40 Fun Things to do in Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo Valley is incredibly picturesque lush green countryside fringed by the towering walls of the Illawarra Escarpment 150 kilometres south of Sydney. There are so many things to do in Kangaroo Valley that it makes a perfect weekend getaway from the big smoke or even an eventful day trip.

Take your pick of waterfalls, lookouts, wineries, bush walks, and scenic roads, or drop in for lunch to one of the cafes in the charming township of Kangaroo Valley nestled in the lush pastures between Barrengarry and Cambewarra Mountains. To help you plan your adventures in Kangaroo Valley, I’ve put together all my favourite things to do in Kangaroo Valley, plus some spots and activities that are still on my Kangaroo Valley bucket list.

How far is Kangaroo Valley from Sydney?

Kangaroo Valley township is 159 km south of Sydney via Princess Highway

Why is Kangaroo Valley called Kangaroo Valley?

The valley got its name from Eastern grey kangaroos that were abundant in the area when the early settlers arrived in the valley. The Reverend W.B. Clarke, known as the Father of Australian Geology, visited the valley in 1840 and is believed to have remarked that it: “takes its name from the kangaroos which formerly abounded here but are now extinct”

Are there kangaroos in Kangaroo Valley?

Yes. You can see Eastern grey kangaroos quite easily at Bendeela Recreational Area at dusk.

What can you see in Kangaroo Valley?

Kangaroo Valley is a very picturesque valley surrounded by the sandstone walls of the Illawarra Escarpment. There are waterfalls, lookouts, wildlife, wineries and bushwalks in the area as well as the beautiful Kangaroo River. The Kangaroo Valley village is home to a few quirky shops and adorable cafes.

Kangaroo Valley Waterfalls

Kangaroo Valley is home to some of the most impressive waterfalls around Sydney. If you are spending a day or a weekend in the valley, try to visit at least one of them.

Carrington Falls

Things to do in Kangaroo Valley - Visit Carrington Falls
Carrington Falls

My favourite Kangaroo Valley waterfall is Carrington Falls in Budderoo National Park. And I’m not alone. Many people consider Carrington Falls to be the most beautiful waterfall on the South Coast. Here’s why.

It takes a walk through the bush to get to the falls. The walk is short – a 570-meter loop, but it’s lovely. The first lookout along the trail offers a jaw-dropping unobstructed view of the Kangaroo River plunging off the edge of the cliff over 50m to the gully below.

But it is the view of the deep narrow gully carved by the waterfall from the escarpment over the millennia that leaves me speechless.

As you continue along the trail, you get more views of the falls from slightly different angles until you reach the top of the escarpment, where you can wade in the refreshingly cold Kangaroo River just before it flows over the cliff. So, as you can tell, a visit to Carrington Falls is an experience rather than just a pretty view.

Belmore Falls

Kangaroo Valley Waterfalls - Belmore Falls
Belmore Falls in Morton National Park

Belmore Falls in Morton National Park is another stunner. Fed by Barrengarry Creek, Belmore Falls flow in two spectacular drops with a combined height of about 130 meters. And while Belmore Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Southern Highlands, it doesn’t get crowded.

You can park right next to the lookout, so there isn’t much walking involved in seeing Belmore Falls. Although there is a short trail along the edge of the escarpment that takes you to another lookout with a slightly better view of the first drop, but not as good a view of the second. So make sure to check out both lookouts.

A short drive from the lookout brings you to the top of the falls. There is a small bay on the side of the road where you can park, right after crossing the creek. If you follow an unmarked trail through the bush towards the edge of the cliff, you will emerge right above the point where the creek plunges over the cliff. It is a fenced lookout, so don’t worry about falling off the cliff.

Fitzroy Falls

Things to do in Kangaroo Valley - visit Fitzroy Falls
Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park

A 20-minute drive from Belmore Falls (half way between Kangaroo Valley and Bowral), Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park is the most popular waterfall in Kangaroo Valley and, therefore, the most crowded. Where the walk to Belmore Falls lookouts is a tranquil experience in the bush, the walk from Fitzroy Falls car park to the waterfall has the buzzing atmosphere of a popular tourist attraction. There is a Visitor Centre at Fitzroy Falls that sells all kinds of souvenirs and nick-nacks.

