11 February 2023

Along this epic 3-day Waterfall Way itinerary, you’ll discover the best waterfalls in the region, ancient rainforests, fun day walks, charming country towns and some incredible viewpoints. 

Veering inland from the stunning north coast of NSW, the Waterfall Way guides you through quirky little Bellingen, up the steep mountain escarpment to the verdant rainforests of Dorrigo National Park and through the auburn grasslands and dense eucalypts of the New England Highlands before arriving into Armidale.

Flanked by a further five national parks, this remote and rugged pocket of the highlands conceals some dramatic waterfalls (hardly surprising with a name like this one!), scenic day walks, incredible mountain viewpoints, vast canyons, abundant wildlife and beautiful drives worthy of a great Aussie road trip.

While many visitors pass through the area in a hurry to get between country and coast, there’s so much to discover along the way that spending a few days exploring is really the only way to do it justice.

This 3-day Waterfall Way itinerary guides you to all the region’s best attractions, including waterfalls, day hikes and viewpoints, as well as a few hidden gems along the way. I’ve also included my recommendations of where to stay and eat along the route and suggestions on what else to add to your itinerary if you’ve got more time to play with.

Psst… for my top tips on driving the Waterfall Way, read this post.

A Note On The Weather For This Waterfall Way Itinerary...

For anyone who lives along the coast of NSW, it will come as no surprise that La Niña has wreaked absolute havoc on our weather patterns over the last two years bringing what has felt like an endless string of rain and dreariness.

Being up in the mountains, the Waterfall Way is particularly susceptible to bad weather and, while that didn’t stop me from having a fantastic time, it did force me to rearrange my itinerary last minute and skip some places altogether.

Sadly, wild winds, poor road conditions through remote pockets of bush or viewpoints completely obscured by fog meant that certain detours just wouldn’t have been safe or worthwhile, but I’ve still included many of these ideas in the itinerary below to give you the option of visiting if the weather decides to play ball on your trip.

waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. dorrigo sky walk.
Driving to Bellingen

Bellingen is a mammoth 6-hour (514km) drive from Sydney, but thankfully there are some fantastic spots along the way to break up the journey.

I’d highly recommend getting an early start to allow more time to explore in the afternoon, and while you likely won’t have time to fit in all these stops on the way, they’re each a worthwhile option depending on whether you feel like epic views or a chance to stretch your legs on a forest stroll or coastal walk.

Wingham Brush Boardwalk


4 hours from Sydney  //  20 minutes off the highway


Nestled alongside the Manning River, the tranquil Wingham Brush Nature Reserve is home to a colony of endangered flying foxes and a vast array of unique native birds. Yet surprisingly, one of the most intriguing features here is actually the trees.

There’s a lovely 2km boardwalk that carries you through the forest where you’ll find a series of impressive fig trees with roots that extend into the rainforest in thick, meandering bands, while others are curiously intertwined with a neighbouring trunk.

Wingham Brush Nature Reserve. Crowdy Bay National Park
Wingham Brush Nature Reserve. Crowdy Bay National Park
Wingham Brush Nature Reserve. Crowdy Bay National Park

North Brother Lookout


4.25 hours from Sydney  //  15 minutes off the highway


Encompassing the entirety of Dooragan National Park, North Brother offers up one of the best viewpoints you’ll find along the northern NSW coastline. Climbing steeply above Laurieton, the road is flanked by soaring eucalypts that guide you to the viewpoint overlooking the Camden Haven Inlet. 

After the main lookout, be sure to follow the delightful Rainforest Trail which lies tucked away on the south side of the mountain and takes in a lush array of ferns, orchids and enormous trees before arriving at the viewing platform that takes in Middle Brother and Crowdy Bay National Park.

Port Macquarie


4.5 hours from Sydney  //  20 minutes from the highway


As a favourite beachside holiday destination, there’s plenty to see in Port Macquarie, but on a flying visit, I’d suggest stopping in at Tacking Point Lighthouse.

Wedged between two fantastic beaches, the headland offers up excellent ocean views while the endless crescent of Lighthouse Beach provides a perfect opportunity to stretch your legs.

