Its story begins high up on the New England Tableland, above ancient Gondwana Rainforest, where dark nimbus release their cargo. Small creeks form, and soon converge, flowing ever more rapidly towards the rainforest boundary. Once here, they soar like liquid air over steep basalt cliffs, giving life to the rainforest and its animals before dissolving into the sea at the journey’s end. This is the waterfall way.
Waterfall Way is also the name of what’s regarded as NSW’s most scenic and Australia’s third most scenic drive, which meanders through the region described above. Starting from Coffs Harbour on NSW’s north coast and continuing roughly 200 kilometres inland through World Heritage rainforest, the drive is a splendid diversion from the coastal route between Brisbane and Sydney.
The waterfalls along the route all plummet within the primordial Dorrigo National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. A strikingly beautiful area, the park houses rare and significant flora and fauna, as well as the 19-million-year-old Ebor Volcano.
To trace the journey of the waterfall way (in reverse), head inland from Coffs Harbour through the quaint, tree-lined village of Bellingen, and you’ll pass the roadside Newell and Sherrard Waterfalls. Continue and you’ll reach Dangar Falls (pictured at top), about 2.5 kilometres north of the town Dorrigo.
Dangar Falls are close to 700 metres above sea level. The waterfalls are small, but beautiful, and the recent rains are now shooting them handsomely into the forest pool below, providing sublime therapy from our contiguous world of steel, concrete and toxic rattle.
Continue along Waterfall Way towards Ebor Falls where you’ll find a lookout perched over a 115 metre drop. Here water surges over basalt cliffs in two tiers. This is upper Ebor Falls (picture above), and 600 metres further down river you’ll come to lower Ebor Falls, which drops precipitously into the dense rainforest gorge below.
Ebor Falls are an excellent option to explore, having lookouts, walking trails, rest areas, and barbeque facilities at the site. For camping, however, you’ll have to go to nearby Cathedral Rock National Park, which you’ll pass as you head onto the New England Tableland near Armidale, where the journey of the waterfall begins…