Waterfall wondering – drive itinerary
An epic day trip taking in the best waterfalls, rainforests, walks and viewpoints around the Kiama region. Veer less than 10km inland from the stunning Kiama coastline and you are met with a steep mountain escarpment that features many a hinterland hideaway and some of NSW’s best and most accessible waterfalls.
As nature lovers and adventure seekers, there’s nothing quite like the sound of rushing water and the sight of cascading falls. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and let’s explore the beauty of this region’s waterfalls.
Pitstop 1: Minnamurra Falls, Jamberoo
Directions from Kiama Visitor Centre:
- Start your journey from Kiama and head northwest on the Jamberoo Mountain Road, follow the signs for “Tourist Drive 9”
- Don’t forget to make a pitstop in Jamberoo Village – grab a coffee, stock up on picnic items from the local IGA, or savour a pub lunch
- Follow the signs to the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre.
The Minnamurra Rainforest Centre provides the perfect launchpad for your waterfall adventure. Embark on the Loop Walk, a 1.6km trail connected by suspension bridges spanning the Minnamurra Rivulet. The initial 500m of the Loop Walk ensures assisted wheelchair access, promoting inclusivity. Plan for a leisurely 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete this walk. At the midpoint of the Loop, visitors can choose to veer off onto the paved Falls Walk (2.6km return). This slightly more challenging route offers views of the rainforest canopy and the gorge sculpted by Minnamurra Rivulet. The journey concludes at a viewing platform and rest area at the base of the Upper Falls, providing the perfect opportunity to soak in the beautiful surroundings.
Pitstop 2 and 3: Carrington Falls & Nellies Glen
Directions from Minnamurra Falls to Carrington Falls & Nellies Glen
- From Minnamurra Falls, head south-east on Minnamurra Falls Rd towards Quarter Sessions Rd
- Turn right onto Jamberoo Mountain Rd, make a sharp left onto Cloonty Rd
- Continue straight onto Nellies Glen Trail
With its cascades, waterholes and rockpools, some regard Carrington Falls, where the Kangaroo River plunges over 50m to the gully below, as the most beautiful on the South Coast. Head to Carrington Falls picnic area, also known as Thomas Place, in the park’s north west to see for yourself and there’s a good chance you’ll agree.
Feeling energetic? From the picnic area you’ll find a variety of walking tracks that take you to a series of lookouts fronting the magnificent falls. Be sure to take the short walk along Izzards lookout track to enjoy another spectacular view. For longer walks head to the nearby Nellies Glen picnic area…
History may not have remembered Nellie so well, but one thing’s for sure: she knew a good picnic spot when she saw it. Soak up the oxygen laden air while being soothed by the sounds of nearby waterfalls. Explore the nearby range of spectacular lookouts via Missingham lookout track, Warris Chair lookout track or Carrington Falls picnic area. Here, you can relax under the shade of magnificent eucalyptus forest. The kids will love looking for the brightly coloured funghi and orchids high in the canopy. Check the nearby forest floor for collections of blue objects, the telltale signs of the nest of a male satin bower bird trying to impress the ladies.
Pitstop 4: Fitzroy Falls
Directions from Carrington Falls to Fitzroy Falls
- From Carrington Falls, Take Cloonty Rd to Jamberoo Mountain Rd
- Take Illawarra Hwy to Nowra Rd in Fitzroy Falls
You can uncover the beauty of Fitzroy Falls through its multitude of lookouts. The main viewpoint is just a short 150m walk from the car park along the West Rim Trail and offers an up-close experience of the upper falls and a breathtaking valley panorama. Optimal for a brief yet rewarding visit, this spot provides an ideal setting for those seeking Instagram-able snaps. Further along the West Rim Trail, Jersey Lookout, just 550m from the car park, provides a head-on view of the upper falls and the cascading pool, making it a worthwhile stop for scenic enthusiasts. For a quieter alternative, the Warrawong Lookout, situated 1.2km from the car park along the East Rim Trail, offers a serene experience with a good side view of Fitzroy Falls.
If you want to explore further, The West Rim Track, spanning 4.2km return, is an easy trek featuring various lookouts showcasing Fitzroy Falls, Twin Falls, the Grotto, and valley views. On the quieter side, the East Rim Track, covering 6.3km return, is a longer bushwalk primarily focused on valley views, making it an ideal choice for nature enthusiasts seeking tranquility. Extend your walk with the Wildflower Walk (2.4km return), an extension of the East Rim Track best enjoyed in spring with its blooming wildflowers.
