Fitzroy Falls are one of the main attractions in the Morton National Park and also a the site of a major office of the National Parks Service. There is a good carpark (parking costs $3A), an visitor centre with a good display and sales outlet for park-related materials, plus a good coffee shop. All in all, it’s an impressive start to a visit.
From the Parks office, head away on the boardwalk under the road and it’s only a short and easy stroll to the Fitzroy Falls. You’re likely to find crowds of visitors, but the falls are worth the visit, dropping over 80 metres right alongside you. If you have the energy (it’s still an easy stroll), continue around the West Rim of the gorge to Jersey Lookout, where you have a straight-on view of the falls: the walk takes only an extra 15 minutes or so, and you might just see a lyrebird!
We had not walked far from the Fitzroy Falls when there was an unmistakable sound: a sort of metallic ratcheting, interspersed with loud clicking and various birdcalls, all running together in random sequence without pause. This was almost too good to be true – but we were treated to an excellent recital by a Superb Lyrebird (Menura Novaehollandiae) putting on a performance for his mate. As we approached around a bend in the track, we met several other walkers who pointed him out to us, just a short way into the shrubbery.
I mentioned the lyrebird when we returned from our walk to the coffee shop in the Park headquarters, and was told that there are several resident lyrebirds who give regular performances. Definitely something to watch for, should you pass this way.
Bundanoon is almost on the edge of the Morton National Park, though we didn’t visit the area closest to the town . It rather seems that part of this Park was declared a nature reserve in the 1800s. Now it is one of the largest National Parks in NSW, taking in the southern end of the Sydney sandstone region (think of plateaus, cliffs and gorges as in the Blue Mountains) and with the Shoalhaven River which starts south of Braidwood passing through it. Our trip took us around the northern extremity (photos 1,2), past where Bundanoon is located, then around to the east through Kangaroo Valley and the coastal town of Nowra, finally back through the southern end of the Park on the road from Nowra to Braidwood. Just driving around the outside, with a few brief incursions by road, is enough to convey that this is a very large expanse of very rugged country indeed.
During our trip, a substantial bushfire was burning in part of the Park. The weather had cooled and cloud had rolled in, helping the firefighters with their efforts but trapping the smoke and detracting from the views. It also was causing quite a bit of concern in Bundanoon and Kangaroo Valley.
The drive from Nowra to Braidwood leads past the Tianjin Falls, which drop over 60 metres – when there is water! I’ve now passed that way several times and suspect a visit would need to be made immediately after rain, as I’ve never yet seen a drop fall over. At least there is a new lookout (photo 3) and the views northward are good (photo 4), while the air was noticeably clearer than it had been further north beyond the bushfire. There's even an overhanging grid, so you can stand looking way down immediately around your feet!