Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls

Gippsland / Noojee, Victoria, Australia

About Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls


Hiking Distance: 1.2km round trip (Toorongo only); 2.2km loop (both falls)
Suggested Time: 45 minutes (Toorongo only); 60-90 minutes (both falls)

Date first visited: 2006-11-12
Date last visited: 2017-11-23

Waterfall Latitude: -37.84829
Waterfall Longitude: 146.05051

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Toorongo Falls was an impressively tall waterfall (I’m guessing at least 30m tall) with reliable flow on the Little Toorongo River.

The smaller Amphitheatre Falls, on the adjacent Toorongo river, was a bonus waterfall to the Toorongo Falls.

Toorongo_Falls_17_032_11222017 - Toorongo Falls
Toorongo Falls

The reliable flow of both falls could be attributed to the tendency of the Great Dividing Range (the dominant mountain range of northeastern Victoria) to attract rain.

The observation of an abundance of ferns further indicated that I was indeed in a rainforest.

In fact, the Great Dividing Range was also responsible for another reliable waterfall near Marysville further to the west at Steavenson Falls.

Both the Toorongo and Little Toorongo Rivers fed the Latrobe River, which itself flowed through Latrobe Valley in the heart of Gippsland.

Toorongo_Falls_045_11112006 - Amphitheatre Falls
Amphitheatre Falls

The Latrobe River eventually fed the Gippsland Lakes further to the south.

Resilient in the face of drought

In my experiences at these waterfalls, I was treated to such lush green fern-filled scenery that it made me momentarily forget that the area was undergoing a drought in each of my visits here.

In the case of my first visit here in November 2006, it was in the midst of Australia’s worst drought in its recorded history to date that lasted most of that decade.

On my second visit in November 2017, the entire eastern Victoria region suffered through an abnormally dry Winter and Spring.

Toorongo_Falls_018_11112006 - Toorongo Falls as seen from our first visit back in November 2006
Toorongo Falls as seen from our first visit back in November 2006

Indeed, the rainforest scenery here contrasted mightily to the everpresence of brown in almost every other place this side of Victoria that we had visited.

Hiking to Toorongo Falls

To experience the Toorongo Falls, I had the option of doing a 1.2km out-and-back walk or doing a longer 2.2km loop walk that included the nearby Amphitheatre Falls (or Amphitheater Falls in American English).

The loop part of the track began shortly after the footbridge over the Toorongo River.

Each time I’ve visited this place, I’ve done the longer loop walk in an anticlockwise manner.

Toorongo_Falls_17_025_11222017 - The track climbing up towards the Toorongo Falls as I took the loop track in an anticlockwise direction
The track climbing up towards the Toorongo Falls as I took the loop track in an anticlockwise direction

This allowed me to first reach the Toorongo Falls after a moderate uphill climb to its viewing deck.

While I was able to see parts of the Toorongo Falls on the climb up, it was the viewing deck allowed me to experience the main drop of Toorongo Falls.

That said, it was clear that there were hidden tiers further upstream as well as cascading sections further downstream from my vantage point.

So it was another case where pictures really didn’t do this falls justice.

Hiking to Amphitheatre Falls from Toorongo Falls

Toorongo_Falls_17_042_11222017 - Looking back from the Toorongo Falls lookout deck towards the continuation of the loop track towards the Amphitheatre Falls
Looking back from the Toorongo Falls lookout deck towards the continuation of the loop track towards the Amphitheatre Falls

After having my fill of the Toorongo Falls, I then continued another 600m as the track made a less steep climb then traverse from the Little Toorongo River drainage to the main Toorongo River drainage.

After the track made a descending bend to the left, I then encountered the lookout for the Amphitheatre Falls perched right above the middle of the river.

Amphitheatre Falls was probably on the order of 5m.

It fell where the Toorongo River shot through a chute in the underlying bedrock before meandering further downstream and joining the Little Toorongo River near the car park.

Toorongo_Falls_038_11112006 - Context of the lookout deck and the Amphitheatre Falls
Context of the lookout deck and the Amphitheatre Falls

The remainder of the track was predominantly downhill for the last 800m or so.

