Minnamurra Rainforest is a very family-friendly attraction in Budderoo National Park.
Budderoo National Park is an hour and a half from Sydney, which makes Minnamurra Rainforest a very attractive destination for a long day trip during school holidays or to go for a Sunday drive.
With a visitor centre, well sign-posted walks and excellent facilities, it ticks all the boxes. A must see attraction!
345 Minnamurra Falls Road, off Jamberoo Mountain Road, Jamberoo
02 4236 0469
Budderoo National Park website
By Mireia Garriga Seguranyes
Even if you are not a dedicated nature lover, there is much to love about Minnamurra Rainforest.
Firstly, you don’t have to go to the Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland to see a pristine and beautiful rainforest.
Ok, Minnamurra doesn’t have the “wow factor”; there are not crocodiles like Cape Tribulation. But nevertheless, Minnamurra Rainforest, with its lush, subtropical vegetation, will not disappoint you.
Embrace the adventure. Your children will enjoy walking on the elevated boardwalks and crossing the swinging bridges.
You don’t need to be Sir David Attenborough or have a natural sciences degree. Frankly, I am useless if I have to remember and identify names of plants or animals.
In spite of that, I always learn something, like the fact that endangered species have been found hidden in Minnamurra Rainforest.
Minnamurra is home to ancient strangler trees, tall cedars and giant cabbage palms. You will also have the opportunity to listen to the amazing sounds of the lyrebird, or if lucky, you might see its tail.
On the Falls Walk we heard a lyrebird mimicking the cry of a baby. It was amazing!
There are some big rocks that you may wonder how they were formed. If you are curious about it, in the Information Centre there are a couple of displays that explain the different layers that form the escarpment, officially known as the Illawarra Range.
Get your kids off the couch; tell them that you are going to the rainforest, where they will feel as little as the elves of “Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom”. Ask them if they can imagine a place where dinosaurs could live!
And you can still go on a rainy day. Don’t worry, the canopy will keep you dry. When we went it was raining but not pouring.
Minnamurra Rainforest allows you to experience the serenity and calming effect of being close to nature – the smell of fresh earth, the sound of the river flowing down.
Besides the benefits of being in nature, you might find the day trip very inspirational, like one of my daughters did. My eldest painted a beautiful picture to give to her schoolteacher as her end of year gift.
There is a pram friendly and assisted wheelchair accessible raised boardwalk path – the Rainforest Loop Walk.
According to the park information, the first 500 metres are totally suitable for prams and assisted wheelchairs. This makes the destination even more attractive for young families or families that have a member with some disability, or simply a family that wants to spend a day out with grandparents.
You can eat at the Lyrebird Café or have a picnic or barbecue in the same location. There are plenty of tables under shelter.
The Lyrebird Café also offers take-away food. The staff were lovely, very patient and friendly with the children. The food was delicious considering that we were in the middle of the rainforest.
The Walks At Minnamurra Rainforest Centre
We did the Rainforest Loop Walk, then were so excited that we continued with the Falls Walk.
Rainforest Loop Walk (1.6km): 45 min approximately. But it depends how many times you stop to take photos! This is a very easy walk. It gives you a good glimpse of Minnamurra Rainforest. The Rainforest Loop Walk feels shorter than it actually is. This is because it has viewing platforms, swinging bridges and interpretive signs.
The Falls Walk (4.2km return): this took us nearly 2 hours. It is a grade 4 walk. We found it quite challenging with two-, four- and six-year-old children. But we made it. Along the walk there are some benches to have a rest, so we stopped several times.
The walk is quite steep with some narrow sections. At the end, the track follows the canyon before reaching the upper Minnamurra Falls. Sadly, the last section was closed for maintenance and upgrades, which means that after all that effort, I don’t have any good photos of the falls.
Visitor Centre: There is a corner where the children can have a look at the vegetation that they will find in the rainforest. Also, there is a gift shop where they sell interesting books and products from the Illawarra region. You can always ask some questions of the kind rangers at the Visitor Centre.
The Visitors Centre and Café are open daily, except Christmas Day, from 9am to 5pm. But walks close earlier. I highly recommend that you check before you go, unless you plan to go there in the morning.
Check the weather forecast to determine if you need to take a rain jacket, cardigan or special shoes. Sneakers were fine for us, but you might prefer to wear hiking boots. The canopy will protect you from the sun, but it is not a bad idea to still “slip, slop, slap”.
Don’t forget to pack some water and snacks.
Also, check the Environment Media website for more detailed information if you are a nature enthusiast.
Vehicle entry fee: $12. But it is free if you hold the Annual Pass.
Toilets/Baby change: Yes, including disabled toilets
Nearby takeaway coffee: Yes
Children’s menu: Yes, there are good options for the children like sandwiches, sausage rolls or meat pies.
Nearest station: Kiama train station
Bus stop nearby: Yes, Kiama Coaches, bus 701, Kiama Coaches and Timetables
Extra: Another recommended lookout by the NSW National Parks web page is the Jamberoo Lookout.
If you feel like a drive after the walk, take Tourist Drive 9. It takes around 2 hours to complete.
If you want more adventure, go to Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, Australia’s highest zipline.
If you want to see more waterfalls, head to Carrington Falls. This is a spectacular waterfall that we wanted to visit, but is closed until May 2017. It drops 50m into a gorge.
Like Minnamurra Rainforest Loop Track, the track of Carrington Falls Picnic Area is suitable for people with disabilities.
North, there is Nellies Glen picnic area, which is also a good place for a dip, as there is a swimming hole. Remember to always follow the recommendations of the NSW National Parks before swimming.
After reading this post, you might consider spending a weekend or long weekend at Kiama so you have plenty of time to explore the region. Find out what to do and where to stay in Kiama here. For the adventurous, another option is the Carrington Falls campground.
In summer, don’t forget to visit Jamberoo Action Park – click to get all the details that you need to know to have a fantastic day.
Visit the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre and explore one of the most spectacular and well-preserved rainforests of NSW through one of its walks. It really is an amazing place and is not far away from Sydney.
If you have young children, Saddleback Mountain Lookout might be the perfect addition after visiting Minnamurra Rainforest. “Saddleback Mountain Lookout” (Jack Cleary Memorial Drive, off Saddleback Mountain Road) is a very popular lookout of the area.
We enjoyed our day, and we are sure your family would too.