Snobs Creek Falls was once referred to as “the Great Falls of Australia’s Niagara”.
While that might be a bit of a stretch, they are an impressive and unexpected sight when you’re touring the mostly rural upper Goulburn Valley in northeast Victoria. They make for a welcome detour from the Goulburn Valley Highway and its surrounding dry farmland. Not to mention a cool retreat from a hot summer day.
Being just off the highway, only 15 minutes drive from Eildon, and 40 minutes from the popular Lakeside Camping Area at Lake Eildon National Park, Snobs Creek Falls tends to get busy during weekends and holiday periods. It might be worth avoiding these busy times if you’re looking for solitude, peace and tranquillity.
Those who visit will be rewarded with a multi-tiered waterfall tumbling over massive boulders, bordered by lush ferny forest with rocks and logs covered in moss. With a total 110-metre drop, Snobs Creek Falls is around 10 metres wide after a few days of heavy rainfall.
There’s a basic picnic area at the car park, but the viewing platforms make for a nicer place to enjoy a sandwich. Taking the signed track to the upper viewing area, you’ll quickly descend through the Manna gums, tree ferns and Narrow-leaf Peppermint to a platform overlooking a picturesque cascade. Here you can enjoy views over the top of the falls and right across the upper Goulburn Valley.
Climbing back towards the car park, you’ll find another path directly opposite. A longer staircase takes you halfway down the falls to a viewing platform that protrudes from the rock face, putting you right in front of the waterfall’s longest drop. When Snobs Creek is really flowing, this spot is an assault on the senses. Be prepared to get a bit damp if it’s windy. Unsurprisingly, there’s a gate enabling access to this platform to be blocked. I wouldn’t have wanted to stand on it if the flow had been much heavier.
Unfortunately, there’s no track to the base of the falls and beyond. This would enable a view of the entire drop (and would be a much better vantage for photographers). On my first visit to Snobs Creek Falls in early 2010, there was a different viewing platform located 80 metres below the top of the falls. It offered a much better view but was sadly wiped out by floods later that year. The current network of paths, staircases and platforms was opened in 2012.
Note: Snobs Creek Falls Walk isn’t a hiking trail but rather a couple of very short paths (with steps) to two viewing platforms over the falls.
Length: 300 m
Time: Allow 20 – 30 minutes to enjoy the falls
Grade: Easy / Grade 2 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Closest Town: Eildon (11 km)
Car Access: 2WD accessible (2.5 km of well-graded gravel road). From Eildon, travel 5.3 km south-west (towards Thornton) before turning left/south onto Snobs Creek Road. Continue a further 5.7 km to the signed Snobs Creek Falls car park.
- Snobs Creek Falls flows all year round.
- No entry fee.
- Not gated / no closing time.
- Carpark only has space for 5 or 6 vehicles.
- No toilet facilities or drinking water available.
- Not accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, or those with limited mobility, due to stairs.
When you feel like you’ve soaked up the power and beauty of Snobs Creek Falls, return via the same stairs to the car park. If the basic picnic area here doesn’t inspire (it probably won’t), you should hold off lunch for one of the prettier spots nearby, like Walnuts River Reserve or Bourke Street Picnic Area.
The earliest European records of Snobs Creek Falls date back to the 1850s, and what follows is 170-odd years of recorded fascination with this incredible place. They’ve been kept secret and promoted as a tourist destination, they’ve been considered as a source of hydroelectric power, and they’ve been known as Niagara Falls (as mentioned above), Yarram Falls, Snobs Falls, nearly renamed to Alexandra Falls, before consensus seemed to settle on their current name – the origin of which is said to reference a West Indian bootmaker (or ‘snob’) who operated a boot shop not far away.
One last thing: some websites suggest climbing the fences here to swim. My advice is just don’t. Maybe you’re confident you’ll be safe, but what if someone else sees you and decides it’s a good idea, only for things to end badly? In January 1990, 12-year-old Elisha Ross lost her life when she fell from the falls. There are plenty of beautiful swimming spots along the nearby Goulburn River and Lake Eildon. Be safe.
Have you visited Snobs Creek Falls? Got it on your bucket list? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.
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