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. The waterfall was tall and wispy enough that Julie and I watched the column of water bend with the wind. Apparently, this waterfall was named after a logging protest in 1979 to protect the ancient old growth rainforest, which was now protected under Nightcap National Park, which itself was integrated into 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 was surprisingly tricky to find. It turned out that the area around the car park was surrounded by picnic tables and small clearings, but the trail itself started back across the concrete ford. Once we were on the correct path, we then followed the signposts and walked amongst the old growth rainforest which was thick enough to really block out a lot of the midday sun.
The walk, which was on a combination of dirt and boardwalk (in the muddiest or sections) took us a little over an hour round trip. During our visit, we were alone for most of the way with the exception of another party consisting of a local mother and two children. So I reckon this would be the place to be if one would desire for a quiet and naturesque experience. Julie and I also checked out handful of interpretive signs along the way to further educate ourselves about the area.
One of the things we found out through the signs was the presence of endangered frogs. Since the track went alongside Terania Creek (on which the falls flowed) in stretches, I guess it was reasonable to expect some frogs to be living here. However, we didn’t spot any during our hike.
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.
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.
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