I drove beneath a woodland cathedral, past broad meadows and green hills towards an unsigned waterfall. Spring shadows fell across the road as I took one wrong turn after another, which didn’t matter, as Christmas bells, acacias and swamp lilies coloured the fields and quiet streams in the sunlight. When I did finally arrive at Whian Whian Falls – just outside the town of Dunoon in the Northern Rivers, NSW – I was in a great mood.
Whian Whian Falls is actually signposted, but only once you’re there. There’s no indication of it along the way, which is great for upholding the etiquette of secret spots (ESS). Saying that, there are many people who come to laze, splash, leap, slide and snooze at the falls, they’ve just found it via a local whisper (which is fast turning into a shout), or by some fortunate accident. As a devout member of the ESS, I’ll say only that you’ll find it if you really want to.
Driving across the bridge, I parked and wandered along a fence line, arriving at the falls in just a minute or two. As it was a fine Spring afternoon, there was a group of about ten other people enjoying the spot. I took advantage of this and snapped a couple of leapers and sliders. Word of warning: people have been badly injured from jumping at the falls. Do so at your own risk.
I chatted to the leaper pictured below, who told me there are a few fish and eels you’ll be sharing the water with, but nothing harmful.
As Whian Whian Falls is set in a fairly expansive area, I decided to explore a few hundred metres below the falls, where there are small cascades and pools that peter out into the forest. Here you’ll find more private waterholes if the falls get too crowded. There’s also some wonderfully knotted trees lining the river’s edge in the shadows. Take a wander through the forest.
Exploring the top of the falls, I was pleasantly surprised, as stark trees, reeds, lilies and stones were dotted in and around the river. Upon spying this scene, my photography bells started jingling. I fired off a couple of shots and wandered a little further along Whian Whian River and saw the magic in the water. Reflections.
Between the reflections of bare trees and the shoreline ran an eddy, while fallen leaves and stones added whimsy to this otherworldly scene. It was beautiful. I could have sat there for hours and hours, but I was jolted back to reality with responsibility as I had to pick up Olin from daycare.
Whian Whian Falls itself is just great for swimming (slightly chilly, but refreshing) and relaxing. Cool off, laze in the sun, dry out, smell the forest, bring a good book and/or quieten your mind.
Make the effort to find it, you’ll love it.