Overall, in each of my visits, I spent about an hour away from the car, which was much shorter than the estimated 90 minutes that the signs had indicated.

Authorities

Toorongo Falls resides in the Toorongo Falls Reserve near Noojee, Victoria. It is administered by Baw Baw Shire Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Toorongo_Falls_17_007_11222017 - Early on in the Toorongo Falls hike, this section of track between the car park and the bridge was not part of the loop, but it was headed towards the start of it during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_008_11222017 - The footbridge over the Toorongo River as seen during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_010_11222017 - Looking upstream at the Toorongo River during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_012_11222017 - Approaching the beginning and end of the loop hike taking in both the Toorongo Falls (right) and the Amphitheatre Falls (left).  I kept right to go to the Toorongo Falls first during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_014_11222017 - The ascending track followed along the Little Toorongo River
Toorongo_Falls_17_015_11222017 - Most of the elevation gain to Toorongo Falls was in this series of steps which definitely induced some sweat even on a cool misty morning of my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_020_11222017 - A rest bench with a partial view of the Toorongo Falls up ahead as seen during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_026_11222017 - Looking up towards the Toorongo Falls and lookout platform just as I was approaching it during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_029_11222017 - Finally making it up to the viewing deck for Toorongo Falls during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_043_11222017 - During my November 2017 visit, this branch actually fell from a tree above me and struck my arm. I guess that comes with the territory on a nature outing, but I'd hate to imagine if it was a boulder or a much larger branch
Toorongo_Falls_17_045_11222017 - The loop track continued climbing as it went from the Little Toorongo River drainage to the Toorongo River drainage en route to Amphitheatre Falls during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_048_11222017 - By this point, the narrow track to Amphitheatre Falls skirted the slopes of the Toorongo River drainage during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_053_11222017 - Approaching the switchback at the northernmost point of the loop track to take in Amphitheatre Falls from Toorongo Falls during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_057_11222017 - The metal viewing area for Amphitheatre Falls protruding onto the Toorongo River as seen during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_058_11222017 - The diminutive yet gushing Amphitheatre Falls as seen during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_064_11222017 - Another look at the Amphitheatre Falls during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_075_11222017 - Following the hand rails on the last leg of the loop track after having my fill of the Amphitheatre Falls during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_079_11222017 - Traversing through more fern-fringed scenery on the home stretch of the Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls circuit during my November 2017 visit
Toorongo_Falls_17_084_11222017 - Hiking alongside the Toorongo River with ferns growing on both sides of the narrow loop track towards the conclusion of my November 2017 visit to Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls
Toorongo_Falls_17_094_11222017 - Back at the stick-in-the-lollipop leg of the Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls Circuit hike in November 2017
Toorongo_Falls_001_11112006 - Signage for Toorongo Falls at the start of our circuit walk in November 2006
Toorongo_Falls_002_11112006 - Looking up at the Toorongo River from the bridge. This photo was taken in November 2006 and the scenery looked pretty much the same in the 11 years between visits
Toorongo_Falls_006_11112006 - Looking downstream at the Toorongo River along the Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls Circuit Track in November 2006
Toorongo_Falls_008_11112006 - The signage looked different in the first time we were here in November 2006, but the track remained pretty much the same
Toorongo_Falls_010_11112006 - Checking out some intermediate cascades on the Little Toorongo River en route to Toorongo Falls during our visit in November 2006
Toorongo_Falls_013_11112006 - Eventually, the trail started to ascend gently to get up to the Toorongo Falls in our November 2006 visit
Toorongo_Falls_014_11112006 - Further up ahead, I could see the Toorongo Falls but only its very top from this far down the track on our November 2006 visit
Toorongo_Falls_016_11112006 - The trail continued climbing its way up to the viewing deck before Toorongo Falls during our November 2006 visit
Toorongo_Falls_024_11112006 - This was how Toorongo Falls looked like when we first saw it in November 2006
Toorongo_Falls_035_11112006 - Context of Toorongo Falls and viewing platform as seen in November 2006
Toorongo_Falls_036_11112006 - Continuing the loop hike uphill towards Amphitheatre Falls from the Toorongo Falls lookout deck in November 2006. Notice how much different the track looked here than it did earlier on in the write-up which was from November 2017
Toorongo_Falls_042_11112006 - This was how the Amphitheatre Falls looked like during our first time here in November 2006
Toorongo_Falls_049_11112006 - Looking downstream along the Toorongo River from the Amphitheatre Falls
Toorongo_Falls_050_11112006 - Looking back up at the track I took from Toorongo Falls to get to the Amphitheatre Falls in November 2006
Toorongo_Falls_052_11112006 - On the downhill track to complete the Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls Circuit in November 2006
Toorongo_Falls_054_11112006 - A bridge over the Little Toorongo River as I was almost back at the car park to end my Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls Circuit in November 2006

