Waterfall Way 1-Day Itinerary: Waterfall Way Day Trip

Waterfall Way is a 185 kilometres stretch of scenic drive between the Pacific coast in the east and Armidale in the west. It passes through five stunning national parks, allowing visitors to discover countless pristine waterfalls and beautiful walking trails.

Being perfectly positioned off the Pacific coast and only a 20-minute drive from Coffs HarbourOpens in a new tab., a drive along the idyllic Waterfall Way makes a perfect side trip for anyone doing an East Coast Road Trip or simply visiting Coffs Harbour.

A one-way drive along the Waterfall Way only takes less than 2.5 hours. With easy access to many of its popular waterfalls and walking tracks, visitors can easily take a day trip to explore the attractions along Waterfall Way from either Coffs Harbour or Armidale. With that said, since there are countless impressive waterfalls along the Waterfall Way, you may wish to spend at least a couple of days on this drive to discover its highlights at a more relaxed pace.

This blog contains a detailed 1-Day Itinerary for visiting the Waterfall Way, based on my recent road trip along Australia’s picturesque East Coast. Since I visited the Waterfall Way from Coffs Harbour, this itinerary is also listed in such a direction, but you can also visit the Waterfall Way from Armidale direction.

Where to Stay along Waterfall Way

Although the Waterfall Way stretches over 185 kilometres, accommodation options along the Waterfall Way can be limited, especially during weekends and holidays.

The best and most readily available options are usually along the coast between Coffs Harbour Opens in a new tab.and UrungaOpens in a new tab.. They offer more accommodation options and easier access to a range of facilities compared to the townships along Waterfall Way.

If you are visiting Waterfall Way from the inland, ArmidaleOpens in a new tab., the western end of Waterfall Way, also offers a good selection of decently priced accommodations. They are mainly around AUD 100-200 per night for a standard double room, which is about the average for a double room in Australia.

Along the Waterfall Way, accommodations are mostly clustered near BellingenOpens in a new tab., a significant town centre along this drive. Bellingen offers a good variety of shops and easy access to various attractions, making it an excellent spot for an overnight stay along the Waterfall Way.


Bellingen is a cute bohemian town at the eastern end of Waterfall Way. Located only 10 minutes into the beautiful Waterfall Way, Bellingen is packed with well-preserved heritage buildings and unique boutique shops. Surrounded by lush green national parks and built along the pristine Bellinger River, Bellingen also provides easy access to various hiking trails and water activities.

With many chic cafes and restaurants lining its main street, Bellingen is usually the prime spot for visitors to grab a relaxing brunch before heading further into the Waterfall Way. If you still need to stock up with snacks and water for your trip, Bellingen is also the best spot for you to do so before shops become more scarce further up Waterfall Way. Other road trip essentials, such as petrol, can also be purchased at Bellingen.

If you have time, make sure you take a stroll around Bellingen town centre and along the peaceful Bellinger River to take in this small village’s beauty and unique culture.

Newell Falls & Sherrard Falls

From Bellingen, the drive will start to climb up the mountain ranges and become more winding & cutting through dense, tall forests. But that’s also where the beautiful mountain views begin to kick in.

After about 20-something minutes drive further west along Waterfall Way, you will notice the first waterfall of the day, Newell Falls. Flowing down from the rocky cliffs beside Waterfall Way, Newell Falls flows right through a tunnel under the Waterfall Way.

Being the first waterfall along this road trip, many first-time visitors tend to slow down their cars, hoping to capture its beauty. However, please don’t do that. It is hazardous. You can pull over safely to view Newell Falls at a designated stopping bay on your way back to Bellingen.

Shortly after Newell Falls, you will come across the second waterfall tumbling down the rocky cliffs along Waterfall Way. This is the Sherrard Falls. Make sure you keep an eye out for this beautiful waterfall too.

Sherrard Falls is smaller than Newell Falls and has no designated viewing platform or stopping bay. So it can be easily missed if you are not paying attention. With that said, the road is winding along the Waterfall Way, so make sure you are always driving safely. If you happen to miss out on sighting Sherrard Falls, don’t sweat it. Just keep driving. There are plenty more impressive waterfalls ahead.

Dorrigo National Park

Dorrigo National Park is home to some of Australia’s most impressive waterfalls and walking trails. It is also part of the UNESCO world heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

Within Dorrigo National Park, visitors can choose from a range of walking trails, from easy strolls to hours-long hikes to discover the picturesque waterfalls and captivating rainforests Dorrigo National Park offers. A well-equipped information centre and cafe are also available near the entrance of Dorrigo National Park for visitors to get ready for and recharge after their visit to this fantastic national park.

Among all the walking tracks available in Dorrigo National Park, one of the most popular tracks is the Wonga Walk, a 5.4-kilometre loop walk to visit Tristania Falls and Dorrigo National Park’s famous Crystal Shower Falls. This walk should take around 2.5 hours, depending on fitness level.

If you want to check out the stunning Crystal Shower Falls but prefer a shorter walk, you can do so by joining Crystal Shower Falls Walk from Glades Picnic Area. A return walk along Crystal Shower Falls Walk is about 2.8 kilometres and took only about 1 hour when I visited. It was a relatively easy track, and there were people of all ages along the walk.

