The Mueller Track is the longest track in the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden, which follows two creeks along the perimeter of the park and is a very pleasant walk. It passes a couple of waterfalls, and my goal is to explore these after a few days of heavy rain. I’m starting the circular walk near the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden Visitor Centre, where the Mueller Track descends to a Management Trail and then continuing through tall forest along Ku-ring-gai Creek.
The first waterfall is Phantom Falls, which is signposted, with an informal track leading to some small cascades. Compared to my last visit, there’s a lot more water flowing down the creek.
The name “Phantom Falls” is said to come from the fact you can hear the waterfall… but you can’t see it! A bit of cautious rock hopping brings you to a vantage point where you can see the water plunging over a cliff, through a gap in the rocks.
There’s no track to the base of the falls, but if you continue along the Mueller Track, you can descend the side of the valley to the creek, and then follow the creek back up to the waterfall.
It’s a pretty impressive sight, with the water tumbling down over a number of ledges into a pool at the bottom.
After enjoying the sight and sound of the waterfall for a while, I retrace my steps – but rather than returning up the steep slope to the track, I continue along Ku-ring-gai Creek. There’s another couple of very small cascades, as I continue fairly close to the creek.
I soon reach another cascade, whete the creek is forced through a narrow gap in the rocks and plunges a few metres down the narrow chute. The creek now flows though a mini-gorge, and I’m forced to continue a fair way above Ku-ring-gai Creek.
As I look for a viable route back down the steep valley to the creek, I suddenly find myself back on the Mueller Track. Enjoying a break from walking through ferns and scrub, I follow the track as it descends towards the creek.
The track continues down into Whipbird Gully, reaching another small cascade just above the confluence of Ku-ring-Creek, Tree Fern Gully Creek and an unnamed creek.
I decide it’s time to leave the track again, and continue down Ku-ring-gai Creek. Looking back up Ku-ring-gai Creek is the cascade at the end of the Mueller Track, behind a jumble of moss-covered rocks.
Just before flowing into Ku-ring-gai Creek, At Tree Fern Gully Creek flows over a sandstone ledge, forming a picturesque waterfall.
Looking up the unnamed creek, there’s another nice cascade.
After figuring out which creek to follow (with three creeks converging in Whipbird Gully), I make my way up Tree Fern Gully Creek. (Continung down Ku-ring-gai Creek would take me to Christies Pool, where Ku-ring-gai Creek meets Kierans Creek). It’s relatively easy walking, with a few cascades and ledges to clamber up, but nothing that presents a major obstacle.
There are even a few wildflowers, although it is fairy late in thw year.
As I continue upstream, the vegetation gets a bit thicker, the terrain a bit steeper, and progress a bit slower as I cautiously pick the best path up the creek.
Finally I get as far as I can: directly ahead of me is Tree Fern Gully Falls. It’s another impressive waterfall, which is surrounded by sheer cliffs.
I figure it’s time to leave the creek, and I find a rough pad that follows the base of the cliffs up to the Mueller Track. The slippery rocks, ferns and mud of Tree Fern Gully are soon replaced by the luxury of smooth track and timber stairs!
As the Mueller Track climbs up to the top of the valley, it passes the top of Tree Fern Gully Falls (this is one of two signposted waterfalls in the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden).
It’s easy walking, past a few small streams and sandstone overhangs, and I’ve just about reached the end of the Mueller Track.
But wait… there’s one more! Just before reaching the end of the Mueller Track, I hear the sound of tumbling water. I head back off into the bush, following the sound of water and soon reaching another picturesque tiered waterfall.
Once back on the Mueller Track (again!), I reach the end of the track a few minutes later at Lamberts Clearing. All the formal trails are well signposted, and after crossing the picnic are walking through the Native Garden, I’m soon back at the Visitors Centre.
What was meant to be a quick half an hour walk visiting Phantom Falls ended up being almost three hours of off-track walking – but along the way I’ve seen five waterfalls, and countless smaller cascades.
More information on the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden
- Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden – bushwalks