Fantastic Fitzroy Falls
About Fitzroy Falls
Fitzroy Falls is an 81-meter-tall spectacular waterfall with a large body of water plummeting from the edge of the rock plateau straight to the bottom of the cliff, disappearing into the deep lush forested gorges.
It is nestled in the picturesque Southern Highlands, only 2 hours drive from Sydney or Canberra, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region as it has magnificent escarpment and gorge views and a very easy access to the first viewing area from the visitor center and the car park, which is an only 800 meters board walk. In short, so little effort for huge rewards.
The Southern Highlands region is truly picturesque with a tapestry of idyllic farmlands, dense forests, dramatic gorges and soaring cliffs dotted with character-filled small villages and several other magnificent waterfalls such as Belmore Falls and Carringon Falls, all within half an hour driving distance from Fitzroy Falls.
Here you can enjoy a self-guided tour from one waterfall to another, driving through lush rainforests and woodlands, a bush walk starting from Fitzroy Falls along the East or West Rim Walking tracks, a bush picnic by the creek or even forest bathing. Whatever you decide to do, Fitzroy Falls and its surrounding areas make a perfect destination for a nice relaxing weekend getaway.
From Sydney, you can take the Hume Highway to Mittagong and then go through Bowral if you want to make a beeline to Fitzroy Falls. But if you want to enjoy a scenic drive, I highly recommend you to drive through Macquarie Pass after taking a right turn at Albion Park, further south from Wollongong.
Some sections of the roads in the mountains are narrow, winding and steep but all sealed so you can travel by 2WD as well as 4WD. The magnificent and varying views you will have along this route definitely make the journey worth the extra half an hour drive required.
From Canberra, you can take the Hume and Illawarra Highways to Moss Vale. If you don’t mind an extra hour drive, driving through Kangaroo Valley is worth the trouble. The winding and narrow mountain road to and from Kangaroo Valley may be challenging but the landscape is stunning.
Best time to visit
Spring and autumn is the best time to visit Fitzroy Falls when the weather is mild and pleasant but summer is still good since you can enjoy spectacular views without breaking a sweat due to its proximity from the car park and shade from the mature trees.
In spring, you can see some of the typical Australian native wild flowers, which may not be as splendid and delicate as roses or tulips but uniquely beautiful none the less.
If you are lucky, you can spot a platypus or two at the little creek just after the visitor center or encounter some lyrebirds, native to Australia and with the ability to imitate almost any sound, or an Echidna along the short track to the waterfall in any season.
- There is a parking fee of $4 per vehicle per day at Fitzroy Falls car park.
- A short walk to the Fitzroy Falls is wheelchair and pram accessible but the walking tracks to other lookouts further away have some stairs and can be muddy after the rain.
- There is the Information center/souvenir shop, a cafe and public toilets near the car park.
- If you want to stay over night, you can find quality accommodations in nearby villages within half an hour drive from Fitzroy Falls. Those are Robertson, Moss Vale, Bowral and Kangaroo Valley. You are strongly advised to make a booking well in advance as this area is a very popular destination for family holidays and couples’ romantic getaways.
Our personal experience
After having two weeks of on-again-off-again rain and storms, we decided that it would be the perfect time to go see waterfalls, in particular, Fitzroy Falls. Given that the rain was still threatening to come back at any minute, we thought driving would be the better option than hiking to reach any waterfalls.
We have come to this part of the region many times previously. Driving on the mountain roads in and around stunning Macquarie Pass and Kangaroo Valley has always been pleasant but this time it was particularly so with even more spectacular sights than usual. While driving, we could see several cascades of water gushing down the vertical rock faces right by the snaking road after the recent heavy rains and thick fog occasionally filling the forests turning everything mysterious.
Surprisingly enough, we were not the only ones who had the idea of driving out to see waterfalls in a still wet weather condition. Many came out with their partner or friends or even with young children.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at Belmore Falls, the fog filling the gorges was so thick that we could see nothing but could hear thundering roar of the waterfalls close by.
With our fingers crossed, we headed next to Fitzroy Falls where we had a touch of good luck by the time we arrived. The drizzle of rain stopped briefly and the lifting clouds revealed roaring waterfalls tumbling down the red cliff face against a vibrant backdrop of lush forests deep in the gorges and faraway mountains, which had a surprising resemblance to old Chinese style landscape paintings, typically depicting dramatic mountains, clouds and waterfalls. It was an amazing sight.
With or without waterfalls, we always enjoy a slow scenic drive in this region, admiring stunning views, stopping at little villages to have coffee, to browse antique stores, to taste some of local cheese or to buy souvenirs to take home.
There is something about this area. After a relaxing day trip like this, we become remarkably calmer and happier than before we had left home.
So you can safely say that a slow and scenic drive through nature is more than a trip. It is a therapy.