Clover Hill trail

Macquarie Pass National Park

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Overview

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

Where
Macquarie Pass National Park
Accessibility
Hard
Distance
6km return
Time suggested
2 - 3hrs
Grade
Grade 5
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • Protect against leeches and ticks with insect repellent
  • Please leave wildflowers and other plants as they are
  • Tall forest is best avoided when there are strong winds
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch

For a varied and interesting walk, take the Clover Hill trail. This old logging route leads to Rainbow Falls and three smaller falls upstream on the Macquarie Rivulet. After walking in the dense shade of the forest, suddenly the landscape opens up at Clover Hill – these are the paddocks cleared by farmers over a century ago. High above, the massive cliffs of the escarpment glow yellow and orange in the sunlight.

Bushwalkers, birdwatchers and adventurers will love this walk, with its sharp contrast between rainforest and open fields. The huge rainforest trees, eucalypts, beefwood, Illawarra flame trees, cabbage tree palms and tree ferns, home to lyrebirds and goannas, give way to sunny plains where you will often see kangaroos hopping about.

Highlights include a spectacular view of the escarpment, and adventurers may wish to scramble upstream at the end of the track to access Rainbow Falls.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


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Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/clover-hill-trail/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Clover Hill trail.

Track grading

Grade 5

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    2 - 3hrs

  • Quality of markings

    No directional signage

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    6km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    The trackhead is at the northern edge of Cascades picnic area. From Sydney and Wollongong:

    • Take the Princes Highway and Southern Freeway to the Illawarra Highway turnoff at Haywards Bay
    • Travel about 14km along the Illawarra Highway, which veers right in Albion Park, to Macquarie Pass National Park.
    • After passing the Macquarie Pass National Park sign at the bottom of Macquarie Pass, travel 2.2km further along the highway.
    • Clover Hill Road is signposted on the left and the carpark is at the start of the trail

    FromRobertson:

    • Take the Illawarra Highway east to reach Macquarie Pass National Park and Cascades picnic area
    • Clover Hill Road is signposted on the right, 5km after the Macquarie Pass National Park sign on the first hairpin bend, and the carpark is at the start of the trail.
    • Please be careful turning off and entering the Illawarra Highway at Clover Hill Road, as visibility is limited by the windy road.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available in the designated carpark. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Macquarie Pass National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    Take on some longer walks and see the lilly pillys fruiting.

    Spring

    Smell the sweet scent of flowering pittosporum and wattle throughout the park.

    Summer

    Walk in the cool of the rainforest and see the Illawarra flame trees and coachwoods in flower.

    Winter

    Enjoy the early wattle blooming at the edge of the forest and bring your binoculars for the bird activity of late winter.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    18°C and 25°C

    Highest recorded

    42.4°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    8°C and 18°C

    Lowest recorded

    2.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    304.4mm

    Facilities

    Carpark

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    The path is less defined than others in this park – it’s a good idea to bring a topographic map and compass or a GPS.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    River and lake safety

    The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

    Accessibility

    Disability access level - hard

    • Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty
    • The road is reasonably level but can be muddy or covered in thick leaf litter.

    Prohibited

    Gathering firewood

    • Firewood may not be collected from the park

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dogs and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Learn more

    Clover Hill trail 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.
    • Scones in the forest South Coast walking tours Experience South Coast beauty on this wilderness excursion with Nature Engagement Tours. Walking with a friendly and knowledgeable guide, you'll explore pristine forests in beautiful Macquarie Pass National Park, near Wollongong and Kiama.

    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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