Six of the best waterfalls to take the kids to near Melbourne
By: Stacey Roberts, ellaslist
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 hour's drive from Melbourne. We truly are spoiled when it comes to mountainous regions with unbelievably spectacular waterfalls, some more than 100m high.
Winter is the best time to see these wonders of nature, particularly if the rainfall has been generous.
Olinda Falls are a gorgeous excuse for a stopoff on the beautiful Dandenong Ranges drive, not only incredible to look at but also a great place for a picnic at the picnic table or other shady spot, or relaxing afternoon out.
Great for kids, the walk to the falls is relatively short, about 10-15 minutes, and is shaded the whole way. Surrounded by misty green fern forests and ginormously tall trees all around, it feels like you're a million miles away from the CBD when really it's only a short drive.
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 Reserve itself has running water and toilets, plenty of shade, a great place to stretch the legs and hang out in nature for a while.
One hour from Melbourne lies the five-million-year-old Trentham Falls, Victoria's single hightest drop, surrounded by the thick vegetation of the Wombat State Forest. In winter you will find the falls absolutely roaring, but summer doesn't often have enough rain for it to be at its spectacular best.
Picnic facilities are plenty, 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 Lederderg 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 are totally worth the trek along the Great Ocean Road (a glorious drive in itself) from Melbourne.
Surronded by lush fern rainforests, you can admire the view from either the upper platform or the one at 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 than any of the previous waterfalls, but the bonus is you get to see three waterfalls on the way! It's about a one 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.
In the other direction now, head out to Marysville, in the Murrindindi region, 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.
Where do you like to take the family to see waterfalls in the area?