The Steavenson Falls Reserve is a truly beautiful spot which is easy to access on a day trip from Melbourne. Gum trees, Beech trees and ferns soak in the spray as the water crashes down eighty-four metres into the picturesque Steavenson River valley below. The lush forest in this area is regenerating valiantly from the horrific fires of 2009, but the ghostly skeletons that were once trees still stand eerily like little white matchsticks on the hills in the distance – a lasting reminder of that black chapter in the area’s history.
I went to Marysville (the nearest town, about an hour and a half from Melbourne, only 5 minutes from the falls) quite a lot as a kid. We stayed at a family guest-house named Marylands on an almost-annual basis for quite a few years in the early 1990s. It was so gorgeous and green and small-towney. We weren’t coordinated enough as a family to ski but we all tobogganed on Lake Mountain many a September! Most of my family have been back once or twice since the fires (to have a look and generally support the regrowth of local tourist businesses) but this was my first trip since it all changed. It is almost unrecognisable. The hills are still rolling and the people are still delightful but locals are deliberately keeping their properties very clear of trees. Nevertheless, lots of natural forest is growing back at these falls – and this progress is definitely comforting. We headed there with the good cameras so that Ben could experiment with focus-stacking techniques while photographing the waterfall against all the greenery. By combining a long exposure (to make the water look white-soft) and shorter exposures (to capture the surrounding rocks and trees with precision) focus he was able to ‘get the best of both worlds’. I am impressed with the effect – razor sharp, every craggy detail in high definition! Thank goodness he doesn’t apply the same techniques when snapping a sneaky portrait of my face!!! 😉
From the main car park, it is only a 700-metre return walk down to a viewing platform below the falls. There are lots of other walks nearby if you want to get some cardio, but if you’re not wearing your hiking shoes you should still be able to see the main attraction without any problems! It’s worth noting that the path and the falls themselves are floodlit from dusk until about 11pm if you fancy a trip in the evening.
Waterfalls are very peaceful and at the same time humbling and spectacular. We’d definitely recommend a trip out to Steavenson Falls – whether you’re after some personal time for contemplation or whether you’re after a bit of light exercise and nature-appreciation with friends or family.