Nigretta Falls

Hamilton, Victoria, Australia

About Nigretta Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2006-11-14
Date last visited: 2017-11-16

Waterfall Latitude: -37.65565
Waterfall Longitude: 141.92561

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Nigretta Falls (a lady from the visitor centre in Hamilton pronounced it “NYE-gret-uh”) was pretty much a mandatory stop for us since it was very close to and easily accessible from Wannon Falls.

This was where the Wannon River fell some 15-20m or so over an exposed reddish cliff composed of the harder erosion-resistant rhyolitic layer.

Nigretta_Falls_17_038_11152017 - Nigretta Falls
Nigretta Falls

This layer was indicative of the history of volcanism in the region west of Hamilton in the Southern Grampians Shire.

As you can see in the photo above, we happened to see the falls as a single segment.

However, the falls could branch out into multiple segments if the Wannon River would have more significant flow during a rain storm in the Winter months.

Under such higher flow conditions, we could understand how some people in the literature might refer to this waterfall as a “Little Niagara Falls“.

Experiencing Nigretta Falls

Julie and I actually visited this waterfall twice – once in November 2006 and once again in November 2017.

On that first visit, the Wannon River really didn’t stand a chance against a combination of a drought that dominated the decade along with water diversion for the extensive agriculture in the region.

Nigretta_Falls_004_11142006 - Nigretta Falls didn't really have much of a chance at flowing given the upstream diversions combined with severe drought
Nigretta Falls didn’t really have much of a chance at flowing given the upstream diversions combined with severe drought

Thus, we only saw it as a disappointing trickle, where not even an overnight rain storm was able to revive its flow.

Our subsequent visit 11 years later followed a couple of days of heavy and unstable thunderstorms piling on to an already more substantial water table from rains earlier in the season.

Given these observations, I’d consider this more of a seasonal waterfall despite it being on a river.

Getting close to Nigretta Falls

For all intents and purposes, we thought of this waterfall as a roadside waterfall.

There was a viewing deck right off the nearest car park in the reserve, which yielded a pleasant panorama with a more top down frontal view of the falls.

Shortly to the right of the viewing deck, there was a set of steps descending to the opposite edge of the plunge pool.

Nigretta_Falls_17_019_11152017 - Julie descending the steps to get a closer look at Nigretta Falls
Julie descending the steps to get a closer look at Nigretta Falls

At the bottom, we were able to get a closer and more imposing look at the falls and its underlying cliffs.

Given the amount of brownish foam in the Wannon River, we suspected that the agricultural runoff draining into the river system might have also polluted the watercourse.

Thus, it might not be wise to swim here even on a hot day.

Best Time of Day for Nigretta Falls

Finally, it was worth noting that this waterfall tended to face west.

That meant that coming in the morning on a sunny day resulted in us looking right against the sun.

So we knew that on a return trip, we had to come back here in the afternoon, when the sun would backlight the falls.

Nigretta_Falls_007_11142006 - Nigretta Falls seen in the morning and in a trickling state from back in November 2006.  We learned years later to not come here in the morning to at least improve the lighting.
Nigretta Falls seen in the morning and in a trickling state from back in November 2006. We learned years later to not come here in the morning to at least improve the lighting.

This was the case on our November 2017 trip (at least when the storm clouds didn’t block the sun), and it confirmed to us that the best time of day to take photographs was indeed in the mid to late afternoon.


