Triplet Falls

Great Otway National Park / Beech Forest, Victoria, Australia

About Triplet Falls


Hiking Distance: 2km loop
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2006-11-16
Date last visited: 2017-11-18

Waterfall Latitude: -38.67078
Waterfall Longitude: 143.49299

Triplet Falls far exceeded our expectations, which was saying something considering how the drought badly affected most of the waterfalls we visited in southeastern Australia in November 2006.

In fact, Julie and I became conditioned to think that just about all the waterfalls west of Melbourne would be dry or trickling. Thus, we tended to lowered our expectations going into each waterfall in this region.

Triplet_Falls_013_11152006 - Triplet Falls
Triplet Falls

However, as you can see from the photo above, the falls flowed quite well.

Indeed, this waterfall lived up to its name as we could clearly see three segments running side-by-side amidst the lush and dense native growth.

Even on a subsequent trip in November 2017, Young Creek actually had a little less water despite the area not being as affected by drought compared to that first visit!

In any case, of the three columns of water, only the far right one yielded the most unobstructed views as the other two were somewhat covered by the foliage.

Triplet_Falls_17_070_11172017 - Triplet Falls in lower flow during our November 2017 visit - one of the few instances when our November 2006 visit had higher flow!
Triplet Falls in lower flow during our November 2017 visit – one of the few instances when our November 2006 visit had higher flow!

We also needed a wide angle lens to try to capture all three falls in one shot.

Theories behind the unexpected flow of Triplet Falls

Regarding the flow of Triplet Falls, we were in the midst of some wild Antarctic weather on our first visit in 2006.

It was even raining during that first visit, which might have explained why it had better flow than it did on our second visit 11 years later.

With the Otways having a reputation of being one of the rainier spots in Victoria, I believe that Young Creek and the Triplet Falls would tend to have pretty reliable flow.

Otway_Fly_048_11172017 - Weeaproinah was the wettest region of Victoria, which harbored the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk
Weeaproinah was the wettest region of Victoria, which harbored the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk

Perhaps the only difference in the appearance boiled down to how many segments we’d be seeing.

Further enhancing its reliability, Young Creek was said to have been sourced by Weeaproinah, which was the wettest region of Victoria and most known for the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk.

Triplet Falls Trail Description – clockwise loop to the waterfall lookout

In order to visit Triplet Falls, we had to go on a 2km clockwise loop walk.

According to the signage, the walk was said to take about an hour to complete, which was pretty spot on based on the duration of each of our visits.

Triplet_Falls_17_016_11172017 - Julie on the rainforest loop walk to Triplet Falls, which began with a descent into an old growth forest
Julie on the rainforest loop walk to Triplet Falls, which began with a descent into an old growth forest

The track started off with a steep descent down several steps leading us well into the depths of the old growth forest.

Tall trees and ferns (usually a good indicator that we were in a high rainfall area) flanked the well-developed footpath.

After about 400-500m into the hike, most of the descent ended, and we passed by a signed trail junction with the Little Aire Falls Track.

We didn’t pursue the Little Aire Falls in any of our visits to the Triplet Falls.

Triplet_Falls_17_020_11172017 - Julie continuing past the trail junction for the Little Aire Falls
Julie continuing past the trail junction for the Little Aire Falls

That’s primarily because it would have extended the hike by another 90 minutes.

So we continued along the forest floor as the track made its gradual loop before descending a few more series of steps revealing Young Creek.

At about 1km into the hike, we encountered a misleading sign indicating a lookout with a view of the Triplet Falls, but this was actually 200m before the actual lookout itself.

Indeed, at around 1.2km from the start of the hike, we finally arrived at the actual lookout for the Triplet Falls.

Triplet_Falls_17_078_11172017 - Julie at the lookout for Triplet Falls
Julie at the lookout for Triplet Falls

It was from this lookout that we were able to get the views you see pictured at the top of this page.

Triplet Falls Trail Description – climbing beyond the main waterfall lookout

Beyond the lookout for Triplet Falls, the track then ascended a steep series of steps as it meandered alongside the sloping watercourse of Young Creek.

At about 300m beyond the falls lookout (or 1.5km from the start of the loop), we encountered relics of an early 1900s operation known as the Knotts No.1 sawmill.

It appeared that the forest reclaimed the area we couldn’t see much of the former operation besides the old relics.

