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Cascades walk

Macquarie Pass National Park

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Learn more about why this park is special

Cascades walk is in Macquarie Pass National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A colourful escarpment

View of Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo:  T Moody

Macquarie Pass National Park covers a spectacular sandstone escarpment that glows a rich yellow and orange in the sunlight, contrasting with the lush, deep green of the forest. At its base lie massive boulders lined with ferns and orchids. It's said that local Nurrewin House was built entirely from the stone of one boulder.

  • Cascades picnic area Take a break from your road trip or relax after Cascades walk at this sunny picnic area amid the cool rainforest, near Wollongong on the south coast of NSW.
  • Clover Hill trail For escarpment views, rainforest, waterfalls, birdwatching and cool creeks, take the Clover Hill trail at Macquarie Pass near Wollongong and Kiama.

An ancient route

View of Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo: T Moody

It's thought that the track through Macquarie Pass followed a traditional path used by the Wodi Wodi people to travel between the coast and the highlands. Made into a track in 1863 and a road in 1898, it was so rugged that the brakes and radiators of the first cars had trouble coping. At least one went straight over the embankment. Today, it's a much more enjoyable journey - the winding, steep Illawarra Highway gives travellers time to take a look at the beautiful landscape and forest.

  • Cascades walk For an easy walk through shady rainforest, take Cascades walk to a beautiful waterfall and pool near Kiama and Robertson.

Diverse habitats

Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo: T Moody

The first thing visitors will notice in the park is the sheer size of the trees and the rainforest feel of the park, with plentiful figs, cabbage tree palms and vines. Tall open forest on the north and west slopes contains huge turpentine, brown barrel and gully gum, and there are three distinct types of rainforest in the park. If you're patient and lucky, you may see platypus in the larger watercourses and koalas in the forests. There are thought to be threatened broad-headed snakes here too, and you're also likely to see grey-headed flying foxes feeding on native figs in season. The park is an important place for the conservation of tiger quolls and long-nosed potoroos. There's plenty for birdwatchers to see too. Lyrebirds and satin bowerbirds wander about and the threatened powerful owl is also local to the area.

  • Cascades picnic area Take a break from your road trip or relax after Cascades walk at this sunny picnic area amid the cool rainforest, near Wollongong on the south coast of NSW.
  • Cascades walk For an easy walk through shady rainforest, take Cascades walk to a beautiful waterfall and pool near Kiama and Robertson.

The perfect climate for bushwalking

Native vegetation, Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo: T Moody

In summer, take advantage of the dense shade and fern-lined watercourses criss-crossing the park. In winter, you'll find that many parts of the park are much milder than the exposed highlands, which makes walking a pleasant thing to do all year round.

  • Clover Hill trail For escarpment views, rainforest, waterfalls, birdwatching and cool creeks, take the Clover Hill trail at Macquarie Pass near Wollongong and Kiama.

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Cascades Track, Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo: T. Moody/NSW Government