MINYON FALLS & THE NIGHTCAP RANGE ROAD SCENIC DRIVE
Minyon Scenic Drive
(Also known as the Whian Whian Scenic Drive)
This scenic drive is about 35 km north of Lismore and 7.3km north of Rosebank. It is a loop drive and can be accessed from Repentance Ck Rd (4.5km north of Rosebank) or from Dunoon Road (west of Rosebank.)
Nightcap National Park entrance
Minyon scenic drive
Mist in the Whian whian SCA
The scenic drive has a good 2WD dry weather road, which winds its way through Nightcap National Park & Whian Whian State Conservation Area. It is a good gravel road however after rain can be potholed, providing problems for low-clearance vehicles and inexperienced drivers. The scenic drive is suitable for camper trailers if you take it easy. The full trip through the forest is 9km and takes only half an hour. To enjoy the drive and cover all points of interest, including the magnificent Minyon Falls, visitors should allow at least two hours but a day or two to explore would be far more enjoyable, especially if you intend to bushwalk.
This scenic drive exemplifies the beauty of this forest, which, with its high rainfall and rich soils, has a great diversity of plants and wildlife. The forest provides a habitat for some of Australia’s more interesting birds and animals, including the prince albert’s lyre-bird, wompoo pigeon, greater glider, green catbird, bushturkey, several species of rainforest pigeons, stephen’s banded snake, land mullets, pademelons and koalas.
The scenic drive lies on the southern flank of the old Tweed volcano and descends through luxuriant eucalypt and rainforest stands. The Nightcap Range has a continuous stretch of sub tropical rainforest which was heavily logged from the 1840s. The Whian Whian became a timber-producing forest, with sawlog supplies being provided for industry and house-building. As the rainforest was logged it was replaced with Eucalypt Plantations. It was known to have the fastest growing rates of eucalypts in NSW and was the most highly productive native eucalypt plantation in the State. During its State Forest days, it was an important timber reserve until recent years when it became a State Conservation Area. Flooded gum and blackbutt plantations established in the 1930–50s can be still seen on route. Keep an eye out for koalas in the flooded gum plantations.
Access from Rosebank: To reach the scenic drive head north along Rosebank Road which becomes Repentance Creek Road. Turn left off Repentance Ck Rd, just after Repentance Creek Public Hall, into Minyon Rd. Follow the tarred road (1.7km) till you reach Minyon Falls Road and turn left here. Just 100m up the road you will find the delightful cafe called the Wrens Rest. You just have to stop and try their delicious Pecan Pie with cream. From the verandah you can glimpse Quandong Falls in the distant Minyon Hills that’s if you don't get sidetracked watching the koalas and king parrots playing in the nearby gums.
Continue another 1km to the entry of the Nightcap NP. The scenic drive starts from here.
Minyon Falls from the viewing
platform at Minyon Grass
Minyon Grass fascilities
To reach Minyon Grass turn left at the first intersection, 200m inside the park boundary when you reach the information signage.
Minyon Grass provides the perfect place to view Minyon Falls from a timber viewing platform. Day use facilities include covered picnic tables, gas bbqs and wheelchair friendly toilets. Large scribbly gums surround this grassed picnic area and these are home to many different nocturnal glider species.
Minyon Grass is the beginning of the Minyon Falls Base Walk — Refer to the Bushwalks section of this website for the details.
From Minyon Grass return to the scenic drive and head north along the Ridgeback. Here the drive follows a narrow ridge which falls sharply away on both sides of the road. The majestic amphitheatre of the Minyon Valley lies on the left while the picturesque Coopers Creek Valley is on the right. Coopers Creek is the most reliable stream in the region with its headwaters on the southern slopes of Mt Jerusalem at the eastern end of the Nightcap Range. It has carved out the magnificent 5km long Wanganui Gorge with its sheer 100m heigh ryholite cliffs. Glimpses of Minyon Falls can be seen on the left through the mixed koala gums which line the ridge. Minyon Falls flows into Repentance Creek which has an annual average discharge of 72,946 mega litres from a 62sq km catchment within the Nightcap Range.
The Ridgeback was originally cut by hand by the Rosebank Footy Team in the early 1900s????. This was done as a weekly training exercise.
