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Trentham Falls VIC
Waterfall Seasons of Australia - The Waterfall Guide


 
According to information boards at the falls, at 32 metres high Trentham Falls are the tallest single drop waterfalls in Victoria. Whilst other waterfalls have a greater total height from top to bottom, Trentham Falls boasts the tallest unbroken curtain of water in the State. In summer, the stream of water over the waterfall is gentle and thin, despite its height. In winter the Coliban River can become a raging torrent that smashes angrily down into the chasm below. Trentham Falls Above: Trentham Falls producing a bright curtain of water in early winter (Order this image)

If you are interested in the formation of the falls, the Trentham Landcare Group has described the geological history of the falls at an information board on site. It's a history that involves lava flows from a nearby volcano, cooling and cracking into tall basalt columns and then, over the next five million years, erosion by the Coliban River. As the river falls over the cliff, it undercuts the base of the cliff until a chunk breaks off and the falls move further upstream.
There are picnic tables at the car park, but they are without a view of the falls. To view the falls, follow the walking track a few metres from the car park to the viewing platform on the edge of the ravine. There is no access to the Coliban River above the falls. Trentham Falls Above: Trentham Falls in summer (prior to the track closure) (Order this image)

As of late 2015, the track down to the base of the falls was closed, so access to the billabong is no longer permitted. According to Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger Ballarat, Siobhan Rogan (13/1/2017):

"The access to the base of the waterfall is closed due to hazards on the former walking track, in part due to the fact it hugs the side of a ravine, erosion that is occurring from weathering and the number of people using it over time. It is our intent, if suitable funding were to come available then the experience offered could be reviewed. It is not however, a quick and cheap fix and is not in its immediate future."

Prior to the closure of the walking track, the walk to the base of the falls was around 100 m further on along a gentle descent. At the bottom you could wander by foot behind the falls, which was food for thought when wondering whether that hulking mass of rock above your head could actually fall. The true answer is yes, it will, on a geological time scale. Lots of people walked behind the water underneath the rock overhang, which also provided shade during the day. In practice, I have witnessed many people still using this track after the ban, including one occasion when I saw a man taking his dog for a walk down to the base of the falls. I am definitely not recommending that you breach Parks Victoria regulations to walk down the track, but clearly there is a disconnect between many visitors' assessment of the risk of using the track, and Parks Victoria's own assessment of the risk. I hope that in the future these two views can come together again to provide safe access to the base of the falls without being in breach of local regulations.

Here is a video of the falls, including footage from before and after the track closure. The section of this video from the 50 second mark, when the falls are in full view, is very relaxing and somewhat hypnotic if you stare at it. My eyes tend to glaze over and my brain is ready to doze when I watch it.

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 early morning to mid afternoon to see the falls in full sun.
Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Trentham Falls Scenic Park, Trentham Falls Rd, Trentham, 95 km (approx. 1 hr 10 min drive) north west of the Melbourne CBD.
Latitude: -37.369963 Longitude: 144.324705
Getting there: From Melbourne take the Calder Fwy and then Black Forest Drive to Woodend. In Woodend turn left at Forest St and follow it to Tylden. At Tylden turn left at Trentham Rd and then right after 8 km at Trentham Falls Rd. The falls are 2-3 km along this road.
Water source: Coliban River
Approx. height: 32 m

Approx. width: 1-15 m, depending on flow conditions
Approx. length: Vertical drop
Swimming available at the falls: I swam here prior to the track closure. You can read about this swimming experience here
Facilities: Public toilets, car parking, picnic tables, fire pit remote from the water
Entrance fee: None
Opening times: Always open
Sun shade: Shade available at the car park from tall eucalypts.
Wheelchair access: To the picnic tables at the car park. No access to the falls. Wheelchair accessible toilets.
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: At the time of last visiting, the 70 m walking track to the base of the falls was closed. Dogs must be on a lead. No firearms.
Accommodation Options: Camping is not permitted at the falls. If you are staying overnight in the area, you can try accommodation near this waterfall.
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Nearby attractions: Sailors Falls.
Before you head out, make sure to read the waterfall safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park at the falls.
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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.