There’s no escaping it: the Grampians National Park is cold in winter and early spring – the Outdoria team headed out in August and it was certainly quite chilly!
But, as we discovered, for those willing to don some extra layers and brave the cooler temperatures, the benefits are manifold.
Not only are waterfalls in this region at their most spectacular in the cooler months, with the absence of the summer crowds, but visitors to the Grampians at this time of year are also far more likely to have these waterfalls all to themselves. And for those who need even more encouragement, in spring the area’s abundant wildflowers come into bloom making for some truly breathtaking views.
“Spring is definitely the best time to see the waterfalls. You’ve already had all the winter rain and then you’ve got the wildflowers on top of that. Apart from MacKenzie Falls and Fish Falls (which are regulated out of Wartook reservoir and flow all year round) the waterfalls in the Grampians National Park rely on rainfall and can dry up over summer,” says Libby Harris of Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.
We spent one full day exploring the waterfalls in the Grampians and only managed to see a handful of the falls on offer.
Here are some of our favourites:
Splitters Falls and Turret Falls
Splitters Falls and Turret Falls are a great first stop for those spending a day or two chasing waterfalls in the area.
“From Halls Gap, you can follow Stoney Creek (which runs through the main street of town) walk up to the Wonderland carpark and get to Splitters and Turret Falls,” says Harris.
Both falls run off Stoney Creek and are easy to find. Those who aren’t up for a walk can drive up to the Wonderland car park and see both falls from there.
Silverband Falls often dries up over summer so visitors wanting to experience this magical little spot at its best, really need to venture out in winter or spring. It’s an easy 750m stroll from the car park to the falls through pretty bushland and over running streams.
The falls are quite unique. A thin stream of white water runs down over a vertical edifice of the layered stone creating a ‘silver band’.
MacKenzie Falls and Fish Falls
By far the most famous Grampians waterfall, MacKenzie Falls is one of the most awe-inspiring falls in Victoria. Situated just over 18km (of winding, mountain roads) from Halls Gap, the drive usually takes around 25 minutes.
From the MacKenzie Falls carpark, it’s a short 650m walk down a paved walkway to the falls themselves. It does get quite steep towards the bottom but should be easily manageable for anyone of moderate fitness. From here you can walk another 1.4km to Fish Falls or head back up.
“To do the walk between Fish and McKenzie it’s actually nicer to go from Zumsteins Picnic Ground. So go past the McKenzie turn off, park at Zumsteins picnic ground and walk back. That takes you past Fish Falls which is about 2km in and then about another 1.5km along is MacKenzie Falls and you walk right to the base of it – it saves you tackling those stairs,” says Harris.
Where to say
Whether you’re looking to camp, caravan or stay in a cabin, there are many options both in Halls Gap and the national park itself for visitors to choose from.
Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park, situated on the banks of Lake Bellfield, has a range of cabin accommodation as well as powered and unpowered campsites available. They also put together waterfall itineraries for their guests according to the weather and the guest’s preferences and level of ability.
“We do itineraries for guests to go chasing waterfalls. Whether they want to spend a half day and just do one or two, or spend a full day doing a circuit to visit most of the waterfalls we organise that for them.”
Below is some information on hikes to more great Grampians falls to see in Spring, provided to us by Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.
(2.4km return; 45min – 1hour) Clematis Falls is a simple walk and suitable for all. The easy track with a gentle grade starts at the back of the Halls Gap oval behind the club rooms on the fire trail. It’s mostly a flat track with some uneven rocky sections at the end.
(2.2km return; 45min – 1hour) Turret Falls is named after its rock structure which looks like a turret. The falls are easy to find as you start the walk at the Wonderland carpark. From the carpark, you can follow the track along a steady incline that is not at all steep in any sections. As you walk along the track you will witness some incredible views of the river gorge.
(medium grade walk 1- 1.5 hrs) Start from Beehive Falls Carpark on the Roses Gap Road. The gently undulating walking track follows Mud Hut Creek upstream to a series of rock steps and onto Beehive Falls, these falls are best after rain and in springtime when the wildflowers are in full bloom.
(Short medium grade walk 640m return) Starts from the car park on Rose Creek Rd, approx. 9km from Mt Victory Rd. These Falls are best after rain. The walk takes you through a eucalypt forest where the track ends at a natural viewing platform overlooking the rock terrace of Burrong Falls .
Waterfalls aren’t all the Grampians have to offer. There are a huge number of hikes to mountain peaks and rock formations like The Chimney Pots in the area as well.
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