Best times to visit
The waterfalls are at there best in the winters after a rainstorm or passing shower. In the summers, the area typically offers a cool relief to visitors, but the flow over the falls can be somewhat of a disappointment. For the purpose of photography, overcast days offer the best conditions.
Allow for at least two hours of daylight to take this location in without having to rush. The climb down to the falls is relatively quick (about 10 to 15 minutes); the walk back up takes between 20 to 25 minutes but is not overwhelming. During wet weather, the steps on the pathway can become soaked, muddy and slippery. I recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots for a visit here. Under no circumstances should one wear open-toed shoes or sandals. I recommend the use of a hiking poles to ease your ascent from the waterfall. As a general rule, to be safe, I would recommend coming here with at least another person.
While the falls generate a fair bit of spray, there is little chance that your camera lenses will be affected directly, though you might get dripped on from any rainwater clinging onto leaves of the trees above you on a wet day. I highly recommend the use of a tripod here. While you might consider going off the beaten path across the stream to shoot from another perspective, I would recommend shooting from the viewing platform (which has a bench that will comfortably seat 3 adults). Consider using lenses of focal lengths under 85mm. In order to capture the smooth flow of the water, I recommend using a neutral density filter.
If you’re planning on coming here at the end of the day, be sure to carry a flashlight or headlamp with you.
If it starts raining while you’re at the falls, the way back to the car park is up a steep staircase. If you visit when the weather is wet, carry an umbrella or raincoat with you. Consider carrying some insect repellent.
Vehicular Access: Unsealed road access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Unpaved path, wooden staircase, and boardwalk.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty: Medium
Amount of time required at the site: About an hour.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The stairs are slippery when wet, and are very steep. There are snakes, insects and arachnids in the area. Proceed with caution. In the interest of personal safety, this is a location that I recommend visiting with at least one other companion. Mobile phones do not work in this area. Consider carrying walkie-talkies to stay in touch with each other.
Recommendations: Use a pair of hiking poles. They will make your walk up the steps and path much easier. On a hot day, carry some drinking water with you.
Hopetoun Falls is one of several waterfalls in close vicinity to each other, and along the same approach route to Beauchamp Falls. It is relatively easy to get to, and is definitely worth the visit. It is one of the many iconic waterfalls of the Otways which is best viewed on an overcast day, especially after there have a few passing showers in the area