Skywalking and bird watching on Muttonbird Island and in Dorrigo National Park
The Coffs Coast in northern NSW is typical of Aussie seaside living – booming holiday destination through the warmer months, with a Big Thing to help for the low season.
The not-so-well-known part of the area combines the sea and the forest in a bird watching and bushwalking extravaganza. Start at Mutton Bird Island where the wedge-tailed shearwater (or mutton bird) hangs out from September to April before flying off to the warmer Philippines.
Then take the short trip out to Dorrigo National Park (described by Lonely Planet as the most accessible rainforest in Australia) and stride out on its skywalk. There are several of these in Australia, all very worthwhile, but Dorrigo’s takes you way up high above the trees and out over the eastern edge of the great Dividing Range. In fact you’re 70m above the ground and travel for 70m on the edge of the escarpment.
From the top you peer out over the rainforests, the lush pastures and the sparkling Coffs Coast more than 40km away. If the mutton birds are at home and you’re up there at dusk you can watch the chaos of the birds returning home from a day of feeding on the ocean.
“I’VE DONE THE SKYWALK IN DORRIGO NATIONAL PARK. IT’S GREAT!” – Sandra Sully
WHERE // Muttton Bird Island is reached by walking the 500m along the break wall from Coffs Harbour Fish Coop. Dorrigo National Park is 2km east of Dorrigo, 72km from Coffs Harbour, 540km north of Sydney on the Pacific Highway.
DID YOU KNOW? // Coffs Harbour used to be called Korff’s Harbour after Captain John Korff, who sheltered there from a storm in 1847. It became Coffs by accident when some fool in Sydney misspelt it in the gazetting documents for the area in 1861.