The main view of Fitzroy Falls is almost identical to the view of Belmore Falls from the top of the falls lookout. The Fitzroy Falls lookout is perched at the top of the 81-meter-high waterfall, and you essentially look down at the wall of water gashing off the top of the escarpment. If you would like to see the entire waterfall, take either West Rim walk (3.5km return) or the longer East Rim walk (6.7km return).

Gerringong Falls

If you are looking for a more adventurous waterfall experience in Kangaroo Valley you can visit Gerringong Falls in Budderoo National Park. The falls are reached by a fire trail that offers a lovely bike ride (you can hire bikes at Kangaroo Valley Safaris). You could also walk to the falls, but it will be quite a commitment – the return track is 17.7 km and it takes about 6 hours.

The ride/walk starts at a carpark, the Budderoo Track/Budderoo Plateau Road, just off Jamberoo Mountain Road. You can park at the locked gate and ride or walk along the fire trail until you reach a right turn onto Gerringong Falls Walking Track. Keep in mind that this track is not very well maintained or signposted. So only attempt it if you are a confident bushwalker. Especially if you are thinking of taking the trail down to the bottom of the falls. This trail is not quite a ‘walk in the park’.

Follow the Budderoo Track and take a right when you come to the intersection with the Hersey Trail. Follow this trail to the falls, and then return the same way. Gerringong Falls are similar to Belmore Falls – they flow along the exposed cliff face in two drops.

Minnamurra Falls

Minnamurra Falls in Kangaroo Valley
Minnamurra Falls. Image ©Kevin Rheese on Flickr CC2.0

Minnamurra Falls at Minnamurra Rainforest Center in Budderoo National Park is quite different from the four plunge waterfalls above. Their beauty is not in their size and the dramatic landscape but in the flowing cascades and the dreamy rainforest setting.

To visit Minnamurra Falls, you’ll have to visit Minnamurra Rainforest Center (as if you needed a reason). The Falls walk starts about halfway through the Loop walk and follows an elevated walkway above the gurgling creeks and waterfalls, moss-covered rocks and a medley of ferns. The Falls Walk is 4.2km return and takes from 1 to 2 hours to complete, depending on how long you’ll spend at the falls. There are some steep sections along this walk, so you’ll work up an appetite by the time you are back.

Kangaroo Valley Lookouts

Nestled between two mountains and surrounded by the steep walls of the Illawarra Escarpment, Kangaroo Valley has a fair share of spectacular lookouts. So try to include at least one of them on your list of things to do in Kangaroo Valley.

Cambewarra Mountain Lookout

Cambewarra Mountain Lookout
View from Cambewarra Mountain Lookout

Perched on the top of Cambewarra Mountain, 650 meters above sea level, Cambewarra Mountain Lookout offers one of the longest panoramas in Australia, stretching from Coolangatta Mountain in the north to Pigeon House Mountain just inland from Ulladulla, Point Perpendicular and Jervis Bay National Park. What you are seeing here is a 146 km uninterrupted view of the South Coast region.

The cozy The Lookout Cambewarra Mountain restaurant & cafe, located right here at the lookout, is the perfect spot for lunch or an afternoon snack. And speaking of snacks… make sure to check out the bird feeders on the railing of the restaurant’s patio. You are likely to see some of Australia’s brightest parrots helping themselves to free birdseed – King parrots and Crimson rosellas. Lyrebirds are also common at the lookout. Look for them in the shady spots on the forest floor.

Hindmarsh Lookout

View of Kangaroo Valley from Belmore Falls
View of Upper Kangaroo Valley from Hindmarsh Lookout

Right next door to Belmore Falls Lookout, on Belmore Falls Road, Hindmarsh Lookout in Morton National Park is 500 meters above sea level. From this height, the Upper Kangaroo Valley looks like a lush green carpet framed by the escarpment walls. It is a very tranquil spot – this area of Morton National Park doesn’t get very crowded.

