Waterfall Way

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Dangar Falls near Dorrigo
Dangar Falls is one of the Waterfall Way highlights

The Waterfall Way in northern New South Wales was once famously voted the third most scenic drive in Australia which begs the question … what could top this?

The 191-kilometre route between the Coffs Coast and the New England Tableland twists and turns its way up mountains, through villages, around rainforests and, of course, past numerous stunning waterfalls. It’s an epic journey that could be done in a day – but should be done in weeks.

From the coast, the journey really begins when you leave the Pacific Highway and head inland along the route of the Bellinger River past green and arable farm country. The fascinating community of Bellingen is packed with crafty and artistic shops and stores … and has a subtle but real ‘alternative’ edge.

If you are towing a van, you really need to keep your wits about you as you climb towards Dorrigo. Drivers should not be tempted to stare too long at the sensational views that appear to your right … the road is narrow and potentially treacherous.

Both the Newell and Sherrard Falls are well worth a look as you pass by. Just before Dorrigo is the World Heritage Listed Dorrigo National Park and its famed Skywalk, a timber boardwalk that passes above the rainforest canopy.

The mountain township of Dorrigo boasts a pub, a fantastic bric a brac shop, and the world’s smallest motorcyle museum. What else could you ask for? It’s also only a couple of kilometres from here to the spectacular Dangar Falls.

The route now takes you to Cascade National Park and then on to  Ebor where most visitors take the time to explore Guy Fawkes River National Park and the fabled Ebor Falls. Moving westward on this highlight-packed journey you pass Cathedral Rock National Park and its oddly shaped rock formations. Next comes Wollomombi Falls and Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. It’s go, go, go.

Along the route there are a number of fascinating side trips that can be taken, including ones to the historical mining village of Hillgrove, or to take a look at Metz Gorge, or Gara Gorge.

The Waterfall Way ends when it reaches the New England Highway and the beautiful architecturally-blessed university town of Armidale. It’s somehow a fitting place to end a quite incredible journey. Is it really only the third best drive in the country?

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