The Best Waterfalls To Take The Kids To Near Melbourne
When a plain body of water just won't do, pack the kids in the car and head out to one of the many waterfalls throughout Victoria, plenty of them within an hours drive from Melbourne. We truly are spoilt when it comes to mountainous regions with unbelievably spectacular waterfalls, some more than 100m high.
Here's our pick of the best waterfalls in Melbourne the kids will love visiting and maybe even having a splash in!
Olinda Falls are a gorgeous excuse for a stop-off on the beautiful Dandenong Ranges drive. They are not only incredible to look at but also a great place for a picnic at the picnic table or other shady spots nearby. Great for kids, the walk to Olinda Falls is relatively short, about 10-15 minutes, and is shaded the whole way. Surrounded by misty green fern forests and ginormously tall trees, a visit to Olinda Falls feels like you're a million miles away from the CBD.
If everyone's feeling sprightly, there are extensive walks to be taken around the waterfall area, with the waterfall itself only 1km return, and up to 14km round trips. The Olinda Falls Reserve has running water, toilets and plenty of shade.
Just one hour from Melbourne lies the five-million-year-old Trentham Falls, Victoria's single highest drop, surrounded by the thick vegetation of the Wombat State Forest. In winter, you'll find the falls absolutely roaring, but summer doesn't often have enough rain for it to be at its spectacular best.
Picnic facilities are aplenty, with tables and toilets, barbecues, and shady spots to lay a blanket. Take a stroll through the native bush along any of the scenic walking tracks in the forest and in the Lerderderg State Park - the waterfall's viewing platform is a short 70m walk (unfortunately you can't get to the bottom of the falls any more), or take a bike if you're so inclined.
Hopetoun Falls on the Aire River in the Great Otway National Park is totally worth the trek along the Great Ocean Road (a glorious drive in itself) from Melbourne. Surrounded by lush fern rainforests, you can admire the view from either the upper platform or from the base of the falls. Fear not, there is a bench you can sit on to rest and psych yourself up for the 200 steps back up to ground level.
Ferntree Falls is a little bit more of a hike from the car, but the bonus is you get to see three waterfalls on the way! It's about a 1-kilometre round trip through the ferny goodness.
One of the more strenuous walks for the adventurous, Beauchamp Falls lies about 30 minutes into a magnificent mountain ash forest. You will be rewarded with a 20-25m waterfall crashing into the pool below, amid the ferny undergrowth nestled in between the gigantic trees.
Head out to Marysville, in the Murrindindi region, and you'll find the Steavenson Falls, a huge 122-metre, 5-cascade sheet of water and deservedly famous for it. Take a trip to the viewing platform either above (which stretches across the river) or below, which is about a 350-metre walk through the towering eucalypts. There are quite a few tracks around if you'd like to make a day of it, and even a turbine to check out which generates the lights throughout. If you're lucky (and you get there early enough), you might even spot a lyrebird from time to time.
Image Source: Roberto Seba
If you love the idea of hearing the pounding water falling even before you see the waterfall, you'll love visiting MacKenzie Falls. Located in the middle of the Grampians National Park, the 2-kilometre return walk to MacKenzie Falls is easy for the whole family to enjoy, and the amazing views when you get there are so worth it!
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