Often likened to the English countryside with its rolling, lush green hills, the Dorrigo Plateau’s natural beauty makes it a top contender on our list.
Often likened to the English countryside with its rolling, lush green hills, the Dorrigo Plateau’s natural beauty makes it a top contender on our list. Known as the “spirit place, the road home” to local Aboriginals, the Dorrigo Plateau climbs skywards into the clouds from the Coffs Coast – an impressive 1500m into misty rainforests and towering waterfalls and gorges.

Dorrigo itself is the gateway to the parks, the beach and, of course, the rainforest. Resembling a natural cathedral full of saturated greens and light diffused by leaves, mist and clouds, the world heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest takes on an otherworldly atmosphere in the early mornings when a cacophony of birdsong fills the heights. The drought-proof town with the highest rainfall in NSW is less than 2.5km away from rainforest with bush and skywalks starting right at your doorstep. It’s home to many tree-changers, and locals joke that people “come for the day, come to stay”; many short-term visitors find themselves settling in the enchanted place. And they look after their pretty little forest hamlet very well: in 2008, Dorrigo was awarded NSW Tidy Town of the Year. The 1100 people-strong town set itself apart with 150,000 volunteer hours put into landcare, regeneration and environmental initiatives, showing true bush spirit.

Where? // 30km due west from the Coffs Coast, 550km (7hrs) north of Sydney.

Did you know? // The Dorrigo Plateau was in the running as a site for our national capital due to its steady supply of water and proximity to Sydney and Brisbane. It missed out due to a lack of expansion capacity and more difficult access.

 

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