Venturing out to the NSW countryside? Between winery visits, take on the 4km Federal Falls walking track in Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area, just outside of Orange. Earn that next glass of vino.

Highlights

  • Exploring the NSW countryside
  • Fantastic bushwalking
  • Visiting a lesser known (and visited) waterfall

Discovering The Orange Countryside

Like never before, Sydneysiders are flocking to the regional areas of NSW for their weekends and holidays. Awesome country towns like Orange in the Central Tablelands are getting more of a look in with the current international travel ban. Better known for its superb wines, there’s actually an epic waterfall that’s just a stone’s throw away from Orange.

It’s called Federal Falls and is located just outside of town, in the Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area. Did you know that there’s no higher point between Sydney and Perth than Mount Canobolas? Its main period of volcanic activity was around 11-13 million years ago.

The Orange Regional Museum is a great source of information when it comes to the rich Indigenous history of the area. Mount Canobolas is a ceremonial site, plus an important place of traditional knowledge and cultural significance for the Wiradjuri people. 

With such a fascinating place to explore, we’re sure that you won’t need too much convincing to make the 3.5 hour trip from Sydney.

 

Hike to Federal Falls

Check out Federal Falls by completing the 4.1km Federal Falls walking loop. The loop starts off as a fairly flat and easy going bushwalk, but soon turns into an affair more challenging than you’d think as you start to steeply descend towards the waterfall, so prepare for jelly legs. 

Getting to the waterfall involves a small out and back section, at around the halfway point of the walking loop. You’ll begin to see the waterfall as you bend around the corner leading to the final descent. 

 

 

Keep in mind that the waterfall can dry up if there’s a drought, so try and time your visit after some rainfall. The waterfall was larger and more impressive than we had expected after some decent rainfall in the preceding month or two.

After taking in the beauty of Federal Falls, pump yourself up for the steep return hike back up and around the loop to complete the trail.

 

Federal Falls is a Secret Waterfall Near Orange, Dan Piggott, waterfall, Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area, waterfall

Essential Gear

  • Hiking boots
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunnies
  • Hat
  • Day backpack
  • Camera
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers for the inevitable waterfall spray/soaking
  • Fleece jacket (it’s colder than you might expect)
  • Snacks
  • Water

How To Get There

There aren’t any public transport options for reaching Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area, so you’ll need your own set of wheels. Simply park at the Federal Falls Campground, where the hike starts and finishes. It’s only around 30 minutes from the town centre of Orange. 

Skill Level

Beginner

There are a few steep bits that are tough, but overall it’s a well-marked and straightforward trail. Keep in mind that the base of the waterfall is super slippery so take care.

Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration

4.1km / 250m / 1-2 hours

 

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