Dorrigo National Park is a national park in the Mid-North Coast region of New South Wales, home to one of the last rainforests from Gondwana left standing today and by far the most visited of all the UNESCO World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.
Dorrigo National Park is part of the New England Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007. The area protected by the park is recognised for its exceptional natural beauty with significant habitats of outstanding value to science and conservation.
The park sits on a plateau, and thus, the large number of waterfalls in this area. Parts of the park are more mountainous, more towards the north, with the south being only so slightly hilly.
Flora and fauna
The park was home to numerous types of fauna, such as the lyrebird, and many other types of native species. Additionally, people of Gumbayngirr country were able to tell which types of flora was poisonous and which weren't, just on sight, even when not in their country! Something that modern humans aren't great at.
The red cedars and bungalow palms aren't found anywhere else like this, anywhere else. Dorrigo National Park also is home to rainforests from when Gondwana existed.
The climate in Dorrigo is similar to the climate in Orlando or Singapore. Often in the morning, it will be foggy, at noon, a bit more clear and in the afternoon, around 3PM, it almost rains every day. It can get windy here during rain, so all you need is just a small jacket.
- 1 Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, 142 Dome Road, Dorrigo. 9AM-4:30PM. Visitor information centre, which also has some souvenirs as well. These include books, postcards, stamps, compasses and more. Disabled parking available. $2 for all persons above the age of 10. $1 for ages 10 and under.
- NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website
Dorrigo Transit operates a Waterfall Way shuttle from Coffs Harbour - Dorrigo - Armidale. It stops in the Dorrigo CBD, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the park entrance. It will go via the national park on request (bookings essential). Dorrigo Transit also offers an on-demand service for further exploration of the region.
Fees and permits
It's a $2 donation fee if you're passing through the rainforest centre.
The rainforest centre closes at 4:30PM, so entry after 4PM is not recommended. And thus, camping is not permitted on this national park. However, if you're stuck in Wonga Walk after 4:30, you have until 8PM to exist.
There are two designated carparks in Dorrigo National Park.
- 2 Main Carpark @ Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Cnr Lyrebird La. and Dome Road.
- 3 Carpark at southern end of Lyrebird Lane.
There are other unofficial carparks as well, but they should only be used in emergencies.
Dorrigo National Park can sometimes be referred to, as the park of waterfalls, right next to the town of waterfalls; Dorrigo. Greater Dorrigo contains 5 different waterfalls, and three of them are located right here in Dorrigo National Park. Additionally, Dorrigo National Park also attracts many visitors a day for the skywalk; a bridge with breathtaking views, and really high off the ground, that you can feel the bridge swaying at times.
- 1 Skywalk (Skywalk lookout). 9AM-4:30PM. A lookout, where once you're on the edge, you could feel it move due to the wind, and question yourself, where is the surface below the bridge? Avoid going here after 15:00, as that's when the daily rain comes, and the sway of the bridge can really make you nauseous.
- 2 Crystal Shower Falls. A large waterfall, and the second highlight of the park. While you no longer can go behind the waterfall, there's a huge suspension bridge, which from a 45˚ angle, looks like the ideal postcard.
- 3 Tristania Falls (Going here requires you to slightly divert off Wonga Walk).
- Gondwana World Heritage rainforest tour, toll-free: 1300 072 757. Adult $20 per person. Child $10 per person. Family $50 for 2 adults and 2 children.
- Gondwana Rainforests and waterfalls guided tours, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Wonga walk. 9AM-4:30PM. A two-hour loop trail, that takes you through two large waterfalls, Crystal Shower and Tristan as well as some smaller ones as well.
- 1 Never Never picnic area, Blackbutt Track, Never Never. Picnic spot - BBQs, birdwatching and has access to walking tracks and waterfalls.
- Red Cedar Falls walking track (Start at Never Never picnic area, then follow Rosewood Creek walking east for 2km. Then you'll be at the turn-off. It's then a 1.2km steep drop). 8km loop trail, takes 3-3.5 hrs to complete. Takes you to Red Cedar Falls, the largest falls in the area. Also, be ware that it rains a lot around 3-7PM, so avoid those times (although it closes at 4:30PM), and that the track may be very slippery. AWTGS Grade 5.
- 2 Walk with the birds boardwalk. 5AM-10PM. A boardwalk, enviro friendly, which allows you to connect with the local wildlife, having detailed information about each and every one of these birds that live here. Also, there's only a small chance that you will not see one of the native bird species. Brush turkeys raking litter for their nests or a lyrebird searching for insects is very common and you could see the riflebird with its glossy black and iridescent blue plumage. Oh, and if you go during the Lyrebird mating season, it's not uncommon to see a Lyrebird doing things that look just plain unusual in public. AWTGS Grade 2. 0.56 km loop.
There is only one place where you can buy souvenirs, and that is at the rainforest centre. Unlike most NSW national parks visitor centres, DRC has a lot more variety of products, including compasses, postcards, books etc.
- 1 Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, 142 Dome Road, Dorrigo. 9AM-4:30PM. Souvenirs include books, postcards, stamps, compasses, fridge magnets and more. Disabled parking available.
There's only one restaurant/café in the park, and the other being opposite the park.
- 1 Canopy Café, ☏ . 9AM-4PM. The only restaurant and café in the park. Often most people choose to have their lunch here.
- 2 Waterfall Way Cafe, 15 Maynards Plains Rd, Dorrigo, ☏ . While not in the park, this café is opposite the park, and can be accessed by walking from the visitor centre.
There are no bars or pubs in Dorrigo National Park. The nearest ones are in Dorrigo.
Unlike most regional National Parks, there are no places to sleep, camp, or lodge in Dorrigo National Park. However, there are motels in Dorrigo and below are a list of motels nearby.
- 1 Heritage Hotel Motel, Cnr Hickory & Cudgery Streets. Historic hotel built in 1925, with ensuite bedrooms, spa suites and motel rooms. The Bistro Restaurant has mains from $20 to $45. from $125.
- 2 Lookout Mountain Retreat, 15 Maynards Plains Rd, Dorrigo Mountain, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM.
There is limited reception in this park, if you're using any other network provider which is not "Telstra", you should carry a satellite phone with you. Even telstra has poor coverage, but there's 3G in most of the park