If you’re visiting between May and November, there’s also a good chance you’ll see whales making their annual migration off the coast, while dolphins are also common at any time of year.

waterfalls way itinerary. port macquarie. tacking point lighthouse. lighthouse beach

Urunga Boardwalk


5.5 hours from Sydney  \\  10 minutes from the highway


The 1km Urunga Boardwalk carries you amongst the mangroves and above the waters of the Urunga Lagoon, where the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers collide.

Try to time your visit with the high tide when clear blue water fills the estaury basin.

Waterfall Way Itinerary Map

This map will guide you to all the best waterfalls, viewpoints, walking trails, eating spots and accommodation covered in this Waterfall Way itinerary.

Arriving to Bellingen

After a long day of driving, by the time you arrive in Bellingen and check into your accommodation, it will likely be quite late in the day.

Head out for a stroll around town and a peak at the charming storefronts, wander down for a glimpse at the Bellinger River and catch the sunset over mountains before enjoying a quick bite in preparation for a big day of exploration tomorrow. I ate at Za’atar for a delicious tasting plate of Middle Eastern street food.

waterfall way itinerary. bellingen accommodation. belfry guesthouse

|  Plan Your Visit To Bellingen  |


Accommodation  |


The Belfry Guesthouse  | This small, friendly guesthouse offers cosy rooms at affordable prices in the heart of Bellingen with fantastic views from their top-floor balcony. The downstairs communal kitchen and lounge area exude backpacker vibes, while upstairs, the upper balcony overlooks fields and forests that extend into the mountains of the Dorrigo Plateau. Try to nab the corner room and wake up to see the sunrise streaming across the treetops. Check rates and availability here.

The Lodge Bellingen  |  Modern, beautifully renovated rooms nestled in a serene countryside setting just a short drive from Bellingen. Check rates and availability here.

Camping or vanning along the Waterfall Way? Read this guide to Waterfall Way accommodation.


Where To Eat  | 


If you’re visiting mid-week, bear in mind that many restaurants in Bellingen are only open during the second half of the week or on weekends.

Za’atar  |  In their own words, Za’atar serves up Israeli-style street food made with love. With Middle Eastern staples like falafel, hummus and baba ganoush dominating the menu, this relaxed, wallet-friendly restaurant serves up fuss-free tasty food to a steady stream of diners. They’re also open every day.

Cedar Bar + Kitchen |  Set in a restored century-old church, Cedar offers both indoor and outdoor dining with a tasty menu and several veggie options.

Bruno’s Mediterranean Kitchen  |  This Mediterranean restaurant was earmarked for my trip, but were sadly closed during my visit. The eclectic menu looks (and sounds) delicious and receives excellent reviews. I’ll definitely be eating here next time.

Bellingen Swiss Pattissery & Bakery  |  Located on Church Street, this popular bakery serves up a delicious assortment of pastries, bread and pies, perfect for breakfast on the go.

Day 1  |  Waterfall Way Itinerary

The Promised Land Loop


If you can stomach the early morning, Bellingen is a beautiful place to catch the sunrise over the mountains. Having nabbed the corner room at the Belfry, I woke up early, opened up all the curtains and then crawled back under the duvet to watch the clouds burn pink and the gentle morning light melt across the jungle-clad peaks.

Keen to hit the road early, I grabbed a pastry and chai to go from the Swiss Patisserie, and made a beeline north towards Glennifer and the Promised Land Road.

This beautiful 11km loop (I’d recommend driving in an anti-clockwise direction) meanders back and forth between dense forests and the mesmerising Never Never River where deep aqua pools form in the river bends alongside beaches of gleaming white pebbles.

Flocks of king parrots congregate along the roadside, while kookaburras cackle from the trees and pairs of eastern rosellas dart amongst the foliage. It’s every bit as magical as its name suggests.

At the highest point of the drive, the forest opens up into vast farmlands that climb sharply into the mountain plateau looming in the distance. A nod at the adventures to come.

waterfall way itinerary. glennifer. promised land loop.

Once you’ve completed the Promised Land Loop, either return to Bellingen the way you came and join the Waterfall Way there or, the better option, is to turn onto Gordonville Road and continue your jaunt through the countryside, meandering through fruit orchards and mystical forests where staghorn ferns and lichen cling desperately to their trunks. 

It’s a lovely alternative to the highway and will bring you back onto the Waterfall Way just beyond Thora.

