Trentham Falls

Daylesford / Wombat State Forest / Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia

About Trentham Falls


Hiking Distance: 300m round trip (to lookout); 700m round trip (to base)
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2006-11-13
Date last visited: 2017-11-20

Waterfall Latitude: -37.37027
Waterfall Longitude: 144.32471

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Trentham Falls was one of the more well-known and popular waterfalls in the state of Victoria, and after having seen it for ourselves, we can see why this was the case.

Indeed, this falls possessed that classical rectangular shape (which Julie tended to be partial to) as the Coliban River plunged some 32m over a basalt cliff.

Trentham_Falls_17_014_11192017 - Trentham Falls as seen from the official lookout
Trentham Falls as seen from the official lookout

Being in close proximity to the spa and wine country of the Macedon Ranges near Daylesford, it seemed to attract Melburnian weekenders.

After all, it was around 90 minutes drive (depending on traffic) from one of Australia’s largest cities.

My only regret on our second visit to Trentham Falls was that we drove out here from Melbourne (pronounced like “MEL-bun”) instead of spending the night in Daylesford or elsewhere in the vicinity.

This was a suggestion that some Melburnians made us aware of after the fact.

Melbourne_17_452_11222017 - Melbourne was roughly 90 minutes drive from Trentham Falls, which was within the Australian answer to Napa Valley
Melbourne was roughly 90 minutes drive from Trentham Falls, which was within the Australian answer to Napa Valley

Otherwise, we could have really lived it up in Victoria’s answer to Napa Valley, California.

Our Disappointing First Visit to Trentham Falls

As you might have gleaned from the paragraph above that Julie and I actually made a pair of visits to this waterfall.

The first visit occurred in November 2006 when we were disappointed to see it was barely flowing over the faint hexagonal columns underlying the Coliban River.

That was because most of southeastern Australia was experiencing the country’s worst drought in its recorded history at the time, which consumed the better part of that decade.

Trentham_Falls_027_11122006 - Overgrown view of Trentham Falls from our first visit back in November 2006
Overgrown view of Trentham Falls from our first visit back in November 2006

So this waterfall didn’t really have a chance against the climate anomaly that threatened the very existence of many of the country’s cities and agriculture at the time.

And we really felt like we needed to come back to this part of the country under more “normal” circumstances, where that opportunity didn’t present itself until 11 years later.

Experiencing Trentham Falls

Visiting Trentham Falls was as simple as a short 150m walk from the well-signed car park.

It went down a gentle slope to an overlook at the rim of the gorge carved out by the Coliban River.

Trentham_Falls_17_079_11192017 - Context of the sanctioned lookout for Trentham Falls during our visit in November 2017
Context of the sanctioned lookout for Trentham Falls during our visit in November 2017

As far as Parks Victoria would be concerned, that should be sufficient in terms of viewing the attractively classical waterfall.

Thus, it could only be a visit of a few minutes if one would be satisfied enough with the experience from the sanctioned lookout.

Indeed, there were barricades and signage urging visitors not to proceed any further.

Unsanctioned Access to the Bottom

Much to the chagrin of the authorities, I noticed their discouragement measures didn’t stop numerous other people from continuing on.

Trentham_Falls_17_022_11192017 - Context of the barricade to stop people from continuing past the official lookout for Trentham Falls
Context of the barricade to stop people from continuing past the official lookout for Trentham Falls

It turned out that most people continued on by walking further upslope along a road, then bypassing a gate before rejoining the walking track further beyond the barricade.

After another 50m, that track would eventually junction with the spur track leading down to the base of the falls in another 100m.

As of our last visit in November 2017, it appeared that this track was well-used enough that the access was a lot more straightforward than it was on our first visit here back in November 2006.

On that first visit, access to the base was a lot more difficult due to a recent landslide that wiped out a good part of the lower parts of the trail.

Trentham_Falls_17_031_11192017 - Approaching the bottom of Trentham Falls with people already enjoying its spray at the base
Approaching the bottom of Trentham Falls with people already enjoying its spray at the base

The aftermath of this landslide was a very rough scramble through foliage with sharp thorny stems to proceed.

So even though over the years the path appeared to have been corrected since that landslide, I’d imagine that to be safe, the authorities wanted this track to remain closed.

After all, they can’t guarantee any further landslides wouldn’t occur here.

If the overlook was the only goal of a visit here, then the difficulty score should be lower.

Trentham_Falls_17_053_11192017 - Making it down to the base of the Trentham Falls for a more intimate experience with the waterfall
Making it down to the base of the Trentham Falls for a more intimate experience with the waterfall

However, I also counted the additional time to go to the unsanctioned base of the falls just to give you an idea of how compact and short a visit here ought to be.