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Each time I’ve visited the Toorongo Falls, I’ve done so from Melbourne.

Even though there are many ways to get here throughout Gippsland and the Dandenong Ranges, I’ll just focus on the most straightforward driving directions from the city centre.

From the Melbourne CBD, I drove southeast on Batman Ave (which was actually a CityLink Toll Route), which eventually joined up with the Monash Freeway (M1) bound for Warragul.

I continued driving on the M1 east for about 87km (the M1 became Princes Hwy along the way) to the Drouin Mt Baw Baw exit (C102/C426).

Toorongo_Falls_17_095_11222017 - Looking back towards the Toorongo Falls Reserve car park
Looking back towards the Toorongo Falls Reserve car park

After taking the exit, I followed the signs for Mt Baw Baw which pretty much followed the C426 via Old Sale Rd then Main Neerim Rd.

After about 42km along the C426 Road, the Main Neerim Rd then joined up with the Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road (C426).

Then, after about 8km along the Mt Baw Baw Tourist Rd (passing through the town of Noojee), I then kept left to leave the C426 to go onto the Toorongo Valley Rd.

At that point, I followed the Toorongo Valley Rd to its end after 6km to the car park for the Toorongo Falls Reserve.

Toorongo_Falls_17_001_11222017 - The Toorongo Falls Reserve car park
The Toorongo Falls Reserve car park

The last 1.2km of the Toorongo Valley Road was unsealed.

Overall, this drive took me about 100 minutes (would take longer if avoiding the toll roads in the city and if there were lots of logging trucks to try to pass).

For some geographical context, Noojee was about 39km (over 30 minutes drive) north of Warragul, 94km (over an hour drive) northwest of Traralgon, 130km (about 1 hour and 45 minutes drive) north of Foster, and 130km (100 minutes drive) east of Melbourne.

360 degree sweep starting with following the flow of water before checking out the branch that fell then ending off at the falls again


Sweep checking out the downstream view as well as the surrounding ferns and trees before examining the creek through the grates and ending off at the falls itself

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Tagged with: gippsland, noojee, amphitheatre falls, toorongo, victoria, australia, waterfall, baw baw, melbourne, toorongo river, little toorongo river



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Toorongo Falls – April 2011 April 12, 2011 10:42 pm by Sean Farrow - On Sunday the 10th of April 2011, I packed up the photo gear into the car and made the trek to Noojee to photograph these iconic falls, taking in the surrounding landscape and the Noojee trestle bridge and other waterways also. I was not dissapointed. The river was in full flow. Normally I'd wade in… ...Read More
Amphitheatre Falls – April 2011 April 12, 2011 10:21 pm by Sean Farrow - I recently, on the spur of the moment, packed up the car one morning with my photo gear and hit the road to Noojee and surrounding areas with the intention of photographing Toorongo and Amphitheatre falls and the Toorongo river. After recent rains, I was not dissapointed. Normally I'd wade into the flow to get… ...Read More
Toorongo Falls December 10, 2010 3:33 am by Angela - Thank you Johnny & Julie for such a beautiful website!! Here are some pics of the waterfall as it was on 21 November 2010. My partner and I visited these falls on Sunday 21 November 2010 (last weekend), and they were magnificent. The writer is correct that the drought had an impact in the photos… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.