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EXPLORE // Cascade Trail

A Fun Adventure Trail For All Ages [+ There’s A Waterfall!]

By Jenae Johnston


Macquarie Pass National Park is currently closed due to Illawarra Highway roadworks. We’ll update this as soon as we hear of the park reopening. 


This is hands down the Illawarra’s best family friendly adventure bushwalk.

Waterfall – tick!

Rainforest – tick!

Wildlife – tick!

Short enough to hold any terrible-twosomes’ attention – tick and tick!

This beginners’ bushwalk ticks allllllllll the boxes for those wanting to head out on an adventure with young children or a great walk for anyone with reduced fitness levels or mobility.

Spectacular any time of year, tons of wildlife and a short spectacular walk to a gorgeous cascade and rainforest…all just a hop, skip and a jump from Albion Park.


Illawarra Explore Cascade Trail


Family-Friendly :: Yes!

Easily Accessible :: Yes, a reasonably sized car park and plenty of National Parks signage makes this track easy to find. 

Dog-Friendly :: Nope, as it’s part of Macquarie Pass National Park.

Stairs ::  Yes, minimal wooden stairs which is fine for toddlers but not accessible for prams or wheelchairs.

Time ::  30 – 60 minutes, depending on your pace.

Cost ::  No cost


Explore Cascade Trail Macquarie Pass National Park


Where is it?

Found easily at the base of the Macquarie Pass on the Illawarra Highway just before the bends (Thankfully no vomit bags required!).

With a reasonably sized car park and National Parks signage clearly marked from the road, this makes the trail especially suitable for beginners with the added security of signage and comfort “that you are on the right trail”, which we all know takes that stress out of the equation.

Illawarra Explore Cascade Trail Family Friendly Bushwalks


What’s it like?

The track is a round trip being roughly a 30-60 minute walk, depending on how much fun you and the family are having exploring.

Go a step further and plan a picnic – there is nothing like food to keep the troupes motivated!

The trail starts as you cross the grassy area from the carpark (ideal for a picnic after in the sun afterwards), take a moment to stop and read the informational signage then enter the pathway which is clearly marked with a sign.

Illawarra Explore Cascade Trail Entrance Car Park


Chase waterfalls

The trail follows Cascades Stream up to the waterfall where you follow an easy path with minimal wooden steps and mostly flat sections.

It’s great for the kids to run along, explore and experience a ‘real adventure’.

You can’t miss the gorgeous strangler fig that majestically sits like a well-placed piece of art, a popular spot for the young ones for climbing and very Instagrammable too.

There are also little side trails that take you to the stream where you can paddle with the kids or simply enjoy the scenery – which I might add is spectacular!

At the end of the trail there are metal stairs and ramps making light work of the descent to the bottom of the waterfall.

Here is your destination. A beautiful spot for a picnic, photography or to just relax – if that’s possible if you brought your young family along!?

Illawarra Explore Cascade Trail Rainforest


Flora + Fauna + Fungi – oh my!

Expect to see a diverse range of flora, fauna and fungi.

Your pathway is often crossed by a cheeky lyrebird or two and lazy dragons can often be seen on a sunny rock closer to the creek – crowd favourites with the kids!

It is rumoured to be the home of the platypus too, though I’m yet to spot on.

Although only a short walk, this trail should be taken slowly, with curiosity and with all of your senses – this is why it is especially exciting for children, the sensory journey it provides is exceptional, whilst the small time it takes, keeps them focused and interested.

After the waterfall, simply turn around the same way you came in and enjoy the trail from a different perspective.

Illawarra Explore Cascade Trail Waterfall


Insider tips

Wear your old sneakers on this walk – there is a chance you will get them wet or muddy if you are planning to explore a little.

Bonus points if you take a spare set of clothes for the little ones, kids are like magnets to mud and puddles – sometimes the big kids aren’t much better either!

This is a bushwalk that is suitable for all children, naturally with a close eye, even for toddlers.

This trail follows a creek bed, which means you have a high water hazard. Ensure safety at all times.

After times of rain it’s a good plan to take some insect repellent for leeches and mossies. The rocks can be very slippery around the creek so take your time around the water. 

Grandparents, this is a great adventure to take the grandkids for a little day out, especially if you need to wear them out a little.

Illawarra Explore Cascade Trail Creek


Why we love the Cascade Trail


This track is great fun for younger families and people of all ages.

There is plenty of interest along the way for those that are less agile so you get the full bushwalk experience without needing to be fit or experienced.

You are in the thick of a luscious rainforest without having to trek a great distance – gorgeous!!

Illawarra Explore Cascade Trail Easy Grade Bushwalks



We love sharing our awesome outdoor adventures with The Fold readers and want to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy when giving our walks and rides a crack for themselves. So, always check the weather forecast before you venture out. If you’re heading into a National Park, be sure to consult the National Parks website for up-to-date information about current alerts. Prepare yourself with the right equipment, clothing, safety items, with plenty to eat and drink if you’re going on longer hikes, and always let someone else know where you’re going and what time you are expected to be back. Have fun and stay safe!

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