Steavenson Falls

Marysville / Yarra Valley / Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, Australia

About Steavenson Falls


Hiking Distance: 700m round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2006-11-11
Date last visited: 2017-11-21

Waterfall Latitude: -37.53261
Waterfall Longitude: 145.77365

Steavenson Falls had a lot of fanfare prior to our visit during a drought-stricken November 2006 trip to the southeast of Australia.

When we first saw it, we could totally see why even though it seemed like this falls had seen better days.

Steavenson_Falls_17_015_11202017 - Steavenson Falls
Steavenson Falls

Despite coming in with expectations given its notoriety, the waterfall still didn’t disappoint us.

It possessed multiple tiers said to have a cumulative drop of 84m making it one of Victoria’s tallest waterfalls.

It was most certainly the main tourist draw of the town of Marysville, and it was said that over 100,000 visitors would come to the falls each year.

We wondered if part of its popularity had to do with its proximity to the city of Melbourne (probably about a couple of hours or so drive away).

Steavenson_Falls_009_11102006 - Checking out the flow of Steavenson Falls during our first visit back in November 2006
Checking out the flow of Steavenson Falls during our first visit back in November 2006

Anyways, we have since come back to this waterfall in November 2017, and as you can see in the photo at the top of this page, it had a pretty substantial flow compared to the photo above (which was taken on our first time here in 2006).

The Steavenson River Flow

The flow of the Steavenson River (even though it was limited during our first visit) seemed to be pretty reliable.

The river was said to have drained an area of about 16 square kilometres originating at the top of the Great Dividing Range.

The persistent presence of forests and bush ensured soil stability thereby retaining enough moisture resulting in the year-round flow.

Steavenson_Falls_17_063_11202017 - Looking towards a building housing a turbine generating electricity from the Steavenson River
Looking towards a building housing a turbine generating electricity from the Steavenson River

The reliable flow of the river even enabled the presence of a floodlight illuminating the falls from dusk until 11pm each night.

The power to supply the floodlighting came from the force of water driving a turbine nearby.

Experiencing Steavenson Falls

Speaking of the walk, we were able to take the flat 350m track (700m round trip) to get right up to the Steavenson Falls.

At about 300m into the short walk, there was a lookout of most of the drop of Steavenson Falls right where three or four other spur tracks branched off.

Steavenson_Falls_17_011_11202017 - Context of the lookout for Steavenson Falls as well as the continuation of the tracks to get closer or to get higher. This picture was taken in November 2017
Context of the lookout for Steavenson Falls as well as the continuation of the tracks to get closer or to get higher. This picture was taken in November 2017

The steep track going up the hill to the right was for the lookout at the top of the falls as well as the Keppel Lookout.

We did neither of these other lookouts, but apparently the latter was reachable by car from Marysville.

The track behind the lookout following along the Steavenson River went about 150m before reaching the turbine that powered the floodlight.

It was worth taking that detour on the return walk.

Steavenson_Falls_17_040_11202017 - Looking across the Steavenson River from one of the lookouts at the waterfall's base towards the other
Looking across the Steavenson River from one of the lookouts at the waterfall’s base towards the other

The two tracks leading the remaining 50m closer to the falls ended up at viewing areas at the base of the falls on either side of the Steavenson River.

From those vantage points right at the bottom of the falls, only the last 21m of the waterfall could be seen.

The remainder of the upper drops were hidden from view.

Thus, pictures really didn’t do this waterfall justice given its disjoint characteristic making the falls appear smaller than it really was.

Steavenson_Falls_17_061_11202017 - The somewhat shaded footpath leading closer to the Steavenson Falls as well as the small turbine that provided power for the floodlighting
The somewhat shaded footpath leading closer to the Steavenson Falls as well as the small turbine that provided power for the floodlighting

In my mind, the best spot to view the entirety of the falls was from that lookout 300m from the car park.

Overall, Julie and I spent about 45 minutes at a very leisurely pace, which included all the picture taking and walking.

Steavenson Falls History and Fires

The name of the falls was said to have been derived from John Steavenson.

As the Victorian Assistant Commissioner of Roads and Bridges, he first set up operations at the site of the township that would eventually become Marysville in 1862.

