The towering basalt columns provided an amazing backdrop for this former swimming hole at Trentham Falls. When the falls were flowing gently,
you could float in the middle of the pool and watch the spray streaming down from the sky. According to information boards
at the falls, they are the tallest single drop waterfalls in Victoria. For swimmers the view did not however compensate
for an otherwise average swimming experience. The pool at the base of the falls was surprisingly cold, murky, and lots of angular
rocks under the water tested your balance when getting in and out of the water.
Above: The small pool at the base of Trentham Falls
(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. While we recognise this then negates swimming, this is the unfortunate outcome. 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."
The falls themselves are a 32 m high rock formation with a small pool at the base, roughly 15 m long and 15 m wide.
When swimming there prior to the track closure, I found the rocks to be sharp and slippery, and sandals were required, particularly as visibility was poor.
Last time I swam there it was painfully cold and a sizeable fish brushed my thigh, obviously surprised to have a visitor in its pool, but
the pool tended to warm up in summer after the falls had stopped flowing.
The falls are a popular stopover with day trippers. According to information boards at the falls, they are the tallest single
drop waterfalls in Victoria. Without the swimming experience, most people have a look at the falls, and then keep moving.
There are picnic tables at the car park, but they are without a view of the falls.
In summer, the stream of water over the waterfall is gentle and thin, despite its height. You could previously walk behind the water
underneath the rock overhang, which also provided shade during the day. Whenever I had visited on hot days prior to the track closure, there was
usually someone in the water. The falls themselves are at their most spectacular after heavy rainfall, and whilst this was never a good time to swim here,
it is probably the best time for sightseers to visit now that access to the water is no longer permitted.
Other Information Before You Go:
Trentham Falls Scenic Park, Trentham Falls Rd, Trentham, 95 km (approx. 1 hr 10 min drive)
north west of the Melbourne CBD.
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.
Public toilets, car parking, picnic tables
Rock and mud
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Swimming is no longer possible due to closure of the access track
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
The 70 metre walking track to the base of the falls is closed (see notes above).
Dogs must be on a lead. No firearms.
Shade was previously available in the overhang behind the falls. Tall eucalypts provide shade in the picnic area.
Always open. May be closed during extreme weather conditions (e.g. for fire safety)
To the picnic tables at the car park. Wheelchair accessible toilets.
Camping is not permitted at the falls. If you are staying overnight in the area, you can try
accommodation near these falls.
Nearby attractions: Lake Daylesford
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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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.