• Richard Bradbury

WATERFALLS among the forests

Head into the hinterland to discover a water world like no other — a paradise where rainforests and cool cascades meet.

Killen Falls

Killen Falls

30 minutes from Byron Bay | Medium grade, 1km return walk with view spots

Flowing through the traditional lands of the Widjabul people, Killen Falls is a spectacular waterfall falling 10 metres into a shady, tree-lined pool.

You’ll get to the popular swimming hole at the base of the falls via a path that leads you through regenerating rainforest. The track is one for the nimble-footed, as it starts gently before becoming quite steep and rocky, but once you reach the swimming hole, it’s totally worth the hike.

\As well as the impressive cascade, you’ll also find a large cave area directly behind the falls, naturally eroded over the eons, that is a great place to sit and take in the beautiful scenery, surrounded by sub-tropical lowland rainforest, with towering native fig trees lining one side of the pool and rich vegetation hanging down next to the falls. It is shaded and cool even on the hottest days, making Killen Falls a local favourite for a cool respite in the summer months, especially as the pool is shallow with lots of submerged rocks, great for splashing or floating around.

After exploring the falls, an easy walk downstream reveals another swimming pool-sized section of the creek with shade aplenty. You can easily spend hours here as there are also other shorter and more accessible walks from the car park, one leading to views of the top of the falls and the other to the Emigrant Creek dam.

Word to the wise: This is a popular spot, so come early! There’s a small car park and public composting toilet, with less formal parking available further up Killen Falls Road on busy days.

Protesters Falls

Protesters Falls

1.25 hrs inland from Byron Bay | Park at Terania Creek picnic area | Easy grade, 20-30 minute return walk

Named after the Terania Creek protests that saved the pristine rainforest in the late 1970s, Protestor Falls are just inside the world heritage-listed Nightcap National Park, a remnant of the ‘Big Scrub’, which once covered the entire area.

To get to the falls, enjoy a gorgeous rainforest walk along a well-signed path that leads to a raised boardwalk, taking you through sub-tropical Bangalow palms, native tamarind trees, towering rainforest giants and strangler figs.

Emerging from the dense forest, you’re greeted with a breathtaking sight of the waterfalls cascading 30 meters down a sheer rock face into the boulder-strewn pool below. There is a rough path around the pool to stand behind the magnificent falls, and there’s no shortage of spots for great shots for the socials!

The area is a habitat for the threatened Fleay’s barred frog, so, tempting as it might be, please don’t swim in the pool at the base of the falls. There’s ample parking, lush green picnic areas and toilet facilities.

Minyon Falls

45 minutes inland from Byron Bay | Medium grade, 3 hour walk

Situated on the other side of Nightcap National Park, the dramatically beautiful Minyon Falls plunges 100 meters from an escarpment into a deep-water pool far (far!) below.

For a shorter, less taxing visit, simply enjoy the view from the top and then explore along the creek above the falls. But, if you are drawn down to the valley below and have at least a few hours of daylight available, you can explore further with the 13km Loop Walk.

The path leads over Repentance Creek to a steep winding descent into the lush sub-tropical rainforest on the valley floor. On the way, look out for natural wonders, like an extraordinary strangler fig, now standing 40m tall and almost completely hollow, its host tree completely rotted away. It’s an otherworldly sight.

To complete the route to the base of the falls, you’ll need to take on a boulder scramble, so make sure you have a pocket or backpack for your phone as you’ll want both hands free!

You’ll be rewarded for your efforts by a cool breeze that caresses the wide, deep pool, even on a hot day. Up for a swim? Enjoy, but be warned that the water is cold even at the height of summer. Or just lie back and enjoy the vertigo-inducing view looking back to where you started.

Then, gather your energy. It’s time for the climb back to the top!

Facilities at Minyon Falls were recently upgraded, with a new wheelchair-accessible viewing platform, picnic shelters, tables, toilets, and an educational amphitheatre.


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