Minyon Falls master plan

This master plan will guide the upgrade of visitor infrastructure at Minyon Falls and Minyon Grass picnic area in Nightcap National Park as part of the Tweed Byron Hinterland Trails project.

Public exhibition of this master plan provided an opportunity for members of the community to have a say in relation to this activity proposed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Opportunities to comment closed 25 November 2019.

The Minyon Falls precinct is a popular visitor destination in Nightcap National Park north of Lismore on the New South Wales north coast. Here you can see Minyon Falls plunging 100 metres into a deep pool amid tall forests and spectacular scenery. Minyon Grass picnic area is located to the south of Minyon Falls and offers picnic facilities, views to the falls and a trackhead for the walking track to the base of Minyon Falls.

What was proposed?

The planned visitor infrastructure improvements will increase capacity and enhance visitor access and safety at Minyon Falls lookout and nearby day use area. The works aim to complement the site's natural and cultural values and provide opportunities for a more diverse range of visitors to enjoy our spectacular national parks.

As outlined in the proposed amendments to the plan of management (Tweed Byron Hinterland Trails project), this master plan included proposals to:

  • provide adequate car parking facilities at Minyon Falls day use area (an increase from 42 to 96 car spaces)
  • provide directional, interpretive and information signs at visitor hubs and access points.

The upgrade will also improve the sense of arrival, access pathways and family gathering spaces at Minyon Falls, including a new viewing platform, picnic shelters and tables.

Why was the work being proposed?

Minyon Falls currently attracts over 250,000 visitors per year and will become one of the access hubs for the multi-day walk proposed as part of the Tweed Byron Hinterland Trails project. While the Minyon Falls lookout platform and walk to the base of the falls are both impressive, existing visitor infrastructure at the day use area does not meet the outstanding appeal of the site. There is a poor sense of arrival in the existing picnic area, timeworn picnic shelters, pathways and outdated signage, and lack of elements to draw visitors to natural features and beyond. There is also lack of clear flow and direction to the walking tracks, and a need to update site interpretation in consultation with the Widjabul Wia-bul people, the Native Title Claimants for the area. Overall, there is a need for an extensive upgrade to improve the presentation of the Minyon Falls Precinct.

The proposed concept intends to deliver an exceptional visitor destination while minimising impact on the natural setting. The main entry picnic area is to be greatly improved, with curved grassed terraces beside a winding access pathway, improving sense of arrival. A storytelling theme is proposed along this pathway to engage the visitor and draw them towards the Minyon Falls lookout. An architecturally designed shelter also offers a flexible gathering space to activate the area close to the lookout, and the viewing platform itself will be upgraded with a new curved structure.

Minyon Grass picnic area will receive a minor upgrade with refreshed picnic facilities, toilets and carpark.

What is a master plan?

A draft master plan illustrates the design concepts developed for the precinct. It includes site plans, diagrams of proposed infrastructure and visual representations of completed designs. It presents a picture of planned visitor infrastructure improvements at the site.

The Minyon Falls master plan is the first of 4 separate master plans for different precincts within the Tweed Byron Hinterland Trails project. Additional master plans will be developed over the next 2 years to provide detailed information on the multi-day walking track route, Unicorn Falls day use area and visitor facilities in Wollumbin National Park.

What happens next?

The master plans were publicly exhibited and, once finalised, will guide preparation of all environmental impact, cultural heritage, safety, social, financial and engineering assessments. Following public exhibition, the master plans may be adjusted to meet environmental assessment outcomes, consultation and local design issues but must still meet the requirements of the plan of management (and any approved amendments).