Camp nearby and swim in the refreshingly cold natural pool beneath Minnehaha Falls in South Gippsland. The pool is directly accessible from
the road and the campground, with a fast flowing waterfall at the top and a waist deep swirling eddy off to one side. This circular pool is roughly 20 metres
across in both directions, with relatively easy, gradual entry from the downstream end.
Above: The pool below Minnehaha Falls
(Order this image)
After visiting this pool on a spring morning, and having my breath taken away by the deep chill on the water, I can
strongly recommend swimming here in the afternoon (when the sun can warm up the water in the eddy) and in summer (when the
current from the falls will be less ferocious).
Swimming here at this time gave me a new found respect for the little short-finned eel I saw meandering around the edge of the pool, oblivious to
my presence in the water, and seemingly unphased by the water temperature.
The big drawcard with this swim is the free campground immediately downstream. It runs along the grassy river flat, with several stone fire pits assembled
by previous campers. The downstream section of the river is too shallow for swimming, however there is a deeper stretch alongside one part of the campground, shown in
the photo below. This swimming spot and campground is fairly remote from the main tourist sites in South Gippsland.
Above: A deeper section of Albert River alongside the campground
(Order this image)
The falls themselves are named after the fictional character Minnehaha in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1855 poem "The Song of Hiawatha". Minnehaha
is stated as translating as "Laughing Water" in the poem. Whilst these falls look quite different to the photographs I have seen of Minnehaha Falls
in Minnesota, where the poem is set, the steep valley walls and the pine tree jutting out from the rock ledge above the falls are perhaps reminiscent of the Dakotas in that area.
Here is a video of my dip at Minnehaha Falls on a spring morning when the river was flowing well.
Other Information Before You Go:
Annie Greenaway Reserve, Albert River Road, Madalya, 250 km (approx. 3 hr drive) south-east of the Melbourne CBD by road,
or 25 km north-west of Yarram. Note this location on Google Maps is denoted as Madalya, but Hiawatha is actually the closest locality.
You can reach Yarram from either South Gippsland (via the A440) or the Latrobe Valley (via the C483 and C484). From Yarram
head west and then north for 25 km along the Albert River Road. The last few kilometres is gravel, but was in good condition and
suitable for 2WD vehicles on my visit. The falls are visible from the road on the right hand side, just before Jacksons Road.
Car park, camping ground, lawn area, toilet. There are no bins, so take your rubbish home with you.
Cloudy, but may be clear in summer in full sun
Rock, gravel and loose stones
Maximum water depth:
1-2 metres, but may be deeper right at the base of the falls, which I could not access due to strong currents.
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No unsafe campfires, no deposit of litter. Dogs permitted.
Shade available in and out of the water
The falls are visible from the road and car park. Access to the pool is across a gently sloping lawn area with thick grass that
could be wheelchair accessible, but there are no formal access paths.
Free, unpowered campsites are available in Annie Greenaway Reserve, 50 metres downstream of the pool on a first come, first served basis.
Alternatively, if you want to stay in the area near these falls but do not want to camp, you can try
in Hiawatha along the Albert River Road, only 3 km from the falls.
Wellington Shire Council
Nearby attractions: Tarra Falls
in the Tarra Valley, 10 km to the north-east (but much longer via sealed roads).
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park at the falls.
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experiences after visiting, and any changes in swimming conditions. All fields are required if you would like your comments published on this website.
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