Steavenson_Falls_001_jx_11102006 - When we were getting meat pies in Marysville, we somehow chanced upon this comical scene of these red-headed birds pecking away at someone's picnic leftovers
When we were getting meat pies in Marysville, we somehow chanced upon this comical scene of these red-headed birds pecking away at someone’s picnic leftovers

The town had a recent infamous history due to the Black Saturday Bushfires in early 2009.

The largest of the fires (the worst in Australia’s recorded history to date) burned in the Marysville area as the Murrindindi Mill Fire, which destroyed most of the town.

Undoubtedly, the Great Australian Drought that lasted for most of the 2000s took its toll, and Black Saturday was the culmination of the prolonged climate anomaly.

We definitely noticed a difference in the activity and ambience of the town from our November 2006 visit and our follow-up visit in November 2017.

Steavenson_Falls_17_084_11202017 - From the shelter, I was able to look across the Steavenson River towards these bare (burnt) mountain ash trees nestled amongst new trees and sproutlings
From the shelter, I was able to look across the Steavenson River towards these bare (burnt) mountain ash trees nestled amongst new trees and sproutlings

In the years since the Black Saturday Bushfires, I noticed large groves of burnt Mountain Ash trees surrounded by new green sproutlings and bushes along the slopes neighbouring the Steavenson Falls area.

Like with the firestorms in Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming, fires were a natural part of the life-and-death cycle of the forest.

It appeared that in the case of Marysville and the Steavenson River drainage, the recovery was already well in progress.

Authorities

Steavenson Falls resides in Marysville, Victoria. It is administered by the Murrindindi Shire Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Steavenson_Falls_17_002_11202017 - The shelter and toilet facility at the end of the Steavenson Falls car park as seen during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_004_11202017 - The short flat walk leading closer to Steavenson Falls during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_006_11202017 - The steps on the left was actually the return walk from the turbine (which was why it wasn't signposted in this direction) so I kept right to get to the lookouts for the Steavenson Falls during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_009_11202017 - Starting to see the upper drops of Steavenson Falls from the well-developed walk during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_016_11202017 - Looking along one of the tracks leading closer to the base of Steavenson Falls. Notice the floodlight on the lower left. This photo was taken in November 2017, and the floodlight was the same one as the one we saw in November 2006
Steavenson_Falls_17_026_11202017 - Broad look at the Steavenson Falls with floodlight pole as seen during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_034_11202017 - Approaching the end of the short track on the left side of the Steavenson River where I can see part of the Steavenson Falls during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_039_11202017 - View of the base of Steavenson Falls from that lookout on the left side of the river during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_042_11202017 - This was as full of a look at the Steavenson Falls as I could get during my visit in November 2017
Steavenson_Falls_17_043_11202017 - Contextual look at the Steavenson Falls with floodlight pole as seen during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_047_11202017 - View of the Steavenson Falls from the bridge over the Steavenson River during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_055_11202017 - Looking back at Steavenson Falls and the end of the track on the right side of the river as I had my fill and was headed towards the turbines during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_060_11202017 - On the lower track leading to the turbine powering the floodlight for Steavenson Falls during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_068_11202017 - Going back up the steps to rejoin the main walking path to return to the car park for Steavenson Falls during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_070_11202017 - Heading back to the shelter and car park for the Steavenson Falls during my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_17_071_11202017 - Returning to the shelter by the Steavenson Falls car park to conclude my November 2017 visit
Steavenson_Falls_006_jx_11102006 - Sign pointing the way to Steavenson Falls as seen during our November 2006 visit. The rest of the photos in this gallery took place on that day
Steavenson_Falls_010_jx_11102006 - This sign pointed the way to more distant lookouts around Steavenson Falls, which we didn't do on our first visit here in November 2006
Steavenson_Falls_005_11102006 - Julie approaching Steavenson Falls on the main track seen from back in November 2006
Steavenson_Falls_011_jx_11102006 - More zoomed in look at Steavenson Falls past the floodlight during our November 2006 visit
Steavenson_Falls_013_11102006 - Looking at the Steavenson Falls from the same lookout on the left side of the Steavenson River back in November 2006
Steavenson_Falls_014_jx_11102006 - This was the tragic plaque that was at the left-side lookout of Steavenson Falls as seen during our November 2006 visit
Steavenson_Falls_017_11102006 - View of Steavenson Falls from the other lookout deck on the right side of the Steavenson River (as of November 2006)
Steavenson_Falls_023_11102006 - Looking right up at the full drop of Steavenson Falls from the footbridge during our November 2006 visit
Steavenson_Falls_027_11102006 - Looking up the Steavenson River towards the Steavenson Falls, but notice how bouldery the riverbed was confirming our suspiscion that this watercourse had seen better days during our visit in November 2006
Steavenson_Falls_020_jx_11102006 - Going back up the steps to conclude our jaunt of the lower level walk from the Steavenson Falls to the turbine and to return to the trailhead to conclude our November 2006 visit

