Ever the optimists, we leave home in the pouring rain with the hope of it easing by the time we have driven the two hours to Noojee to see the waterfalls.
It's always difficult leaving a nice warm, dry environment for the wet and muddy outdoors, but the more challenging days are always the ones you remember the most and talk about for years to come, so my motto is not to let the bad days get you down but to rise to the challenge and make the most of each and every day.
Rolling hills of Neerim
With this in mind we were in the car heading to Toorongo and Amphitheatre Falls
. I have always enjoyed the area with the lush green rolling hills filled with cows and dotted with old farm houses along the way. Today was even more beautiful with the autumn leaves still at their best with bright yellows and reds on display. The mountains in the background finish the scene perfectly, and to be honest the rain doesn't affect the beauty of the area, if not just enhances all of the colours.
Signs at the start point
On arrival to the picnic area where the walk begins for the waterfalls we notice there is a free camping area
about 500m before the falls car park. It's nothing special, just some grass and a toilet block. At the falls car park there has a nice picnic area above the car park with toilets and information down below.
Stairs on the walk
The walks are considered to be 2 separate walks but I suggest doing the entire loop as it's only 2.2km. Another couple that were there only went to the Tooronga Falls and back on the same path but you will find the circuit walk to have much better scenery as it takes in both falls and follows the river.
Moss covered boulders and rocks in the river
The sign at the start of the walk is correct in saying it's the one of the most beautiful parts of Victoria and also one of the wettest! Despite the fact it was raining when we were there, I could imagine it would be fairly damp all year round going by the moss on the rocks and the beautiful ferns.
The track is very well signposted and is easy to complete. The only thing I would say is the rock steps can be slippery so you need to watch your footing and be aware the surface can be muddy with all the rain we have had, so you will want to wear proper walking shoes.
With all the rain comes mud but also lots of water flowing down the rivers and over the falls making them spectacular, the sound alone is deafening with the roar of the water rushing down the falls and through the valley.
Across a wooden footbridge, through the ferns and up the steps, you come to a sight that makes you look up and see the falls in all it's glory cascading over the side, and burbling at the bottom around the rocks and rushing down stream with force, yet it gives you a sense of relaxation and calmness.
The the base of the Tooronga Falls would have to be one seat with the best view in Victoria, if only it were dry!
From here we carry onto the Amphitheatre Falls Track and it takes us away from the river into taller trees and ferns, where I noticed these cute clumps of mushrooms.
The track heads towards the river and comes out at the observation platform overlooking the Amphitheatre Falls. These falls aren't as big as the Tooronga Falls but the scenery walking along the river is superb and I would say a perfect photographers location for nature shots (I am trying to take better photos to show the area at its best).
Beautiful photo spot
Towards the end of the track I managed to stop for a few minutes and take some nice photos before continuing on. I felt something give me a little bite behind my ear, turns out to be a leech!
With the kids covered in mud and wet from the rain we tried our best to clean them and check for leeches before hopping back in the car, none on the kids, but Stef had 3 on his shoes and legs.
View over Noojee
We were told by locals to visit the Tool Shed for lunch in Noojee as it has a big open fire and great food, however with the kids being covered in mud and it being 2:30pm on a Sunday, we headed back to the Neerim bakery which is also a fish and chip shop and got some steaming hot chips. A great end to a winter's day.
Except for the fact the car is going to need a good clean out!
How to get there:
From Melbourne, head east along the Princes Freeway, turn left at the Drouin exit towards Noojee. Alternatively for a more scenic trip take the Warburton Highway to Yarra Junction, turn onto the Yarra Junction -Noojee Rd. From the Noojee township head east for 4km (towards Mt Baw Baw) then turn left into Toorongo Falls Rd, (it's just after the saw mill) the road terminates at the picnic grounds.