Both the Promised Land Road and Summervilles Road are well-maintained and in good condition but only about half of the way is sealed so drive carefully if you’re in a small car. 

Dorrigo National Park – Newell Falls + Sky Walk


After the quiet rambling roads of the countryside, it’s time to push on to the magic of Dorrigo National Park. The Waterfall Way almost immediately begins to wind steeply up the escarpment with views through the thick forests only getting better and better and the first of the many waterfalls laying just minutes away.

First up you’ll reach Newell and Sherrard Falls, both of which cascade across the rocks directly beside the road. There’s a large parking area just before you reach Newell Falls which is worth stopping at before continuing onto the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre.

After paying your gold-coin donation at the visitor’s desk, walk out onto the Sky Walk to get your bearings. This viewing platform extends out from the edge of the escarpment and hovers some 20m above the rainforest offering up panoramic views across the entirety of Dorrigo National Park.

waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. dorrigo sky walk.

Dorrigo National Park – Red Cedar Falls


After a brief stop at the Sky Walk, continue along Dome Road towards the Never Never Picnic Area. If you’ve had an early start, you should arrive by mid morning ready for your first hike of the trip – Red Cedar Falls.

This 8.6km hike takes about 4 hours, so if you’re arriving much later in the day, I’d suggest doing the shorter Wonga Walk today and leaving Red Cedar Falls for tomorrow instead.

There are a couple of ways to reach Red Cedar Falls, but the most beautiful is via the Rosewood Creek Track, hiking in a clockwise direction from here.

The narrow trail is immediately engulfed in dense forest, hugging the curves of Rosewood Creek for the first half of the trail. 

waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. red cedar falls. rosewood creek track.
waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. red cedar falls. rosewood creek track.

These extraordinary rainforests, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, have stood here for Millenia and exploring them for the first time is something quite special.

Overhead, the dense canopy forms a natural umbrella, a lush patchwork of leaves trying to outreach each other in search of light, while down below, the spongey trail of decomposing foliage guides the way through the forest.

Ferns sprout from the undergrowth and complex worlds of miniature greenery erupt from every crevice of the surrounding trees. A collage of tiny leaves and threadlike vines cling desperately to each trunk, while vibrantly coloured lichens and fungi bleed in curious patterns across the mottled bark.

Somehow the rain makes it even better – the sparkle of soaked leaves and the rich, earthy smell seeping up from the forest floor. The sound of birdsong permeates the trees at every turn with melodious trills and shrieks accompanying the rustle of the wind and the hypnotic patter of rain droplets.

waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. red cedar falls. rosewood creek track.

After 2km, you’ll reach a large pool which feeds into the first cascade of the hike, followed by Coachwood Falls a shot way beyond. 

Finally, after about an hour, you’ll reach the steep switchback that leads you sharply downhill towards Red Cedar Falls. As you approach, you’ll be able to hear the falls thundering through the trees, but it’s not until the final steep steps up the rockface that the waterfall is revealed.

Gushing over the cliff amidst a sea of greenery, Red Cedar Falls is the highest and most impressive waterfall in Dorrigo National Park and makes a simply magical place to enjoy a picnic lunch.

waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. red cedar falls. rosewood creek track.
waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. red cedar falls. rosewood creek track.

Now, not to sound like an overbearing granny but do be careful on the rocks up here – they’re like walking on ice. I was scuttling along on my haunches and the next minute found myself flailing about on my back like an upturned beetle with both hands badly cut up from the fall. Also, keep in mind that there’s no phone reception down here in the valley and this trail receives very little foot traffic if you do end up in trouble.

When you’re ready, head back up the steep switchback and continue along the final section of the Rosewood Creek Track before turning onto the Blackbutt Track. This last section opens up into a wide path flanked by some enormous red cedar trees and the tree stumps that remain as a reminder of the history of logging in the area.

After about 30 minutes, you’ll arrive back at the Never Never Picnic Area.

There are several small parking areas here spread out between the start and end of the walk so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a space. I visited mid-week in winter and didn’t see another soul for the entire hike.

waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. wonga walk.
waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. wonga walk.

Dorrigo National Park – Dangar Falls


If you’re feeling up to it after your hike, head on over to Dangar Falls which lies a few minutes from Dorrigo.

