Tracks & Trails

Fitzroy Falls
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | national parks | waterfalls | South East Tablelands | New South Wales

Fitzroy Falls

Magnificent Morton

by Susie Baber  |  10 April 2023

Fitzroy falls is the jewel in the crown of Morton National Park. The falls were originally named Throsby’s Waterfall after Charles Throsby, one of the first explorers and settlers in the area, who had been bringing visitors to this spot since the early 1800’s. After a visit from the NSW Governor of the time, Sir Charles Fitzroy, the waterfall was renamed in his honour. The tiny village of the same name just south of Moss Vale and Bowral has only 200 residents and is an easily accessible 140km from Sydney.

Fitzroy falls are formed where Wildes Meadow Creek plunges into the Yarrunga Valley to join Yarrunga Creek, before heading south into the Kangaroo River. The creek was dammed upstream in 1974 as part of the construction of Fitzroy Falls Reservoir. The dam might reduce water flow through the creek but it also serves to ensure a more constant water supply to the falls, so they are less affected by seasonal change.

Fitzroy Falls is a very popular stop for visitors to the Southern Highlands and can get quite busy. There is a large parking area with ticket parking and a visitor centre offering a cafe, souvenir shop, and information on wildlife and birdwatching in the park.

From the visitor centre there are two walks you can do (well three, but two of them go along the same path). The paved path splits as it goes under Nowra Road. To the right is the main lookout at the top of the falls and The West Rim Walk and to the left over the footbridge, is the Wildflower Walk and The East Rim Walk.

Walking the West Rim | 4.2km return (with all the lookouts) | easy/moderate

The most popular walk at Fitzroy Falls is the West Rim – and deservedly so. This is the shorter of the two main walks and definitely gives you more bang for your buck – so to speak. The track undulates around the western edge of the horseshoe shaped escarpment and offers slightly more dramatic scenery then the East Rim Track. With many lookouts along the way, you are never walking far before you get to stop and admire views of the valley or waterfalls. The further you walk around the rim the less people you will have to share the vantage points with. Most of the West Rim track is fairly easy but not entirely flat and will require a basic level of fitness. There are stairs and uneven surfaces, there had also been some rain when we visited so some parts of the track were a little muddy.

Fitzroy Falls Lookout | 150m one way from Visitor Centre

The first lookout, closest to the Visitor Centre, is easily accessible along a paved path and boardwalk. This is a very popular section of the walk and you are unlikely to have the lookout to yourself. The lookout platform is right next to the top of the falls and you feel like you can almost reach out and touch the water as it slides off the edge of the escarpment and plunges over 80 m onto the rocks below. From such close quarters you can’t see the whole waterfall but the views looking out at along the sandstone cliffs stretching down the Yurrunga Valley are spectacular.

Jersey Lookout | 550m one way from visitor Centre

From Fitzroy Falls Lookout it is 400m to the next stop. It is well worth continuing to Jersey Lookout to get a front on view of the upper falls and the pool it cascades into. From here you can see the lookout you just left and two tiers of waterfall plunging into the valley. There are a few stairs along this section of the track but it isn’t a hard walk.

Richardson Lookout

A short way off the main track Ricardson Lookout offers spectacular views of the valley but only partial views back to the falls, hidden behind the undergrowth. From here head left along the walking track up to Red Hills Fire Trail and go left again.

Twin Falls and Paine’s Lookout | 850m one way from visitor Centre

Twin Fall Lookout has more beautiful views of the valley as well as a new waterfall to admire. This waterfall is Yarrunga Creek flowing over the escarpment to join Wildes Meadow Creek in the valley below. From here the track leads across a narrow bridge over the top of Yarrunga Creek. On the other side is Paine’s lookout with views of top of Twin Falls from a different angle. At this point the track becomes a little less user friendly, not hard, just not as well formed as it has been up till now, with uneven surfaces and tree roots to navigate.

The Grotto | 1.3km one way from visitor Centre

After crossing a timber bridge over a small stream there is a side track to the left down to the Grotto. Access to the Grotto is narrow and steep, a short scramble around some large boulders brings you into a little glen with its own little waterfall. A lovely cool spot to rest on a warm day.

Starkeys Lookout | 1.65km one way from Visitor Centre

Starkeys lookout is the first point along The West Rim walking track where you can see Lady Hordern Falls. This is the fall below Fitzroy where Wildes Meadow Creek plumments another 76m to the valley floor.

Renown Lookout | 1.9km one way from Visitor Centre

At the end of the walking track, surrounded by banksia trees, Renown Lookout offers a fabulous view of Fitzroy Falls, Lady Horden Falls and the beautiful lush valley that they sit in.

Worth the effort to get to, take some time to enjoy your acommplishment before heading back to the visitor centre the way you came.

Walking the East Rim | 6.7km return | easy/moderate

The east rim of the escarpment may not offer as many vantage points to view Fitzroy Falls but it does offer an abundance of flora and fauna, some stunning views of the valleys and is much quieter than the west rim. It is also a longer walk than the west rim, a lovely peaceful bush walk through dry eucalypt forests, grassy woodlands, heathlands and rainforest. The walk doesn’t stick as close to the edge of the escarpment as the west rim, diving off into moist gulley’s and over dry rocky ridges. As with the west rim the track is well maintained and easy to follow.

Wildflower Walk | 2.4km return from Visitor Centre

The Wildflower Walk is the first section of the East Rim Track. It is a gently undulating track with a diverse range of native plants and animals. The first stop on this side of the valley is May Lookout with views across the gorge to lower Grotto Falls and the bottom of Twin Falls. The track then heads away from the escarpment and winds through Fern Tree Gulley where you will find interpretive signs pointing out some of the wonders of nature.

We were lucky enough to see two lyre birds performing at points along this track. We stopped to watch and listen to their mimicking, picking out the noises of the forest and the sounds of man that they had learnt. The Wildflower Walk ends at Warrawong lookout which offers a lovely view back along the escarpment to Fitzroy Falls.

If you are feeling energised you can continue along the track from Warragong Lookout and you swill be rewarded with stunning views of Yarrunga Creek Gorge from Lamond Lookout and Valley View Lookout, eventually coming to the end of the trail at Yarrunga Lookout.

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