A place where waterfalls tumble into a lush tangle of subtropical forest and vines, and where wallabies and elusive platypuses live alongside bowerbirds and king parrots, the Minnamurra Rainforest is like a Jurassic landscape that time forgot – with a distinct Australian twist. Located at the eastern edge of immense Budderoo National Park, Minnamurra is the gateway to all manner of nature-based activities, from family-friendly walks to clifftop treks.
The starting point for most visitors is the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, where staff will point you in the direction of a hike to suit your fitness levels and time constraints, and serve up coffee and cake at the Lyrebird Cafe – a welcome pit-stop after a day of exercise.
Rainforest Loop Walk (1.6km, 1 hour)
Traversing a network of suspension bridges, the Rainforest Loop Walk offers an immersive snapshot of the national park, with viewing platforms and interpretive signs illuminating its rich flora and fauna – you’ll spot everything from cabbage palms to banksia, strangler figs to rare orchids. Then discover the animals, butterflies and birds; look out for the elusive lyrebird, practiced in mimicking other avian calls.
Halfway through you’ll see signs to The Falls – a detour worth taking. You’ll pass cool streams lined with mossy rocks and feathered ferns, to reach a lookout offering stellar views over the lower and upper Minnamurra Falls.
Budderoo National Park
The rest of the national park continues to deliver on scenic attractions, many of which are visible along the 0.6km (30min) Carrington Falls walking track. Short and sweet, the trail ends where the Kangaroo River plunges 50 metres into the valley below. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy near the roaring base of the falls.
Other opportunities nearby to get your heart pumping include:
- Izzards Lookout: A 1.1km (30min) loop trail along an escarpment, with views over the Kangaroo Valley.
- Budderoo track: A 24km (2hr) cycling trail passing through woodlands, heathlands and bloodwood forest.
- Warris Chair lookout track: A 1km (30min) trail offering views over the Kangaroo Valley, with opportunities for bird watching and wildflower spotting en route.
- Jamberoo lookout: Walk a few steps from your car to enjoy unbroken vistas out to Kiama on the coast, as well as Lake Illawarra.
In the area
From Sydney, the drive south toward the Illawarra region of the South Coast weaves along the Grand Pacific Drive, one of the most scenic stretches of road in Australia. Your trip to Minnamurra will take just under two hours. From here, it’s a 20min drive on to Kiama or 10min to Jamberoo, with a wealth of attractions in between.
On arrival in the Illawarra, speed through the trees on Australia’s highest zipline at Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, feel the force of nature at Kiama Blowhole, splash about on waterslides at Jamberoo Action Park, or tee off at Jamberoo Golf Course – then relax with a hearty lunch at Jamberoo Pub, home to a petite museum commemorating the life of local soccer legend, Johnny Warren.