We’re about to put some lovin’ back into the long drivin’ with a tranquil trip to Armidale.
The 170-kilometre Waterfall Way runs between Urunga on the mid-north coast of New South Wales inland to Armidale in the state's New England area. Within an hour's drive of Coffs Harbour and Armidale you can visit 10 diverse national parks.
Urunga, a small coastal town, lies at the mouth of the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers and is a popular fishing spot. It is the official start of the Waterfall Way.
First stop is Bellingen, a pretty village 12km off the highway. It is a very laidback town, sitting on the banks of the Bellinger River with a sizeable artistic/alternative population residing in the surrounding valleys. Just 10km north is the Promised Land, where you can enjoy swimming holes along the Never Never River. Plenty of wildlife is to be found, including platypuses.
Dorrigo is a spectacular 29-kilometre drive from Bellingen. It was one of the last places to be settled in the push across to the New England tablelands and the road climbs a kilometre through dense rainforest. Occasional breaks in the canopy offer wonderful views down the Bellinger Valley to the coast. The Griffiths Mountain Lookout and Dangar Falls are excellent side trips.
Dorrigo National Park is at the top of Dorrigo Plateau. Its magnificent rainforest is on the east coast's World Heritage list. The plateau was formed by the Ebor volcano around 18 million years ago and its enriched soil supported enormous numbers of flora and fauna.
The Skywalk and Crystal Shower Falls is a waterfall with a difference. There is a path behind the cascading water, so you can actually look through the falls.
The long stretch of road from Dorrigo passes between the national parks of New England and Cathedral Rock. Both are worth a look.
Ebor Falls is 1500 metres above sea level and never runs dry, making it the most reliable of the falls on the Waterfall Way.
Halfway between Ebor and Armidale is Wollomombi Falls, one of Australia's tallest. The spectacular single fall from the undulating plateau country to the floor of the gorge is most spectacular after heavy rain. The Chandler Falls to the east are not as spectacular, but nevertheless very beautiful.
The town of Armidale is another 40km west. It is the heart of New England and has many pretty parks.