Minyon Grass to Minyon Falls is only 1.1km and an easy walk.
Just before you reach the Minyon Falls Picnic Area you enter the Whian Whian State Conservation Area and part of a larger area known as Minyon Falls Flora Reserve which, because of its high scientific, recreational and scenic value, was excluded from all logging operations carried out in the surrounding forest.
Minyon Falls Flora Reserve contains many endangered flora species such as the very rare onion cedar (Oweniia cepiodora). Once plentiful it was logged for its similar features to red cedar. One specimen of this species can be seen at Rummery Park adjacent to the Peates Mountain Rd. Other threatened plants of significance, including ROTAP species that can be seen along Minyon Scenic Drive include; Ozothamusnus whitei, Amorphospermum whitei (rusty plum), Westringia blakeana, Acacia orites (mtn wattle), Syzygium hodgkinsoniae (red lilly pilly) and the Phaius australis (lesser swamp-orchid).
The drive into Minyon Falls Picnic Area is lined with lush tree ferns and rainforest vegetation under a moist Blackbutt forest canopy.
Minyon Falls Picnic Area
The magestic Minyon Falls
Minyon Falls viewing platform
Minyon Falls day use area
The waterfall’s edge, is accessed from a wheelchair accessible boardwalk and spectacular viewing platform on the edge of the escarpment. From the top of rhyolitic cliffs (extruded as lava flows many millions of years ago), these beautiful falls plunge 100 metres into the deep palm-shaded gorge below called Palm Valley. A 3–4 hr round treck will take you into some of Australia’s most stunning World Heritage listed rainforest. The top of the cliff is forested with giant blackbutt and scribbly gum, while subtropical Booyong rainforest with a brush box canopy occupies the gully beneath.
Signage adjacent to the Falls shows the location of the walking trail complex. There are several walks that can be accessed from Minyon Falls picnic area-refer to the Bushwalking section of this website for more details on the Minyon Falls Base Walk & Minyon Falls Loop Walk.
Minyon Falls Facilities
Day Use Facilities only-no camping and no pets please. There are plenty of shady covered picnic tables, gas barbecues, a large car park, interpretive signs/maps and wheelchair friendly toilets. A perfect place to have a picnic in a forest setting.
Waterfalls, lookouts, scenic drives, nature based activities, birdwatching, self-guided bushwalking, Ranger Discovery tours in school holidays, guided bushwalks with Nimbin Bushwalking Club, Northern Rivers Bushwalking Club or Vision Walks, bus tours, photographic tours, mountain bike riding, cycling, horseriding and eco-tours. Refer to the Business Directory for contact details of tours etc.
On leaving the Falls, follow the scenic forest drive across Boggy Creek causeway and wind through the changing vegetation of the Nightcap NP. Several pretty cascades can be seen on both sides of the road especially after the rainy season. You pass a small patch of heath vegetation, opposite the cascades and this is where glow-worms can be seen at night. Keep a watchful eye out for koalas as you pass the flooded gum plantation that was planted by State Forests in the early nineties. These plantations have rainforests emerging as the understory and the wildlife have now returned and birdlife is plentiful again.
Another 2.1 kms brings you to Peates Mtn Road on the right. Turn here to reach Rummery Park Campground, 200m further along.
Rummery Park Campground
Rummery Park campground & kitchen galley
Rummery walking bridge
Rummery Park grassy campground
Rummery Park is a delightful grassy clearing within the forest at an elevation of 370m. Boggy Creek and its Billabong run through the campground and provide a wonderful setting to listen to the rainforest birds, frogs and watch the glow-worms at night. The pademelons also emerge at dusk. These are delightful little wallabies that enjoy the grassy fringes of the rainforest.
Rummery Park is a good spot to camp, picnic or barbecue and facilities include a sheltered communal cooking galley, gas bbqs, fire pits (wood is not supplied so bring your own), reticulated water, toilets (wheelchair friendly), a quaint footbridge, car based and walk in campsites. There are lots of sites to choose from and plenty of shaded areas with ample car parking. No power is available.
NPWS have installed informative signage and an honesty pay system for overnight campers. $10 per adult & $5 per child per night when camping.