Pitstop 5: Berry
Directions from Fitzroy Falls back to Kiama (via Berry)
- From Fitzroy Falls, head sout-east on Nowra Road
- Follow signs to Berry
From Fitzroy Falls, loop back to Kiama via Berry – a town blended with historic charm and modern delights. The streets of Berry are adorned with beautiful Victorian and Georgian architecture, including the historic Berry Public School dating back to 1877. Indulge in a shopping spree at boutique shops, satisfy your sweet tooth at the local lolly shops and don’t miss the iconic Berry Donut Van for a treat. Take a break at the Berry Pub, soak in the friendly atmosphere, and savour local flavours.
If you have another day up your sleeve for more waterfall adventurers we would definitely recommend Belmore Falls, Cascade Falls and Rainbow Falls (via Clover Hill Track).
Extended Adventure: Belmore Falls
Directions from Kiama Visitor Centre:
- Take Jamberoo Rd and Jamberoo Mountain Rd to Meryla St in Robertson
- Drive to Belmore Falls Rd
Belmore Falls, near Kangaroo Valley in New South Wales, boasts a captivating walking track that offers stunning views of the Southern Highlands. The trail begins at Hindmarsh lookout carpark, providing a stunning panorama of Kangaroo Valley. Guided by well-marked signs, hikers traverse the escarpment, encountering several strategically placed lookouts that showcase the diverse landscapes, culminating in a breathtaking view of the majestic Belmore Falls. The journey is not only a visual delight but also an opportunity to immerse in the region’s natural beauty.
What sets the Belmore Falls walking track apart is its unique blend of landscapes and indigenous flora. The final lookout unveils the cascading waterfall and the sound of rushing water. Along the way, hikers encounter typical sandstone flora, including the enchanting honey flower, banksia, wattle, and tea tree, offering a botanical journey amidst the scenic grandeur of the Southern Highlands. Belmore Falls beckons nature enthusiasts to explore its trails, providing a rewarding outdoor experience that combines panoramic views, a majestic waterfall, and the diverse plant life of the region, making it a must-visit destination near Kangaroo Valley.
Extended Adventure: Cascade Falls, Clover Hill Track (Rainbow Falls)
Directions from Kiama Visitor Centre:
- Take Illawarra Hwy to Cascade Falls
- After Cascade Falls, continue up Clover Hill Rd in Macquarie Pass
The Cascades walk provides an accessible and rewarding journey through a diverse landscape, ranging from rainforest to tall eucalypt forest along a meandering creek. This enchanting rainforest sanctuary hosts a variety of wildlife, including lyrebirds, platypus, and goannas. The trail meanders through the lush fern understorey, creating a delightful experience with lizards scurrying and birds flitting through rays of sunlight. While enjoyable year-round, the walk becomes particularly special in summer when the rainforest canopy offers shade and a cool retreat. Children can revel in the walk’s variety, and bringing along a book on local birds or plants adds an educational element, enhancing their connection with the surroundings. Cap off the adventure with a leisurely lunch at Cascades picnic area, a perfect conclusion to a day of exploration.
Rainbow Falls (Clover Hill Track)
Embark on the Clover Hill trail for an intriguing and diverse hiking experience. Following an old logging route, the trail leads to Rainbow Falls and three smaller falls upstream on the Macquarie Rivulet. The journey begins in the dense shade of the forest, eventually revealing the scenic Clover Hill paddocks cleared by farmers over a century ago. As the landscape transitions, massive cliffs of the escarpment come into view, radiating hues of yellow and orange in the sunlight.
This walk appeals to bushwalkers, birdwatchers, and adventurers alike, offering a striking contrast between rainforest and open fields. Towering rainforest trees, eucalypts, beefwood, Illawarra flame trees, cabbage tree palms, and tree ferns provide habitat for lyrebirds and goannas before giving way to sunlit plains where kangaroos often graze. Notable highlights include a breathtaking view of the escarpment, and for the adventurous, an option to scramble upstream to witness the spectacular Rainbow Falls adds an extra thrill to this already captivating journey.
We’d love to see your favourite spots within the Kiama area – share your photos or footage with us at @kiamansw on Facebook and Instagram, using #kiama #gerringong #gerroa #jamberoo #mimmamurra #bombo.
Photo credits: Chris Keats, Hayden Mclean, Jeff Sheppeard, Phil Winterton @she.who.explores and Destination NSW