While sounding like a macabre cascade where visitors meet their demise, Killen Falls is a lively waterfall that plunges into a rainforest waterhole. Foliage lined cliffs, algal adventures, the sounds of running water and flowery meadows all help to take your mind out of the silly place it often goes. I was fortunate enough to venture here just two days ago and I still feel rejuvenated.
Situated amongst the rolling green hills of Tintenbar, 20 minutes south of Byron Bay, the falls are a short walk from the car park. Once you reach the top, you can peer over the edge or make your way across a scabrous cliff top towards a meadow on the other side. Here you can spy the waterhole below and the stone walls that are home to various creeping flora.
Seeing there were people swimming below, I found a trail and made my way down into the gully. Once at the bottom, I spotted a water snake slicing gracefully through the water. It was wonderful to experience such wildness not 15 minutes from my front door. A couple of minutes further on and I reached the bottom of the falls.
As far as cascades go, Killen Falls isn’t enormous, but it’s a charming spot. As not only is it set in a rainforest lagoon of its own, there’s a cave behind the falls where one can sit and watch the water shooting out over a jagged moss covered ledge.
It’s also a refreshing place to swim and the large fish are quite tame, being easily visible from the shoreline. After wading in for a closer look, I ventured into the cave and sat down. I had to share the space with several napping bats, or rather they had to share it with me.
The place is known as the “hidden jewel” of Ballina Shire. While this has become a hackneyed phrase given to places less worthy, here it is well deserved.