In the afternoon light, the rolling hills carpeted in long yellow grass are a beautiful contrast to the verdant forests that cover the valley below.

Having seen many photos of Dangar Falls, I was pleasantly surprised by just how big it was. The upper viewing platform is right by the car park, but be sure to follow the 10-minute walk to the lower platform as well.

waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. dangar falls.

Finally, head to your accommodation and check-in for the night before returning to the Sky Walk in time for sunset.

While the views here are sublime at any time of day, sunrise and sunset are certainly best. Watch the orange stain burn across the treetops and melt into velvety blue while birdsong filters up through the canopy and echoes across the valley.

It’s absolute magic and you might just have the show all to yourself.

|   Plan Your Trip To Dorrigo   |


Drive Time   |   2 hours  //  78 km

Hiking Time   |   4.5 hours  //  9.5 km

Highlights   |   The Promised Land Loop, Dorrigo National Park Sky Walk, Rosewood Creek Track and Red Cedar Falls



Accommodation  |


Lookout Mountain Retreat  | This beautiful hotel lies just minutes from the Dorrigo Sky Walk – perfect for anyone hoping to roll out of bed and reach the viewpoint for sunrise. Rooms are modern, spacious and well-appointed and open up right onto the lush paddocks that surround the property with a mountain backdrop in the distance. Check rates and availability here.

If you miss out on staying at the wonderful Lookout Mountain Retreat, both the Dorrigo Mountain Holiday Park and Dangar Falls Lodge, Camp & Caravan also offer basic cabin accommodation and lie just a few minutes from Dorrigo town.

Where To Eat  |


Bear in mind that many cafes and restaurants in Dorrigo are not open mid-week or have very limited operating hours.

Components Cafe   |   This cute and cosy cafe in the heart of Dorrigo makes a great stop for an early morning coffee or breakfast.

Heritage Hotel Dorrigo  |  Home to a classic country hotel bistro and the only place in town that’s open every night of the week, you’ll find a varied menu with everything from pub favourites and seafood to Italian staples and curry.

Day 2  |  Waterfall Way Itinerary

Dorrigo National Park – Wonga Walk


Head into town for breakfast before returning to the Rainforest Centre for the fantastic Wonga Walk.

Much like the Rosewood Creek Track, the Wonga Walk guides you through a beautiful pocket of the ancient Gondwana rainforest. It’s lush and vibrant with birdsong echoing through the trees at every turn.

waterfall way accommodation. where to stay on the waterfall way

The trail is paved for almost the entire route and guides you past Tristania Falls, Hardwood Lookout and, best of all, Crystal Shower Falls where you’re able to walk behind the cascade.

The Wonga Walk is 5.5km and can comfortably be completed in 2 to 3 hours. The route travels gradually downhill until you reach the Hardwood Lookout where it pitches up and brings you back up the escarpment.

waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. wonga walk.
waterfall way itinerary. dorrigo national park. wonga walk.

Guy Fawkes River National Park – Ebor Falls


After a beautiful morning spent amongst the trees, it’s time to leave Dorrigo National Park and continue on down the Waterfall Way.

It’s a 45-minute drive from Dorrigo to Ebor and as you head out of town the landscapes change completely with the lush rainforests giving way to undulating hills dressed in russet-coloured grasslands and pockets of ashen eucalyptus.

If you’re self-catering, continue on to Ebor Falls where you’ll find a few picnic tables, otherwise, the only eatery in town is the small and simple Fusspots Cafe. In all honesty, the reviews of the coffee here are… not great, but I found the food here really hit the spot.

waterfall way itinerary. ebor falls. guy fawkes national park.

Tumbling over the cliff face into a dramatic gully, Ebor Falls are an impressive sight and the 20-minute return walk will guide you to all the key vantage points.

That said, it’s worth noting that this area is sadly very much still recovering from the horrific bushfires that swept through in 2019. The three viewing platforms that once held prime positions are in the process of being rebuilt and so the areas that they once occupied are no longer accessible.

The short walk from the upper falls view to the valley lookout is still beautiful and worthwhile and you’ll catch glimpses of Ebor Falls through the trees but much of this is partially obstructed.