You could spend a while admiring the views of the lush green pastures below and then go on a stroll following the signs from the car park around the escarpment to several lookouts, the last of which is Belmore Falls Lookout. This easy trail is 1.8 km return and takes 30 min to 1 hour to walk. And if you are not in the mood for a walk, you could drive to Belmore Falls Lookout.

Manning Lookout

Manning Lookout in Morton National Park
Manning Lookout

Located roughly between Fitzroy Falls and Kangaroo Valley Village, Manning Lookout in Morton National Park is another stunning spot to appreciate the views over Kangaroo Valley. It is an easy walk from the car park that takes you through some woodland dominated by stringybark, scribbly gum and banksia.

The view is similar to other lookouts in the area – lush green pastures and river plains fringed by 118-meter high walls of the Illawarra Escarpment. If you brought a picnic, this would be a great spot to enjoy it.

Kangaroo Valley Experiences

While most natural attractions in Kangaroo Valley can be enjoyed at absolutely no cost, a few experiences have been designed to offer something extra, to expand your possibilities of enjoying the region’s natural beauty. And while the experiences below attract a fee, none of them are expensive.

Minnamurra Rainforest Centre

Rainforest creek in Minnamurra rainforest
A stream in Minnamurra Rainforest Centre

Minnamurra Rainforest Center in Budderoo National Park protects the rare remnant rainforest that once reached throughout the Illawarra. Walking the trails through this wonderful forest is a feast for the senses. The first thing you notice is that it is considerably cooler here than on the coast and that the air is thick with the scent of a humid forest. Then you start hearing the gurgling sound of dozens of little waterfalls and the soft chirping of the birds.

There are two walks in this patch of the rainforest: Rainforest Loop Walk (40min -1 hr) and the longer Falls Walk (extra 1-2hrs). Both trails meander along the elevated boardwalk and across suspension in the primeval world of strangler figs, giant bird’s nest ferns and shaded streams making their way in between moss-covered boulders. The Falls Walk rewards you with a beautiful waterfall – Minnamurra Falls.

A visit to Minnamurra Rainforest Centre is one of the most popular things to do in Kangaroo Valley, so expect a queue at the car park entrance.

Cost: $12 per vehicle. Tickets purchased at the entrance.

Illawarra Fly

Illawarra Fly at Kangaroo Valley
Bird’s eye view from Illawarra Fly

An alternative to the Minnamurra rainforest walk is a canopy walk at Illawarra Fly – one of the best tree top walks in the world. The Treetop Walk is a 1.5km walk through the canopy of the beautiful warm temperate rainforest some 20-30 metres above the ground. If you visited the smaller cousin of this walk at Tahune AirWalk in Tasmania, it will look and feel familiar.

If 30 meters above the ground is not impressive enough, the Knights Tower, a spiral tower at the end of the walk rises to a breathtaking 45 metres above the forest floor. Talking about the birds-eye view, this is as good as it gets.

For an extra adrenalin rush, walk the two swaying springboard cantilevers that are suspended 25 metres above the forest floor. Ever wondered what it feels like to walk across those flimsy suspension bridges in Nepal or Costa Rica? Here’s your chance to experience it in a safe fashion. There is also a zip line adventure available for those seeking even more thrill.

Cost: from $23.40. Pre-booking is essential

Kayaking Adventures

For something a little different, take a kayaking adventure with Kangaroo Valley Safaris and explore the region by cruising along the Kangaroo River. You could opt for a guided or self-guided tour. The two popular options are Hampden Bridge to Bendeela campground and Bendeela campground to Morton National Park. The shuttle service to and from start/finish points is provided.

The 5-km Hampden Bridge to Bendeela adventure takes you along one of the most picturesque sections of the river includes six small rapids. The Bendeela to Morton National Park journey is a flat-water trip. Both options give you an opportunity to see some local wildlife, including rock wallabies, kangaroo, wombats, lyrebirds, water dragons and, if you are lucky, even a platypus.

Cost: from $75.00 per person

Kangaroo Valley Bush Walks

With Morton, Bodderoo and Barren Ground National Parks within reach, there is no shortage of walking trails around Kangaroo Valley. I could write an entire blog post about the walking trails. Chances are, however, your time in the valley will be limited, and with so many other things to do in Kangaroo Valley, you may not have too much time for long hikes. So below are some options for shorter walks that traverse particularly beautiful landscapes.

