Sheoak Falls

Great Otway National Park / Great Ocean Road / Lorne, Victoria, Australia

About Sheoak Falls


Hiking Distance: 1.3km round trip
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

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

Waterfall Latitude: -38.56511
Waterfall Longitude: 143.96246

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Sheoak Falls was one of the few Great Ocean Road waterfalls that was very close to the Southern Ocean coast.

We had seen another one that could be called a coastal waterfall on the Great Ocean Road at Carisbrook Falls.

Sheoak_Falls_17_101_11182017 - Sheoak Falls
Sheoak Falls

The difference with Sheoak Falls was that it happened to be in the Angahook-Lorne State Park (part of the Great Otway National Park) near the coastal town of Lorne.

Moreover, it required a little more hiking to reach.

Although the coastal scenery we were able to enjoy along the track was reason enough to come here, the 15m waterfall itself was also pretty satisfying.

Even on a trip where the Great Australian Drought adversely affected our waterfalling during our November 2006 visit, this waterfall still had a decent flow while leaving interesting foam patterns in its plunge pool.

Sheoak_Falls_012_11162006 - Sheoak Falls when we first saw it back in November 2006
Sheoak Falls when we first saw it back in November 2006

On a follow-up visit in November 2017 when the drought wasn’t as much of a factor, the falls still looked almost as it did 11 years earlier!

Hiking to Sheoak Falls

From the well-signed car park (see directions below), we took a 1.3km (45 minutes return) track that initially started off with a fairly steep uphill to rise above the Great Ocean Road.

Then when the climb flattened out, we were able to look back at the gorgeous coastal scenery where the Great Ocean Road followed the coastline while the Southern Ocean continued to churn and nibble at the land.

The track then descended towards a wetland area flanking Sheoak Creek.

Sheoak_Falls_17_123_11182017 - A bonus for the Shoeak Falls Track is the gorgeous views over the Southern Ocean along the way
A bonus for the Shoeak Falls Track is the gorgeous views over the Southern Ocean along the way

Once in the wetland area, the track then continued further inland.

At that point, the terrain shifted from a somewhat rocky valley with windswept shrubs into a more forested setting.

Even though the terrain here seemed to be more exposed to sunlight (i.e. it could be quite hot here as it was during a recent visit in November 2017), there was still quite a bit of dense and lush vegetation the further inland we went.

So apparently there was plenty of moisture in this coastal ecosystem to keep things green.

It certainly helped to offset the onslaught of brown from the dessicating coastal winds and salt that inevitably would come in from the coast.

Sheoak_Falls_17_037_11182017 - Julie hiking alongside the wetlands part of the Sheoak Falls Track
Julie hiking alongside the wetlands part of the Sheoak Falls Track

Towards the back end of the wetland, the track then climbed before bypassing a junction.

We kept right to descend towards Sheoak Creek, but the path on the left was for a much longer walk that eventually led to the Sheoak Picnic Area.

Eventually at around 650m from the official car park, we made it to the Sheoak Falls.

This was where the Sheoak Creek tumbled over what appeared to be layers of hard rock stained grey from the constant moisture of the creek.

Sheoak_Falls_031_11162006 - Sheoak Falls amidst some surprising lush fern-fringed scenery as seen from our first visit back in November 2006
Sheoak Falls amidst some surprising lush fern-fringed scenery as seen from our first visit back in November 2006

We weren’t sure if the waterfall’s flow was indicative of the norm thanks to the rain we were getting.

Or, if it was on the low side from the drought despite the rains (it had rained prior to our visit on both of our trips here in 2006 and 2017).

Whatever the case, as you can see from the photos on this page, we had a pleasing experience thanks in large part to its relatively healthy flow.

Re-routing of the Sheoak Falls Trail

Finally, it was worth mentioning that the first time we did this hike, we actually started from a pullout next to a large bend in the Great Ocean Road just 200m north of the turnoff for the official car park and trailhead.

Sheoak_Falls_020_jx_11162006 - On our November 2006 visit, the old Sheoak Falls Track had us crossing the creek before going into the wetland that the new trail still followed
On our November 2006 visit, the old Sheoak Falls Track had us crossing the creek before going into the wetland that the new trail still followed

That actually reduced our hiking distance to 1km round trip, but apparently over the years, Parks Victoria set up infrastructure to discourage going this route as they had replanted the area with the same kind of shrubbery that the rest of the wetlands had.

Even a guardrail was set up by the old pullout to make it less obvious to passing motorists.

So for all intents and purposes, I’d consider going that route forbidden, especially since the more sanctioned route had more to see anyways despite the up-and-down hill that was added to the route.

We didn’t attempt to do the long trail from the falls to the Sheoak Picnic Area.

Sheoak_Falls_17_021_11182017 - View of the Great Ocean Road and the Southern Ocean (looking in the direction of the shortcut trail) from the Sheoak Falls Track on a gorgeous day
View of the Great Ocean Road and the Southern Ocean (looking in the direction of the shortcut trail) from the Sheoak Falls Track on a gorgeous day

While that track seemed to offer other attractions like the Swallow Cave, Castle Rock, and Scaw Fell, it was about a 7km one-way route.

