Dorrigo National Park

Dorrigo National Park, Ricky Eaves / Explore Australia Publishing
Barbecue Disabled Kiosk/Restaurant Toilets Wildlife Camping area Information Lookout Picnic area Ranger Walking

Introduction

Perched on the edge of the dramatic New England escarpment, Dorrigo National Park, with its high mist-shrouded plateau descending to spreading river valleys, offers abundant opportunities to explore the grandeur of its World Heritage-listed rainforests.

With rich soils and one of the highest rainfalls in the state, the national park is especially renowned for the complexity and beauty of its rainforest. The excellent Dorrigo Rainforest Centre is well equipped to explain the park’s diverse flora and fauna, and there are regular Discovery tours.

Fact file

Access

From Dorrigo via Waterfall Way then Dome Rd

Best season

All year

Location

594 km north of Sydney; 2 km east of Dorrigo

Park information

  • NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
  • Dorrigo Rainforest Centre (02) 6657 2309

Size

11 902 ha

Visitor information

Dorrigo (02) 6657 2486

www.dorrigo.com

Featured Activities in the National Park

  • Join one of the discovery tours to learn about the rainforest environment

    Follow Wonga Walk to see beautiful waterfalls

    Step out into the rainforest canopy on the Skywalk

    Watch brush-turkeys searching for food as you enjoy your picnic at The Glade

See Also

A look at the past

Timber-getters who arrived in the 1800s logged for red cedar and hoop pine, and were followed by graziers and farmers. In 1901, an area was set aside to protect the Sherrard and Newell falls on Waterfall Way, and another area was declared a reserve in 1927 and managed by volunteers until the national park was finally gazetted in 1976.

Natural features

The park is on the Dorrigo Plateau, rising from 670 metres to 1586 metres on the western edge of the Snowy Ranges. The Never Never, the Rosewood and other major rivers flow through the park. As the escarpment falls away to the coast, waterfalls cascade and tumble down the craggy rock face.

Native plants

Dorrigo is predominantly covered by rainforest and the park’s prestigious World Heritage status is linked to these impressive forests. There is the luxuriant, subtropical forest with its palms, towering buttressed trees encrusted with epiphytes and orchids, mosses and lichens, and looped with vines and strangler figs. There is warm temperate rainforest, less dense, with fewer buttressed trees, with coachwood and sassafras, thinner vines and more ferns. And there are pockets of cool temperate rainforest, with its characteristic moss-dappled beech trees and occasional hoop pines emerging above the canopy.

Wildlife

You may well spot red-necked pademelons, swamp wallabies and red-necked wallabies, and hollow-dwelling possums inhabit areas of old-growth forest. Several species of glider have been identified including the greater glider and the rare yellow-bellied glider. A host of insect species, beetles and bugs thrives in the dense undergrowth.

In the rainforest watch for the plump wompoo fruit-dove and the lovely rose-crowned fruit-dove (look for them feeding on the rainforest berries). Watch for the regent bowerbird, a magnificent rich dark green–black velvet colour with brilliant yellow markings, and listen for the green catbird whose remarkable call is like a cat’s miaow. Brush-turkeys, superb lyrebirds and other ground-dwelling species feed on the rainforest floor.

Many frogs and toads inhabit the moist rainforest environment, and there are numerous reptiles, though most are carefully camouflaged. The rainforest is also the place to see delicate butterflies.

Bushwalking

Boardwalks as well as bush tracks provide access to various parts of the park. The Walk with the Birds (400 metres, 15 minutes, easy) is a stroll on an elevated boardwalk through the dense rainforest canopy – a great chance to watch for rainforest birds. Satinbird Stroll (600-metre circuit, 20 minutes, easy) is a loop walk through the rainforest. Both of these walks have interpretive signs and tremendous lookouts. Wonga Walk (5.8-km circuit, 2½–3 hours, medium difficulty) is a worthwhile walk through marvellous rainforest and past the exquisite Crystal Shower Falls and Tristania Falls. There are also walks starting near the Never Never picnic area. Casuarina Falls Walk (4.8 km, 1¾ hours, medium difficulty) follows the path beside bubbling Sassafras Creek to the top of the falls. For experienced walkers there are longer walks.

Scenic touring and picnicking

Dome Road winds for 10 kilometres (half of that is unsealed) through the park to the Never Never picnic area. Enjoy a peaceful picnic and listen to the sounds of the rainforest. The road is slippery and difficult to negotiate when wet (a 4WD is advisable). At The Glade picnic area tireless brush-turkeys scrape through the leaf litter in search of tasty morsels. The lookout here is a great place to take a photo of the verdant hinterland and sparkling azure coast.

See Also

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