About Newtown Falls
Newtown Falls was an unexpected waterfall attraction as it sat relatively hidden in the historic mining town of Beechworth. I noticed that in some of the literature out there, this waterfall may also be called Newtown Falls. However, from looking at the signage by a viewpoint overlooking this falls, the bridge further upstream on Spring Creek was known as the Newtown Bridge. Thus, I believe the official name of the falls came from that bridge. The stone bridge that was currently in use was designed to “be in service for the next 200 years” (it was completed in 1875), and it replaced the original wooden bridge. Visiting this waterfall was easy as it was essentially a roadside waterfall. The hardest part was probably making the three-point turn on the narrow side street it was on (more on this later).
As far as photographing the waterfall was concerned, the best lighting occurred in the early- to mid-afternoon. We knew this because the first time we came here in November 2006, we witnessed the underlying reddish bedrock really contrasted the white of Spring Creek with the Newtown Bridge also receiving the benefit of the sun’s soft backlighting. The photo you see at the top of this page came from a return trip in November 2017. At that time, I arrived in the late morning when the sun was almost on top of the falls and somewhat against my line of sight.
It was actually a miracle that Spring Creek was flowing at all during my first visit in November 2006 because Southeastern Australia was in the midst of a severe drought that lasted for the better part of the decade. Spring Creek was one of the feeding watercourses for the endangered Murray-Darling River basin (an important system for agriculture as well as the city of Adelaide in South Australia). On my second visit in November 2017, Spring Creek appeared to have had better flow after a mild recovery from that drought, but even that visit apparently took place after a drier-than-normal Winter and Spring.
Finally, there was one peculiar thing about my visit to Newtown Falls. The overlook was at the wrong end of a one-way road. It bugged me that I had to make an awkward three-point turn in order to return to the main road leading to the Beechworth town centre after viewing the falls as there was no immediate access to the start of that one-way road. Well, it turned out that I was at the end of the 4km Scenic Gorge Drive that started on the north end of Beechworth and ended at this waterfall below the town’s south end.
Along the way, there were panoramic views over Beechworth as well as a Scenic Gorge Bridge providing a view of some attractive intermediate cascades on Spring Creek. It was almost as if the town authorities would have preferred to have me drive the whole one-way road before reaching the waterfall (so the three-point turn wouldn’t be necessary). I’ll discuss more about this drive in the directions below.
The key to finding Newtown Falls was to first drive towards Beechworth town centre, where there was a roundabout by the post office intersecting the C315 and C525 roads. From there, we’d drive west on Ford St (C315) for about 900m to Pritchard St on the right. This small street was just past the Newtown Bridge. Once on Pritchard St, the overlook for the falls was about 100m to the right.
In order to go on the optional one-way Scenic Gorge Drive, starting from the roundabout in the town centre (again, where the C315 and C525 roads intersect), we’d drive north on Ford St (C315) for about 1.6km to the north end of town. Then, a signposted turnoff on the left would lead us onto the Gorge Rd. The road became one-way after about 400m.
From that point forward, I had to drive 4km to the end of the drive at Pritchard St. In the first 600m or so of this drive, I was able to start getting overviews of parts of Beechworth as well as some of the bushlands further to the north and west. The Scenic Gorge Bridge was about 1.8km from the start of the one-way section of the drive.
For geographical context, Beechworth was about 35km (under 30 minutes drive) southwest from the twin towns of Albury–Wodonga, 39km (about 30 minutes drive) east of Wangaratta, 383km (4 hours drive) southwest of Canberra, and 285km (3 hours drive) northeast of Melbourne.
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