G’day, as a Northern Rivers local I’ve walked the Minyon Falls Track 100’s of times. Here is some of my advice about which tracks to walk and what to look out for.
Minyon Falls, is a 100m waterfall that rises out of the sub-tropical rainforest. It is a magical place, like the lost valley, parts of the walk remind me of Jurassic Park, I really sometimes feel like a dinosaur will walk through at any moment.
The falls are 33km NW from Byron Bay, about a 45 minute drive. They a part of the Nightcap Range which forms the southern rim of the Tweed Caldera. You can approach the falls in three main ways, depending on your age and abilities.
It is worth checking out the conditions before you set out. In the drier months, the waterfall tends to dry up and become more of a water trickle. It usually has water in the summer through to late winter, then starts drying up until we have significant rains again. (although it was completely dry last summer)
The easiest was is to just go to the lookout, there is a car park at the top of the falls and a 50m board walk to the magnificent lookout. You can stand and look at the waterfall from the platform (which is only about 1m off the ground for those people with height issues). Google Maps has a 360 view from the falls.
From here you will see this sheer Rhyolite cliffs (from the volcano). In the spring time, look out for the Peregrine Falcons, there is a pair who make a nest, usually to the left of the falls every year.
As you look east you will see Minyon Grass across the other side of the valley, and then further on to Knockrow. The town you see a bit further south is Ballina.
Please beware of thieves when you park your car. Make sure you lock it, and don’t leave any valuables in clear view. There have been some instances of rocks being thrown through windows to steal valuables.
Minyon Grass Walk
The easiest way to get to the bottom of the falls is from Minyon Grass, it is about 4km return. The walk is mostly easy, but there are huge rocks you need to clamber over to get to the falls and there is a huge hill you’ll need to walk up at the end.
The turn for Minyon Grass is on the left as you get to the T-intersection on Minyon Falls Road.
Before you start you walk, have a look at the lookout and keep your eye out for koalas, I see them there sometimes. You start the walk by walking through the dry sclerophyll forest with huge scribbly gums, grass trees, and blueberry ash. Sometimes you see wrens, eastern yellow robins and shrike thrush, in this section and in the warmer months you may find a carpet python warming itself beside the path or lace monitors walking about. You may also hear the loud screech of the yellow tailed black cockatoo.
As you descend the hill you start noticing the change from dry sclerophyll to wet sclerophyll, with the start of the brush box, bangalow palms, tree ferns, lily pilly etc, the canopy is starting to close and the vegetation is getting greener.
When you get down the hill, you’ll notice the moisture in the air, lots of vines, big buttress roots and the almost full closure of the canopy, you’re now in the rainforest. Make sure you don’t get caught on the lawyer vines and keep you eye out for strangler figs, birds nest ferns, stag horns, elk horns, bangalow palms, stream lily, the giant buttress of yellow caribbean, black booyong and white booyung. Keep your ears and eyes open for log runners, brown cuckoo dove, wompoo dove, white headed pigeon, eastern yellow robin, pale yellow robin, brown thorn bill, scrub wrens, rufus shrike thrush, grey faintail, rufus faintail and if you’re really lucky Albert’s lyrebird, green catbird and maybe red legged pademelon. In the warmer months, look for lace monitor, land mullet, skinks, carpet python and green tree snake .
When you get to the big rocks at the bottom of the falls, follow the orange triangles and they will lead you to the falls, they can be challenging (especially when wet), but are doable. You can swim at the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls, but be warned, it is cold and there are quite a lot of large rocks just under the surface.
To return walk back on the same path to Minyon Grass, the big hill at the end can take the wind out of your sails, but just take it at your own pace and you should be fine.
Please keep one eye out on the weather when doing these walks. The rocks at Minyon Falls can be slippery when wet. There will also be leaches if it is wet. Some of the track can also get a bit muddy, when wet. This tracks is really not suitable for people wearing thongs/flipflops/jandles. Also check if the track and park is open on the NSW NP’s Website
Minyon Loop Walk
The Minyon loop is an 8km walk, which can take 3-4 hours. The walk is not too hard but it is long and includes, creek rock hopping, clambering at the big rocks at the bottom of the falls and several big hills to walk up an down.
The big plus to doing this walk rather than just the Minyon Grass Walk, is (other than spending longer in the rainforest), is that there are some impressive huge brush boxes, giant strangler figs, and you get to see Quondong Falls.
The way I approach this loop walk is to start at Minyon Grass, then walk up Minyon Falls Rd to the lookout (that way you get one of the big hills under your belt at the beginning of the walk). It is the least pretty part of the walk, but you may see some birds on your way.
When you reach the lookout, follow the board walk, that runs beside the creek, it soon turns into a track, keep following that for about 50m until you see the stepping stones over the creek on the left. Keep following walking track (don’t turn right on to the fire management trail). Look to your left and you should get another view of Minyon Falls. The dry sclerophyll forest here has, scribbly gum, black butt, banksia, blueberry ash, grass trees, bush oak, and wild flowers. You may see and hear, kookaburra, wrens, yellow tail black cockatoo, scrub wrens and if you’re lucky echidna or koala.
As you descend down the hill you will see a side track to Quondong Falls, this side track will add 1 km (return) to your walk, but be aware the track ends up right on top of the falls you actually get a better view of them near the big hairpin bend, 100m or so on the main track. When you get to the hairpin bend stop, look for Quondong Falls, and start looking hard for koalas, I’ve seen them around there several times.
Still descending you start to see massive brush box & blackbutts and start to see Bangalow palms. Eventually you find yourself on the forest floor, you’ll soon come across and massive strangler fig, stop and have a look at this one, pop your head inside the tree and look up, you won’t be disappointed.
In this next section you’ll see the giant brush boxes, some of them with two trunks coming out of one root system. Keep your ears and eyes open for log runners, brown cuckoo dove, wompoo dove, white headed pigeon, eastern yellow robin, pale yellow robin, brown thorn bill, scrub wrens, rufus shrike thrush, grey faintail, rufus faintail, brush turkeys, and in the warmer months lace monitor, land mullet, skinks, carpet python, green tree snake .
Keep following the track until you get to the creek crossing at the bottom of the falls. You will need to rock hop to get to the other side, which can be tricky. As you cross keep you eye out for eels, nightcap crayfish, and Sapphire Rockmaster Damselfly (in the warmer months).
Follow the orange triangles and they will lead you to the falls, they can be challenging (especially when wet), but are doable. You can swim at the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls, but be warned, it is cold and there are quite a lot of large rocks just under the surface.
To return follow the track to Minyon Grass (see above).
To make this walk, extra long, why not camp at Rummery Park camp ground and take the Boggy Creek Walk to the Lookout, then do the Minyon Loop.
Enjoy your journey.