Fitzroy Falls Information Centre
The park's information centre is located at Fitzroy Falls and there are cafe, picnic and barbecue facilities beside Yarrunga Creek. The stillness of the stream and the attractiveness of the setting make this an ideal place to eat before heading off on one of the two excellent walking paths which run along the ridge on either side of the Yarrunga Creek Valley.
Fitzroy Falls Walking Tracks
Called imaginatively the East Rim Walking Track and the West Rim Walking Track they are described in detail in a free handout at the Information Centre. Before you start either walk go to the lookout. The falls tumble 82 metres to the floor of the ravine and the view, on a clear day, is both dramatic and beautiful. However, if the weather is adverse, the sight of a massive gorge full of mist is at least as spellbinding.
The East Rim Walking Track is approximately 3.5 kilometres long and, while an easy walk, takes about two hours to complete - that?s about three hours to Valley View Lookout and back. Of course you don?t have to go all the way. There are plenty of good vantage points along the track.
The sheet provided by the Information Centre says: 'The track starts at the footbridge on the eastern side of the falls and follows the escarpment to May Lookout (10 minutes) where the visitor can seen the lower Grotto Falls and the bottom of the Twin Falls. The track then leaves the escarpment in an easterly direction and gradually winds down to Fern Tree Gully (25 minutes)...From Fern Tree Gully the track winds up to Warragong Lookout (40 minutes) where the side view of Fitzroy Falls can be seen. The track then follows the cliff face to Valley View Lookout (70 minutes) where superb views of the top of Twin Falls and the plateau of Mount Carrialoo can be seen. West of Mount Carrialoo is the volcanic extrusion Mount Moollatoo or the Grassy Mountain and the Yarrunga Valley.'
There are a number of further lookout points along the escarpment. The walk is easy and passes through an interesting diversity of vegetation from the eucalypts around Fitzroy Falls to the rainforest in the gullies. There is also a self-guided wildflower walk.
Perhaps the easiest and most interesting of the walks is the first section of the West Rim Walking Track. An easy walk of 15 minutes from the falls is the Jersey Lookout which offers an excellent view back on the falls and the dense rainforest which grows around the creek below. This is the location of most of the photographs taken of the falls.
The track continues north-west to the fire trail, which it follows for twenty metres, before branching to the west to Twin Falls which takes about 12-15 minutes. The two lookouts on the eastern side of Twin Falls give some good views of Yarrunga Creek, Twin Falls, and further south, the lower Grotto Falls. On the western side of the stream Paines Lookout allows walkers an excellent close view of Twin Falls. The track then continues to Starkey?s Lookout which is an ideal vantage point for viewing the Lady Hordern Falls, which cascade 76 metres to the foot of the crevasse. Beyond Starkey?s Lookout the track continues on to Renown Lookout which, as a suitable conclusion to the path, the bushwalker gets a superb view of all the major falls in the upper Yarrunga Creek system. This walk takes about one hour each way.
Other Lookouts in the Area
Returning to the Fitzroy Falls car park leave the area crossing the Yarrunga Creek and head south on the Nowra Rd. On your left is the Fitzroy Falls Dam. At the bottom of the dam is a left turn into Myra Vale Rd, which leads towards Robertson. For the moment continue south along the Nowra Rd for 1 km and turn right into the signposted turnoff to Manning Lookout. Follow it to the car park. The easy-going track leads to three lookouts which afford excellent views of the Kangaroo Valley.
Return north along Nowra Rd and turn right into Myra Vale Rd and wind through the bush for 7.7 km until you reach a sign directing you to take a right to Belmore Falls. After 5.3 km you will come to a turnoff to the right which will take you to Hindmarsh Lookout where there are spectacular views over Belmore Falls into Morton National Park and Kangaroo Valley. They were named after then-governor of NSW, the Earl of Belmore. This isolated and undeveloped site has been a drawcard since a road was established in 1887, although there are rarely many people about at any one time.The Fitzroy Falls Visitors' Centre has a pamphlet on the history of the area and the lookouts. The water that drops dramatically for over 100 m from two of the falls into the Barrengarry Creek Valley joins the Kangaroo Creek and becomes part of the upper reaches of the Shoalhaven River catchment area.
This is an ideal place for a bush picnic. The facilities are basic but the peacefulness of the picnic spots beside the river make this a cool and quiet respite from the bustle of the city. Return to the main road and turn right and it will take you north to Robertson.
The Fitzroy Equestrian Centre is on Nowra Rd (02) 4887 2239, as is Highlands Berry Farm where you can get fresh berries, as well as jams and chutneys, from November to April, contact (02) 4887 7307.
Highlands Trips and Treks, P.O. Box 298, Bundanoon NSW 2578. Phone/Fax 02 4883 6523 or Mobile 015 244 714 and email firstname.lastname@example.org offer 4WD tours and bushwalks in the Southern Highlands and will pick you up from your accommodation, be it in Sydney or the highlands.