Skywalk Lookout

Just behind Dorrigo Rainforest Centre (visitor information centre), you can find a 75-metre long boardwalk, 21 metres above the rainforest, for an unparalleled view of Dorrigo National Park, Bellinger Valley, and even the coastline on a clear day. The Skywalk itself is very short, but you will likely spend a lot more time appreciating the extraordinary views this Skywalk provides.

Access to Skywalk Lookout is free, but gold coin donations are strongly suggested. While you are here, you can also check out the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and Canopy Cafe if interested. Toilets are also available within this building block, so make sure you take advantage of these facilities before heading further into the national park.

Crystal Shower Falls

Crystal Shower Falls is undoubtedly the most beautiful and famous waterfall in Dorrigo National Park.

Tucked away in a tranquil rainforest, Crystal Shower Falls can be accessed via either Wonga Walk from near the information centre or Crystal Shower Falls Walk from the Glade Picnic Area. Either walk you choose, you can immerse yourself in the dense rainforest Dorrigo National Park provides before arriving at Crystal Shower Falls.

I personally prefer the Crystal Shower Falls Walk over the circular Wonga Walk, as Crystal Shower Falls Walk is a lot shorter but with equally impressive views.

When you arrive at Crystal Shower Falls, you will first find a beautiful suspension bridge hanging across the little creek beneath this waterfall. It is ideally positioned and provides one of the best spots for viewing and snapping a fantastic photo of Crystal Shower Falls.

Once you have checked out the views from the suspension bridge, make sure you take a walk across the bridge and follow the side track down to the bottom of Crystal Shower Falls for some close-up views of this idyllic waterfall. With its high drop over a headland, the waterfall looks so sheer and magical from any angle. You can even walk right behind Crystal Shower Falls via the side walk to appreciate its beauty from the little cave behind it.

Once you have visited Crystal Shower Falls, you can either head back to the Glade Picnic Area via the same track or continue along Wonga Walk to check out the cascading Tristania Falls and complete this loop walk.

Dorrigo Town Centre

A short 5-minute drive from Dorrigo National Park, you will arrive at the town centre of Dorrigo.

Dorrigo is a charming little town surrounded by lush green farmlands. Being further away from major cities and up in the highlands, Dorrigo appears much more compact and original than its neighbouring town, Bellingen. A stroll along the street, you can find many characteristic and heritage buildings along its main streets with old-school pubs, bakeries, and shops within.

If you are running low on petrol, consider filling up in Dorrigo when visiting, as it will be a long drive before you can find the next petrol station along the Waterfall Way.

Dangar Falls

A short 5-minute drive from Dorrigo, just a quick detour off Waterfall Way, you will find another breathtaking waterfall, Dangar Falls.

Dangar Falls is a massive waterfall that plunges 30 meters into a beautiful gorge. It can be easily viewed from a well-designed lookout platform right next to the car park. This also makes Dangar Falls a great waterfall to visit for people with mobility issues.

If you want to stretch your legs, you may wish to follow the designated walking track to the bottom of Dangar Falls for a close-up view of this magnificent waterfall. This trail is easy to follow but can get muddy on rainy days. A return walk should take around 20 minutes, depending on fitness level. With that said, if you wish to swim in the water like many other visitors here, you should certainly plan a bit more time for visiting this spot.

Picnic facilities and public toilets are available near Dangar Falls car park. There was also a coffee van in the car park when I visited. A small playground can be found near the car park as well.

Ebor Falls

Ebor Falls is about a 40-minute drive west of Dorrigo along Waterfall Way. It is a spectacular cascading waterfall with a 100 metres vertical drop.

Ebor Falls is fed by the Guy Fawkes River, and it is divided into an upper and a lower waterfall. These two falls can be easily viewed from three designated lookout platforms near Ebor Falls car park. However, there is currently no access to the lower falls.

That said, Ebor Falls is undergoing an upgrade, which should hopefully finish mid-year in 2023. Hopefully, a walking track will be added to the upgrade for visitors to access its lower falls.

Newly upgraded public toilets are available at Ebor Falls, should you be looking for one when visiting.

Waterfall Way Day Trip

Wollomombi Falls and Chandler Falls

Another 30-minute drive west along Waterfall Way, you will arrive at Waterfall Way’s most awe-inspiring waterfall, Wollomombi Falls.

Wollomombi Falls is a breathtaking waterfall that plunges 220 metres into the rugged Wollomombi Gorge, just off the Waterfall Way. It is the highest waterfall in New South Wales and a must-see when visiting Waterfall Way.

Right beside Wollomombi Falls, you can also find Chandler Falls, which is a little smaller in size, but magnificent nonetheless.

There are several lookouts and walking trails around the gorge for visitors to admire these two sensational waterfalls. The closest lookout (Main Falls Lookout) is only two minutes from the car park. It offers a rather impressive view of both Wollomombi Falls and Chandler Falls. It is also wheelchair and pram friendly, making it an excellent option for all visitors.

If you still have enough time left and are keen to stretch your legs, consider checking out some of the walking tracks around the impressive Wollomombi Gorge.

Wollomombi Walking Track is a relatively easy trail along the rim of Wollomombi Gorge. It is a roughly 4-kilometre return walk & should take about 1.5 hours, depending on fitness level. Along the walk, you will find some great vantage points for admiring the waterfalls and this massive gorge.

Picnic facilities and public toilets can be found near the car park if required. A campground is also open nearby, making it an excellent spot for an overnight stay.

Bec's Travel Itinerary

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