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The Ultimate Guide to the Waterfall Way Scenic Drive

The Waterfall Way is an incredible scenic drive through rolling countryside, beautiful lush rainforest, waterfalls and river valleys.

The drive passes through more than five national parks, with walks to lookouts, waterfalls, gorges, rock formations and natural swimming holes. Below is your ultimate guide for everything you need to know about the Waterfall Way Scenic Drive.

The drive is 185 kilometres one-way along the B78 Highway, but includes additional driving off the highway to see the highlights. Expect to drive about 250 kilometres (one-way) in order to see all the locations listed in this guide.

The drive is heavily trafficked and suitable for most motorists. The B78 Highway is a high-quality asphalt road, windy and narrow in sections, typically one lane in each direction, with limited overtaking opportunities.

The following locations are accessed via unsealed gravel roads, however, a 2WD vehicle is sufficient for these roads in good conditions:

  • New England National Park

  • Cathedral Rock National Park

  • Never Never section of Dorrigo National Park

  • Wollomombi Falls Picnic Area.

There may be no mobile reception at times along the drive, so it is recommended that you download offline maps for navigation assistance.

A number of major sights along the drive are wheelchair accessible, as well as numerous picnic areas, such as:

If you're looking for suggested itineraries for travelling along The Waterfall Way, then see this related blog post, which includes suggested 1-day, 3-day and 5-day itineraries.

Prefer a PDF download with park maps, a travel time and distance chart, detailed track descriptions for all walks, suggested itineraries and more? Just click the link below!

Top 10 Stops Along The Waterfall Way

The drive can be started at either Armidale (from the B78 Highway Exit out of the eastern side of town) or Urunga (from the B78 Highway Exit off the Pacific Highway just south of Coffs Harbour).

It is strongly suggested to start the drive in Armidale if possible, so that you finish at the tranquil Promised Lands – the perfect place to unwind with a swim after hitting the walking trails.

The top 10 stops along The Waterfall Way Scenic Drive are:

  1. Armidale

  2. Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

  3. New England National Park

  4. Cathedral Rock National Park

  5. Ebor Falls

  6. Dangar Falls

  7. Dorrigo National Park

  8. Sherrard and Newell Falls

  9. The Promised Lands

  10. Coffs Harbour

Armidale is an historic town, rich with art and Indigenous culture. Coffs Harbour is famous for the Big Banana, Forest Sky Pier and beaches. In between is where the adventure is, with more than five national parks packed with varying sights and activities. Both Armidale and Coffs Harbour are great locations to pick up last minute supplies.

Armidale is 5.25 hours drive southwest of Brisbane or 5.75 hours north of Sydney. Urunga is 4.5 hours drive south of Brisbane or 5.5 hours north-east of Sydney.

Map of The Waterfall Way route

Travel Times and Distances

Use the below chart to identify the time and distance required to travel between each of the major stops along The Waterfall Way.

Be aware that the times listed below are indicative only, and traffic, weather and road conditions may impact these. 

Distances and times for The Waterfall Way route
Chandler Walk

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Activities: hiking, camping

2WD Accessible

Wollomombi Falls picnic area, at the end of Wollomombi Falls Road

Immerse yourself in towering stringybark and blackbutt forest and marvel at magnificent waterfalls as they plummet into rugged gorges, in the northern section of this national park.

Note that there is also a southern section to this national park with additional walks, however this section of the park is not located along The Waterfall Way. Walks starting at this section of the park - at the Wollomombi Falls picnic area - include:

Wollomombi Falls Lookout
0.4 kms return | 30 mins | Easy (Grade 1)


An amazing and accessible lookout with breathtaking views of Wollomombi Falls and Chandler Falls, as they plummet and cascade into the gorge. The short, flat, paved path (wheelchair accessible) leads to a constructed lookout where you can admire the birds-eye view of the rugged landscape.

Wollomombi Track
4 kms return | 2 hrs | Moderate (Grade 3)


An incredible walk along the rim of the gorge, with close up views of Wollomombi and Chandler Falls. Multiple lookouts provide exceptional views into the gorge. Look for platypuses while crossing the bridge over the Wollomombi River. An excellent opportunity to experience everything this section of the park has to offer.

Chandler Track
4 kms return | 2 hrs | Moderate (Grade 3)


The walk starts with an easy stroll to Checks Lookout, for more views of Wollomombi and Chandler Falls, before becoming steeper and more challenging (switchbacks and a narrow ridge with somewhat exposed edges) to Chandler Viewpoint for dramatic views into the ravine.

Edgars Lookout
0.1 kms return | 15 mins | Easy (Grade 1)


A lovely lookout often overshadowed by the main gorge lookout, which offers more views into the gorge below, as the Chandler River winds downstream past Green Gully. It is a very short stroll on a paved path to a constructed lookout, and so is wheelchair accessible.

Point Lookout

NEW ENGLAND National Park

Activities: hiking, camping

2WD Accessible, except Beech Lookout

Various locations along Point Lookout Road (see the description for each walk)

Explore World Heritage Gondwana rainforest, with magnificent views of the surrounding tablelands from the plateau, as well as idyllic walks along the cascading creeks.

