Shiprock Falls is a partly obscured but noisy little cascade running over large boulders, not far from where the giant Ship Rock ran aground. There is
a viewing platform from which you can get a glimpse of the falls, safely from the side. For a closer look, the track down to the creek itself is
eroding away in parts, with a steep drop down one side if you lose your footing. After some scrambling, up close the vivid whites of the falls and the bright greens of the moss
covered boulders stand out in contrast to the surrounding forest and the dark, wet rocks in the creek.
Above: Moss covered boulders in the upper section of Shiprock Falls
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The waterfalls are probably the number two attraction at this spot, with the giant Ship Rock being the main drawcard. You pass the Ship Rock on the
way to the falls. The rock is around 5-10 metres high, depending on which side you view it from, with a cave running through it.
The cave is really more of a rock shelter that runs for a few metres from one side of the rock to the other. It is not fully enclosed, with plenty of light
coming in from both ends, and is quite fun to quickly explore.
Above: Cascades in the lower section of Shiprock Falls
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Back at the car park there are toilets, some picnic tables and a fire pit. For a nicer view, more open space and better facilities, I suggest heading back
down the road towards Gembrook for a few kilometres to the Kurth Kiln Picnic Ground, from which several other bushwalks start. Overall, Shiprock Falls is a
neat addition to a day trip to Kurth Kiln and Ship Rock that makes for a nature escape close to Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs.
Here is a video of the falls, taken on a sunny winter morning, when the creek was running well, but not in flood:
Your Seasonal Guide:
|Visit during winter and spring to see the falls at their fiercest
||Visit in the late afternoon when more light reaches through to the falls|
Other Information Before You Go:
Gembrook-Lauching Place Road (C424) north of Beenak Road, Hoddles Creek, 75 km east of the Melbourne CBD
From Gembrook head north for 11 km along the Gembrook-Launching Place Road, or from the Warburton Hwy
west of Launching Place, head south for 14 km along Gembrook-Launching Place Road. The falls are about a 100 metre walk from
the car park.
10 m Approx. width:
Swimming available at the falls:
Viewing platform, toilets, picnic tables, fire pit, car park
Scattered shade in both the picnic area and at the falls
No, the path to the falls is rugged
Fires must be in designated fireplaces. Dogs on leash are permitted.
There is no camping at Shiprock Falls. There are free bush camping sites at the eastern end of the nearby Kurth Kiln Picnic Ground on a first come first
served basis. If you are planning to stay overnight in the area and do not want to camp you can try the following options. All distances below are by road, not as the crow flies.
Kurth Kiln at the Kurth Kiln Picnic Ground, approximately 3 km to the south of Shiprock Falls, accessible from either Beenak Road or Soldiers Road.
Before you head out, make sure to read the
waterfall safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
The marker indicates the location of the car park at the falls. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can occur with some browsers, simply refresh this web page.
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