New England National Park – Point Lookout (Option 1)


At the start of my trip, while discussing my plans with a hotel owner I was told to not bother going to Point Lookout if there’s a whiteout. And, as my luck would have it, the fog rolled in cloaking the mountain in a thick blanket of white. 

Having spent the entire morning hiking in the rain and driving through the mist, the very likely prospect of Point Lookout being completely obscured from view meant this was, unfortunately, the first casualty of my Waterfall Way itinerary.

waterfall way itinerary. hillgrove.

If you have better luck with the weather, Point Lookout is a 30-minute drive from Ebor Falls along a partially sealed road and offers up one of the best views you’ll find anywhere in NSW. Peaking over the edge of the escarpment, you’ll overlook an endless vista of forested mountains that extend into the distance.

The viewpoint lies just 200m from the car park, but it’s well worth continuing on to complete the 2.2 km Eagle’s Nest Track which weaves through lush ferns and Antarctic Beech trees and sounds absolutely stunning.

If the weather isn’t playing ball, you might consider skipping this option and continuing on towards Cathedral Rock National Park instead.

Cathedral Rock National Park – Cathedral Rock Loop Track (Option 2)


Located just 20 minutes from Ebor Falls, Cathedral Rock National Park is famed for the enormous rocks that are scattered across the area and piled high in the centre to mark the summit.

Once again, the rocky peak was engulfed in a thick blanket of mist, so instead of clambering my way to the top, I settled for the Cathedral Rock Loop Track which simply skirts around the bottom.

After turning off the Waterfall Way, the road through Cathedral Rock National Park is largely unpaved with sections of large gravel and smooth clay. The circuit walk begins at Barokee Campground and is just 4.2km with a gradual incline as you move to the far side of the track.

waterfall way itinerary. cathedral rock national park
waterfall way itinerary. cathedral rock national park

The area still bears the scars of the recent bushfires, but you’ll find plenty of dewy green undergrowth, stark eucalypts towering overhead and plenty of big ass rocks wedged together, balancing at strange angles and piled high in impressive mounds.

Wildlife here is also abundant and you’re likely to see a wallaby or two darting through the trees.

For those heading to the summit, you’ll hike the same route, turning off after 2.3km to complete the final 500m scramble to the summit. If the skies are clear, you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views over the highlands.

After your final hike of the day, it’s about an hour’s drive to Armidale. You’ll notice along this stretch that roadkill is sadly all too common so try to avoid driving at dusk or after dark if you can (for more tips on driving the Waterfall Way, read this post).

|  Plan Your Trip to Armidale  |


Drive Time   |   2.5 to 3 hours  //  167 km (Option 1)   |   2.5 hours  // 150 km (Option 2)

Hiking Time   |   8.8 km  //  3 to 4 hours (Option 1)   |   11 to 13 km  //  3 to 5 hours (Option 2)

Highlights   |   Wonga Walk, Ebor Falls, Point Lookout or Cathedral Rock



Accommodation  |


Country Comfort Armidale  |  Located within walking distance of central Armidale, Country Comfort offers modern, newly renovated rooms that are a cut above the other motels in town. There’s also an onsite restaurant housed in a century-old converted Victorian house. Check rates and availability here.

Tattersalls Hotel  |  The best hotel in Armidale, Art Deco Tattersalls offers spacious, modern and luxurious rooms with an onsite bar, restaurant and parking in the heart of Armidale. Check rates and availability here.

If you’d prefer not to continue on to Armidale just yet, another option is to backtrack to Ebor to stay at the small Ebor Falls Motel. Located right along the Waterfall Way, this motel has a handful of rooms and is attached to a popular classic country pub. Bookings are directly through the property.

Day 3  |  Waterfall Way Itinerary

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park – Wollomombi Falls + Gorge


Whether you’ve spent the night in Ebor or Armidale, I’d recommend getting another early start and making a beeline for Wollomombi Falls which lies just 30 minutes from either town. Without a doubt, this extraordinary place is one of the absolute highlights of this Waterfall Way itinerary.

Tearing through the landscapes of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, the rugged cliffs of the Wollomombi Gorge tower above the Chandler River as it forges a path south on its journey towards the Tasman Sea. Between the canyon walls, tendrils of mist swirl and evaporate and spindly trees cling desperately to the craggy ochre-streaked cliffs.

waterfall way itinerary. wollomombi falls lookout. oxley wild rivers national park.
waterfall way itinerary. wollomombi falls. oxley wild rivers national park.

