The upgrade to the Minyon Falls Precinct is part of the Tweed-Bryon Hinterland Trails Project. This $7.4 million state government funded initiative aims to deliver high-quality nature-based visitor experiences in the Tweed, Byron and Lismore region to boost the NSW visitor economy and community wellbeing. The project is part of a cohesive approach to market and enhance the tourism and local economies in the region, particularly in the Tweed Shire. It will enable the development of strong partnerships with community, industry, and government stakeholders, including Traditional Owners, to bring economic and social benefits to regional communities.
The strategic planning and fund allocation for this project was based on the findings from the NPWS funded research conducted in 2013 by Southern Cross University. The study was motivated by a dramatic downturn in visitation to the area after the iconic Wollumbin (Mt Warning) summit track was closed due to storm damage. It considered potential alternative visitor opportunities to draw visitors away the summit walk and reduce degradation of the sacred site. The research revealed a clear preference for immersive nature-based experiences, with views and opportunities to swim at the base of a waterfall as equally attractive to travellers as the summit climb.
The Minyon Falls Precinct, nestled within the ancient Gondwana Rainforest, provided a perfect platform for this experience. The investment in the precinct upgrade will assist in redistributing the current unsustainable visitor pressures away from Wollumbin and encourages dispersal of coastal visitation, particularly from the Byron Bay area, into the broader region. An improvement in the quality of visitor experiences and an increase in the variety of tourism offerings has the potential to encourage longer stays in the region, providing economic benefits to the surrounding communities.
The precinct upgrade includes a new lookout, improved visitors’ amenities, parking and picnic area in addition to connectivity within the site and to the waterfall pools below. Universal access principles were incorporated to provide an all-access walkway from the carpark to the lookout, enabling visitors of all levels of mobility to explore the site and connect with nature.
The design is centered around a cantilevered lookout giving visitors an exhilarating experience and a vantage point to take in the rainforest and the valley below. The lookout has breathtaking views back towards Minyon Falls and its thundering descent more than 100 metres over the huge rhyolite cliffs which were once part of the Tweed Volcano.
The Minyon Falls precinct upgrades were completed at the end of 2021. They are the first of several sustainable visitor infrastructure projects planned as part of the Tweed Byron Hinterland Trails project. The successful completion of this project not only provides improved visitor experiences on site, it also acknowledges the significance of the Wollumbin National Park to the Traditional Owners and the value of preserving this significant landscape for current and future generations.