NSW Family Sunday Drives: Minnamurra Rainforest
In the market for a relaxing, screen-free day with the whole family—where kids can check out some new scenery and parts of Sydney (and beyond) that iPads and XBoxes just can’t match? Well, look no further! Minnamurra Rainforest is top of our list for a Sunday drive—and it's not difficult to see why.
A family drive will have you bonding in no time, the perfect opportunity to get some uninterrupted chat and car games underway as you give the kids a truly new and exciting experience. Here's what you need to know.
Destination: Minnamurra Falls
THE DRIVE: 1 hour 50 minutes one way from Sydney
LOCATION ON GOOGLE MAPS: https://goo.gl/maps/rdZTs
Whether or not you've ventured in this direction before, Minnamurra Rainforest is a breathtaking destination and well worth the drive. We'd recommend having everything prepared the night before and aim to be on the road as soon after breakfast as you can.
Situated 100km south of Sydney in the Budderoo National Park, this multi-award-winning attraction is part of a rare tract of subtropical and temperate rainforests on the NSW South Coast, a short fifteen-minute drive west of Kiama past the village of Jamberoo (off Tourist Drive No 9).
Why We Love It
Minnamurra Rainforest truly feels like a magical, enchanted forest that’s been nurtured and conserved for over a century—offering an extraordinary experience for the family. For avid bird-watching families, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to witness first hand the fauna of the area such as the normally elusive Lyrebird, the Eastern Water Dragons, Swamp Wallabies and a host of bird species like bowerbirds and king parrots which make Minnamurra their home.
And if the animals weren't enough, the whole family is sure to be mesmerised by the forest's iconic double-tiered waterfall, Carrington Falls, with its 50m drop. Definitely, a relaxing area to enjoy a picnic and soak up the serenity!
Things To Do
EASY WALK: Take the 1.6km meandering Loop Walk of elevated walkways and paved tracks which link to suspension bridges across the Minnamurra Rivulet. The first 500m of this walk provides for assisted wheelchair access – so it would also be suitable for a buggy. Otherwise, if you have a bub, a carrier would be perfect. It would take between 45mins to 1 hour to complete this walk.
MODERATE WALK: Halfway around the Loop Walk, you can also deviate up the paved Falls Walk (2.6km return). If you’re a family with school kids, then this slightly more challenging walk will offer you the reward of spectacular views over the rainforest canopy and the gorge carved by Minnamurra Rivulet. The walk concludes with a viewing platform and rest area at the base of the Upper Falls. Allow up to 1.5 hours to 2 hours to complete this walk.
REST & RELAX: Bring a picnic rug, a change of clothes and utilise one of the many picnic areas around the National Park to just spend some quality relaxing time with the family.
EXPLORE: A walk around the park reveals its many uses over the years. Spot remaining cedar trees, so prized by foresters in the 1800s. Head downstream from the Minnamurra Rainforest to see the 1853 Kelly’s Cottage and its camellia tree, believed to be one of the southern hemisphere’s oldest. The land’s rich soil and water supply make it ideal for dairy farming – and you can still see the monument to Australia’s first butter factory in nearby Jamberoo Valley.
Where To Eat
AT BUDDEROO NATIONAL PARK: BYO food and prep a picnic hamper to kick back, or utilise the Picnic and BBQ facilities at the Carrington Falls area. If you prefer a cafe lunch, enjoy the views and some light refreshments under the trees at the family-friendly Lyrebird Cafe within the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre.
OUTSIDE THE NATIONAL PARK: The little picturesque village, Jamberoo is only a short 8-minute drive outside the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre. You’ll be able to find a pub and a bakery for some grub. Alternatively, a further 15-minutes out West is Kiama – where there would be heaps more choices.
If your school kid for some reason isn’t a fan of leisurely nature walks, then just up the road is Jamberoo Action Park for some wild water raft rides or water slides; and the Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk is spectacular where you walk through the canopy of the “rainforest” along the Illawarra escarpment.
Kiama for a day is also a fun family destination – kids love the blowhole! The town is rich with historic places of interest such as the plaque commemorating the landing site of pioneer aviator Kingsford Smith at Seven Mile Beach in Gerroa, or the National Trust Terraces built in 1886 to house workers from the local quarry which is now a selection of speciality shops. There are also beaches and wildlife on the Kiama Coast Walk to explore, and a dramatic three-stage coast-hugging track from Minnamurra in the north to Werri Beach, Gerringong in the south.
And if your family enjoys cycling, why not ride the 22km Kiama Coast Walk instead? It’s also great for sturdy pushchairs.
Things You Should Know
Budderoo National Park
Operating Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily (closed Christmas Day)
Last access to walks: 4:00 pm
Park Gates Locked: 5:00 pm
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