Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Nalbaugh Falls, Bundian Way

The Nalbaugh Falls cascade down the granite slope through a series of pools on White Rock River. The River is part of the Genoa system which enters the southern oceans at Mallacoota in Victoria.

After a thunderstorm, this (and the forestry tracks that join it) can become raging torrents. These falls are seldom visited: many set out looking for them, but few find them in the maze of forestry tracks in the area (for this reason they are sometimes called the Secret Falls). Thunderstorms here are preceded by a zephyr (sweet west wind) cooling warming days. Hundreds of birds take to the air to catch the rise of insects that seek out the humidity. But the zephyr heralds thunderstorms; insects and birds can find themselves blown far by the chaos to come.

The high eastern escarpment is an impenetrable barrier between the eastern Australian coast and inland. This is one of the few exceptions, although the gentle fall is much steeper than it looks. Still, if this seems a little like a pathway, you are right.

These falls are located on the White Rock River (Nalbaugh being the ancient Yuin language group word for White Rock). This is part of the Yuin Trace, here the 365km Bundian Way, the Yuin path from the east coast to the Australian Alps. It is one of the oldest recognizable world 'highways', being in continuous use for more than 30,000+ years (periods of glaciation, perhaps, excepted). We know the history of the Bundian Way from Robinson's account of the travel of Al mil gong in 1844 and reports of the surveyor Clarke in 1852.

I found an account of women riding from the sea port far below here to a dance at the top of the river more than 100 years ago. They rode all day, and changed into dresses at the hall. Like the first people before them, they used this waterfall as a road.


This is on the White Rock River near the town of Bombala. It is not shown on any online map, and the forestry road system in the area is potential a risk to the casual visitor.

Most visitors to this location will first travel to Myanba Gorge (which is signposted from the Monaro Highway). The roads here are dirt and will be challenging in wet conditions. From the Gorge, travel south on the Coolangubra Forest Way for about 8km and turn left onto Pines Road. Pines Road intersects with Quartzite Road after 2.5kms. Take the left fork of Quartzite for about 1km until you see a clearing on the right. Inside the clearing is a picnic table. You will hear the falls from the clearing - look for pink tape tied to bushes indicating a track to the fall. Exercise great care (snakes and slippery surfaces) - the angle of the fall changes slowly and you may get into difficulty on sloping ground.

This map shows the general locality of the falls - the falls are not indicated on the map and some of the nearby roads are difficult to use.

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