The Waterfall Way, No.3 of the Great Drives of Australia


A classic touring drive from Coffs Harbour on the mid-north NSW coast through the lush rainforest of the Great Divide to the New England Tablelands to finish in Armidale, this is one trip where the road itself is the destination. And not only do you get amazing wilderness, deep gorges and bucolic countryside, you also get the road to yourself! You can do the whole drive in less than a day, but you’d miss out on some great walks in the national parks and countless perfect picnic spots. Of waterfalls there are plenty, too, with the pick of the bunch being Dorrigo’s Dangar, Ebor, Wollomombi and Apsley.

Total distance: Coffs Harbour to Armidale, 200km

Slow down for . . . 

    • Sleepy Bellingen is a must stop. Home to a growing number of “smart celebs”, the galleries and coffee shops are worth a minimum half-day meander, with the Old Butter Factory the pick of galleries.
      • Take a step into the wild blue yonder at Dorrigo Rainforest Centre Skywalk canopy boardwalk. The Canopy Cafe also does great cake.
      • Ebor Falls is a spring fed twin waterfall and a great source of fresh and free water. The pub right near the falls can be a great source of any other liquid refreshments you may need.
      • Dolphins are frequently spotted in the Bellingen River right up to the mountains. Grab a kayak for a close encounter of the dolphin kind.
      • Take a tour of the 1830s Saumarez Homestead in Armidale, where each of the 30 rooms is exactly as it was when the owners left town, married or passed away.
      • Hideouts are dotted all over the Armidale area for notorious “gentleman” bushranger Captain Thunderbolt. Driving out to Uralla, 40km from Armidale, you can visit his grave and hideout at Black Mountain. Uralla is Thunderbolt-mad, with pubs, cafes and even pies named in his honor.


Best kept secret
Armidale’s NERAM gallery hasgot the best collection of Australian art outside a capital city, and it was all donated by a mysterious benefactor, Howard Hinton.

Break fluid
Linger over a long BBQ lunch and some local wines at Petersons on the outskirts of Armidale, one of a growing crop of almost 40 wineries that are pioneering the fresh cool climate vineyards of New England.

Accommodation pick of the bunch
Cotswolds Gardens. 34 Marsh Street, Armidale.
phone: (02) 6772 8222

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