Sailors Falls, Daylesford, VIC
Waterfall Seasons of Australia - The Waterfall Guide

 
Sailors Falls is a semi-circular sink in the landscape, with tall exposed columns of basalt, over which Sailors Creek falls. You can view the falls from the picnic area next to the road. Prior to a landslip in April 2016, you could walk down the dozens of steep steps to a viewing platform, then travel across a bridge over the creek to access the base of the falls. Note however from the field report below that the steps are currently closed until further notice. See below for alternative access directions to the base of the falls.

Sailors Falls near Daylesford From the base of the falls you can continue walking further downstream, all the way to Daylesford if you want. There is a mineral spring about 400 metres downstream of the falls. However, you don't need to walk that far, because a bore was installed at the picnic ground in 2013, so you can get your fix of tangy, fizzy mineral water only a few steps from the car park.
Bring your own water bottles and a couple of lemons. I have tasted the water here and it is delicious.

The refurbished picnic area has both sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables and a wealth of information about the history of the falls and surrounding region. It can be a little bit noisy from the cars passing along the Ballan-Daylesford Rd, but it is neat and tidy with a picturesque view looking out over the gorge.

Here is a video of the falls in the late afternoon in spring. The flow over the falls was moderate, but you could easily cross the bridge and walk up close to the base of the falls:

Your Seasonal Guide:
Best Time of Year to Visit:Best Time of Day to Visit:
Reliable flow in winter/spring. The falls can dry up in summer/autumn. Visit mid morning to mid afternoon to see the falls in full sun. Being a sink, the light disappears quickly at the base of the falls from mid afternoon onwards.
Other Essential Information:
Location: Ballan-Daylesford Road (C141), Sailors Falls, 110 km (approx. 70 minute drive) north-west of the Melbourne CBD.
Latitude:-37.390341 Longitude:144.120249
Getting there: Exit north from the Western Fwy (M8) at Ballan along the Ballan-Daylesford Rd (C141). Travel for 24 km until you reach Sailors Falls. The car park is just past Telegraph Rd. If you are coming from Daylesford, the falls are 6 km south of the town centre.
Water source: Sailors Creek
Approx. height: 20 m
Approx. width: 1-5 m depending on flow conditions, with a second stream to the left at higher flows
Approx. length: Vertical drop
Swimming available at the falls: No
Facilities: Car park, toilets, sheltered picnic tables, information boards, mineral spring, walking trails
Entrance fee: Not applicable
Opening times: Always open
Sun shade: Shade available at the falls and in the picnic area
Wheelchair access: Yes to picnic area and view of the falls from the picnic area. No to the base of the falls.
Prohibitions: Dogs must be on a lead
Accommodation Options: There is no camping at Sailors Falls, with the only designated camping area in the adjacent Hepburn Regional Park at the Mt Franklin Reserve, which is only accessible by road from Sailors Falls. If you are planning to stay overnight in the area you can try accommodation in Daylesford.
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Nearby attractions: The rest of the Hepburn Regional Park, including The Blowhole.
Before you head out, make sure to read the waterfall safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the location of the car park at the falls.
Change of Conditions:
According to the managing authority, "The Sailors Falls staircase is closed for public safety due to flood damage. Works to replace the staircase have now commenced. Sailors Falls Picnic Area and falls viewing area remain open during this time. Alternate access to the base of Sailors Falls is available from the Goldfields Track off Telegraph Road." This advice commenced on 30 November 2016 and is current as of 22 May 2017.

Sailors Falls Picnic Area remains open, you can park, view the falls and access the upper mineral spring from there. The Sailors Falls loop walk (with access to the base of the falls) is accessible via the Goldfields Track off Telegraph Road. The Goldfields Track crosses Telegraph Road around 1 km west of the Ballan-Daylesford Rd. The lower mineral springs downstream of the falls are also temporarily closed, and seem to have been that way for a while, with no immediate plans to re-open them. You can still draw water from the upper spring at the carpark that is featured in my video.

If you are visiting the falls and have any further updates, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
Thanks to K.Clarke of Melbourne who confirmed that there was no flow over the falls at the start of May 2016 after a very dry year, and to Wayne from Ballarat, who first alerted me to the damage to the steps at the falls in June 2016. The most recent field report is from the end of November 2016:

"Stopped today 29 Nov 2016, good water flow over the falls, stairs still not repaired, but parks officer suggests repairs should be completed July 2017. Access to lower part of the falls is via Hepburn regional park off Telegraph Rd, 2.3 km walk both ways." - L.Wheaton, Melbourne 29/11/2016

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© Brad Neal 2016. All rights reserved. This work is not to be sampled, copied, modified, adapted or reused for commercial purposes without the written consent of the author.