Dorrigo National Park
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.
From Dorrigo via Waterfall Way then Dome Rd
594 km north of Sydney; 2 km east of Dorrigo
- NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
- Dorrigo Rainforest Centre (02) 6657 2309
11 902 ha
Dorrigo (02) 6657 2486
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.