Three Views Walking Track

Distance: up to 9.5 km. Time: 1 hr to half a day

Forest stream in Kangaroo Valley
Forest stream

The Three Views Walking track is a flat and easy walking trail that meanders through open eucalypt woodland and heath to three amazing cliff-edge lookouts that offer sweeping views of Lake Yarrunga, Tallowa Dam and the Shoalhaven River.

The trail follows the Brooks Plateau and Moolatoo Trig fire trails within Morton National Park. The choice is yours on this track. You could spend half the day walking the entire 9.5 km return trail. Or you could spend an hour or two visiting a lookout of your choice.

To reach the start of the trail from Kangaroo Valley village, head towards Hampden Bridge and turn left into Mt Scanzi Road. Drive straight ahead for 20km until you see a 60kph sign and low gate on the left-hand side of the road. The trail starts just beyond the gate. There is a map of the walk at the start of the trail so you can decide which lookout you wish to visit. You can park on the opposite side of the road from the gate.

Drawing Room Rocks

Distance: 4.5 km return. Time: 2-3 hours

Located in the Barren Grounds Nature Reserve, Drawing Room Rocks are a nature’s playground where the sandstone cliff top has been eroded by the combined forces of wind, rain, cold, heat, and chemicals in rainwater. The shapes produced by erosion are reminiscent of surrealistic tables and chairs on top of the cliff.

A visit to the Drawing Room Rocks combines a walk with stunning views with a bit of puzzle-solving. It appears that Google Maps failed the Drawing Room Rocks by placing an incorrect pin on the map. So to find the start of the walking trail, follow these instructions from Berry tourism website: To find the start of the walk, at the northern end of Berry on the town side of the bridge, turn north-west into Woodhill Mountain Road. Continue for 6.8km to Woodhill where the road splits to Wattamolla Rd which continues to Kangaroo Valley.

Follow Brogers Creek Rd for 100m and take the road on the right which is signposted “Drawing Room Rocks”. Car parking is very limited and turning around can be difficult. Please do not park in front of gates to private property.

Once you found the start of the track, the rest is a walk in the park. The trail is 4.5 km return and should take 2-3 hours. There are some steep sections along the walk especially at the start, so by the time you get to the jaw-dropping views, your heart will already be pumping. You could always reward yourself with a swim at Seven Mile Beach in Berry after the climb.

West Rim at Fitzroy Falls

Distance: 3.5 km return. Time: 1.5-2.5 hrs

Fitzroy Falls
Fitzroy Falls

This walk combines a bush walk with views of the entire length of Fitzroy Falls. It starts at the main Fitzroy Falls Lookout near the Visitor Centre and follows the western edge of the horseshoe-shaped escarpment leading to Renown lookout. The track is moderate, gently undulating through the towering forest with plenty of viewpoints to appreciate the gorges, river valleys and the falls. So if you would like to see Fitzroy Falls in all their glory, but don’t feel like committing to a 7-km hike (East Rim), then this walk is for you.

Short walk to Carrington Falls

Distance: 570 meters. Time: 30 min

Carrington Falls Valley
Carrington Falls Valley

For an even shorter walk with spectacular views, take the 570-meter loop to Carrington Falls. The trail starts at Carrington Falls car park and follows a sealed walkway to the first lookout. The rest on the trail runs along a forest path following the edge of the escarpment to the top of the falls, where you can kick off your shoes and wade through the refreshingly cold Kangaroo River.

There are some stairs along the path, but they are just a few steps and nothing difficult, and the views of the falls and the river valley along this short trail are absolutely stunning.

Kangaroo Valley Scenic Roads

Driving between the attractions in Kangaroo Valley takes you along some very picturesque mountain roads that twist and turn through tall forests as they take you from the valley to the top of the escarpment and then down to the valley again.

Macquarie Pass

This very steep, 8-km road with its many hairpin bends is one of the most famous roads in NSW. It is incredibly scenic, especially once you start getting glimpses through the canopy of the sheer wall of the escarpment that you are ascending. It also happens to be one of the most dangerous roads in NSW, so please drive with care and be patient with other drivers.