There are several walks that start from Rummery Park. Please refer to the Bushwalking section of this website for details on The Boggy Creek Walking Track, Peates Mountain Lookout Walk, The Historic Nightcap Track Walk, Nightcap Bluff Walk, Blue Fig Falls Walk & the Eastern Boundary Management Trail Walk.
Other Points of Interest
This is a great place to try to spot endangered frogs, turtles and perhaps a platypus. All the critters of the forest come here to drink, so you should see an assortment of birds and animals if you sit quietly.
Rummery Park billabong
Clever Trees-The guardians of the forest
An excellent example of an old large red cedar stump with board grooves (axe grooves) is located behind the toilet block to the east of the campground. The grooves were made by the loggers (scrub fellers) axes. Planks called springboards were inserted into these grooves to stand upon while felling the trees. In this way the loggers could work well away from the swollen or buttressed base of the tree where the wood was often defective, rotten or hollow. The Springboards were made of 4ft long x 1ft wide planks of lightwood. One end was was steel tipped and this was inserted into the axe grooves which were cut horizontally into the tree. Toe holes were initially cut into the trees to reach the required height for the springboard slots. The holes left where the boards were inserted are a feature of many old stumps.
These old stumps are now known locally as The Clever Trees —the guardians of the Forest, as many resemble old looking faces.
Cecil Jones Memorial Cabin
Cecil Jones memorial Cabin
at Rummery Park
Please remove all rubbish
Refer to the historical section of this website for more details.
The regrowth forest around Rummery Park is home to pademelons and a colony of koalas. Other wildlife that you can expect to see include frogs, goannas, rainforest pigeons, bandicoots, glow-worms, king parrots, catbirds, spangled drongos, a large family of satin bower birds and the resident kookaburras. For a full list of the animals, birds and flora of the park refer to the flora & fauna section of this website. Remember; please do not feed the wildlife and put food away to discourage scavenging.
Koala Mum & bub
Report injured wildlife
Rummery Park had the area’s highest recorded rainfall of 430.5mm in one day and averages 2500mm per year, so if its been bucketing down for a few days it might be an idea to keep an eye on the creek levels and pack up before the causeways flood. Alternatively bring a few days extra in food supplies and stay and enjoy the rain in a rainforest. Its a truly remarkable experience when the forest becomes misty.
Scenic drive through lush rainforest and towering gums
Continuing on from Rummery Park rejoin the main drive until you reach the Blue Fig Management Trail 800m along on the right hand side. The Blue Fig Falls Walk Please refer to the Bushwalking section of this website for more details
Continuing on the Scenic Drive you enter into the Rocky Creek Dam water catchment area. Tall straight gums and rainforest gullies feature along the drive which is lined with the beautiful fairy like, light green foliage of tree ferns. Again be careful as you drive through the tallowwood trees that line the road in several areas as these are the favourite food tree of the koala and female koalas with young on their backs often cross the drive here.
Another 1.1km along the forest drive you reach Rummery Rd Management Trail on the right hand side. At this intersection you can look down across a wild lost valley of subtropical beauty. Massive old growth trees canopy the palm forests below. Glimpses of the dam can also be seen from here and interpretive signage is available
Another walk can be taken to Rocky Creek Crossing. Please refer to the Bushwalking section of this website for more details.
Continue another 2.7km to Boomerang Falls Management Trail (south) on the left hand side of the scenic drive. Lower in elevation the vegetation changes again to eucalypt dominated forests. The Boomerang Falls Walk commences here —Please refer to the Bushwalking section of this website for more details.
This area contains the Boomerang Creek Flora Reserve which is home to the albert’s lyrebird, the endangered coxen fig parrot and a colony of koalas. The lyrebird is very shy but can be best heard at sunrise.
Continue another 300m to the NP exit and the end of the scenic forest drive. Follow the road another 2.1km to the intersection of Nightcap Range Rd & Dunoon Rd. Along the way you pass through some massive blackbutts that tower over the road and are very impressive. Turn left at the intersection to complete the loop drive and return to Rosebank. If you turn right the road leads to the Villages of Dunoon and The Channon and Rocky Creek Dam and also Lismore.