Minyon Falls is located in Nightcap National Park, Northern NSW. The local Aboriginal people of this area are the Widjabul peoples, who are a part of the Bundjalung Nation. Widjabul people have lived in this area for many thousands of years and cared for Country. This land, and the water that flows through it, is sacred to them.
NewScape were engaged by NSW National Parks to design for the redevelopment of the Minyon Falls Visitor Precinct and Lookout. The proposal, which is currently undergoing community consultation, provides a universally accessible walk from the carpark to the spectacular views from the lookout, away from the precipice along the waters edge of Repentance Creek to experience tranquil pools surrounded by lush bush and picnic areas nestled amongst the trees. The boardwalk design enables visitors of all levels of mobility to explore the site and connect with nature.
The proposed cantilevered lookout provides breathtaking views back towards Minyon Falls plunge waterfall as it descends more than 100 metres over the huge rhyolite cliffs which were once part of the Tweed Volcano. The lookout also provides a great vantage point for visitors to take in the stunning natural beauty of the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforest.
The precinct is the gateway to a labyrinth of trails that offer varying degrees of adventure and length, some leading to the valley below, providing an opportunity for visitors to swim in pools that are fed by the thundering cascade of the Falls. This combination of immersive natural experiences and beauty aims to attract the adventure tourism market away from the neighbouring Wollumbin, distributing the floot fall of visitors more evenly throughout the region and reducing the degradation of this popular sacred site.
In more recent years the falls have recorded a sharp increase in suicide rates. As the pools and waterfall have particular significance and are a sacred women’s place to the Widjabul women, they perceive that Country has been wounded by these deaths. Our brief required us to review and implement Suicide Prevention best practices and weave suicide prevention messaging into the site to deter those contemplating suicide, decrease the site’s appeal as a “suicide destination” and begin to heal Country.
NewScape were involved in the initial cultural consultation meeting, generated the brief for the interpretation specialist and will complete detailed design and construction documentation once community consultation has been successfully completed.