There are a range of walks of varying lengths and difficulties within the park - so a little something for everyone.


Point Lookout Track
0.4 km loop | 30 mins | Easy (Grade 1)

An absolute must-do, with spectacular views from the edge of the escarpment, 1,500 metres above sea level. The short wheelchair accessible walk to the lookout is through lush rainforest and moss covered trees and rocks. Keep an eye out for lyrebirds, which are plentiful in the area. Starts at Point Lookout car park.

Eagles Nest Track
2.2 km loop | 1.5 hrs | Moderate (Grade 3)

Explore the World Heritage rainforest and Antarctic beech tress as you get a great snapshot of everything the park has to offer. It is possible to loop back and finish at Point Lookout for magnificent views from the edge of the escarpment. Starts at Point Lookout car park.

Weeping Rock Track
2 kms return | 1 hr | Moderate (Grade 3)


Meander through Antarctic beech tress to a moss-covered basalt cliff face. The natural springs located atop the cliff create the lush, environment, with water constantly dripping down the cliff face. The walk is especially interesting in winter, when the dripping water turns into sheets of ice. Starts at Point Lookout car park.

Tea Tree Falls Walk
4 kms return | 1.5 hrs | Easy (Grade 3)

A beautiful walk along the Styx River, through eucalypt forest, with hanging moss that gives the walk a magical feel. Small off-track side-tracks lead to Tea Tree Falls and an unnamed falls. Starts at Thungatti campground.

Cascades Track
5.5 km loop | 3.5 hrs | Moderate (Grade 4)


A beautiful walk along Five Day Creek, through incredible rainforest, Antarctic beech trees, ferns and mossy rocks. Walk under the cliffs of Wrights Lookout before descending into the valley and rainforest to the creek where you'll see countless cascades and small waterfalls. Starts at Robinsons Knob car park.

Lyrebird Track
4.6 km loop | 3 hrs | Moderate (Grade 3)


A walk for the nature enthusiasts, through beautiful Gondwana rainforest and Antarctic beech trees, with incredible panoramic views from the plateau. Wooden boardwalks, and a mix of rocky, mossy wooden and metal steps get you to the bottom of the towering cliff line. Starts at Banksia Point picnic area.

Wrights Lookout
4.2 kms return | 2 hrs | Moderate (Grade 4)


A challenging but rewarding hike to an incredible lookout atop a heath-covered plateau - the ancient trachyte remnant of Ebor Volcano - with expansive views. In spring, the heathlands come to life with colourful wildflowers. Starts at Robinsons Knob car park.

New England Combo Track

8.2 km loop | 4 hrs | Hard (Grade 4)

Experienced walkers wanting to hike the Cascades Track, Lyrebird Track and Wrights Lookout can connect the trails, starting on the Lyrebird Track, adding Wrights Lookout, then the Cascades Track, before finishing with the final half of the Lyrebird Track loop. Starts at Banksia Point picnic area.

Beech Lookout
0.1 kms return | 15 mins | Easy (Grade 2)

In nearby Cunnawarra National Park. Beautiful views to the Georges River and surrounding ranges. Look down to some of New South Wales’ tallest trees – forest ribbon gums – which grow up to 70m tall and 3m in diameter. Starts at the picnic area on Styx Forest Way and requires a 4WD to access.

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock National Park

Activities: hiking, camping

2WD Accessible

Barokee campground or Native Dog Creek campground

An adventurer’s playground among sub-alpine woodland and giant granite tors, where rock scrambling, short and longer walks, and magnificent views await.

Walks in this national park include:


Cathedral Rock Loop Track
4.2 km loop | 1.5 hrs | Moderate (Grade 4)


Walk through sub-alpine woodland and manna gums, along Snowy Creek and around the base of Cathedral Rock. Starts at the Barokee campground.

Cathedral Rock Summit
5.2 km loop | 2.5 hrs | Hard (Grade 5)


A short but challenging 1km addition to the loop track. After a rock scramble, enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding region atop stacked granite boulders.

Warrigal Track
1 km return | 45 mins | Easy (Grade 3)

An easy walk for wildflower and wildlife lovers, through dry woodland and granite boulders. Starts at Native Dog Creek campground.

Woolpack Rocks
8 kms return | 3.5 hrs | Moderate (Grade 4)


Interesting hike to a geological wonder - ancient granite tors that are 270 million years old and 1,400m above sea level. Starts at Native Dog Creek campground.

Barokee to Native Dog Track
10.4 kms one-way | 6 hrs | Moderate (Grade 4)

A great walk for birdwatchers, linking the parks two campgrounds while following the Snowy Range. Cathedral Rock Summit and Woolpack Rocks can be done as side-tracks. Starts at Barokee campground.

Ebor Falls

Guy Fawkes River National Park

Activities: hiking

2WD Accessible

Ebor Falls picnic area

A smaller national park, most famous for the incredible Ebor Falls, of which the upper and lower sections can be viewed from a short, easy walk.

