Toorongo Falls

Falling Back Into Daytripping

When I was a kid, my family went on daytrips all the time. We drove to Marysville to see the Autumn leaves and Steavenson Falls. We drove to Mangalore every Easter Sunday to park in a dirt road behind the airport and watch the air show from a distance. We drove up to Toolangi and along the back roads into Healesville of an afternoon, just because.

Daytripping at Flagstaff Hill

My brother, the boat-spotter. (Technically, this is from a holiday, but it’s a cute photo and I wanted to share it.)

One of my earliest memories is of being in the back seat of the car with my favourite doll, watching raindrops hit the window as we drove along and feeling like that was exactly where I belonged.

When I got older, I started suggesting places to go: historic houses, interesting towns, distant beaches…

Daytripping at the Old Curiosity Shop

This was a fabulous little treasure in Ballarat. I’m so glad we got to see it before it was closed to the public.

When I got married, I waited a little while until I was sure the Chef wasn’t getting away – then I took him on our first daytrip. It should have been a disaster: half the places were closed; the old gaol was now an auction house; the historic cottage I wanted to visit was closed for underpinning; and I may have had a small meltdown when there were no signs to a lookout tower. (Don’t worry – we found it eventually.)

But it was as far from a disaster as you could get and it only encouraged me. We went on more daytrips and a couple of long weekends away where I tended to drag the chef to interesting paddocks with ruins in them.

Then we moved to a place that’s practically in the country and the daytripping pretty much stopped. After all, when it takes you an hour to drive to work, you’re more or less going on a daytrip every workday, even if it is the same one. Our last proper daytrip was to Churchill Island at the start of 2015.

There was a daytrip-shaped gap in my life

I missed it without even realising I missed it. We filled the gap with visits to nearby markets and trips to towns with great op shops, but it wasn’t quite the same. We were going to the same places instead of seeking out something different, travelling along unknown roads and seeing what lay at the end of them.

Last week, a sign came to me in the form of a leaflet dropped in our letterbox. Yarra Valley Water was doing some repairs in our street and the water was going to be cut off for five hours. If that doesn’t sound like an excuse to get out of the house and explore somewhere (preferably with running water), then I don’t know what does.

It was definitely time for a daytrip. Finally! We might live a long way from the edge of the suburbs, but that just means we’re a lot closer to places that were further away before, right?

That question makes sense if you give it a moment.

The only remaining question was where to go? After a spot of searching, I discovered that we lived a mere hour away from a waterfall I’d never heard of. Even better – it was just fifteen minutes away from a cute little town I’d been wanting to re-visit for ages.

Make that: a fabulous op shop in a cute little town I’d been wanting to re-visit for ages.

Join us on our Trip to Toorongo Falls

I was expecting gravel as soon as we turned onto the road that would lead us to the falls, but it was a lovely sealed road for most of the way. The mountain scenery was beautiful and it was dotted with dozens of farms, even though it felt like we were miles from anywhere. (Although, having just looked it up – these people are closer to a much bigger town than we are, so maybe we should consider a move to a waterfall-adjacent farmstead…)

We hit gravel eventually, but it wasn’t long before we were parking in a mostly-empty carpark and fighting off the march flies as we applied the insect repellant. Even before we’d started the walk up to the waterfall, the place was looking stunning.

Toorongo Falls Walk

Toorongo Falls Signpost

Initially, we planned to visit both waterfalls; once we’d made it to the first one, we decided to leave the Amphitheatre Falls for another day. It is… quite the hill.

The path was shady, but as it’s currently the height of Summer, I was on the lookout for my favourite form of deadly wildlife: snakes. And I found one.

Toorongo Falls Snake

Thankfully, it was basking in the sun well away from the path.

(Did I ever tell you about the time I almost stepped on a snake because I was too busy trying to frame a photograph? That was an interesting moment. I took of photo of that snake, too.)

The whole river is pretty much a waterfall, rocketing its way down the rocky slopes. Every time you stop to totally enjoy the scenery and not because you’re out of breath from walking briskly up the steps and various ascents, you can see the river being dramatic over rocks and fallen trees.

And sometimes, you can spot the waterfall high above you.

Toorongo Falls Glimpse

We actually didn’t spot this until we were on our way back and I’m kind of grateful. It looks so far away! If I’d seen it on our climb, I’d have given up all hope of reaching it before nightfall.

The main reason I a) didn’t see that first glimpse of the falls, and b) spotted the snake is because I tend to look down a lot of the time. I am clumsy and prone to tripping over my own feet, so this is essential if I wish to maintain dignity and forward motion.