Authorities

Trentham Falls resides in the Coliban River Scenic Reserve near Daylesford, Victoria. It is administered by Parks Victoria. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Trentham_Falls_17_002_11192017 - Picnic tables and a restroom facility at the Trentham Falls car park as seen during our November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_004_11192017 - Julie descending this gentle ramp down towards the official lookout for Trentham Falls during our November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_006_11192017 - Julie following along the walkway opposite the basalt cliffs towards the official viewpoint of the Trentham Falls during our November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_008_11192017 - Partial view towards Trentham Falls as we continued to head further downstream towards the official lookout during our November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_011_11192017 - This was the view of Trentham Falls from the official lookout as of our visit in November 2017
Trentham_Falls_17_020_11192017 - Broad view of Trentham Falls from the official lookout during our November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_025_11192017 - Another look at Trentham Falls from the official lookout during our November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_028_11192017 - About 50m beyond the barricade at the official lookout, there was this signposted junction (note the closure sign was even erected out here) leading to the bottom of Trentham Falls
Trentham_Falls_17_048_11192017 - Looking up from the base of Trentham Falls with some women enjoying the scene during my November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_059_11192017 - Looking back at Trentham Falls as I started to make my way back up to the official lookout during my November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_067_11192017 - View of Trentham Falls as I was continuing to leave its base where there were still dozens of people down there on my November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_17_069_11192017 - Last look at Trentham Falls before I headed back up on our November 2017 visit. I realized by this time that the access to the base was much easier than it was back in November 2006
Trentham_Falls_005_jx_11122006 - To compare our first visit with our second visit, here's a photo of Trentham Falls taken from the overlook in November 2006
Trentham_Falls_010_11122006 - A full look at Trentham Falls from the overlook with disappointing flow in November 2006
Trentham_Falls_013_11122006 - This was as close as I was able to scramble towards Trentham Falls during our disappointing November 2017 visit
Trentham_Falls_017_11122006 - Broad look at Trentham Falls from as low as I was able to make it back in November 2006 since there was damage from a landslide that stopped me from be willing to bushwhack any further
Trentham_Falls_029_11122006 - Partial view down at the Trentham Falls from the cliff during our November 2006 visit

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Since we stayed in the Melbourne CBD, we’ll describe the driving route that we took from there to Trentham Falls.

Keep in mind that we won’t be able describe all the specifics about driving through the maze of one-way streets, roundabouts, and hook turns given the inevitable traffic congestion and numerous traffic lights just to get in and out of the city.

So from the Melbourne CBD, we found our way to Elizabeth St and drove north towards Flemington Rd.

At around 2km along Flemington Rd, we had a choice of turning right to go onto the CityLink Tollway (M2) or to continue on Flemington Rd to avoid paying the toll.

Flemington Rd would eventually join up with the M79/M2 interchange near the Melbourne International Airport after 6.5km.

From there, we took the M79 for about 58km to the Woodend exit (C324).

Note that along the way just northwest of the airport was the signed turnoff for the Organ Pipes.

Trentham_Falls_17_003_11192017 - The spacious car park for Trentham Falls
The spacious car park for Trentham Falls

We then turned left to go onto Woodend Road (C324) and drove for about 1.2km before turning left onto High Street (C792).

After 900m, we then turned right to go onto Forest St, which then became Tylden Rd (C317).

We followed this road for 12km before turning left onto the Kyneton-Trentham Rd (C317/C318).

Next, we followed this road for the next 7.5km before turning right onto Trentham Falls Rd (C317).

After 2.3km driving went on Trentham Falls Rd, we then followed the signed turnoff on the right taking us the final 400m to the car park.

Overall, this drive took us 1 hour and 45 minutes (without using the CityLink Tollway) though using the M2 could have shaved off another 15-30 minutes.

For some additional context, Trentham Falls was about 22km east of Daylesford (under 30 minutes drive). Daylesford was 112km (90 minutes drive; depending on traffic) northwest of Melbourne CBD.

Left to right sweep checking out the falls from the official lookout before zooming in on the falls and following its drop towards the end


Back and forth right to left sweep of the cliffs flanking the falls before following the flow of water down over the falls towards the end


Longer video checking out the profile of the falls and the alcove behind it before scrambling further down for a more direct look at the falls

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Tagged with: ballarat, macedon, daylesford, wombat, victoria, australia, waterfall, spa, woodend, trentham, hepburn



Visitor Comments:

Trentham Falls Dec 2016 December 21, 2016 2:18 am by Brendan Costello - The track down to the Bottom of the falls is now closed permanently with a sign saying works vehicles only and all hand rails have been removed. But there is a steep bush trail for those willing to take the risk. Cheers Brendan ...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.
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