A Wander Through Macquarie Pass National Park

Macquarie Pass National Park
Me, in one of the many corridors of Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo credit Dee Kramer

It’s a curious thing that special places often lie near our feet, just minutes from the couch, yet few people pay them a visit. Places strewn with lustrous green, bursting from fissures or thriving in the shadows of a lichen-filled vault, places where cascades descend lithely from forest plateaus and august stone walls rise high above the valley.

One such place is Macquarie Pass National Park, located about an hour and a half south of Sydney. The park is comparatively small, just 11 km², but wild and very beautiful.

My friend and I decided to traverse the length of the park, which houses some of Australia’s most southern subtropical rainforest. Beginning at the park’s northern end, on a hulking stone slab overlooking an escarpment, we descended slowly into the forest world below.

Macquarie Pass National Park
Peering down into one of the forest pools

Our journey was filled with remarkable stumblings, all the more so considering we weren’t following a track and didn’t know if it was possible. Pondering over Google Maps with a few beers the night before was the extent of our preparation. Armed with a couple of Nikons and a heart for adventure, we found ourselves tramping across precipitous blankets of green, bathed in dappled light and a cornucopia of forest aromas.

Descending further into the forest, I spied a lime green water dragon resting coolly on a branch. Birds such as the Rufous Fantail and Black-faced Monarch (I later discovered) fluttered nearby, while an Illawarra flame tree blazed with crimson song on the forest skyline.

Macquarie Pass National Park is astonishingly beautiful, and each turn reveals a new section with its own character and challenges. Cascades plummet into corridors of forest, water and stone, which we had to cling and scrape our way across cold mossy ledges, bathed in shadow, to get to. Looking up into the forest, I was amazed at how much this little park packs in. The air feels so clean, I felt so alive.

We made it through the park, which I’m sure many others have done.

At least I hope so.

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