After scouting this spot on Bushwalk the Gong’s Facebook page, I wanted an easy, introductory ‘bushwalk’ to do with my son. I hadn’t been on a bushwalk since he was born, so didn’t want anything too strenuous or challenging, just a gentle walk to get my bearings and regain my confidence. So, with two other mums and bubs in tow, we decided to take the half hour drive from Wollongong up to Darkes Forest and enjoy a short walk to Maddens Falls for our first ‘Bubs & Bushwalks’ adventure. Inspiration came from the warm Winter weather and a desire to get out into some natural vegetation. For us, the walk from the carpark to the first lookout of the small but pretty Madden’s Falls, was approx. 10 minutes. We then crept across the top of the water fall and meandered down through the rocks (down and back towards the falls) until we came to the ‘natural viewing platform’ (another 10 minutes or so) where we stole a few fun snaps.
It wasn’t a safe point to sit down and let our crawlers have a play, so we admired the view and then head back up to the top of the waterfall, tiptoeing upstream to some flat shady rock, and had a impromptu picnic. Here we could unharness our babes and let them have a snack and splash about in the chilly shallows. The weather was glorious and it was a beautiful spot for a rest and play. We spent a good half hour chatting and feeding together. It’s a great spot for older children to explore and dip their toes in also.
After heading back to the carpark ( almost directly opposite the carpark for Glenbernie Orchard) we walked across the road to check out their local produce shop. They sold honey, cheeses, jams and spreads, organic apples and a range of ciders including their incredible Darkes Brewing B-Sting Sparling Mead, which I have to say, was divine! A honey-like cider that is perfect if you have a sweet tooth (think Moscato) with a little bubbly/cider taste. I should have bought more! Their honey mead was also delish, especially if you enjoy a dessert wine.
We set up a picnic rug under the large tree as you enter the orchard and enjoyed chomping on some apples and further enjoying the weather. All up, the expedition took a few hours and for us, was worth the drive to explore this pretty, yet hidden area. For detailed trip notes please see the excellent guide at Bushwalk the Gong.
Grade: Easy. The walk starts on what looks like a fire trail and then turns right onto a board walk. The next few hundred metres switch between path and boardwalk. You could take a sturdy pram to the first viewing platform.
How to get there: Pop Glenbernie Orchard into the GPS. The Madden’s Falls carpark is right opposite (and impossible to miss). Approx 30 mins from Wollongong and 1hr from Syd.
Duration: Return walk to viewing platform 20 mins, approx. 30 mins if you cross the waterfall, head down the rocks and check out the second ‘natural’ viewing platform.
Allow 2 hours to explore the falls, picnic near the shallows and check out the orchard.
What to take:
- hat and sunscreen
- small hand towel/quick dry towel (if you intend to get a little wet)
- money- to purchase and enjoy some produce from the Apple Shack