Last month we decided on a little detour and headed out west to go waterfall hopping along the beautiful stretch of highway appropriately named ‘Waterfall Way’.
Below we will share our adventure from this little road trip, in order of places we visited, in hopes you might find yourself here one day in the future!
Along the 185km scenic drive from Coffs Harbour to Armidale which passes through the New England National Park and Dorrigo National Park, you are rewarded with stunning views, lush rainforests, rivers and valleys, gorgeous countryside and of course many breathtaking waterfalls along the way, including a couple of roadside waterfalls through the windy Dorrigo Mountain Highway.
We began our journey driving through charming Bellingen, a lovely hippie town only 35 minutes from Coffs Harbour. We pulled up for a van-made cuppa before heading to our first location ‘Crystal Shower Falls’.
CRYSTAL SHOWER FALLS
Starting at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre we drove a little further down to ‘The Glade Picnic Area’ as we opted for a shorter walk down to Crystal Shower Falls (a 3.5km return trip instead of 5.8km) so that we could fit in Red Cedar Falls on the same day.
The trail down is sealed and steeper in some parts but is nice and shaded by strangler figs and lush forest made up of 300-year-old trees!
We started the trip down by taking the ‘Satinbird Stroll’ trail which begins on the far right of the picnic area, shortly followed by a right-hand turn onto the ‘Wonga Walk’ trail which takes you directly down to the suspension bridge which overlooks the beautiful Crystal Shower Falls. A wrap around path takes you a little further down behind the falls for a different and cool perspective.
This was an awesome waterfall to start with and we both agreed that this single drop, light flowing waterfall was the prettiest one we had visited, it’s also very easy to get to and quick to complete, for our shorter trail specifically it only took us two hours roundtrip which included just under an hour of photography time, a great little tester for our next waterfall hike.
RED CEDAR FALLS
Onto the next location ‘Red Cedar Falls’ – the largest waterfall in Dorrigo National Park.
We drove to the very end of the ‘Never Never Picnic Area’ which is about 30 mins drive from the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre.
As it was getting to the afternoon we once again opted for a shorter hike down to the falls so we would have enough time to take photos and make it back up before dark.
From the picnic area, we started on the Rosewood Creek Circuit in an anti-clockwise direction for about 2km, taking our first left for a bit, then followed by a sharp right onto the Red Cedar Falls Track which is signposted.
The recommended time from the carpark to the falls return is 3 hrs (on the shortcut we took), but we could get down quicker and not including photo time we completed the hike in 2.5hrs.
The above photo was taken just before you reach the falls, a lovely little swimming spot and incredible look out point over the mountains.
The strenuous and steep hike down was completely worth it once being rewarded with this view...
We spent a good hour down at the waterfall and with only one other family arriving shortly after us so we basically had this whole place to our self.
After making our way back up the track, the sun had started to set, and so we drove back towards the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and decided we would stay in the area so that we could do the Dorrigo Skywalk Experience at sunrise.
Driving through the countryside this time of day was absolutely beautiful, the autumn sunset painting a pastel sky, we just had to stop and snap a pic.
SKYWALK BOARDWALK DORRIGO RAINFOREST CENTRE
We woke early the next morning for our sunrise mission at Dorrigo’s Skywalk, a 70m boardwalk built 20m above the rainforest, providing breathtaking views out over the mountains and even to the ocean.
This boardwalk is accessible 24/7 via an after hours gate behind the Rainforest Centre.
Less than 5 minutes’ drive away from the Skywalk was our next location, the picturesque cascade waterfall Dangar Falls. By far the easiest site to visit, there is a lovely picnic area up the top where you can park, and catch your first glimpse of the falls via a small lookout point just a few metres away.
As this trip was an Autumn visit and although the water wasn’t warm enough for a dip, the trees in the area displayed a gorgeous array of fall colours red, orange and yellow – providing the perfect photo opportunity.
From the car park, it is only 20 minutes down to the bottom, following a short footpath and staircase.
Heading west on Waterfall Way for about 40 minutes, we reach the southern tip of the Guy Fawkes River Nature Reserve, gateway to one of the most beautiful waterfalls along the highway.
Ebor Falls consists of two waterfalls, where the Guy Fawkes River plunges 100m over the ‘Upper’ and ‘Lower’ Falls into the gorge below.
There are three different lookout points, all accessible from the carpark and also linked together by a walking trail.
Our last location is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Ebor Falls, located in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.
Wollomombi Falls are sometimes considered to be ‘Australia’s Second Highest Waterfall’, but due to the lack of rain it wasn’t flowing during our visit, so instead we checked out the lookout points for the sweeping views out to the valley and gorge, which is very impressive in itself and worth the visit.
We had such a fantastic two days exploring the sights along Waterfall Way.
It is the perfect getaway with friends or family, even as a day trip from Coffs Harbour or Armidale if that is all you have, we highly recommend it.
Let us know if you have any questions about visiting this area, in the comment section below or what you loved about this stunning region if you have visited before.
Until next time,
The Mooski Twins