Triplet_Falls_17_085_11172017 - The climb back up to the car park beyond the Triplet Falls Lookout
The climb back up to the car park beyond the Triplet Falls Lookout

However, it was said that the sawmill here operated for more than 20 years.

Beyond the relics, the track continued along metal bridges and tracks designed to minimize the impact of foot traffic on the fragile soil.

Eventually after the remaining 500m, we regained the original start of the track to complete the loop walk.

Old Growth versus Logging

So given the history of deforestation that occurred in a place as pristine as the Otways, it was hard to believe that Triplet Falls was the site of vandalism in 2003.

Triplet_Falls_17_100_11172017 - Relics from the Knotts No.1 Sawmill Operation that took place in the early 1900s
Relics from the Knotts No.1 Sawmill Operation that took place in the early 1900s

That was when loggers chainsawed a chunk of the native forest and forced the closure of the track.

It was rumoured that the incident may have been a result of the ongoing battle between those in favor of preserving and expanding the native forests versus those who want to continue logging to sustain or produce income.

Fortunately for us, the walk was re-opened by the time we arrived on our first visit in November 2006.

In fact, in either of our experiences here, we couldn’t see any evidence of the chainsaw attack that caused the closure in the first place.

Triplet_Falls_002_11152006 - The Triplet Falls Track was open during our visit in November 2006 and it didn't seem to show any evidence of the vandalism that took place that had closed the trail
The Triplet Falls Track was open during our visit in November 2006 and it didn’t seem to show any evidence of the vandalism that took place that had closed the trail

Nevertheless, such conflicts between profit and the health of our ecosystems point to an inherent dysfunction in our economic policies and signals.

It’s the very mechanism that creates perverse financial incentives to pursue short term profits at the expense of long term sustainability.

In this instance, by not properly pricing in the impacts or resulting clean-up of said economic activities, people are often at odds with themselves and each other (let alone the externalized societal costs of the impacted area).

The impossible choice at the heart of such conflicts involve choosing between money or jobs versus forsaking profit opportunities based on principles.

Triplet_Falls_17_094_11172017 - Thriving natural forests are necessary to sustain life, but when they're gone in the name of perverse economic incentives, then they're gone for good
Thriving natural forests are necessary to sustain life, but when they’re gone in the name of perverse economic incentives, then they’re gone for good

In essence, it was putting one’s worth in sustaining a modern living whilst destroying the land that sustains them against leaving things be only to have someone else seize such opportunities at that person’s expense instead.

Authorities

Triplet Falls resides in the Great Otway National Park near Apollo Bay, Victoria. It is administered by Parks Victoria. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Triplet_Falls_17_002_11172017 - The start of the loop track to Triplet Falls during our November 2017 visit, which was quite different from our November 2006 visit. This photo and the next several ones were taken from the 2017 visit
Triplet_Falls_17_007_11172017 - Julie starting the walk to Triplet Falls in a clockwise manner during our visit in November 2017
Triplet_Falls_17_008_11172017 - The arrow at this junction encouraged us to do the Triplet Falls Walk in a clockwise manner during our November 2017 visit
Triplet_Falls_17_015_11172017 - Julie descending into the forest along the Triplet Falls Loop Track during our November 2017 visit
Triplet_Falls_17_025_11172017 - The Triplet Falls Track was now flanked by tall trees and lots of ferns on the forest floor as seen during our November 2017 visit
Triplet_Falls_17_030_11172017 - The Triplet Falls Track continued to descend, which made us keenly aware that we'd have to get back all this elevation towards the end of the loop on our November 2017 visit
Triplet_Falls_17_034_11172017 - Julie continuing along the shade of the forest floor of the Triplet Falls Walk during our visit in November 2017
Triplet_Falls_17_044_11172017 - Julie now walking beneath these impressively large ferns along the walk to Triplet Falls during our visit in November 2017
Triplet_Falls_17_060_11172017 - A misleading sign made us believe that we were supposed to see Triplet Falls at this viewing deck during our November 2017 visit. However, the real lookout was actually another 200m away
Triplet_Falls_17_076_11172017 - Looking towards the thickest of the three drops of Triplet Falls during our visit in November 2017
Triplet_Falls_17_083_11172017 - Right after the viewing area for Triplet Falls during our November 2017 visit, we had to get back all that elevation loss in a long series of steps
Triplet_Falls_17_104_11172017 - Towards the end of our Triplet Falls experience in November 2017, we noticed these ferns that really reminded us of something we saw a lot of in New Zealand
Triplet_Falls_17_107_11172017 - We had to traverse metal bridges like this one on the final leg of the loop walk to Triplet Falls during our November 2017 visit
Triplet_Falls_001_jx_11152006 - The signpost at the trailhead telling us what we were in for when trying to visit Triplet Falls in November 2006
Triplet_Falls_001_11152006 - Julie donning a rain poncho due to the rain whilst descending down the stairs into the rainforest. This photo was taken during our first visit to Triplet Falls back in November 2006
Triplet_Falls_003_11152006 - Julie on the flat metal grate portion of the rainforest track to Triplet Falls in November 2006. The metal grating was necessary to reduce the impact of foot traffic on the fragile soil
Triplet_Falls_005_11152006 - Looking towards Young Creek as we were getting closer to Triplet Falls during our November 2006 visit
Triplet_Falls_023_11152006 - Looking at the far right drop of the Triplet Falls during our November 2006 visit
Triplet_Falls_040_11152006 - Obstructed look at the trio of segments making up Triplet Falls as seen in November 2006
Triplet_Falls_006_jx_11152006 - Looking towards the more hidden segments of Triplet Falls as we were ascending back up to the car park on our November 2006 visit

