Minnamurra Falls was an impressive two-tiered waterfall nestled deep in a serene rainforest just a few minutes inland from Kiama (which itself seemed to be known for some pretty active and attractive blowholes).
Going into our November 2006 visit to this waterfall, Julie and I had feared the worst due to some of Australia’s worst droughts in its recorded history to date.
Even the sign at the visitor center didn’t sound encouraging.
However, we were pleasantly surprised to see this waterfall flow fairly well as you can see from the photo above.
Actually, that photo only showed the upper drop of the falls as there was a harder-to-see lower drop.
Waiting for the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre
Given that the overall hike was expected to take us 2 hours round trip, we wanted to get an early start.
This time commitment would have included the time we spent for rests, reading signs, and taking photos.
Unfortunately, Julie and I actually had to kill a little bit of time before visiting the falls because the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre (where the hike began) was only open from 9am to 5pm.
So until that time, the track and facilities were not available.
Thus, we capitalized on the close proximity of the town of Kiama to have breakfast and see some of the impressive blowholes around town.
Hiking the loop part of the Minnamurra Falls Track
Once we finally got to start the hike, we embarked on a pleasant stroll on a well-established boardwalk (including some swinging bridges) that also looked to be wheelchair-friendly.
This boardwalk section represented one-half of a loop walk though there was an additional out-and-back section towards the end of the overall hike.
During this initial boardwalk phase, we were immediately surrounded by plenty of green foliage in the form of ferns, moss, and trees draped with vines.
The environment definitely reminded us that we were indeed in a rainforest despite the drought.
In addition, the subtle ambient sounds of the rainforest were accentuated by some unfamiliar bird songs as well as the thumping of the odd kangaroo hopping about.
There were also plenty of interpretive signs throughout this section of the walk to help us better understand the environment we were in.
Taken together, all of these things helped to take our minds off the length of the walk.
Hiking the out-and-back part of the Minnamurra Falls Track
Once we got to the other side of the loop, we then left the boardwalk behind and walked onto a conventional dirt track.
The track immediately ascended a fairly steep hill that definitely took our breaths away.
After the ascent, the track once again flattened out somewhat as it passed over the top of Lyrebird Falls.
We couldn’t photograph due to the position of the track being upstream from the brink of the falls.
As we got towards the end of this dirt track, we passed by the Lower Minnamurra Falls.
The lower falls used to be the main tourist draw to the area until a landslide in 1989 had cut off access to its base.
Thus, the only view we could get of this section of the falls was a mostly obstructed top down view.
It was certainly disappointing when we considered what the view used to be.
Shortly thereafter, the waterfall spur track terminated at the Upper Minnamurra Falls (as pictured at the top of this page).
There was an established overlook allowing us a frontal view of the falls while also discouraging people from hopping the railings to get closer to the falls.
Even though this section of the overall waterfall didn’t quite have the statistical height as the lower drop, it was still a scenic and fine way to cap off the Minnamurra Rainforest experience.
On the return, the dirt track was mostly downhill going back the way we came to the boardwalk.
Once we were back on the boardwalk, we completed the loop walk through more rainforest scenery passing by more interpretive signs.
Minnamurra Falls resides in the Budderoo National Park. It is administered by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
From the Hwy 1 and Hwy 9 junction in Kiama, we took the Jamberoo Road (Hwy 9) west as it meandered through Jamberoo Valley towards some foothills sprinkled with farms and residences. After going 9km west of Princes Hwy, it junctioned with Jamberoo Mountain Road (the Hwy 9 continues that way) where shortly after continuing on the 9 (roughly 2 km later), we then followed a signposted spur on the right to the Minnamurra Rainforest. The road then ended at the visitor centre and car park after 4km. This part of the drive would take under 30 minutes to go the 17km.
If you were to come from Wollongong, then from the Hwy 48/Hwy 157 junction just west of the Illawarra Regional Airport, go south on Terry St, which eventually merges with the Jamberoo Rd after 2.4km. Continue south on Jamberoo Rd for another 6.7km towards Jamberoo Mountain Road, then turn right onto Jamberoo Mountain Road where you’ll see the signposted spur to the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre.
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