Jamberoo Mountain Road

Things to do in Kangaroo Valley - drive on winding mountain roads
Winding mountain road in Kangaroo Valley

Jamberoo Mountain Road is very similar to Macquarie Pass. Unfortunately, this road suffered significant damage from a landslide and Kiama Council closed it off in June 2020. While some sections of the road have reopened, the stretch between Barren Grounds picnic ground turnoff and Misty Lane remains closed to all traffic. Make sure to check traffic conditions before making your plans. Macquarie Pass is a convenient detour, but it will add about 20 minutes to your trip.

Tourist Road

Tourist road connects Cambewarra Mountain Lookout with Berry Mountain, where it joins Kangaroo Valley Road for the rest of the journey to Berry. It is a wonderfully scenic road with views of lush green pastures and towering escarpment walls. If you are planning a trip to Berry, this is the most scenic way of getting there from Kangaroo Valley.

Kangaroo Valley Wildlife

With so many diverse habitats: rainforest, eucalypt, forest, pasture and riverine forest, Kangaroo Valley is home to a variety of Australian wildlife species. Some are easier to spot than others. Here are the four best locations for spotting different critters.

Wombats at Bendeela Campground

Kangaroo Valley wombat on Sydney day tour
Common wombat in Kangaroo Valley

Bendeela campground and picnic area on the bank of Kangaroo River is the domain of wombats. As soon as the sun begins to sink below the horizon, the wombats emerge from their burrows to spend the night consuming huge quantities of grass. There are so many wombats at Bendeela, that you won’t know where to look.

If you stay around a little longer, you will also see Eastern grey kangaroos emerge on the grassy lawn to browse among the wombats. Not to mention cockatoos, kookaburras and a variety of other birds.

Kangaroos in Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo on a day tour from sydney
Eastern grey kangaroo with a joey at Bendeela campground

While there aren’t quite as many kangaroos in Kangaroo Valley as there used to be when the first settlers arrived, you can still see them quite easily. Bendeela campground is my favourite place for watching kangaroos because here you can see them browsing among the dozens of wombats – it is such a quintessentially Australian scene.

You can also see mobs of Eastern grey kangaroos at Kangaroo Valley Golf Course. It’s not quite as ‘natural’ a setting but you see the larger mob of kangaroos here.

Parrots at Cambewarra Mountain Lookout

Cambewarra Lookout must be one of the most picturesque wildlife spotting locations in Kangaroo Valley. The restaurant at the lookout keeps a bird feeder, and there are usually a few Crimson rosellas and Australian king parrots hanging around the feeders. They are such brilliantly coloured birds that they often steal the show from the equally brilliant views.

Lyrebirds at Minnamurra Rainforest Centre

Things to do in Kangaroo Valley - see a lyrebird at Minnamurra Rainforest Centre
Superb lyrebird. Image © Fir0002 – Own work, GFDL 1.2

The best place to look for lyrebirds in Kangaroo Valley is the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre. The centre provides the perfect habitat for the birds, and they can often be seen right by the walking trails. Keep an eye on the forest floor as you walk around and listen out for the scraping noise in the forest – lyrebirds like nothing better than to scratch for insects on the forest floor.

Birdwatching Walk in Kangaroo Valley

Eastern Yellow robin at Leura Cascades
Eastern yellow robin

If you are a keen birdwatcher or just like birds, there is a little-known bush walk behind Pioneer Village Museum near Hampden Bridge that promises a chance of spotting a whopping 55 species.

The walk is quite short, only 30 minutes or so, but you could probably spend half a day walking it if you are a dedicated birder. And if you are here just along for the ride, there is a suspension bridge at the start of the walk to keep you entertained.

Kangaroo Valley Wineries

As a friend recently reminded me, Australia produces approximately 1.2 billion litres of wine each year. And that means that wherever you go in the coastal countryside, there are likely to be wineries. And if you are not sure which winery to choose, you can take a Wine Tour of the region from Berry.