Ebor Falls

1.6 kms return | 1 hr | Easy (Grade 2) 

A short wheelchair accessible walk to a multi-drop waterfall with spectacular views into the valley and surrounding ranges, as well as an option to extend the walk further to Lower Ebor Falls. 

Dangar Falls

Dangar Falls - Dorrigo

Activities: hiking, swimming

2WD Accessible

Dangar Falls picnic area

A must-do stop along the drive, with views from above the falls, as well as from its base. A great place for a picnic and a swim.

Dangar Falls
1.4 kms return | 1 hr | Easy (Grade 2)

A beautiful 30m high waterfall with multiple viewing platforms and a great natural pool for swimming makes this a Dorrigo must-do. View the falls from the wheelchair accessible upper viewing platform (50m from the car park), or head to the base of the falls along steps and boardwalks for a swim. 

Wonga Walk

DORRIGO National Park

Activities: hiking, swimming

2WD Accessible

Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Glade picnic area, or Never Never picnic area

A crowd favourite along The Waterfall Way with a great variety of walks for all levels, with beautiful waterfalls and spectacular lookouts.

Skywalk Lookout
0.1 kms return | 15 mins | Easy (Grade 1)

Spectacular views across Dorrigo National Park, including McGraths Hump, and to the coast. The 70m long elevated runway and viewing platform is perched 21m above the rainforest on the edge of the escarpment. Starts at the Rainforest Centre.

Lyrebird Link
0.4 kms return | 30 mins | Easy (Grade 2)


A short walk to a large, metallic Lyrebird art installation suspended in the trees of the rainforest. Starts at the Rainforest Centre.

Wonga Walk
5.6 km loop | 3 hrs | Moderate (Grade 2)


Walk through lush rainforest to the most popular waterfalls in the park. Cross a suspension bridge and walk behind Crystal Shower Falls. The walk also takes in Tristania Falls and Hardwood Lookout, offering views toward the Never Never section of the park. Starts at the Rainforest Centre.

Crystal Shower Falls Track
4.4 kms return | 2 hr | Moderate (Grade 2)

A short version of the Wonga Walk straight to Crystal Shower Falls. Can be extended to take in Tristania Falls
and Hardwood Lookout. Starts at the Rainforest Centre.

Satinbird Stroll
0.6 km loop | 30 mins | Easy (Grade 2)

An easy trail through lush rainforest that is great for families and birdwatching enthusiasts. Starts at The Glade picnic area.

Walk With The Birds
0.6 km loop | 30 mins | Easy (Grade 2)


Walk among the trees on this elevated boardwalk. A birdwatchers heaven, with over 150 bird species found in the park. Starts at The Glade picnic area.

Callicoma Falls

2.9 kms return | 1 hr | Moderate (Grade 3)

A less popular waterfall a short distance into the Blackbutt Track. Walk through lush rainforest to the falls, where Endiandra Creek cascades down a long rock face into clear, shallow pools . Starts from a small car park on Dome Road near the entrance to the Never Never section of the park.

Rosewood Creek Circuit
6.3 km loop | 2.5 hrs | Moderate (Grade 4)

An enchanting walk through lush forest, past beautiful waterfalls and tranquil natural swimming holes. Start alongside Sassafras Creek, before tracing the ridgeline of the Dorrigo plateau and then Rosewood Creek, where Coachwood Falls and the many rock pools are standout features. Starts at Never Never picnic area.

Red Cedar Falls Track
6 kms return | 3 hrs | Hard (Grade 5)

A challenging hike to the tallest waterfall (58m) in the park on a trail - a short but steep side-track off the Rosewood Creek Circuit. The track to the falls is very steep (169m of elevation), with switchbacks and rocky steps and one small loose shale section. Starts at Never Never picnic area.

Casuarina Falls Track
4.8 kms return | 2 hrs | Moderate (Grade 4)

Walk along Sassafras Creek to a large waterfall (50m tall) and cascades. The views south from the top of the falls are magnificent, gazing over the valley to Dorrigo Mountain and McGraths Hump. Starts at Never Never picnic area.

Never Never Combo Track

9.7 km loop | 5 hrs | Hard (Grade 5)

Experienced walkers wanting to hike the Rosewood Creek Circuit, as well as see Casuarina and Red Cedar Falls can connect the trails. Start at the Never Never picnic area on the Blackbutt Track to Casuarina Falls, followed by the Rosewood Creek Circuit, with the Red Cedar Falls side-track.

Promised Lands

The Promised Lands - Bellingen

Activities: hiking, swimming

2WD Accessible

Promised Lands Road in Glennifer, just outside of Bellingen

A hidden gem in the hinterland, where you can find multiple pristine swimming holes nestled among
pristine forest along Never Never Creek.

Promised Lands
0.9 kms return | 1 hr | Easy (Grade 3)

Walk to the creek’s edge and explore upstream, from giant boulders to pebble-lined pools of varying depth. Swings and ropes at the main swimming spot add to the fun. This location is very busy in the warmer months. Starts from a small car park on Promised Lands Road (after the wooden bridge).

As with any natural swimming hole, be mindful and take all rubbish with you and minimise the use ofchemicals (such as sunscreens) to keep the water clean. 

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