Nigretta Falls resides in the Southern Grampians Shire. It is administered by the Southern Grampians Shire Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Nigretta_Falls_002_jx_11142006 - On the Wannon-Nigretta Falls Road bound for Nigretta Falls after visiting Wannon Falls
Nigretta_Falls_17_002_11152017 - Julie approaching the viewing deck right next to the car park for Nigretta Falls
Nigretta_Falls_17_075_11152017 - This was the moody panorama from the viewing deck by the car park where more dark clouds were threatening to dump their load on us during our visit to Nigretta Falls
Nigretta_Falls_17_015_11152017 - Going around this fence towards a short descending track leading closer to the base of Nigretta Falls
Nigretta_Falls_17_069_11152017 - Descending closer to the base of Nigretta Falls
Nigretta_Falls_17_024_11152017 - Julie approaching the end of the short track across the plunge pool fronting Nigretta Falls
Nigretta_Falls_17_028_11152017 - Looking right across the plunge pool from Nigretta Falls. Notice the dark color of the water and the brownish foam, which led us to believe that the water quality of the Wannon River must not be very safe at this time
Nigretta_Falls_17_066_11152017 - Looking back at Nigretta Falls as a squall was approaching and about to dump rain on us
Nigretta_Falls_17_068_11152017 - Going back up the steps to the nearby car park
Nigretta_Falls_17_003_11152017 - For a little bit of a before and after look at the Nigretta Falls, here's a photo taken from the viewing deck in November 2017
Nigretta_Falls_001_11132006 - On our first visit to Nigretta Falls, this was what it looked like from the viewing deck.  As you can see, it didn't stand a chance against a combination of a severe drought and the Wannon River being diverted for agriculture
Nigretta_Falls_17_087_11152017 - Here's another before and after look at the Nigretta Falls starting with the more recent November 2017 photo


We were able to reach Nigretta Falls from Hamilton by driving west on the Glenelg Highway (B160) for a little over 7km before a sign pointed us to turn right onto the Nigretta Road. Taking that turnoff, we then drove a little over 4km to the signed Wannon-Nigretta Fall Road. Turning left onto this road, we then drove over 3km to another signposted turnoff, then we turned right to go into the reserve. Once in the reserve, we continued another 600m towards the circular car park and viewing deck. Overall, this drive took us about 25 minutes, where most of the time was spent getting past the traffic lights and roundabouts within the city.

Alternately, we could also drive to the Nigretta Falls from the Wannon Falls picnic area (assuming we were visiting Nigretta last instead of first). From the picnic ground, we drove onto Camerons Rd, then headed north for roughly 350m to the Glenelg Highway. Turning right onto the highway, we then turned left onto Wannon-Nigretta Fall Rd (opposite the Morgiana Rd) after about 700m. Then, we followed the Wannon-Nigretta Fall Rd for about 7.5km or so before turning left into the reserve. This alternate route took us on the order of about 15 minutes.

Nigretta_Falls_003_11142006 - A kangaroo we saw hopping across the road en route to the Nigretta Falls
A kangaroo we saw hopping across the road en route to the Nigretta Falls

One thing worth noting about the roads in Volcano Country, we encountered a few kangaroos in one morning when we showed up back in November 2006. Having had the misfortune of damaging a rental car from colliding with a kangaroo during a separate Australia trip earlier in the year, believe me when I say you’ll want to go slow and stay alert for them. They seem to have a tendency to cross the road and hop right in front of the car when they panic and aren’t able to control where they hop to in their frantic scramble to escape danger.

For context, Hamilton was about 33km (under 30 minutes drive) west of Dunkeld, about 96km (over an hour drive) south of Halls Gap, 100km (under 90 minutes drive) north of Warrnambool, 294km (about 3.5 hours drive) west of Melbourne, and 128km (90 minutes drive) east of Mount Gambier.

Sweep checking out the falls from the observation deck

Sweep from near the base of the falls checking out the falls itself and surrounding cliffs before examining the menacing clouds before going up the steps for a more elevated perspective

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Tagged with: south grampians, hamilton, volcano, victoria, australia, wannon river, glenelg

Visitor Comments:

4k Australia November 5, 2016 8:38 am by David Holman - I visited these falls after filming the floods .the locals said that this is the best they can remember the falls flowing . You are welcome to use any of the video on the site ...Read More

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Nigretta Falls June 17, 2012 3:02 am by Sarah Donoghue - I visited the falls in 2011 and they were flowing very nicely and I got some awesome photos, one of which I have attached. I've seen photos of the falls with lots of water coming over them, but I don't think they are as spectacular. I enjoyed this waterfall much more than the near by… ...Read More
Nigretta Falls at full flow October 20, 2010 7:18 pm by Aaron Nuffer - Visited in August 2010, and Nigretta Falls was flowing very well - some of the trees at the base were submerged in the river. ...Read More

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