Yarrawa Estate

Sunset at the vineyard

Nestled on the lakeshore between the rugged sandstone escarpments of Upper Kangaroo Valley, Yarrawarra Estate is the perfect marriage of bucolic views of the valley and delicious wine and produce.

The Cellar Door is open on Saturdays (10 am-5 pm) and Sundays (12.30 pm-5.30 pm). If you visit on a weekday, you can buy bottles but will miss out on the tasting.

43B Scotts Road (off Upper Kangaroo River rd)

Silos Estate and Wileys Creek

Silos Estate is a complete holiday experience. You can spend a weekend here relaxing in a cottage overlooking vineyards, making friends with alpacas, tasting wine and enjoying quality meals at sampling wines, viewing alpacas and enjoying meals at Silos Restaurant. The Cellar Door is open every day ($10).

B640 Princes Hwy, Berry

Cambewara Estate

Kangaroo Valley cow

Cambewarra Estate Winery is a beautiful property located in the foothills of Cambewarra Mountain. It features a Cellar Door, restaurant, high tea and fantastic views to enjoy it all. The Cellar Door is child and pet-friendly. The restaurant is open from 10 am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

520 Illaroo Road, Bangalee

Kangaroo Valley Restaurants

General Store

For breakfast and lunch in the heart of the valley, you can’t go wrong with the General Cafe. All menu options are wholesome, sourced from the local produce. If you are planning a picnic later in the day, General Cafe is the perfect place to pick up some fresh goods for your basket. The little store at the cafe sells an array of homemade jams and honey.

Jing Jo Cafe

For Thai cuisine lovers, there is Jing Jo Restaurant that opens for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday at 5:00 pm. Keeping to the fresh produce theme, the chef at Jing Jo spices up his dishes with herbs and vegetables from his own kitchen garden.

Fudge House & Icecreamery

For dessert, head to Kangaroo Valley Fudge House. The variety of ice cream flavours on offer is rivalled only by the shop’s selection of chilli sauces and handmade fudge. I never manage to leave this shop empty-handed.

Fine Dining

For a more upmarket fare, head to one of the region’s wineries. Crooked River in Gerringong and Silos Estate in Berry have excellent restaurants, and the drive through the countryside in the setting sun is a magical experience.

Kangaroo Valley Village

Drive across Hampden Bridge

The first time you lay your eyes on Hampden Bridge you’ll be in for a surprise. You swing around a corner, and suddenly there is a grand Victorian structure in the middle of the road – a suspension bridge with medieval towers at each end. Its grander is all the more striking for the rural low key of its surroundings.

The bridge was built in 1898, and as of 2019, it is an NSW Heritage Site.

Image by Grahamec, CC BY 3.0

Hit the shops

There aren’t many shops in the small Kangaroo Valley village, but the few that do line the main street are quirky enough to spend some time browsing.

Explore Pioneer Museum

For history buffs, there is a Pioneer Museum. Set on 1 hectare of farmland, the museum is the recreation of life in the valley in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The buildings, a dairy, a schoolhouse, a settler’s house and a forge are stocked with a medley of historical artefacts.

You can have a BBQ on the lawns around the museum, or take a walk in the surrounding bushland and try to spot some of the local birdlife.

Kangaroo Valley Map

Here is a handy map of Kangaroo Valley and the surrounding countryside to help you get oriented.

map of kangaroo valley
Click on the map to zoom in

More Road Trip Ideas from Sydney

5 thoughts on “40 Fun Things to do in Kangaroo Valley”

    • Hi Natalie, thank you for dropping by. It would be my absolute pleasure to share the magic of Kangaroo Valley with a wider audience.

  1. Wooooow Margarita! What an incredible area!

    The waterfalls are simply amazing (I have to admit, I never really think of Aus for waterfalls, but those are stunning!) Plus wineries, lookouts aaaaand all those animals!? I think I am a little in love with the wombat that you met.

    p.s. the only thing is…are there no kangaroos in kangaroo valley!?

  2. I had to click on this as we went to Pebble beach to see Kanagaroos and I wondered if this was the same place. Seeing the kangaroos was so fun for us – although I really didn’t want to meet on with my car at night. They are so much bigger than I imagined!


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