Back in 2004 I hiked down Lerderderg Gorge between Blackwood and Bacchus Marsh west of Melbourne. The track notes said it was a tough walk that involved a lot of scrub bashing in the thick undergrowth next to the river. It also recommended to undertake the walk in summer or autumn when river levels were at there lowest. We did it in winter and it was completely dry with the result that finding water ended up being a problem. Not needing to scrub bash we ended up doing the four day walk in one and a half days and enjoyed it a lot exploring some old gold mining tunnels along the way.
When we passed the junction to Old River I can remember contemplating doing the side trip up to the falls but as it was dry we decided there wasn’t much point so gave it a miss. A few years later when I got into waterfall hunting I completely forgot about the existence of this waterfall and its rediscovery while looking through my old map came about as a minor revelation when I came across it again.
Shortly after this Victoria experienced some flooding (mainly around the Goulburn River) and as there was plenty of water about I thought I’d give Old River Falls a go. The closest access is fairly arduous being along a rough 4WD track (walkers only) before dropping very dramatically on an overgrown and very easy to loose foot pad down to the river. When I got there, there was plenty of evidence of significant recent flows with a large amount of flattened undergrowth on the now quite vegetated river bed. The falls themselves however were a dribble, but with the plunge pool replenished there were some nice reflections. Despite the recent floods the bottom of the plunge pool was still covered in dirt and slime.
After the January floods (whose epicentre, as it were, was centred over this area with 200mm+ of rain falling in just five days), I managed to organise a return trip and to my delight they were flowing well. As an additional bonus and an indication of just how powerful these floods were I was amazed to find the bottom of the plunge pool covered in shiny clean rocks which as it happened were quite photogenic.
The falls are 5 meters high falling over 3 cascades.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D mkII
Lens: EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM @ 16mm
Filter: Circular Polariser and Vari ND
Shutter Speed: 30 sec
When: 8:00am on 18/1/2011
For more waterfall shots check out my Waterfalls gallery.
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