Stevensons Falls in the Otways Forest Park is an easy short walk (or a longer option is available) to a beautiful waterfall surrounded by ferns.
|Quick Fact Box – Stevensons Falls Otways|
|Getting There: This walk is accessible off the main road near forest. It is a winding gravel road so drive slowly, it gets busy some days so there WILL be cars coming around the corner at some point. |
Walk Distance: 500m return from the carpark or long option 4.6km return from the campground
Track Grade: TBD
Dogs: Dogs allowed on lead – yay!
Walk Highlights: This walk starts in a picnic area on a fern-lined creek. From here you cross over the creek on a bridge, continue on a wide flattish path through a cleared grassland, surrounded by non-native trees before the track rejoins the creek and follows it all the way to the waterfall. It’s a very pretty waterfall, surrounded by boulders and ferns.
Accessibility The short walk is still a really great option if you have a somewhat limit mobility. You can get all the way to view the creek again on a fairly wide path that the official signage calls a gentle hill, however, in the last 100m or so the track narrows and the ground becomes more uneven with some tree roots etc. There are steps to the viewing platform at the very end of the walk but you can see the waterfall without climbing them if steps are too hard for you.
Who should skip it: This is a short, often busy walk. It’s not a good option if you’re looking for a long, challenging walk to escape the crowds!
Please note there is a longer, also dog-friendly, alternative route to this walk that leaves from the nearby campground, with last part of the walk on the same track.
Track notes for Stevensons Falls Otways Short Walk
The road to this short walk does not seem to be properly on google maps which is weird because there is a picnic area and everything at the start of the falls.
To get their turn off the Forrest-Apollo Bay Road (south of Forrest) onto the Upper Gellibrand Road (it is signposted from memory), you are initially going to the Stevensons Falls Campground which is is on google maps. There is no phone reception once you get down into the valley, if you’re worried you won’t remember take a screenshot of instructions/save as a pdf or into an app like a pocket with view offline turned on. The road is windy and narrow so drive safetly.
When you get to the entrance of the campground you will drive across the bridge (not left into someone’s driveway) instead of into the campground. The campground does have drop toilet facilities you can use.
The road from here is 2wd accessible when dry (with corragations and ruts when it hasn’t been recently graded) but may become best done in a 4wd/all-wheel drive if really wet. The first time I visited in winter it was extremely wet and a bit slippery clay and the second time in summer it was bone dry and easily passable in a 2wd.
I have pinned the picnic area the short walks starts on below but google may not be able to get you there.
The carpark & Picnic Area
This is a nice spot for a picnic lunch but it can be hard to get a table on busier dats. Take a picnic rug and then you can sit near the creek or under the redwood trees or continue across the bridge and find a spot away from other people.
The Stevensons Falls Short Walk
This walk starts at the carpark with a bridge crossing. There is a small hill down to the bridge, it’s only around 10m but the incline might be too much for a wheelchair (and the creek/waterfall part of the walk is not wheelchair accessible).
On the other side you head back up again and cross a cleared field with a plantation to your left and mixed natives and non natives over to the right. It’s a few hundred metres across.
When you get to the otherside the path rejoins the creek and the rest of the walk is beside the river. It’s a typically gorgeous Otways creek, with ferns, tall trees and pools of water surrounded rocks to hop across making it beautiful.
There is spots along this section were you can access the river for your and/or your dog to paddle (on lead).
The last part of the walk the track narrows a bit and there some tree roots and small rocks etc to walk over. It’s also where it starts to look lush and green, with mossy rock walks on the side in the last part.
Stevensons Falls Waterfall
At the end of the track is a viewing platform for Stevensons Falls however you can also view the falls from ground height without climbing the steps. These photos were in winter when there was quite a bit of water running over the falls.
Plenty of people were having a paddle in different spots of the creek , getting photos and exploring.
From here you turn around and walk back to the carpark on the same track.
Stevensons Falls Campground
There is free dog friendly camping at the nearby Stevensons Falls Campground (you drive past it on the way to the falls). This is also where the long version of the walk leaves from.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are dogs allowed at Stevensons falls?
Yes dogs are allowed in both the Stevensons Falls Campground and on the Stevensons Falls Walk. It is in the Otway Forest Park which is forest managed land and you can view these on their more to explore app.
Are dogs allowed in the Otways?
Dogs are allowed in some places in the Otways. You can drive through the National Park on gazetted roads with dogs in the car however there are only some places, picnic areas and walks that dogs are allowed out of the car. In most areas of the National Park they are not allowed. You can see a list of dog-friendly walks in the Otways and Great Ocean Road for more ideas.
Are dogs allowed in the redwood forest otways?
No dogs are not allowed in the nearby redwood forest according to the sign when you visit. I really don’t know why its treated differently to other foresty land, maybe because its super busy on the weekends.
Can you swim at Stevensons Falls?
People do swim here, I saw them on their way with towels and it is a beautiful place to swim.
However (obligated safety message here) as a remote area, there are no lifeguards and there are risks when you swim at the base of waterfalls like swimming in other wild places like snags, getting forced under from the pressure , logs coming over the falls etc. THERE IS NO PHONE RECEPTION HERE. If you swim downstream from the main pool there may be calmer spots.
You should never swim in unsupervised swimming areas unless you are a very strong swimmer and you are with other strong swimmers. While uncommon, some people die in inland waters in Australia each year, unfortunately, this is more likely to be men (4 x more likely as per Vic Government webpage above) as well as people who are new to Australia who did not grow up doing an insane amount of swimming lessons in school.
If you are not confident at swimming, you can enrol in adult swimming lessons so you can become a strong swimmer. In some towns, particularly capital cities, there are free or subsidised lessons for low income earners, migrants and refugees, they show up when you google.