Protesters Falls

Nightcap National Park / Byron Bay / Lismore, New South Wales, Australia

About Protesters Falls

Hiking Distance: 2.8km round trip
Suggested Time: 60-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2008-05-08
Date last visited: 2008-05-08

Waterfall Latitude: -28.57047
Waterfall Longitude: 153.31519

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Protesters Falls (or Protestors Falls) was another tall, wispy waterfall in the lush Nightcap National Park near Lismore.

We witnessed this fairly light-flowing waterfall in May 2008, which plunged some 25-30m over what appeared to be a cliff with some evidence of basalt composition.

Protestors_Falls_030_05072008 - The full context of Protestors Falls
The full context of Protestors Falls

The waterfall appeared tall and wispy with a light enough flow that Julie and I watched the column of water bend with the wind.

Apparently, this waterfall got its name after a logging protest in 1979 to protect the ancient old growth rainforest.

Currently, this forest receives protection under the jurisdiction of Nightcap National Park, which itself integrated with the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.

Once we managed to reach the car park (see directions below), we had to find the trailhead, which surprised us with how tricky it was to find.

It turned out that the area around the car park surrounded by picnic tables and small clearings did not contain the trailhead.

Protestors_Falls_021_05072008 - Julie on the walking track to Protestors Falls, which skirted Terania Creek in stretches like this one
Julie on the walking track to Protestors Falls, which skirted Terania Creek in stretches like this one

Instead, the trail itself started back across the concrete ford before the end of the access road.

Once we found ourselves on the correct path, we then followed the signposts and walked amongst the old growth rainforest.

The lushness of the forest had enough density and thickness to even block out a lot of the midday sun.

The walk, which went over a combination of dirt and boardwalk (in the muddiest sections) took us a little over an hour round trip.

During our visit, we didn’t encounter anyone else for most of the way except for another party consisting of a local mother and two children.

Protestors_Falls_033_05072008 - Focused on the base of Protestors Falls
Focused on the base of Protestors Falls

So I reckon that this place would suit anyone desiring a quiet and naturesque experience.

Julie and I also checked out a handful of interpretive signs along the way to further educate ourselves about the area.

One of the things we found out through the interpretive signs was the presence of endangered frogs.

Since the track went alongside Terania Creek (on which the falls flowed) in stretches, I guess it made sense to expect some rare frogs to thrive here.

However, we didn’t spot any during our hike.


Protestors Falls resides in the Nightcap National Park near Byron Bay in New South Wales. 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.

Protestors_Falls_007_05072008 - The car park for Protestors Falls, which was really meant for picnicking as we had to backtrack across the concrete ford to start the hike to the falls
Protestors_Falls_006_05072008 - The picnic area by the car park for Protestors Falls
Protestors_Falls_011_05072008 - Looking back across the concrete ford, which we had to cross before starting the walk to Protestors Falls
Protestors_Falls_010_05072008 - Finally at the trailhead for Protestors Falls
Protestors_Falls_014_05072008 - Julie on the boardwalk path early on in the rainforest
Protestors_Falls_015_05072008 - This was one of the more sunnier parts of the old growth rainforest, which had enough vegetation to block out a lot of the midday sun during our visit
Protestors_Falls_020_05072008 - Julie walking within the rainforest beyond the boardwalk section, which was now pretty much shadowy and much darker than earlier
Protestors_Falls_023_05072008 - The Protestors Falls track continued along Terania Creek
Protestors_Falls_053_05072008 - Approaching Protestors Falls at the end of the track
Protestors_Falls_028_05072008 - Protestors Falls consisted of a lower cascade and the main upper drop
Protestors_Falls_046_05072008 - Julie checking out Protestors Falls as it bent in the wind
Protestors_Falls_043_05072008 - Focused just on the base of Protestors Falls, where there was a jumble of rocks that seemed to be basalt in nature

Since we based ourselves in Byron Bay, we’ll describe the directions from there in what we think would be the most straightforward route.

So from Byron Bay, go south on Bangalow Road, when then veers west.

Stay on Bangalow Rd for about 26km (or 14.5km west of the Pacific Highway [Hwy 1] at the Bangalow Rd exit).

Then, turn right onto James Gibson Rd and continue for another 5.5km towards Corndale Rd.

Turn right onto Corndale Rd, then turn left onto Hunters Hill Rd 700m later.

Drive for 3.3km west on Hunters Hill Rd, then veer right onto Duncan Rd.

Drive another 3.4km to Dunoon Rd, where you turn left.

After 1.4km, turn right onto The Channon Rd and follow this road for 4.5km into the town of The Channon where we would then turn right onto Mill St.

Continue on Mill St, which would soon become Terania Creek Rd, and follow the unsealed Terania Creek Rd for 15km to its end.

The car park and picnic area is just after a concrete ford.

However, the trailhead started before the concrete ford.

From Minyon Falls to Protestors Falls

Julie and I actually came to Protestors Falls from Minyon Falls.

Here’s our suggested route if you’re going this way.

First, go east on Minyon Falls Rd back to Upper Coopers Creek Rd (keeping right).

Follow Upper Coopers Creek Rd south for 1.7km, then keep right onto Dunoon Rd.

Then, follow Dunoon Rd for about 17km before turning right onto The Channon Rd.

Once on The Channon Rd, follow the directions as above to the car park at the end of Terania Creek Rd.

For context, Byron Bay was 166km (under 2 hours drive) south of Brisbane and 770km (9 hours drive) north of Sydney.

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Tagged with: nightcap, national park, lismore, byron bay, new south wales, australia, waterfall

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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