En-route to the south coast from Sydney, it’s only a short detour to the Lyrebird Loop and Minnamurra Falls walk in Budderoo National Park. It’s even more tempting on an overcast and damp day, when a bit of rain makes the rainforest and waterfalls more photogenic. (Having said that, it’s equally appropriate on a hot and sunny day, with the entire trail shaded by tall tainforest trees). The signposted and very well constructed trail starts near the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre.
Lyrebird Loop (1.6km)
The Lyrebird Loop is initially wheelchair-friendly (up to the second suspension bridge) and child-friendly, and I pass a number of families enjoying the bushwalk. It’s very easy walking, with the trail soon crossing the Minnamurra River on the first of several suspension bridges.
The path itself is literally a green carpet along some sections, with moss covering the concrete walkway.
The trail crosses the Minnamurra River, this time on a solid metal bridge. This part of the Lyrebird Loop follows the river fairly closely.
There’s a nice view up and down the river from the bridge. Derived from the Aboriginal word “meme mora”, meaning “river of many fish”, the Minnamurra River rises within the Budderoo National Park on the eastern slopes of the Illawarra escarpment. It drains into the Jamberoo Valley before flowing into the Pacific Ocean just north of Kiama. Unfortunately while there are small cascades along the river, access to the water is now permitted “to ensure water quality for the park’s aquatic life and downstream residents”.
As you’d expect in a rainforest, the flora includes cabbage palms, strangler figs and orchids.
A second suspension bridge (which marks the end of the wheelchair-friendly section) has another nice view over the Minnamurra River, and a large collection of birds nest ferns.
After the bridge the Lyre Loop path leaves the river, heading up the side of the valley under a canopy of tall coachwood trees.
Minnamurra Falls Walk (2.1km)
A few hundred metres after the bridge is the turn-off to the Minnamurra Falls Walk.
The track continues uphill, initially fairly steeply, through the rainforest. It’s still a very high-standard trail, alternating between a paved track and an elevated steel walkway.
Just past the halfway mark, the trail passes a small cascade – this is sometimes incorrectly called Lyrebird Falls.
The track then flattens out for a while as it approaches the Minnamurra River again, before a last uphill section.
At the end of the Minnamurra Falls Walk is a viewing platform directly in front of the Upper Minnamurra Falls, which plunges into a shallow pool.
On a tributary of the Minnamurra River and hard to see through the rainforest are the Lyrebird Falls.
(The track passes above Lower Minnamurra Falls, which can’t be seen. There used to be a track to the base of these falls until 1989, when a landslide cut off access.) From the viewing platform, it’s back the same way to the Lyrebird Loop track.
Back on the Lyrebird Loop
The second half of the Lyrebird Loop is arguably a little less scenic than the first half, being some distance above the river.
It’s still very pleasant walking, with ferns and cabbage palms along the walkway, and tall rainforest trees towering above. Along this section I spot the elusive lyrebird, a ground-dwelling Australian bird that known for its superb ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment.,
There’s another small, picturesque creek next to the track (and one last bridge) before the trail finishes at the carpark and Visitor Cente.
Getting to Lyrebird Loop and Minnamurra Falls Walk
Both bushwalks start from the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre in Budderoo National Park, which is accessed via Minnamurra Falls Road off Jamberoo Mountain Road. It’s about a 20min drive from Kiama. There’s a large carpark over four levels, as these trails can get busy.
You can do the Lyrebird Loop in either direction, although clockwise is the recommended direction. If you just want to visit the waterfalls, it’s slightly shorter walking anti-clockwise and returning the same way.
- National Parks (NPWS) – Lyrebird loop walk and Minnamurra Falls walk
- Dr Gough’s blog – Photography: Minnamurra Rainforest (Budderoo National Park)