The Ultimate Guide to Dorrigo National Park, Australia

Whether you want to get close to majestic waterfalls or splendid rainforest birds, make sure Dorrigo National Park makes an appearance on your itinerary
Whether you want to get close to majestic waterfalls or splendid rainforest birds, make sure Dorrigo National Park makes an appearance on your itinerary | © Taras Vyshnya / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Susanna Smith
14 September 2020

The majestic Dorrigo National Park in New South Wales is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, the largest strip of subtropical rainforest on Earth. Follow our guide to exploring the landscapes and meeting the wildlife during your visit.

Walk above the clouds at the Skywalk Lookout

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Empty viewing platform near Visitor Centre of Dorrigo National park towards rising sun over mountain range horizon when nobody is walking down the tra
© Taras Vyshnya / Alamy Stock Photo
The Skywalk Lookout is the perfect introduction to your visit to Dorrigo National Park. The lookout is perched on the edge of an escarpment overlooking the Gondwana rainforest canopy and the Bellinger Valley. Look out for the double peak of McGrath’s Hump, known as Old Man Dreaming, which according to Gumbaynggirr legend, shows the profile of the warrior, Ngali. Drop into the adjacent Dorrigo Rainforest Centre to view the Past Heritage exhibition and get advice on the many walks and nature activities available within Dorrigo National Park and enquire about ranger-guided tours of the park by local Gumbaynggirr guides. You can also enjoy a meal or snack in the Canopy Cafe.

Go birdwatching on the Birds Boardwalk

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Dorrigo National Park is home to an astounding 150 species of birds – making it a bit of a bird-watchers paradise – and the Walk with the Birds Boardwalk is the ideal place to start twitching. Search among the forest branches for the glossy black and iridescent blue plumage of the paradise riflebird, and keep an eye out for green catbirds and fruit doves. Don’t forget to look to the forest floor for fossicking lyrebirds and nest building brush turkeys and if you happen to be around at night, listen out for the mo-poke call of the southern boobook owl and see ringtail possums scurrying to their nests. The Birds Boardwalk is a short half-kilometre walk on an accessible platform that takes 15-30 minutes to complete.

Get up close to a waterfall on the Crystal Showers Falls Walk

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Crystal Shower Falls and suspension bridge along the Wonga Walk in Dorrigo National Park, Dorrigo, NSW, Australia.
© Andrew McInnes / Alamy Stock Photo
The Crystal Showers Falls Walk might be one of the shorter walks in Dorrigo National Park, but it offers you the change to view the falls from behind. If getting up close to a waterfall is on your bucket list, you’ll want to take the Crystal Showers Falls Walk. Experience the magic of the falls cascading amongst the towering rainforest while listening to the song of rainforest fruit doves. The Crystal Showers Falls Walk is an easy 3.5-kilometre walk that should take one to two hours to complete.

Immerse yourself in the rainforest on the Lyrebird Link track and Wonga Walk

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Wonga Walk Dorrigo National Park New South Wales Australia
© David Wall / Alamy Stock Photo
Walk among stinging trees, birds nest ferns and lawyer cave palms that use tiny hooks to climb to the top of the forest canopy to search for sunlight on the Lyrebird Link track, an easy half-hour return walk. If you have the time and energy for more exploration, continue onto one of the most popular walks in Australia, the Wonga Walk, past the cascading Crystal Showers Falls and 600-year-old trees. The Wonga Walk is a 6.6 kilometre, 2-3 hour walk, so make sure you bring water and a map of Dorrigo National Park.

Challenge yourself on the Slingsbys Trail and Syndicate Ridge track

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If you’re after a serious adventure, Slingsbys Trail and Syndicate Ridge Track is a challenging walk across varied landscapes from grassy plains to escarpment and ancient Gondwana rainforest. Walk through the Killingoodie Plain, a traditional hunting and camping site for the Gumbaynggirr people and a change of scenery from the surrounding rainforest. This is a long, difficult walk for experienced hikers and can also be ridden by experienced mountain bikers. Bring your binoculars for birdwatching and a compass and map or GPS as there is not much signposting. The Slingsbys Trail and Syndicate Ridge Track is a difficult 15-kilometre one-way walk.

Take a self-guided tour of Dorrigo National Park’s birdlife

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Eastern Yellow RobinJune 1st, 2019Dorrigo National Park, Australia
© Terry Sohl / Alamy Stock Photo

Download the National Parks and Wildlife Service self-guided tour app and follow the Rainforest Birds Revealed tour of Dorrigo National Park, which includes stops at habitats where you are most likely to encounter the birds. Start from the Skywalk lookout and try to find the rose-crowned fruit dove or regent bowerbird. Continue to the Lyrebird Link track and listen out for the superb lyrebird, one of the finest vocalists in the bird world, before taking the Wonga Walk where you can spot stunning flycatchers with their whisker-like feathers. Then move on to the Walk with the Birds boardwalk to look out for eastern spinebills, or sooty owls in the evening. The tour is 3 kilometres and 1-2 hours long.

These recommendations were updated on September 14, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.