Budderoo National Park is a national park in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, known for its waterfalls and rainforests in particular, Minnamurra – hence why you may hear Minnamurra more than Budderoo National Park. While Australia isn't particularly known for its rainforests, this park will certainly make you reconsider.
The park has been utilised a lot, although what happened pre European settlement is little known. But the first usage of the area by Europeans was first believed to be in the 1800s. It's also home to the 1853 Kelly's Cottage and its camellia tree, believed to be one of the oldest in the southern hemisphere. Over the 19th century, because of the climate, it's also been a place for dairy farms as well, and hence why the nearby Jamberoo Valley is home to the oldest butter factory in Australia.
The park opened on October 3, 1986, covering an area of 60km2 and has been one of the most visited national parks in the state.
Much of the landscape in Budderoo National Park is mountainous, with little to no areas of flat surfaces. Since much of it is rainforest, it also comes with large amount of rivers as well. Parts of the park are also very rocky.
Flora and faunaEdit
- See also: Australasian wildlife
Budderoo is part of the 7,334-hectare (18,120-acre) Budderoo and Barren Grounds Important Bird Area which contains large numbers of endangered eastern bristlebirds, as well as smaller numbers of pilotbirds and rockwarblers, in a mosaic of sandstone heath and eucalypt woodland habitats.
Some of the fauna that may be encountered in this park are the infamously known platypus, and the lesser known superb fairy wren, a somewhat colourful bird of blue and black, as well as numerous other birds and snakes. Types of flora that may be encountered include the cabbage palm, old man banksias and coachwood. Kangaroos, wallabies and koalas are not commonly found with koalas not being able to be found here at all.
|Budderoo National Park|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The climate is very much cool here all year around. It never goes to the negatives in Budderoo National Park (it rarely goes down to below six degrees in the first place), although on the other hand, it's never too hot as well. The months of February to early April brings a lot of rain into the park, and December and January is bushfire season, and so the best time of the year to visit this park is usually between July to November with September being the driest month.
The typical summer climate averages between 17°C and 26°C while the typical winter climate is between 8°C and 17°C. The highest temperature ever recorded in the park was 42.4°C, while the lowest is 2.3°C.
Visitor information centreEdit
- 1 Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, 345 Minnamurra Falls Road, Jamberoo, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 9AM–5PM daily. Perched at the edge of the rainforest walk, learn more about the remnant rainforests in the Illawarra in this very eco-friendly visitor centre. Known for its friendly staff, and nearby walks.
Note that there is a completely separate road going to the visitor centre, which is the most accessible way of going to this park and the most convenient. While Jamberoo Mountain Road also passes through the park, it doesn't have any parking spaces apart from a couple near lookouts, and this is not convenient for doing most of the park's walking trails.
To get to Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, from Kiama, it's a 16 km (9.9 mi) drive up. Use Jamberoo Road and Jamberoo Mountain Road up for about 12 km from Kiama, until you hit Minnamurra Falls Road, and turn right there for 3 km (1.9 mi) up to the rainforest centre (it's at the end of the road).
Infrequent bus service is also available from Kiama.
Fees and permitsEdit
The fees are $12 per vehicle to go into the Minnamurra Rainforest but other areas of the park are free to visit. If you enter the park via bus or taxi, it's $4.40 per adult, and $2.20 per child. Fees are paid off at the parking lot. The park gates at Minnamurra Rainforest Centre open at 9AM and close at 5PM daily, so if you're camping, be prepared to enter earlier.
Much of the rainforest section in Minnamurra is inaccessible via car, and can only be done via walking. On the contrary, it is possible to take your car to some of the lookouts and waterfalls outside Minnamurra rainforest, where there are roads, although from Minnamurra, you will need to take a long drive outside the park, down and then back up to get to park (that's outside the Minnamurra section of the rainforest). Parking can be a problem though, particularly in holiday season.
Unlike most other Australian rainforests, snakes do not pose a big threat, unless you decide to mess with them and walking can be done, just like how you would in any other place.
Budderoo National Park is most known for the Minnamurra Rainforest and the lookouts and waterfalls within those it, but it's a shame to think that the Minnamurra Rainforest and the lookouts and waterfalls in this park is the only thing that's in the park – because this park has much more to offer, including phenomenal valleys such as the one near Kangaroo River as well as the lookouts and falls outside Minnamurra Rainforest, and even the rainforest outside Minnamurra.
- 1 Jamberoo lookout, Jamberoo Mountain Rd (Tourist Drive 9), Budderoo (Note that it's easy to miss the signage to this park, and so pay attention to the signage when going on Jamberoo Mtn Road.). Most of the time, you can visibly see the towns of Kiama, Lake Illawarra, Albion Park, and if you're lucky enough, you might as well get a glimpse of parts of Wollongong.
