I followed the well-signed dirt track where the signs immediately indicated to me its overall length. There were other tracks leading to other waterfalls in the area so I’d imagine one could easily spend the entire day here simply chasing down waterfalls just in this area. In any case, the track was pretty easy to follow as each junction had signs to keep me going the right way. The track itself was an old tramway, and there were plenty of interpretive signs explaining further the history as well as the ecology of this place.
After about 2.9km, I reached a fork in the track where the right fork led me for the last 300m or so to the Lower Kalimna Falls. This waterfall wasn’t big (probably 5-7m or so), but it was in a very picturesque and serene setting where tall trees and ferns surrounded a still and dark plunge pool beneath the attractive falls. Within the pool were concentrically-circled bubble patterns while the pool itself possessed a reflective quality that reflected the waterfall and the neighboring foliage. There was also a large alcove behind the waterfall that allowed me to go right behind the falls for a different perspective. Indeed, it was the kind of scenery that was perfect for just basking in the serenity.
Back on the main track, I walked another 1.3km to a viewing deck that allowed me to look at the Upper Kalimna Falls. Unfortunately during my midday visit, I was looking right against the sun so it wasn’t as photogenic as I would’ve liked, and it made the trouble of getting here seem like a bit of an anticlimax. I guess in hindsight, I could’ve come earlier before the sun rose above the west-facing cliff or come later in the afternoon (arvo) when the sun would’ve been behind me. In any case, this upper waterfall was said to be 20-25m tall. There didn’t seem to be any way of getting closer to the falls or seeing it from other angles as the lookout was the only perspective afforded me.
All in all, I’d say that it was the Lower Kalimna Falls that was the prettier one of the two. But I figured that if you’re going through the trouble of finding this waterfall, you mind as well extend the hike just a bit to experience the second waterfall.
While there are many approaches to get to the Allenvale Rd into the forests further up the hills from Lorne, we’ll start off by describing what we think would be the most straightforward route. We’ll then get to alternative approaches later on in this section.
The easiest approach would be from the south end of the town centre of Lorne where the Great Ocean Road / Mountjoy Parade would intersect with Bay St at a roundabout opposite the car park for the Lorne Beach at Loutit Bay. Going up the steep residential road at Bay St for 450m, we then make a right turn onto George St. In about 200m George St then entered a roundabout, where we took the first exit to go onto Allenvale Rd.
From there, we followed the unsealed road for about 3.6km (the road became bumpier the further we went) until we reached the Sheoak Picnic Area on our left. This spacious picnic area was the start of the Kalimna Falls Track as well as an alternate starting point for Phantom Falls as well as the 7km track back towards the Sheoak Falls.
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