Begin your visit with the Chandler Walking Track which veers off to the right from the parking area and quickly brings you to the spectacular Wollomombi Falls Lookout, a large viewing platform which stares straight at the magnificent white torrent of Wollombombi Falls tumbling 220m into the ravine. 

Continue on to nearby Checks Lookout, then head downhill through scraggly eucalypt forest to the somewhat rough Chandler Lookout before returning back to the car park.

Next, it’s time to explore the stunning Wollomombi Walking Track which carries you along the edge of the Wollomombi Gorge and offers a top-down perspective on the falls, some beautiful forest scenes and ridiculously impressive views of the canyon.

A short way along, take in the spectacular views from Eagle Lookout, one of the best in the area, and the Wollomombi Lookout. Finally, push on through a lovely stretch of lichen-covered forest to the Chandler Falls Lookout, before returning back the way you came.

waterfall way itinerary. wollomombi gorge. oxley wild rivers national park.
waterfall way itinerary. wollomombi gorge. oxley wild rivers national park.

Nowhere encapsulates the raw and rugged beauty of the region quite like Wollomombi Falls, and if you’re lucky you may even witness a rainbow gleaming between the cliffs, if only for a moment.

You can comfortably walk both trails in 3 to 4 hours, but if you’re pushed for time, the Wollomombi Walking Track combined with the main Wollomombi Falls Lookout should not be missed.

This area makes a great spot for a picnic lunch, and be sure to stop by Edgars Lookout located just a few hundred metres away before making your way back to the Waterfall Way.

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park – Chandler View Circuit (Option 1)


The weather had completely deteriorated by this point in my trip. I’m talking torrential rain, strong winds, near-freezing temperatures and thick fog.

While the views at the end of Chandler View Circuit are, by all accounts, well worth the drive, the area is fairly isolated and, for me, the road in was a little hairy in the wet with tree branches falling from the gusts of wind and not another soul in sight. So, unfortunately, this was another hike I decided to shelve for a future visit.

If you have better luck, turn off the Waterfall Way towards Hillgrove until you reach Long Point Road.

Meandering through vast farmlands and pockets of eucalypt forests, the 24km unsealed drive is actually rather beautiful taking you further into the remote Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

waterfall way itinerary. hillgrove.

The 6km Chandler View Circuit Walk begins from the Long Point Campground and guides you through eucalyptus groves and lush rainforest before emerging at the escarpment following the edge of the gorge. Around the halfway mark you’ll reach the fantastic Chandler River Lookout which is perched high above a dramatic bend in the river where the forested canyon rises up ahead.

The walk takes around 2 hours, however, if you’re just after the view, the trail does appear to cross over the road just a short way from the lookout (around here) so another option could be to park nearby and just walk the 250m to the lookout and back.

This option will likely take up most of the afternoon so after the hike, continue on to Dangars Falls via a quick stop at Bakers Creek Falls on your way through Hillgrove.

Bakers Creek Falls, Metz Gorge and Gara Gorge (Option 2)


If you’re skipping the Chandler View Circuit detour, buckle up for a short drive and an afternoon filled with waterfalls.

Just a short drive from Wollomombi, you’ll see Bakers Creek clearly signposted on the Waterfall Way.

Turn onto Old Hillgrove Road, cross the serene Bakers Creek and stop in at the Bakers Creek Falls Lookout, a lovely spot overlooking the pretty cascade and the lush valley which is fed by dozens of tributaries.

This escarpment marks the start of Metz Gorge which runs parallel to Wollomombi and feeds into the same river system just a few kilometres away.

After a full day of rain and wind, this was one of few places where the sun appeared, removing the biting chill from the air and sending a vibrant glow across the treetops which made it all the more inviting.

waterfall way itinerary. metz gorge. bakers creek falls
waterfall way itinerary. metz gorge. bakers creek falls

From here, backtrack onto Chinamans Gully Road and continue on to the Metz Gorge Lookout located just 10 minutes away. Perched high above a downstream section of Bakers Creek, this lookout offers up views straight down the verdant forested canyon with the tiny creek forging its path through the valley. 

