Dorrigo National Park has some really great walks, with the most famous one being The Wonga Walk that leads down to Crystal Shower Falls. This is not only the best walk in Dorrigo National Park, but also one of Australia’s best day hikes! Read on to find out all you need to know!
DORRIGO WALKS – WONGA WALK
Wonga Walk: 6km loop
The Wonga Walk is a 6km loop walk that goes through the World Heritage Area of Gondawa Rainforest. It is one of the shorter walks within Dorrigo National Park but it provides some spectacular scenic views and the walk is relatively easy. This makes it a popular walk and suitable for all the family. There are a couple of steep sections but they are perfectly manageable.
The walk starts at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and takes you to two lovely waterfalls: Crystal Shower Falls and Tristania Falls. The whole walk should take you around 2-3 hours to complete.
You can do Wonga Walk as a loop walk or you can just do half of the walk (the best part!) to see the Crystal Shower Falls if you are short for time.
The map below shows the walking track – click on it to view it in more detail on Google Maps.
Throughout the walk the path is in really good condition – it is a sealed path (bitumen) and there are also some benches along the way to stop if you want a rest. Signage along the walk is very good too and the path is easy to follow. Despite the path being mostly sealed you can really feel you are in the subtropical wild rainforest – there is so much fern and really tall lush interesting shaped trees that are over 600 years old! Luckily this provides some much needed shade from the sun during those warmer days!
Dorrigo Rainforest Centre & Dorrigo Skywalk
The Dorrigo Skywalk is an elevated wooden walkway that takes you out over the valley and provides some spectacular views. Make sure you don’t miss this as the views are seriously stunning. I was there on quite a cloudy day but the view was still fabulous and just added to the mystery of the place!
To access the Skywalk it is recommended to give a $2 donation. The Rainforest Centre is open from 9am-4.30pm but you can still access the Skywalk if you visit outside of these hours. The after hours access to the Skywalk is just around to the right of the buildings (you’ll see the sign pointing to the after hours entry). There are also toilets and a picnic area here.
Lyrebird Link Track
The walking track begins right behind the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, adjacent to the Skywalk. You need to walk along the Lyrebird Link Track for 400metres on a wooden boardwalk to get down into the rainforest before it joins on to the Wonga walk. At the junction it is up to you which way you turn as you will be walking in a loop from here so it won’t matter. If you turn left you’ll reach Tristania Falls first.
Whilst not as impressive as Crystal Shower Falls, Tristania Falls is still quite impressive. Right in front of the falls you cross a bridge and you can get some great views of the falls from here. On the other side of the falls you’ll see some steps where you’ll need to climb which lead to another lookout next to the waterfall. The path will then get a bit steeper as you continue the walk until you reach Hardwood Lookout. There isn’t much of a lookout at all here as any views that were once visible are now obstructed by trees.
Crystal Shower Falls
Crystal Shower Falls is the highlight of the walk. It is a really picturesque and tall waterfall and there is also a path here where you can actually walk behind the waterfall! You can get some great photographs from behind the waterfalls, or alternatively from the swing bridge in front of it that forms part of the Wonga Walk. Of course after heavy rainfall the falls look the most impressive and often people will go into the pool underneath the waterfall.
Note to get to the part behind the waterfall you’ll need to head down the stairs at the end of the suspension bridge and then you’ll see a gate on your left that leads to underneath the waterfall. When I visited in September 2020 it was open, but I did read on some forums that sometimes the gate is closed due to recent rockfall. If you are here and the gate is open, still be careful and exercise caution here.
The path then goes uphill and then after about a kilometre of steadily going uphill you’ll come to a junction. Both paths go in a loop so it doesn’t matter which one you take, but the right hand path is a little bit quicker. The left hand one will lead to The Glade Picnic Area where you’ll find several picnic tables and BBQ facilities and a car park (more about this car park below). If you brought food along the walk this is a great place to sit and enjoy it and there is also a nice viewpoint here.
Continue walking along the path, keeping right, and it will lead you to the Walk With The Birds Boardwalk. This is a 500 metre boardwalk that takes you up amongst the rainforest canopy and provides you with a couple of viewpoints. Continue walking and the path will eventually lead you back to the Lyrebird Link Track and the Rainforest Centre where you started.
Short Path just to Crystal Shower Falls
If you don’t have the time to walk the whole 6km of the walk and just want to see Crystal Shower Falls, park your car by The Glade Picnic Area at the end of Lyrebird Lane and then from here it is about a 20 minute walk (1.4km) downhill to the falls. It will take you longer to get back as the walk back is all uphill, but at under 3km long you should be able to get down to the falls and back in just over 45 minutes. Perfect if you are short on time or don’t want to walk the 6km loop.
What to bring with you on Dorrigo National Park Walks
- Jacket: You are in the rainforest and quite high above sea level so it is advisable to bring a jacket incase you get cold.
- water and some snacks (none is available along the walk).
- pick up a map from the Visitor Centre or have an offline maps such as maps.me downloaded on your phone.
How to get to Dorrigo National Park
If coming from the coast:
Turn off the Pacific Highway at Raleigh and head down Waterfall Way (Scenic Drive). You’ll drive for about 38km, going past the charming town of Bellingen along the way. The road gets quite narrow and very winding so please take care when driving, especially when it is wet. Dorrigo National Park is roughly one hour from Coffs Harbour.
Before you get to the town of Dorrigo, just after Dorrigo Cemetery turn right onto Dome Road. Drive down here for 1.5km until you reach the car park for the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre.
If coming from Armidale:
Head onto Waterfall Way and drive for around 130km to the small town of Dorrigo (it will take around 1.5 hours). Drive through Dorrigo then turn left into Dome Road. The Dorrigo Rainforest Centre is at the end of the road.
Looking for other locations on your NSW Itinerary?
If you will be heading down to Sydney from Dorrigo National Park there are so many great places to stop off at along the way! Here are some of my favourite spots between Dorrigo and Sydney:
- Port Macquarie – amazing beaches and coastal walk
- Booti Booti National Park – rugged beaches along a peninsula with a stunning coastal and lake walk
- Seal Rocks – secluded village with one of the best beaches in Australia!
- Port Stephens – home to dolphins, camels and epic summit views!
- Newcastle – epic ocean pool The Bogey Hole! – Probably the best ocean pool is Australia!
- Caves Beach – some of the best caves in NSW and they look out to the sea!
- Bouddi National Park – Bouddi Coastal Walk is one of the best walks in Australia!