Dappled light filtering through ferns. Tranquil little rivers and abundant birdlife. New South Wales is home to some truly world-class rainforest walks; from the borderline tropical North to the misty mountains and protected canyons of the Great Dividing Range, you’ll be in a constant state of awe as you tiptoe through these natural wonders. Picking the 10 best rainforest walks wasn’t easy, but we’re happy to guarantee that the 10 below are certified mind-blowers. Enjoy!


Crystal Shower Falls

Duration & Distance: 2 hours / 3.5km return

The Crystal Showers Falls Walk is an enchanted day-hike through the lush rainforest of Dorrigo National Park. Water from the whispy falls has turned the surrounding forest into a towering green ode to saturation.

Best bit: You can walk behind the falls! Feast on that new perspective, then close your eyes and listen to the bird calls mingling with the crashing water. Welcome to your happy place friend.

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Crystal Shower Falls
Photo by Calumn Hockey | @calumnhockey

Grand Canyon Track

Duration & Distance: 2-4 hours / 6km loop

No it’s, not the big one in the states, but you can start to forgive the somewhat unoriginal name when you find out that this track has been in service for over 100 years. The Grand Canyon Track is a rainforest walk that winds beneath waterfalls, caresses your face with ferns and skirts over muddy patches on stepping stones.

One of the most exquisite hikes in the Blue Mountains, this day tripper is best tackled counter-clockwise for a finale on top of Evans Lookout. Why are you still here? Go. Now!

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Deep in the Grand Canyon
Photo by Rachel Dimond | @wanderer_rachel

Gloucester Tops Circuit

Duration & Distance: 4-5 hours / 8km

Some 8km hikes take the best part of 2 hours. Others, when the going is tough, can take twice as long. But it’s rare that a relatively easy track can take in excess of 5 hours. Why does it take that long to walk the Gloucester Tops Circuit? It’s simply that stunning.

Along your walk you’ll encounter gorgeous cascading swimming holes, move between open sub-alpine forest dripping with wildflowers and dank rainforest gullies and take in the endless scale of Barrington Tops National Park at Andrew Laurie Lookout.

The Antarctic Beech Forest walking track is a 2.5km section that winds through an ancient temperate rainforest of Antarctic Beech, a relic of a cooler period, only found in high altitude, cooler regions along the East Coast.

We don’t have a microadventure submission for this hike yet. Submit a microadventure.

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Fern-lined pathways
Photo by Tim Ashelford | @tim_ashelford

Mungo Walking Track

Duration & Distance: 1-2 days / 23km one way

The coastal rainforest environment (a rarity on the East Coast) is chockas with native birdlife and massive ferns. Look out for the Cabbage Tree Palm (Livistona australis) which can reach 30m in height, making it one of Australia’s tallest natives.

Start the hike from Mungo Brush Campground with the Mungo Rainforest walk before continuing along the Mungo Walking Track all the way to Hawks Nest. Dark Point Aboriginal place is a sacred area for the Worimi people that’s well worth a visit on your way south.

We don’t have a microadventure submission for this hike yet. Submit a microadventure.

 

Minyon Falls Walking Track

Duration & Distance: 3-4 hours / 8km return

This epic walk to the base of a cathedral-esque 100m high waterfall can be taken in either direction but the best is without a doubt walking from Minyon Falls lookout. After soaking up the views, you’ll head down into the valley beneath trees so gargantuan that their tops disappear into the canopy, before clambering, soaked in sweat, up to the vine-strangled base of the falls for well-deserved swim.

linda dillenbeck minyon falls

The lush base of Minyon Falls
Photo by Linda Dillenbeck | @wanderlustofdill

 

The Falls Walk Budderoo National Park

Duration & Distance: 2-3 hours / 5.8km return

Budderoo National Park is so stoked with its rainforest that it built the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre just to brag about it. And rightly so, the rainforest within the canyon is lush and cool, protected from the midday sun by a high canopy and higher valley walls.

Linking up the Rainforest Loop Walk and The Falls Walk you’ll have a chance to spot native orchids, lyrebirds and delicate ferns from suspension bridges and elevated walkways that protect the rainforest floor. After a steady climb you’ll emerge at the base of the mesmerising Minnamurra Falls. It’s hard to get more tranquil than this.

We don’t have a microadventure submission for this hike yet. Submit a microadventure.

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Suspended in the rainforest
Photo by Jodie Huie | @jodiehphoto

Brindle Creek Walking Track

Duration & Distance: 3-4 hours / 6km one way

The Brindle Creek walking track features the kind of dense, spongy, everything-is-growing-on-everything-else rainforest one comes to expect of Northern NSW. This day hike in the (badassly named) Border Ranges National Park takes you deep into an ancient rainforest environment littered with waterfalls and the elusive Antarctic Beech. The large leaves of the Helmholtzia lily will be hard to miss, there’s so many that there’s a loop track named after them.

The hike is one way so your best bet is to take two cars and do a car shuffle, or plan for a 12km rainforest epic.

We don’t have a microadventure submission for this hike yet. Submit a microadventure.

 

Monolith Valley

Duration & Distance: 2 days / 16km return

High up in the Budawangs, a wilderness region within Morton National Park, lies an impressive valley that would look more at home in the Northern Territory. If it wasn’t full to the brim with rainforest.

Don’t be fooled by the short distance, getting to Monolith Valley is hard. It’s easy to get bushwacked by the difficult navigation and hard to follow track. If you’re an experienced hiker, your best bet is to hike up and camp at Cooyoyo Creek before setting off into the valley the next morning.

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Engulfed by ferns in Monolith Valley
Photo by Rachel Dimond | @wanderer_rachel

Gibraltar/Washpool World Heritage Walk

Duration & Distance: 3-4 days / 45km loop

The epic Gibraltar/Washpool World Heritage walk is a rare breed. A multi-day hiking experience that ends where it starts, the hike encounters multiple side trips and a plethora of environments. From wetlands to granite outcrops, to dry eucalypt forest and of course world class Gondwana rainforest, expect a sensory overload as you become immersed in the rituals of the wildlife and native flora.

Indigenous and Colonial history dots the track with sacred sites and the remains of tin mining and grazing preserved along the length of the hike. Luckily for the region, mining no longer takes place, but the photographer in you will probably feel like they’ve struck gold.

We don’t have a microadventure submission for this hike yet. Submit a microadventure.

 

Protesters Falls

Duration & Distance: 1 hour / 2.8km return

Nightcap National Park is home to rainforest environments that would make more sense on a lost Pacific island than 1.5km from a car park in Northern NSW.

Barely a “hike”, the walk to Protesters Falls is a rainforest power session that features subtropical palms and massive Yellow Carabeen (Sloanea woollsii) complete with plank buttress roots that sprawl across the forest floor. Emerging from the rainforest you’ll reach Protesters Falls itself, complete with a natural rock pool to complement your self-contemplation (or lunch).

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Towards the Protesters Falls
Photo by Francis Belina | @francis_belina

Runners Up!

Ebor Falls and Waterfall Way // Dorrigo National Park (NSW)

Escape to the Glow Worm Tunnels // Wollemi National Park (NSW)

Fairy Tale Forests at New England National Park (NSW)

Plunge-Pool Playground // National Pass (NSW)