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Steavenson Falls was a pretty straightforward drive (there were lots of signs pointing the way) from the town of Marysville about 100km (under 2 hours drive) northeast from Melbourne.

We’ll pick up the driving directions as if you’re coming from the big city.

From the Melbourne CBD, I’d find my way north onto the start of the Maroondah Highway (Hwy 34) nearby the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Museum around the corner of Elgin St and Rathdowne St.

Then head east on the Maroondah Highway (Hwy 34).

If pressed for time or can’t be bothered being mired in traffic, then it might be worth finding the way to Alexandra Parade further north or to Hoddle Street further to the east.

Both streets have access to the M3 EastLink Tollway.

Eventually, the EastLink Tollway (M3) exits with the Maroondah Highway (still Hwy 34) at the suburb of Ringwood.

The Maroondah Highway became the B300 Highway beyond the suburb of Lilydale.

At around 5km or so northeast of Lilydale, I’d take the B360 fork on the right to continue on the Maroondah Highway.

Steavenson_Falls_002_jx_11102006 - In Marysville, I recalled that there were lots of signs pointing the way to Steavenson Falls so we knew where to go back on our first visit in November 2006
In Marysville, I recalled that there were lots of signs pointing the way to Steavenson Falls so we knew where to go back on our first visit in November 2006

After about 41km, the B360 intersected with the C507 at Narbethong.

Continuing straight at this junction (leaving the Maroondah Highway), I’d then drive about 9km on the Marysville Rd into the town of Marysville.

Then, I’d turn right onto Pack Rd (which was before the Marysville Visitor Centre) before making a quick left onto Falls Rd.

Falls Rd ended about 3.6km later at the car park for Steavenson Falls.

Steavenson_Falls_17_001_11202017 - The pay-and-display ticket dispenser at the Steavenson Falls car park
The pay-and-display ticket dispenser at the Steavenson Falls car park

This was a pay-and-display car park though the machine only took coins (so make sure to bring some spare change with you).

Overall, this drive would take on the order of 2 hours depending on the amount of traffic in Melbourne as well as the number of traffic light stops in its northeastern suburbs.

For further geographical context, Eildon was 48km (over 30 minutes drive) north of Marysville, 89km (over an hour drive) south of Euroa, 139km (over 2 hours drive) northeast of Melbourne, 175km (about 2 hours drive) south-southwest of Wangaratta, and 587km (6 hours drive) southwest of Canberra.

Checking out the falls in nearly its entirety from an area where a lot of trails were branching in different directions


Checking out the falls from the lookout on the left side of the creek


Approaching the falls and its lookout on the right side of the creek

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Tagged with: marysville, murrindindi, black saturday, victoria, melbourne, australia, waterfall, yarra ranges, steavenson river



Visitor Comments:

The falls are open again (Steavenson Falls) January 20, 2012 1:36 am by Paul Pavlinovich - The falls reopened after the 2009 bushfires late last year (2011) and are now open seven days per week. ...Read More

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Finally recovering after the 2009 fires June 18, 2015 4:22 am by Sean Farrow - I return yearly to the Marysville area in the Yarra Ranges to photograph various waterfalls. The area is finally recovering from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. This trip consisted of a visit to The Beeches and Taggerty Cascades further upstream, and a visit to Steavenson Falls on the way out of town. I find Steavenson… ...Read More
2 Years Later February 12, 2011 1:04 am by Sean Farrow - I visited Steavensons Falls on a recent photography excursion to the Marysville area in Jan 2011. Last time I was up this way the falls were closed to the public due to fire damage and the inherent dangers. Now they're open, but lack some of the ferny green grandeur that they once had. ...Read More

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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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