Author: Rosie Henderson
| Photographer: Rosie Henderson
Published: October 13, 2021
When it’s not bright and sunny, Esperance can feel a little miserable. Sometimes we don’t know what to do with ourselves when the sun isn’t shining and the water isn’t sparkling. We find ourselves counting down until the sun returns and the easterlies are inbound. But if we look away from the coastline, there are some beaut local adventures that aren’t reliant on calm seas and clear skies. Cascade Falls is one of them. It’s the ideal spring day trip because the more rain we’ve had, the more the falls are flowing. Our own falls, in Esperance. Cue that oh so overdone chasing waterfalls song…
After the recent rain, we decided to jump in the car and take a gamble on the possibility of forecast sunshine sneaking out from behind the clouds. Always a gamble, rarely a disappointment. Worst case, you get soaked to the skin or a little windblown. Even then, it’s usually worth it. Cascade Falls is along Loop Road, about 70 kilometres west of Esperance. Heading out of town along the highway, the sun starts shining and the morning coffee kicks in. There are a couple of routes you can take, either turning down Cascade Road onto Loop Road, or off the highway onto Coomalbidgup Road, then down Loop Road. As the tar turns into gravel, we drive past paddocks of flowering canola and watch out the windows in awe of the bush that is our backyard. As we approach a dip on Loop Road, we see water flowing over the road and spot a little track that leads into the bush. We hobble over a few rocks and potholes in the road, as the sunlight falls through the mallee trees. This track takes you down along the edge of the falls, where there are two main spots you can stop and park alongside the falls.
If you’re lucky enough to catch the falls after a bit of rain, you’ll find the water cascading over a labyrinth of granite rocks. It’s a playground for kids and adults alike - complete with walking tracks, rock jumping opportunities, and lots of perfect picnic spots. You can walk along little tracks that run alongside the river for a fair way down, where you’ll see the river eventually beginning to narrow again. If you’re up for crossing over the rocks, you can walk a loop, down one side, over the river, and up the other. With a bumper wildflower season on our doorstep, this spot was already coming to life with lots of our local blooms - a wildflower spotter’s dream. At many spots along the river, there are moss covered rocks that offer the perfect perch for a picnic with a view. Or if you’re up for some rock hopping, there’s a beautiful grassy area on the other side of the river. Roll out the picnic rug, sling open the tucker box, crack a coldie or brew a billy, and spend a few hours basking in the sunshine to a background soundtrack of near silence, aside from the running river and singing birds.
We’d recommend picking up a roady from Downtown or Cloud Eleven to enjoy on the drive out. And if you’re planning a weekend adventure, pop past Bread Local on Friday arvo for some baked goods to pack in the picnic basket. Fill the thermos, throw in the billy, or chuck a couple of coldies on ice in the Esky. We’d recommend wearing enclosed shoes, and taking a picnic rug, a good book or deck of cards. There are no facilities at Cascade Falls, so come prepared with the essentials - water and TP/loo tickets/dunny roll/whatever you wish to call it. Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories. Beware of bees, often located in the nooks and crannies of rocks around the falls. If you do encounter any, stay dead still and they’ll generally get bored and meander away. And as always, take it easy and be safe out on those gravel roads.
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