- 2 Minnamurra Falls. It is a 2.1-kilometre (1.3 mi) walk from the rainforest centre to the falls, but those 2.1 km fly within minutes. Immersed heavily in the rainforest, these waterfalls are definitely a visit, even if you only have about two hours – and no wonder why this place is packed with tourists.
- 3 Carrington Falls, 44-48 Hoddle Street, Robertson. Where does the Kangaroo River drop 50m? – yes, that's Carrington Falls, and it's one of the few spots where this is seen in New South Wales. You can get up close to the waterfall if you want, but do be careful not to slip – or you'll know what'll happen. This is also a place home to a large diversity of birdlife, so bring a binoculars if you have one, as it's worth the look.
- 4 Izzard Lookout, Izzard Lookout Track, Upper Kangaroo Valley. See a world down below at the Kangaroo River – although you probably won't ever see the river given how much higher you are in elevation compared to the river – but that's what keeps its beauty, instead of "just another river".
- 5 Missingham lookout, Missingham lookout Track. There is nothing much about this lookout, but the spectacular Carrington Falls Gorge giving breathtaking views.
- 6 Warris Chair lookout, Warris Chair lookout track, Robertson. This is one of the many lookouts giving breathtaking views, but one of the few lookouts can be viewed with little effort. Getting here is only a 500m walk from the road, and so it's suitable for nearly everyone – although the unique thing about this park is that you're very likely to spot some unique birds, so bring a binoculars.
There are numerous bushwalking trails in Budderoo National Park, but by far the two most popular ones are the Minnamurra Falls walk (coloured on map) and the Lyrebird loop walk (coloured on map), both classified as the "Rainforest Walks". But again, it's appalling to think that these are the "only" scenic bushwalks, since there are other trails as well, just not in Minnamurra Rainforest.
Other trails include the 0.6 km (0.37 mi) Carrington Falls track going to Carrington Falls, the Izzards lookout track; a 1.1 km (0.68 mi) trail to Izzards lookout as suggested by its name, the Missingham lookout track; a 3.8 km (2.4 mi) return trail to Missingham lookout, and the Warris Chair lookout track, a 1 km (0.62 mi) return trail. Each of these trails have something breathtaking, all in their own right.
The Budderoo track is a 24 km (15 mi) cycling trail return, which takes approximately about two hours, but can take more or less depending on cycling experience. This park covers most of the park, except the rainforest in Minnamurra. The trail just ends a slightly west of Jamberoo lookout, but if you've got the energy to, then it's definitely worth the effort as the views are more than rewarding.
Eat and drinkEdit
There are no places to eat nor drink in Budderoo National Park except for light refreshments sold at the visitor centre, and so you will most likely need to bring your own food if you're not going to leave the park. There was a cafe in the visitor centre, although that has since closed since November 2020 (check for local alerts here) and as of March 2022, it still remains closed with only the light refreshments as part of the gift shop. However, it's not uncommon for visitors to head down to Kiama or up to Robertson for lunch. There are however, some picnic areas in which this page covers.
- 1 Nellies Glen picnic area, Nellies Glen trail, Robertson (a few minutes walk from the Cloonty Rd junction). Nellies Glen picnic area is very close to some scenic waterfall views, and a large number of bushwalks nearby, also meaning that there's a large number of lookouts nearby. Come here in spring, and you may as well see some birds such as the lyrebird mate.
- 2 Minnamurra Rainforest picnic area, Minnamurra Falls Rd, Jamberoo. This small picnic area is surrounded in a lush rainforest. Perfect spot for lunch.
Given the nature of this place, there is only one campground in this park, and that one campground only has very limited spots. Hence, during holiday season, it's pretty easy to miss out on a spot. And if you do miss out on one, then not to worry, but there is accommodation in nearby Kiama or Robertson. But generally, Budderoo National Park is a day trip from Sydney, and most people who reside in Sydney don't usually camp here.
- 1 Carrington Falls campground, Carrington Falls Rd, Robertson. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. This campground is not near one, nor two but three different lookouts; all within a nearby proximity. But it comes with a cost, as there's only six campsites available, so book well ahead in advance. If you do come here and stay in spring, you'll have the bonus of a) seeing lyrebirds mate b) coming in blossoming season.
Safety is not a concern at all in Budderoo National Park although supervise children close to the waterfalls. Snakes are not an issue here, and same with most other wildlife. They're only a threat if you mess with them, but otherwise they'll just be doing their business.