That would have required a lot more time than we had available on both of our trips to this area.

Authorities

Sheoak 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.

Sheoak_Falls_17_012_11182017 - If the car park is full like this during our November 2017 visit, there was additional spillover parking on some of the pullouts across the Great Ocean Road
Sheoak_Falls_17_014_11182017 - The Sheoak Falls hike immediately ascended these steps, which made things pretty sweaty on a hot day like when this photo was taken in November 2017
Sheoak_Falls_17_017_11182017 - Julie approaching an overlook at the apex of the initial climb en route to Sheoak Falls during our November 2017 visit
Sheoak_Falls_17_024_11182017 - Context of the Sheoak Falls Track with the Great Ocean Road down below as seen during our November 2017 visit
Sheoak_Falls_17_027_11182017 - Julie descending steps along the Shoeak Falls hike with the Great Ocean Road in the background as the track descended towards the wetlands
Sheoak_Falls_17_032_11182017 - The Sheoak Falls Track descending into the wetlands below during our November 2017 visit
Sheoak_Falls_17_041_11182017 - After the wetlands section, the track made this climb to continue towards the Sheoak Falls
Sheoak_Falls_17_049_11182017 - Finally at the Sheoak Falls, where the shade on the right along with some mist coming from the falls provided some welcome relief from the early Summer heat of the day in November 2017
Sheoak_Falls_17_057_11182017 - Closer look at Sheoak Falls while in the cool shade from the neighbouring cliffs as seen during our visit in November 2017 visit
Sheoak_Falls_17_062_11182017 - Angled look at the Sheoak Falls from across its plunge pool as seen during our visit in November 2017
Sheoak_Falls_17_066_11182017 - Looking over some interesting patterns in the plunge pool fronting Sheoak Falls as seen during our November 2017 visit
Sheoak_Falls_17_077_11182017 - More contextual look towards the Sheoak Falls fronted by vegetation on our sunny visit in November 2017
Sheoak_Falls_17_090_11182017 - Looking towards Sheoak Falls from further downstream its creek as seen during our November 2017 visit
Sheoak_Falls_17_111_11182017 - The nice thing about the return walk from Sheoak Falls during our November 2017 visit was that we got to experience the gorgeous blues of the Southern Ocean
Sheoak_Falls_17_120_11182017 - More coastal scenery on the return walk along the Sheoak Falls Track during our November 2017 visit
Sheoak_Falls_019_jx_11162006 - Looking back down at the Great Ocean Road during our November 2006 visit to Sheoak Falls
Sheoak_Falls_001_11162006 - Looking back the other way towards the Great Ocean Road when we first hiked to Sheoak Falls in November 2006
Sheoak_Falls_003_11162006 - Looking back at the Great Ocean Road in the direction of the large bend near the Sheoak Falls Trailhead during our November 2006 visit
Sheoak_Falls_007_11162006 - This was what the wetlands looked like on our first visit to Sheoak Falls back in November 2006
Sheoak_Falls_014_jx_11162006 - Going up the steps for the Sheoak Falls Track, where we saw this sign pointing to Sheoak Falls though we could have visited the Swallow Cave on our November 2006 visit but didn't
Sheoak_Falls_008_11162006 - Julie approaching the Sheoak Falls during our first time here in November 2006
Sheoak_Falls_010_11162006 - Looking across the plunge pool fronting Sheoak Falls during our November 2006 visit
Sheoak_Falls_018_11162006 - Context of Julie at the plunge pool checking out Sheoak Falls during our November 2006 visit
Sheoak_Falls_023_11162006 - Similar view of Sheoak Falls amidst some surprising lush fern-fringed scenery in November 2006
Sheoak_Falls_033_11162006 - After having her fill of Sheoak Falls in November 2006, Julie headed back on the track returning to the car park

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Sheoak Falls is about 5.2km south along the Great Ocean Road (B100) from its intersection with Williams St (eventually Erskine Falls Rd) in the town of Lorne.

The car park was on the right (i.e. the inland side away from the ocean).

Sheoak_Falls_17_008_11182017 - The turnoff going into the Sheoak Falls car park
The turnoff going into the Sheoak Falls car park

If the main car park was full, we also noticed there was another large pullout on the opposite side of the Great Ocean Road.

If parked there, due to the high speed of vehicles driving the Great Ocean Road, care must be taken to walk across the road and start the hike.

Since Julie and I visited the falls from Apollo Bay, we took the Great Ocean Road for about 40km east before finding the signposted car park for the falls on our left.

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.

Checking out the falls from a few different angles right across its plunge pool

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



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Sheoak Falls Aug 2010 October 20, 2010 7:33 pm by Aaron Nuffer - Sheoak Falls at moderate flow ...Read More

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