Our family loves bushwalking, outdoor adventure and visiting national parks. One of our new favourites is Dorrigo National Park, a stunning World Heritage listed national park which is located less than an hour’s drive from Coffs Harbour along the Legendary Pacific Coast. It is accessed by a winding road known as the Waterfall Way which is almost as scenic as the park itself. This stunning drive passes through some of New South Wales’ most beautiful countryside and is widely regarded as one of the top five tourist drives in Australia. Lush green fields are cradled by mountains and small waterfalls tumble down the hills. It can be a struggle to keep your eyes on the road. There are plenty of different ways to experience Dorrigo National Park.
If you only have half an hour or so head out onto the Skywalk. This 70 metre long elevated walkway is one of the park’s most popular features and extends right out over the forest canopy. It ends at a dramatic lookout perched at the edge of an escarpment. If you have a little more time but still want to take it easy, there are some relaxing walks close to the visitor’s centre. Try the Lyrebird Link Track which provides an introduction to the surroundings of a subtropical rainforest or the Walk With The Birds Boardwalk. This boardwalk is perched up in the mid levels of the rainforest. If you listen carefully you can hear whip birds calling above the rustle of the trees.
Over 120 species of birds call Dorrigo National Park home so there is always plenty to see (and hear). The Satinbird Stroll path connects with the Walk With the Birds Boardwalk and delves slightly deeper into the rainforest. If you are pushing a pram, this is a little steep on the return leg but it’s definitely manageable. If you have a few hours, the Wonga Walk is the best of the lot. This sealed bitumen track is one of the National Park’s most popular walks. It is shaded by lush rainforest and surrounded by the sounds of the bush.
There are several large waterfalls, colourful fungi and magnificent old trees to see along this walk. Allowing time to stop for photos and exploring, it takes around 2.5 hours to complete the walk. The vegetation is so dense in some areas that it feels like you are almost part of the rainforest. While we enjoyed the walk as a whole, the highlight for our family was exploring Crystal Shower Falls which we reached via a suspension bridge. The bridge provides a great view of the falls plus you can take a side track and walk behind the waterfall without getting wet.
When you are in the volcanic cave behind the falls you can see huge boulders which were catapulted out of the park’s volcanic bed millions of years ago. You can also walk down to the base of the waterfall and explore around there as well. Dorrigo isn’t as well known as some other Australian national parks but it is definitely a must-do. Whether you are 7 or 70, there is plenty to discover and enjoy here. Dorrigo National Park is a 60 minute drive from Coffs Harbour or a 20 minute drive from the pretty country town of Bellingen. Day trips are available with Coffs Harbour and Nambucca coach and tour companies.
Disclaimer: The writer visited Dorrigo National Park as a guest of Legendary Pacific Coast.
If you are travelling to Coffs Harbour and looking for some other things to do, don’t miss Valley of the Mist.