Lal Lal falls is a popular spot near Ballarat especially after wet weather. The waterfall has been recorded by Europeans using many names including Woringganninyoke, La-al La-al, Yarkmyowing and Punjil. The falls are on the land of the Tooloora Baluk clan, a tribe of the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation. It’s a deeply sacred place and a living site of Bundjil the creator spirit and one of the most significant Indigenous cultural sites in Victoria.
5 things you need to know before you visit:
1. Keep to the designated paths and visitor areas.
- An increase in tourism means more foot traffic and erosion. Keeping to the officially marked tracks help limit damage to vegetation.
- Don’t climb fences or go beyond the visitor areas. People have died here from land slips.
2. Take the loop walk.
- If you’re abled, extend your visit beyond the falls lookout by taking the von Guerard walk. Before you get to the waterfall platform the path forks (there’s a sign with a map), take the ascending path to the Eugene von Guerard viewpoint for the starting point. The sound of water and wildlife makes for a peaceful and beautiful 30 minute walk or if you have toddlers, a loud and long one.
3. Drive with others in mind.
- Remember you’re travelling through a country community and there are children, locals and wildlife that walk, play and live close to the roads. Drive mindfully.
- Expect to share the road with other vehicles. You will need to move to the side of the road when other vehicles approach. The road is also rough because of the recent rain with some significant pot holes to navigate around.
4. Beware of your shoes.
- You should clean your shoes before and after nature walks to avoid spreading diseases, micro pests and weeds which can impact on native vegetation and wildlife.
- The falls look their best after heavy rain but that means the path can be extremely muddy. Gumboots are an absolute must.
5. Learn some local history.
- At the visitor rotunda you can read some of the history of the falls and its significance as an Indigenous cultural site as well as stories of Bundjil the creator spirit.
Let me know in the comments below if you visited or have some more tips!
Lal Lal Falls Rd
Lal Lal, Victoria
Approximately 25 minutes drive from Ballarat Central. Currently there is no public transport to the falls. The Geelong bus does stop in Lal Lal once a day but its a one way trip. There is also no pedestrian path to the falls from the township.
The car park does not have designated disabled parking as parking spaces are not marked on the unsealed road. The path and viewing platform are not wheelchair accessible. In wet weather the unsealed path becomes very muddy and the viewing platform is only accessed by descending some stairs.
The name Lal Lal.
The waterfall was described to an early European visitor as La-al La-al by a man named Balliang. It was thought this signified the term falling water. Balliang was the head of the Wathawurrung baluk (of the Wadawurrung clan from the Barrabool Hills near Geelong).
The waterfall is located on the country of the Toloora baluk people of the Wadawurrung clan. When Robinson and Parker visited the falls in 1840, Robsinon recorded the name of the larger Lal Lal falls as Woringganninyoke and Nanden as the smaller falls located down stream. Parker however recorded Lal Lal as Yarkmyowing. In 1846 Robinson visited the falls again this time with a Djadjawurrung man named Merrigundidj who called it Punjil. Lal Lal falls is the commonly used name today.
[Clarke, I. D. (2014). Lal Lal Falls Scenic Reserve. In I. D. Clarke (Ed.), An Historical Geography of Tourism in Victoria, Australia: Case Studies. De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.2478/9783110370119 ]
A sacred place.
There are lots of stories about this sacred place some of which you can read at the visitor shelter. You can also watch the video here from a local elder. https://youtu.be/hASQdr_SADk