Waterfall walk

Willi Willi National Park

Overview

This medium-difficulty trail, not too far from Kempsey, walks you through flourishing World Heritage-listed rainforest of Willi Willi National Park. You can also picnic by waterfalls and swim in a natural pool.

Where
Willi Willi National Park
Distance
7.2km return
Time suggested
3hrs 30min - 4hrs 30min
Grade
Grade 5
Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • There is limited mobile reception in this park
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch

On Waterfall walk you’ll pass a magnificent strangler fig, through sub-tropical and warm temperate rainforest, to a sparkling waterfall and plunge pool where you can cool off with a refreshing swim after your walk.

Glossy green palms, brightly coloured fungi and delicate orchids line your path, and there are informative signs for those interested in the history of the area. Swimming is encouraged during your visit - the fertile rainforest ensures a warm, humid climate throughout the year, and the waterfall pool is an idyllic place to cool off on a warm day.

This medium difficulty walk leaves from Wilson River picnic area, where comfortable amenities include a shelter shed with large picnic tables for a relaxing barbecue. Easier trails like the scenic Botanic walk and Palm Grove walk also begin from here for those looking for a more casual post-picnic stroll.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

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/waterfall-walk/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Waterfall walk.

Track grading

Grade 5

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

    3hrs 30min - 4hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    No directional signage

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    7.2km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Waterfall walk is in the Wilson River precinct of Willi Willi National Park. To get there:

From Wauchope:

  • Take the Beechwood Road to Beechwood
  • Then turn onto Bellangary Road
  • Turn onto Hastings Forest Way
  • Turn into Wilson River Road to reach the picnic area

From Kempsey:

  • Take the Armidale Road from West Kempsey
  • After 35km turn onto Carrai Road at Toorooka near Willawarrin
  • Turn onto Coachwood Road at Kookaburra

Road quality

Check the weather before you set out as the road to Wilson River picnic area can become boggy when it rains.

Parking

Parking is available at Wilson River picnic area.

Best times to visit

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

Spring

Birds are plentiful in the rainforest so it's a great time for birdwatching.

Summer

Meander along the cool Waterfall walk where you can take a refreshing swim.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

26°C and 28°C

Highest recorded

42.2°C

Winter temperature

Average

16°C and 20°C

Lowest recorded

-5.1°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

January

Driest month

July

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

234.6mm

Facilities

Drinking water is not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

This park is in a remote location, so please ensure you’re well-prepared and bring appropriate clothing and equipment.

Bushwalking safety

If you’re bushwalking 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 + 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.

Prohibited

Pets

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

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Kempsey (10 km)

Kempsey is a historic river town close to national parks and majestic beaches. Kempsey is a convenient place for an overnight stop for anyone driving between Sydney and the North Coast.

www.visitnsw.com

Port Macquarie (58 km)

Vibrant Port Macquarie is surrounded by beautiful waterways - the Hastings River, canals, creeks, bays and the Pacific Ocean. The city also has a five-star collection of golden-sand beaches stretching from Port Macquarie Beach to Town Beach and north along the 16-km swathe of North Beach.

www.visitnsw.com

Wauchope (1 km)

Wauchope is great base for exploring nearby national parks that are part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Follow the Hastings Forest Way to Werrikimbe National Park, a rugged wilderness of outstanding beauty spread with short and long walks. Willi Willi National Park is a rainforest mountain park with three beautiful walking tracks that follow the river and lead to a sparkling waterfall. 

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Waterfall walk is in Willi Willi National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

An ancient story

Palm Grove Walk, Willi Willi National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Today’s lush rainforests are direct relations of the ancient forests of Gondwana within the Antarctic Circle. Around 80 million years ago, the ancestral continent broke up and Australia started moving north, which eventually reduced most of the rainforests to a narrow strip along south-eastern Australia. As well as World Heritage-listed rainforests, the park protects a diversity of vegetation, including old growth eucalypt forests and open heath. This diverse vegetation provides food and shelter for a medley of creatures; small ground mammals and bats, the endangered Hastings River mouse, the yellow-bellied glider. Australia’s largest marsupial carnivore, the spotted-tailed quoll, also calls Willi Willi home.

  • Botanic walk A short stroll not far from Wauchope, Botanic walk heads through World Heritage rainforest and is great for birdwatching and relaxing with the family over a picnic.

Ground beneath our feet

Waterfall walk, Willi Willi National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The geology of Willi Willi National Park is for the most part mudstone, sandstone and conglomerate, making the terrain exceptionally steep and rugged. These rocks are more resistant to erosion than the sedimentary beds, making them the cause of such rippled landscapes and the spectacular angles of the park.

  • Hastings Forest Way touring route See Gondwana rainforest, go camping, birdwatching and enjoy amazing scenery on a scenic drive through Hastings Forest Way touring route near Port Macquarie and Wauchope.
  • Waterfall walk This medium-difficulty trail, not too far from Kempsey, walks you through flourishing World Heritage-listed rainforest of Willi Willi National Park. You can also picnic by waterfalls and swim in a natural pool.
  • Wilson River picnic area Wilson River picnic area near Wauchope is the ideal place to begin your driving or walking adventures. Bring a picnic, explore rainforests on a walking track and swim near the waterfall.

The land provides balance

Waterfall walk, Willi Willi National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The name Willi Willi National Park is derived from the local Dunghutti Aboriginal word 'willai' meaning possum. The repetition of the word indicates a plural form translating roughly as “many possums”. Dunghutti Aboriginal Nguloongooras (wise elders) would perform secret ‘increase rituals’ on sacred mountain tops such as Kemps Pinnacle, near the western boundary of the park, to extend their food supply. Placing limits on certain species during seasonal variations allowed for a natural increase in food resources. It was the wish of their great deity, Woormprahl, for them to create this balance with nature.

Education resources (1)

Waterfall walk hero, Willi Willi National Park. Photo: John Spencer