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We’ll describe the driving route to Triplet Falls from Port Campbell via Lavers Hill to the west and Apollo Bay via Beech Forest to the east.

Both approaches minimize the amount of unsealed driving.

That said, there was an even shorter route coming from Apollo Bay going through the Aire Valley involving mostly unsealed roads.

We’ll describe that route last.

Driving from Port Campbell to Triplet Falls

From Port Campbell, we drove about 51km (taking about an hour) on the Great Ocean Road (B100) towards Lavers Hill.

At a junction, we then continued east as we left the Great Ocean Road (B100) and continued on the C155 (Colac-Lavers Hill Road) for another 15km towards a signed turnoff on the right.

After a little over 7km on the Phillips Track Road, we descended to the dead-end where the car park for Triplet Falls was.

Triplet_Falls_17_111_11172017 - Looking back at the car park for Triplet Falls
Looking back at the car park for Triplet Falls

Along the Phillips Track, we saw the car park for the Otway after around 3.7km and the last 2km before the car park for the falls was unsealed.

Overall, this drive took us roughly an hour (not counting some road construction delay that costed us 15 minutes).

Driving from Apollo Bay to Triplet Falls

From Apollo Bay, we’d drive east on the Great Ocean Road for over 5km to Skenes Creek.

We’d then turn left onto the Skenes Creek Road (C119) and follow this twisty road north for under 15km before turning left onto the Turtons Track Road (C159).

Triplet_Falls_17_006_11172017 - Approaching the spacious car park for the Triplet Falls Trailhead
Approaching the spacious car park for the Triplet Falls Trailhead

We’d then follow this narrow and winding road for the next 21km (passing by Beech Forest in 17.5km) before turning left at the sign for the Phillips Track Road.

Once on this turnoff, we’d follow the Phillips Track Road to its end as described above.

Alternate route from Apollo Bay to Triplet Falls

Finally, from Apollo Bay, the shortest route but one requiring the most unsealed driving involved taking the Great Ocean Road (B100) west for about 13km before turning right onto the unsealed Binns Road.

We’d continue on the Binns Road for about 20km before turning left onto the Beech Forest-Mt Sabine Road (C159).

Triplet_Falls_17_005_11172017 - Tall trees surrounding the car park and toilet facility at the Triplet Falls Trailhead
Tall trees surrounding the car park and toilet facility at the Triplet Falls Trailhead

We’d then continue on the C159 due west for 5km (passing through Beech Forest en route) before turning left onto Phillips Track and following the directions to its end as above.

For context, Port Campbell was about 61km (about an hour drive) east of Warrnambool, 98km (over 90 minutes drive) west of Apollo Bay, 227km (2.5 hours drive via the M1 and A1) west of Melbourne taking the inland route, and 291km (4.5 hours drive) west of Melbourne taking the Great Ocean Road.

Examining the segments of the falls from the main lookout

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Tagged with: otway, otways, colac, great ocean road, lavers hill, warrnambool, port campbell, victoria, australia, waterfall, beech forest, apollo bay, young creek, otway fly



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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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