Trippy 'reverse waterfalls' seen flowing backwards in Australia

A 'reverse waterfall' flowing backwards onto the land
(Image credit: 7NEWS Sydney)

In a year where rivers in Arizona run black with steaming sludge and red "blood snow" stains the Antarctic Peninsula, you may not be surprised to learn that several waterfalls in southeast Australia have been flowing backwards.

Local news agency 7NEWS Sydney shared an aerial video of the phenomenon on Twitter last weekend. Sure enough, as water pours over the clifftops of the New South Wales coast, the stream curves back up and sprays backwards onto land. Partway through the footage, the gravity-defying mist also creates a rainbow that seems to say, "Aw, the apocalypse is so much prettier than I imagined!"

Obviously, there is a simple meteorological explanation for this reverse-waterfall action: It's just a trick of the wind.

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Over the past several days, Sydney and the surrounding coast have been battered by heavy rain, strong winds and towering ocean surf. According to 7NEWS Sydney, weather experts recorded winds raging at 45 mph (70 km/h) at the Royal National Park south of Sydney, where the video was recorded.

The strong coastal winds were more than enough to temporarily divert the course of the falls — and, unfortunately, they also wreaked havoc on surrounding communities. Hundreds of residents of New South Wales were urged to evacuate their homes for three days during the peak of the storm, 7NEWS Sydney reported, though not because of the backwards-flowing waterfall. The coastline's wild weather caused rivers to flood and left thousands of homes without power.

The rain has finally subsided, thankfully, and the evacuation order has been lifted, 7NEWS reported. And the waterfalls? Back to majestically tumbling over the cliffs of New South Wales and into the blue, boundless sea. Bo-ring.

Originally published on Live Science.

Brandon Specktor

Brandon is the space/physics editor at Live Science. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Reader's Digest,, the Richard Dawkins Foundation website and other outlets. He holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from the University of Arizona, with minors in journalism and media arts. He enjoys writing most about space, geoscience and the mysteries of the universe.