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Things to do in Lal Lal

Posted 04/05/2021 in Things to do

Lal Lal is a beautiful little hamlet within the Moorabool Shire which hosts three gorgeous waterfalls, a charming historical railway station, and scenic forests filled with fascinating remnants of the area's rich mining history. 

Located just twenty minutes from Ballarat, Lal Lal makes a fantastic spot to spend an afternoon (or a whole weekend!) exploring. There are great picnic facilities at the stunning Lal Lal Falls, and several scenic walks to enjoy throughout the Lal Lal area. 

The name Lal Lal comes from the Aboriginal names for Lal Lal Falls, "Lal Lal" which means running water. 

Lal Lal began its existence as a pastoral run, later springing to action as a prosperous mining community. The region became a popular tourist destination due to its famous horse racing days, which were so popular that a branch of the railway was constructed to deliver visitors directly to the racecourse!

Lal Lal boasts multiple significant historical gems, and perhaps the most notable is the fascinating iron mine and blast furnace situated in the Bungal Historic Area. Here you can take a look at Victoria's only attempt at smelting iron ore, where the huge blast furnace remains for visitors to appreciate today.

Another historical gem situated in Lal Lal is the Grave of the Shepherd's Daughter, the final resting place of a young girl who died of pneumonia in the 1860s. She now lies resting in a peaceful bush setting beneath the trees.

Read on to discover some of the top things to see and do in Lal Lal, Victoria. 

Lal Lal Falls

Lal Lal Falls, Lal Lal VIC

The impressive Lal Lal Falls drops down into a large, rocky gorge in Lal Lal, just out of Ballarat. The waterfall can be appreciated from a viewing platform which looks out over the gorge.

Moorabool Falls

Moorabool Falls, Lal Lal VIC

A gorgeous stream of water drops dramatically into a tranquil pool surrounded by rocks, moss and ferns. You can see the top of the waterfall from a viewing platform as you descend down towards the creek, and you will find the best view of the waterfall from a bench seat downstream from Moorabool Falls.

Granite Falls

Granite Falls, Lal Lal VIC

Granite Falls is a spectacular waterfall along the Moorabool River, downstream from the better-known Moorabool Falls and not far from Lal Lal Falls which is accessed from the other side of the reserve. Viewing this waterfall is tricky as the walking track is little more than a narrow trail along a steep slope and the way is obstructed in many places by rock hopping, slippery ground, pot holes in the grass, and a thick tangle of blackberry bushes. Hikers must be wary of sudden drops and steep slopes. It is slippery and very prickly to get down to the base of the falls - you can get a great view of this waterfall from the top of the gorge. 

Lal Lal Railway Station

Lal Lal Railway Station, Lal Lal VIC

Lal Lal's charming old bluestone railway station is a great spot to stop in for a look while you're exploring the waterfalls and historic sites throughout the town. An information sign stands alongside the road providing details on the station's history and construction, and you can wander around the gorgeous building and platform for a closer look. 

Iron Mine and Blast Furnace

The Lal Lal Iron Mine and Blast Furnace is the site of Victoria's only attempt at smelting iron ore in a blast furnace, with several significant historical features remaining to see today. Located a scenic twenty minute drive from Ballarat in the Bungal Historical Area, visitors can spend time exploring the site, camping in the spacious free campground, and bushwalking in the surrounding forest.

Grave of the Shepherd's Daughter

Grave of the Shepherd's Daughter, Lal Lal VIC

The lonely grave of six year old Mary Paterson lies in the bushland along Chalkmine Road in Lal Lal. Known as the 'Shepherd's Daughter', Mary contracted pneumonia in the 1860s and was cut off from medical treatment with her droving family by the flooded Moorabool River. Unfortunately she didn't make it, and now lies resting in this peaceful bush setting beneath the trees. 

Camping in Lal Lal 

Campground at the Iron Mine and Blast Furnace, Lal Lal VIC

Free camping is available at the Iron Mine and Blast Furnace picnic area in the Lal Lal - Bungal Historic Area, where visitors will find fire pits, wood fire barbecues, a table and toilets.

Gold prospecting in Lal Lal 

If you're looking to try your luck gold detecting or panning around Lal Lal, prospecting is permitted on crown land and in the Lal Lal State Forest. Please note that prospecting is not allowed in the Moorabool River. 

Take a look at our gold prospecting guide for Ballarat for more handy info on gold detecting, panning and sluicing in the area. 

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