One of New South Wales’s most scenic drives is known as Waterfall Way. Of course, this inherently sounds like a very scenic and delightful drive, especially if you enjoy waterfalls as much as I do. The Waterfall Way scenic drive spans about 200 km beginning in Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales northern coast through the New England region and west to Armidale. In addition to some beautiful and majestic waterfalls, the landscape varies greatly between open plains, lush countryside, and subtropical rainforest.
Tristania Falls on Wonga Walk in Dorrigo National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Waterfall Way Scenic Drive Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Hiring a Car for the Waterfall Way Scenic Drive
Coffs Harbour Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
There are many convenient car hire locations in New South Wales. If you are planning to drive the Waterfall Way scenic drive and start out in Coffs Harbour, nearby car rental locations include: the car rental centre at the Coffs Harbour Airport or you can rent a car at Coff’s Harbour in the city. When you hire a vehicle, be sure to tell your car rental agent your travel plans so that they can recommend the best type of vehicle for your trip. Also be sure to ask about safety guidelines and restrictions regarding hired cars.
Waterfall Way Scenic Drive Itinerary
Red Cedar Falls on the Rosewood Creek Track in Dorrigo National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Waterfall Way scenic drive starts out in Coffs Harbour along the coast and then ventures westward through the New England region tableland to Armidale. Along the way, you will pass by 7 national parks, 3 of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the Gondawana Rainforest. Here are some of the highlights to see while on the scenic drive from Coffs Harbour to Armindale.
Catamarans on Jetty Beach in Coffs Harbour Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Snorkelling in Coffs Harbour Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Coffs Harbour is not just a place where your holiday drive starts from. You can spend a great deal of time having fun in the sun in this coastal city. Whale watching season in Coffs Harbour runs from June to November. You can book a whale watching cruise that will give you a once in a lifetime experience. From December to April you can take a sail and snorkel cruise and get into the Coral Sea for a close up view of the amazing marine life. If you are on holiday with the whole family, Coffs Harbour has plenty of family friendly vacation spots including Big Banana theme park, Dolphin Marine Magic, and the Butterfly House. The beaches in Coffs Harbour are famous for fresh seafood eats and fun surf.
Bellingen Photo Credit: CoffsCoast.com.au
The riverside town of Bellingen is picturesque, unique, and definitely worth stopping in during your Waterfall Way scenic drive. It has beautiful weather year-round and its main street is filled with eclectic shops and boutiques, cafes, and historical architecture.
Dorrigo National Park
Dorrigo National Park Skywalk Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Crystal Falls in Dorrigo National Park Photo Credit: Wikiepedia
Dorrigo National Park’s boardwalks on the floor of the rainforest and above the canopy make it accessible and easy for just about anyone to catch some of the most amazing views of the Gondwana Rainforest. In addition to the boardwalks and picturesque water falls, be sure to stop by the Dorrigo rainforest centre to get travel tips and help planning your visit to the park. You can get something to eat in the Canopy Café or book a tour to learn more about the history, heritage, and culture of the region.
New England National Park
Point Lookout in New England National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
Bushwalking in New England National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
Ebor Falls Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
The New England Tablelands is a plateau and a region of the Great Dividing Range that makes up an important part of New South Wales’ geography. This is just one of the many different landscapes you will find along the Waterfall Way scenic drive that begins at the coast with the beaches and ranges from mountains to rainforest to countryside. The New England National Park is located within the New England Tablelands and is home to some of the most incredible views.
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
Tia Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Apsley Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
As you make your way west on the Waterfall Way scenic drive, one of the next stops is Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. This park features extreme biodiversity and is World Heritage listed in recognition of it. There are several rate or threatened plants and animals that call the park home so the protected status will hopefully bring back what has almost been lost. The Dangaddi people have an aboriginal history in this land dating back thousands of years.
Wollomombi Falls Lookout Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Wollomombi Falls Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Wollomombi Falls Base Photo Credit: ArmidaleToursim.com.au
One of the most spectacular sights within Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is Wollomombi Falls. It’s the tallest waterfall in New South Wales and one of the tallest falls in all of Australia and it is so spectacular because it is one single fall for over 200 metres. The best time to see the fall is when it is shrouded in mist after a rainfall. Have your cameras ready to catch the occasional rainbow in the mist along with all of the other grand elements nature provides for you here. While touring the area of Wollomombi Gorge, you can bring a picnic lunch and even camp out in this beautiful corner of the world.
Stony Creek Falls Photo Credit: ArmidaleToursim.com.au
Dangars Gorge Photo Credit:ArmidaleTourism.com.au
Armidale might be the end of the road for the Waterfall Way scenic drive, but really, it is your destination. You will love it here in this charming town with an old world look and feel. Stay in guesthouses, cottages, and hotels to unwind and relax. From Armidale, you can hire tours to see all of the nearby waterfalls, gorges, rainforests, and amazing scenery of northern New South Wales. The cool climate harvests vineyards and other local produce. If you love the great outdoors, this is the place for canyoning, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, and bird watching.