It also means I spot interesting little plaques hidden in the shadows.

Toorongo Falls Plaque

But it’s also worth looking up when you can admire the trees towering above you.

Toorongo Falls Treetops

The path is so well-made that it almost feels as though it’s a natural part of the landscape. I absolutely loved the rock stairs and the giant boulders that lined sections of the path. But the best part of it all was this view of the final set of steps leading directly to the waterfall at last.

Toorongo Falls Steps

And the Toorongo Falls themselves? Well, they look a little like this.

Toorongo Falls

That’s only part of the falls – the middle third, really. They are majestic and so high that I literally couldn’t fit them into my camera. It was worth powering our way up the mountain with this sort of sight as our reward.

I still can’t believe I didn’t even know this waterfall existed until the day before we visited it.

As for the Amphitheatre Falls, we’ll see them one day. At the moment, we’re going on regular walks to build up our fitness, so we will be back. I can’t wait!

The Compulsory Op Shop Stop

We never do just the one thing on our daytrips, which is why we ended up taking the road to Neerim South in search of the cute little op shop I remembered visiting a while ago. As we drove into town, we feared a return of the bad luck that plagued our first adventure: the little shop was shut with ominous ‘CLOSED’ signs pasted on the windows.

Fortunately, it had just been re-located to a bigger shop that the Chef spotted on the other side of town.

It was every bit as good as I remembered. I may have bought rather a lot of old sewing patterns, but I regret nothing. My money has gone to a good cause in a delightful little town.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking by it.

Luckily, we still had enough money left to buy lunch in a local café while learning about a market in a nearby town. With any luck, that will be a story for another day(trip).

Our Favourite Days

As we drove home, the Chef said to me: “These are my favourite days.”

They’re mine, too. They’re the days when I feel most like I’m in the right places, with the right person, doing the right things. We really should do it more often.

Where do you like to escape to? Let me know in the comments below!

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Dana Moore 27th January 2018 - 6:06 pm

I enjoy going to the shore (beach) with my husband and just be together. Lie on the beach and do what comes natural. I also enjoy camping in the North Carolina mountains. Everywhere I look, I see Christmas trees. It is just beautiful and everyday is Christmas. We always cook over a fire pit and hike, looking at nature and appreciating God’s beautiful creations. Now, this is a little piece of heaven, here on earth.

Katie 27th January 2018 - 8:45 pm

That sounds fabulous, Dana! I love that daytripping can be whatever you want to make of it – something simple, or something involved – and that’s why it’s endlessly enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed your description of the forests being full of Christmas trees. 🙂

Leeyong Soo 28th January 2018 - 9:31 pm

I’ve got the daytripping/roadtripping bug too, as I’m just finishing an editing job for a travel guide and have had to research 20 Victorian towns! So many places I’ve never been but now want to go… and probably all with AMAZING opshops which for some reason are not mentioned in the book…

Katie 29th January 2018 - 9:47 am

That sounds amazing – I want a job like that! I can’t understand the omission of op shops at all… They clearly don’t understand the normal way of picking a roadtrip destination, which is to find out where the great op shops are and then perhaps visit some of the town’s other attractions if you have time. Or any money left. 😀

Leeyong Soo 30th January 2018 - 1:06 pm

It was a one-off gig and didn’t include actually GOING to the places I was researching, but I will try to get to at least some!

Katie 30th January 2018 - 1:21 pm

Well, at least you now have a list of interesting new places to visit. 😀

Wiki 18th April 2018 - 4:14 pm

Hello ,

I saw your tweet about animals and thought I will check your website. I like it!

I love pets. I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male). Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He acts like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
I have even created an Instagram account for them ( ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

Keep up the good work on your blog.


Katie 2nd May 2018 - 1:12 pm

Hello, Wiki. Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. Everyone loves cats on Instagram, don’t they? They definitely seem to be more popular than their human servants.

Lee 19th May 2018 - 5:16 pm

Aha, I love a good day trip too! Looks like you found a lovely spot there, although it frightens me that so much Australian wildlife has the ability and motivation to kill you. Creatures in Scotland are much more pathetic.

Katie 20th May 2018 - 3:44 pm

To be fair, the snakes aren’t actually interested in killing us; this one was just trying to have a nice sunbathe. As long as you don’t step on them, you’re fine!

I have a huuuuge backlog of daytrip photos that I’ll be sharing here soon. Hope you’ll enjoy seeing them, too.


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