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Lawson Falls - Bunyip State Park

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by Deborah Jayne (subscribe)
Motto: Have a plan and be prepared.
Published December 27th 2014
Survival Guide for Lawson Falls, Bunyip State Park
Parks Victoria Series - Bunyip State Park

Most Weekend Notes articles recommend places to visit. This is more a 'survival guide' for anyone considering a trip to the Bunyip State Park, particularly the Lawson Falls.

A visit to the Lawson Falls is not for the faint hearted. A challenging walk through uncleared bush, visitors should go prepared and expect an obstacle or two along the way.

The Aboriginal people created the legend of the Bunyip, claiming a mythical creature lived in the river, bringing bad luck to passers by. The bunyip was feared and the area long avoided. It was easy to see why - and understand how the legend grew having now tackled the Lawson Falls Bushwalking Track for ourselves.

The Bunyip State park, located within the Baw Baw region, allows for camping, dirt bike and trail bike riding, horse riding, bushwalking and picnics. Bunyip State park is ideal for a back-to-nature experience, but be warned - within the park there is often little to no mobile phone reception. You are going right off the grid - something to remember if you become lost or injured.

Bunyip State Park is poorly signposted with almost no directions at all throughout. The long dirt roads rarely intersect and it's a long way back or round if you take the wrong turn (Speaking from very unfortunate personal experience!)

So, my first tip is to know exactly where you are going before setting off and take a map. Keep it in your pocket.

Lawson Falls are located on the intersection of Forest and Tea Tree Roads. To get there, take the Monash Freeway / Princess Hwy from Berwick toward Warragul. Turn where you see signs for Labertouche (Longwarry North and Robin Hood). Right turn onto Princes Way. First left at Labertouche Road, then after approximately 4.4km turn right onto Forest Road. The picnic area is another 15km on the left.

The picnic area is actually pretty good, with the sound of running water nearby. Very quiet and secluded. Several uncovered, chunky big picnic tables in a cleared grass area surrounded by bush. There is one toilet in a tin shed – a ceramic toilet base over a hole for the full bush experience.

We started the Lawson Falls Track from the picnic ground. Do not underestimate the journey time. We scoffed at the sign, but soon learned getting there was not going to be as easy as first thought.

The track had not been cleared for possibly twelve months. It was overgrown, narrow and very steep in parts. We had to cross over fallen tree branches, beneath overgrown branches and large leaves. Sticky grass attached to our clothing in a somewhat unpleasant way and then we were set upon by small leeches. We'd flick them off and they'd become stuck to our fingernails. Though not painful, apparently their heads can become buried in the skin and detach from their bodies. I don't want to know what happens after that. Long pants, sleeves and a good shot of Aeroguard recommended at this point.

We finally reached the waterfall, down a very steep track. The falls themselves are quite lovely and were present in December, cascading down a rock wall. However, there is no safety rail, no 'proper' viewing area and we were perched quite precariously on the slippery dirt track, craning our necks to see.

Don't take a picnic or make any plans to hang out at the falls for any real length of time. If other people had been there it would have been like riding the train during peak hour.

Instead of going back the way we came, we went further along the original walking track and in less than two hundred meters were on Forest Road. At this point turn RIGHT. (We had to guess as there is no arrow or sign) and prepare for a long walk back to the picnic area.

You can park here and take the shorter route, but parking is roadside and dirt bikes race past pretty fast so consider stone chips in your paintwork.

There are quite a few other picnic areas throughout Bunyip State Park. We drove into one besides Lawson Falls Picnic Area. There was no playground equipment at either, but we did see two wallabies, a lizard and some beautiful, bright coloured birds. There was space enough to kick or hit a ball and not another soul in sight, except people on horses and dirt bikes.

For more information regarding bushwalking, riding or camping, check out the Parks Victoria web site.
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Why? Bushwalking, Waterfall, Camping, Dirtbike & Horseback Riding
Where: Bunyip State Park
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Visited the falls today. Track was fine. From the picnic area to the base of the walk the road was fine. The track from the road to the bridge was also fine. It had been cleared and was about 50cm width in the narrowest part and could comfortably fit two people walking side by side in the widest parts. Width varied along the walk, some slight branches here and there, but nothing you could not move with your hand.
There was evidence of some dirt bike tracks on the walking path, but did not look too recent.
The track down to the falls off the main walking track was steep, but was not terribly narrow. Could make it all the way down to the water, which was absolutely beautiful. Worth the walk down.
The bush all the way along the track was lovely. Very picturesque and quiet.
Picnic area at Lawsons falls car park was great. Toilet and four picnic tables. Road in (Forest road) did have some big potholes for a sedan, but could be driven around and navigated slowly.
Thanks for the review. Glad the paths have been cleared since your review as this was a lovely place.
by Windc (score: 0|4) 1204 days ago
What a great review with so much description and detail. I have now reconsider going and am very Thankful l now know what could of been ahead of us. Appreciate your honestly.
by clare (score: 0|4) 1716 days ago
I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the honesty about the park.

Knowing the potential difficulties allows the reader to plan for problems and have a great day!
by marek (score: 0|2) 1921 days ago
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