Freelance writer/ PR, based in Melbourne, cat lover and a passion for words, travel, tea and wine
Published January 8th 2018
Driving from Jervis Bay to Kangaroo Valley, via the tourist route turn-off after Nowra, was a real treat. I carefully made my way along the windy road surrounded by gorgeous greenery and sneaking glimpses of the valley views receding far below as I climbed up, up, up... and then back down again to the vast country landscapes dotted with cows and farms here and there.
It was a very hot Summer's day - over 35 degrees, so I thought a bush walk would be a better alternative to sizzling down at the beach. Plus there was the promise of an 80-metre waterfall.
Arriving at the carpark just after 10:00am, it was still fairly quiet but you do have to pay for parking. The Fitzroy Falls Visitors Centre is a large building incorporating a shop, children's museum room and cafe with kids toys in one corner. Outside there was also a large toilet facility. While it wasn't well air-conditioned, it was certainly much cooler than outside, so I took my time wandering around the shop browsing the range of Australiana merchandise and products.
Eventually, the time came to see the waterfall. I slathered on sunscreen and was wearing a hat and t-shirt, but was also glad to have my sarong with me to cover the rest of my arms and neck - it was a scorcher!
There are two walks to choose from - East and West trails. Most people were walking the East trail, so I followed the crowd. The paths were well kept and marked with various stops and views to take in along the way, including a large Termite mound near the start. There were also numerous plaques with information about different native plants and animals - great for kids and those who want to learn about the local flora and fauna.
The first stop was at the top of the waterfall - and here is where the disappointment began. While there was a little water falling, it was a mere trickle. At the next stop, I took in the view of the valley landscape - pretty spectacular and a great way to remember that we are just a small spec on this marvellous planet.
The next stop was supposed to be Twin Falls. But they were nowhere to be seen. Completely dry! Many people appeared to be turning back at this point but just for a moment, I considered continuing the 1.3km to next stop point... But it was creeping towards midday and the sun was beating down relentlessly. There was always the knowledge of having to make the return trip with practically no reward as the waterfalls were clearly dry!
In the end, I decided to turn around and went back to the Visitor Centre. All up I spend just over an hour walking along the paths and if the falls were running this short distance and time would have been enough to see some pretty cool views - in case you aren't keen to do the full walk.
I did ask the lady at the Visitor Centre about the waterfalls and the best time to come. Autumn is best, she replied simply. As I thanked her and walked away towards the carpark I overheard a couple more visitors asking the same question - we were all disappointed it seems.
The facilities were clean and fairly new, and the walk was easy enough - but please note that there were stairs up and down at various parts. You're quite high up - more than 437km above sea level apparently so the views across the valley are spectacular. But if you're hoping to see a waterfall or two on this day, you would have been kicking yourself like I was.
As the 90's TLC song goes, 'don't go chasing waterfalls...' - at least not in the middle of the Australian Summer!