Fitzroy Falls East to West Rim is one of the shorter but more scenic walks in Kangaroo Valley. The full walk traverses the east and west rims of the Yarrunga Creek gorge, with spectacular views over the valley and of Fitzroy Falls from both escarpments.
If you’ve got two cars – or you can get dropped off at one end as I was – you can do the “east rim” of the Fitzroy Falls as a one-way walk. Which I’d recommend, as the east rim of Fitzroy Falls is definitely the less spectacular side. The start of the walk is not particularly easy to find as doing the east rim as a one-way walk is not recommended, but there is 4WD track from Nowra Road that joins the East Rim track (it’s about 300m from the main road).
From here there is a well-marked track that follows the top of the escarpment, with a number of lookouts over the Yarrunga Creek gorge. The first lookout, Yarrunga Lookout, offers broad views over Morton National Park to the south-west, with Mt Carrialoo and the more rounded Mt Moollattoo to the left and Bundanoon in the distance. To the other direction (looking north-east) is Fitzroy Falls, which is at the end of the Yarrunga Creek gorge – but is not yet visible!
A bit further along the track is Valley View Lookout, with views over the Yarrunga Creek gorge again.
The next viewpoint is the Lamond Lookout, which offers similar views over the valley. Shortly after this lookout is the Warrawong Lookout, and the start of the Janet Cosh Wildflower Walk (named in honour of a local plant collector). I’ve walked 2.5km from the start of the walk, with another 1.2k to the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre. As well as a view over the narrowing gorge, there’s the first sighting of Fitzroy Falls, at the head of the valley.
The walk so far has been through eucalypt forest and fairly flat, as it closely follows the edge of the escarpment. So it’s a pleasant change when it drops into the lush Ferny Gully, passing a stand of tree ferns below a tall rainforest canopy, and crossing a couple of small creeks.
The last lookout before the end of the east rim trail is the May Lookout, perched over the edge of the gorge.
Shortly after this last East Rim lookout, the track crosses Yarrunga Creek, and becomes the West Rim track. A short distance from here is the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre, which has lots of information on the areas and a cafe. The West Rim is far more impressive than the East Rim, and would be the best option if you haven’t got time for the full walk. It’s also much more trafficked, and not so pleasant on a busy Easter weekend!
Heading west along the track, which is now more a boardwalk than a bushwalk, the first lookout is reached after 200m.
Cantilevered 80m above the valley floor, the metal platform provides a view to the base of the falls as well as down the length of the Yarrunga Creek valley.
A couple of hundred metres further, Jersey Lookout provides a view back to the head of the valley and to Fitzroy Falls, with part of the lower falls visible.
A gradual uphill section leads to the next viewpoint, Richardson Lookout.
There’s a couple more viewpoints, before the track crosses a side-creek, just before The Grotto. Even with the Easter crowds, this section of the walk is fantastic – it would be even better on a day with no-else around!
A short detour off the main track is The Grotto, an overhang with coachwood and water gums in front of a small cascade. Despite it being a busy day, I have the serene grotto to myself for a few minutes.
Fitzroy Falls to The Grotto is the most scenic section of the walk; continuing another 900m takes you past Starkeys Lookout and to the final viewpoint, Renown Lookout. The last view points
From here, it’s back the same way to the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre; if you’re doing a car shuffle you can save about 500m by finishing on a fire trail near Glen Road (but it’s hardly worth it). It’s an easy but nice walk, especially after heavy rain when Fitzroy Falls is in full swing!
|Location||Start at Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre or at the end of the East Rim track, on Nowra Road (Kangaroo Valley, about 3 hours south-west of Sydney)|
|Distance||8.1km in total (East Rim one-way and West Rim as a return walk)|
|Grade||Easy. Total elevation gain 270m|
|Season/s||All year. Falls more impressive after heavy rain.|
|Maps||Kangaroo Valley 9028-4S|
|GPS Route||Routie GPS trail. View route and export to KML format.|
|Resources||“Best Walks of the Shoalhaven” book, p.72 (Walk 14)|