Head back to the Waterfall Way and continue on for about 10 minutes, turning onto Castledoyle Road just before you reach Armidale. From here it’s about a 20-minute drive to Blue Hole Road which will bring you to Gara Gorge. Thankfully, this section is almost entirely paved.

As a popular spot on weekends, you’ll find a large picnic and barbecue area here and the 5.5km Threlfall Walking Trail which leads you across the Gara River hugs the edge of the gorge, climbing higher to the Gara Gorge Lookout which stares down the canyon, before looping around to the Blue Hole.

The trail can be completed in about 1.5 hours and is mostly flat but there are a few uphill sections. You’ll also find are few natural swimming pools that would be lovely for a dip in summer, as well as historical information on the history of the Gara Dam.

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park – Dangars Falls


Though not technically on the Waterfall Way, Dangars Falls is spectacular and makes the perfect bookend for your trip.

Set just 30 minutes from Armidale, Dangars Falls is one of the best in the area and is particularly impressive if you’re visiting in time for sunset.

By this point in your adventure, you may think you’d be all waterfalled out, but this one is something quite special.

Plunging 120m over sheer rust-stained cliffs, the delicate veil of the falls plummets into the narrow gully, joining the ranks of countless other water sources that carve up the rugged landscapes of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

waterfall way itinerary. oxley wild rivers national park. armidale. dangars falls

Start with the Main Falls Walk and the Gorge Lookout before setting off along the Salisbury Waters Track to Falls Lookout. This 800m trail leads you across the picturesque Salisbury Waters River that feeds the waterfall, past boulders speckled with lichen and moss, and up onto the cliffs on the opposite side of the gorge.

From up here, the river glides towards you, shimmering gold beneath the blistering sky, while the falls tumble beneath your feet and onwards through the ravine. It’s a definite highlight of any Waterfall Way itinerary and a perfect way to round off your road trip through the region.

While Dangarsleigh Road is paved, much of Dangars Falls Road is unsealed and there are a fair few potholes and the odd sheep roaming around so be sure to drive carefully as darkness approaches.

waterfall way itinerary. armidale. dangars falls

|  Plan Your Trip to Armidale  |


Drive Time   |   3 to 3.5 hours  //  170 km (Option 1)   |   3 hours  // 170 km (Option 2)

Hiking Time   |   up to 15 km  //  4 to 5 hours (Option 1)   |   up to 14 km  //  4 to 5 hours (Option 2)

Highlights   |   Wollomombi Falls, Dangars Falls, Chandler View Circuit, Bakers Creek Falls, Metz Gorge and Gara Gorge



Accommodation  |


Country Comfort Armidale  |  Located within walking distance of central Armidale, Country Comfort offers modern, newly renovated rooms that are a cut above the other motels in town. There’s also an onsite restaurant housed in a century-old converted Victorian house. Check rates and availability here.

Tattersalls Hotel  |  The best hotel in Armidale, Art Deco Tattersalls offers spacious, modern and luxurious rooms with an onsite bar, restaurant and parking in the heart of Armidale. Check rates and availability here.

Returning To Sydney

From Armidale, there are two main routes back to Sydney.

The Thunderbolts Way is the fastest route (about 6 hours or 475 km) and travels via a spectacular mountain pass directly from Uralla to Gloucester. However, many recommendations for this route come with the important caveat that it is best avoided in bad weather.

There is reportedly one incredibly steep section and the recent heavy rainfall has left the bitumen punctured with plenty of potholes.

With rain still clinging to the mountains and Armidale shrouded in a thick morning fog, I chose the less scenic, alternative route which follows the New England Highway through Tamworth.

Coming down from the mountain plateau, the road passes through beautiful countryside, with open grasslands and rolling hills pierced by tall eucalypts.

waterfall way itinerary. hillgrove.

The highway is primarily single-lane and continues on to Branxton where you’ll join the Hunter Expressway and then the Pacific Motorway (M1) which leads south all the way to Sydney. The recommended drive time for this route is 6 hours, but factoring in several slow trucks, numerous roadworks around the Hunter Valley and a lunch break, this route took me closer to 8 hours.

Both Scone and Muswellbrook make a decent spot for a lunch break and are located around 3 hours into the journey. I ate at The Buttered Scone which lies in the heart of town, just a short way off the highway, and offers up a number of tasty light meals and, of course, scones are on the menu.

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