It seems like half a lifetime ago that Dean and I were camped at Gerroa and we took a drive through the Kangaroo Valley where we then went on to Myra Vale and Robertson, before heading to Kiama via Saddleback Mountain.
It was a lovely day out, but what we didn’t realise at the time was that we missed the gem that is Fitzroy Falls by one (mere) kilometre (0.6 mile) and we decided we cannot be so close for a second time and not see the falls. After all, they are a spectacular natural attraction of the Southern Highlands, so we set out yesterday morning on a little expedition.
From Basin View, it’s only 64.5 kilometres (40 miles) to reach the falls with the road taking you over two ranges as well as through Kangaroo Valley. Within the little township of Kangaroo Valley you’ll find Hampden Bridge, Australia’s last surviving wooden suspension bridge of the 19th century that is still in operation.
The bridge is listed as an industrial heritage site with the Nation Trust due to its “significant technical achievement” and original surviving features. I wasn’t able to photograph the bridge on our last visit due to road works under way at the time preventing us from pulling over, so I’m very pleased we were able to do so this time.
The bridge features four large crenellated turrets made from locally sourced sandstone. It’s only 77 metres (253 feet) long and, not only is it one lane wide, but only one large vehicle is permitted on the bridge at any one time. Two or more cars travelling in the same direction may cross the bridge together, but not two trucks.
It’s quite a sight to behold and drive across.
From there we had only a short distance to reach Fitzroy Falls. The falls are situated in the Moreton National Park, one of the many national parks we are surrounded by here.
The water cascades 81 metres (266 feet) down the face of the cliff, but this is by no means the bottom of the valley.
In the above image, Fitzroy Falls is the water falling at the top of the image. The water then continues down into the valley and can be seen falling again in the bottom of the image.
We arrived at 10 am and decided to walk the West Rim track, and easy 3.5 kilometre (2.1 miles) return walk that took us past several lookouts and other waterfalls as we walked along the horseshoe-shaped escarpment. The track is gently undulating and it was comforting having a fence between me and the (seemly) never-ending drop over the edge.
The sun was out and the air was crisp and cool. Actually it was rather cold to begin with and as I’d left my gloves in the car, it wasn’t long before my fingers were red to the second knuckle. But at least that only lasted for a short while. By the time we reached Renown Lookout at the end of the track, the temperature had warmed up (a little) and my fingers had thawed out.
The view down into the valley and across the southern reaches of the Southern Highlands was spectacular and both of us agreed it reminded us of our time bushwalking in the Blue Mountains.
There was another walk in the area, the East Rim, a wildflower walking track. In the midst of winter we felt there wouldn’t be many wildflowers on show so we decided not to take that walk. We’ll plan on returning in early spring to enjoy the show on offer before we leave New South Wales in mid September.
After strolling back to the Visitors Centre where we enjoyed lunch, we then headed home satisfied that we’d had a wonderful time enjoying Fitzroy Falls and the West Rim track.
Big fan of waterfalls. Big. Huge. I can never get enough of the thunderous sound of water spilling from somewhere high up. It’s a magically powerful sound (and feeling).
And the bridge is a beauty. I like that everyone has to take their turn crossing. There’s an element of realizing you’re on something quite special when you have to wait in line.
I’m looking forward to the wildflower path. I’m sure you’ll do it justice, Clare.
Thank you Shelley,
The bridge really is quite beautiful, and I’m currently honing my photography skills for the wildflower track. I just love Australian wildflowers, have done so since I was very young and I’m really looking forward to seeing as many as possible when the weather warms up. And of cause I’ll be sharing them with everyone.
Hi Clare, I am reading your latest mail in Foix in the French Pyrenees. We were getting jealous of you two having all the best travelogues.
Sounds like you continue to have a wonderful time.
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Thanx Bruce, but it sounds like you are having a wonderful time yourself.
What a gorgeous view! That bridge looks both commanding and familiar. I wonder if I saw a picture of it before when I was in AU. Can you walk across it, too?
Wow the view of the valley is amazing Mum! Looks like a gorgeous day!
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It was Moo
Beautiful, beautiful pictures. I am in awe of all the walking you guys do!
Awe, shucks Calen