Last November we did not do Dunns because my husband had just had back surgery in June. We were considering trying it this year but going on our own instead of with the group so we could take it at our own pace. Well I found out I am pregnant a couple weeks ago so I guess that plan is out lol. Is it possible to go with the group and just stay on the sidelines and look and take some pictures?
You can walk up the slope at the side of the falls and take photos - quite a few partners did that when we went the other week as through dodgy knees, old age, lack of fitness etc there were a few who opted out of the falls. While we were there I saw two or three teenagers on their own (messing about and getting in everyone's way) but to be honest its much more fun with a group and you get to help each other up the tricky bits and the pace was very slow so being left behind is not a problem as it just means at the resting points (ie falls, slides, pools) the other wait a bit longer.
If you have a waterproof camera take it with you as you have plenty of oportunity to take photos whilst climbing but beware though they video the trip they charge $40 per dvd and also take photo stills from the video and frame them and charge $8 and the guide EXPECTS $10 per person for taking you up the falls (our one even came to the minibus to ensure no one disappeared without tipping).
Water shoes aren't compulsory but you do need them - on our trip from CSS one person only had flip flops so we stopped at a road side stall and she swapped them for a pair of watershoes and then swapped them back on route home afterwards (bit like being at a bowling alley).
If you actually climb the falls then you have to go together with a group / guide - even if you arrive on your own then they will put you with a group. ..
However - The falls have a boardwalk you can walk along - this you can take by yourself but you will finish the walk well before the group of climbers so you could still go wIth the group from couples and take your time.
You can take the tour with the group to Dunns River Falls but don't have to climb it with them .... There is a stairway along the side that you can walk up & take pictures & just meet up with them at the top or back in the van. If you do climb the falls, you will be put into a group with a guide to climb it holding hands in a chain for some of it ..... Don't think you are allowed to climb it on your own anyway from what I remember when we did it.
We took the group tour, but did not want to be herded into the group, so my husband and I got at the end of the line( did not hold hands with everyone) and went at our own pace. At one point another group was getting in front of us, and our guide swooped in and personally assisted us up a different way so we could remain in our group. I had no idea that the guides have such a good handle on who is who. You are asked to wear a coloured bracelet so they can distinguish which group you are in.
So yes you can do it in the group, but at your own pace and they will look after you. The group gets assigned two guides ( a wet guide, and a dry guide they call them), and you are expected to tip both guides when your finished. If you just tip the one, the other will ask you for his. That is what happened to us.