New South Wales
|Newell Falls, Waterfall Way, Dorrigo National Park|
|Length||165 km (103 mi)|
|State Route 78|
|East end||Pacific Highway, 5km north of|
|West end||New England Highway,|
|Major settlements||, ,|
|Highways in Australia
National Highway • Freeways in Australia
Highways in New South Wales
The Waterfall Way is a road and State Highway 78 in New South Wales, Australia. It runs east-west from the Pacific Highway to the New England Highway at Armidale. The route passes through some of New South Wales' most scenic countryside and has become well known as New South Wales best and Australia's third most beautiful tourist drive. Seven national parks, three of which are listed as World Heritage Areas by UNESCO and form part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (formerly the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves) are located on or close to the route. Dorrigo National Park encompasses the waterfalls that give the route its name. It also provides one of the few road links between coastal and inland New South Wales, and is therefore more heavily trafficked than its condition might otherwise suggest.
Starting from a junction with the Pacific Highway at Raleigh, midway between Urunga and Coffs Harbour, it follows the south bank of the Bellinger River, passing through Bellingen. After crossing the Bellinger River the road swings north and climbs the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range, skirting the southern edge of the Dorrigo world heritage rainforest and crossing the Newell and Sherrard waterfalls for which the route is named. Single lane traffic restrictions do not permit stopping at these falls, but the Newell Falls may be viewed at a rest area below the fall. At the top of the escarpment (elevation 750 m (2,460 ft)) a short detour south leads to Griffith's Lookout with views over the Bellinger River National Park and valley.
A short way further on is the turnoff to the visitor centre at the World Heritage Area, Dorrigo National Park, known for its skywalk and walking tracks. The pretty and readily accessible Dangar Falls are located 2.4 km (1.5 mi) north of the centre of Dorrigo on the Bielsdown River. Proceeding through the town of Dorrigo, the road continues through the pastoral upland of the Dorrigo Plateau before crossing the headwaters of the Nymboida River. The Bicentennial National Trail shares the route prior to reaching Ebor. About nine kilometres after turning left onto the Armidale Grafton road Ebor is passed. This village is close to the Guy Fawkes River National Park and Ebor Falls.
Between Ebor and Wollomombi the route passes through the 8,839 ha (21,840 acres) Cathedral Rock National Park. The National Heritage listed Yooroonah Tank Barrier is approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) southwest of Ebor and near the route. After leaving Ebor the road passes an intersection, from where the Dutton Trout Hatchery, and Point Lookout are accessed about 10 km (6.2 mi) east of Waterfall Way in the New England National Park. Further on, the Wollomombi Falls are about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of the Waterfall Way. The 145,000 ha (360,000-acre) World Heritage listed Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is readily accessible from the Wollomombi Falls. From here the road passes 5 km (3.1 mi) north of the historical mining village of Hillgrove and the viewing platforms at Bakers Creek Falls and the Metz Gorge. There are also other more remote, interesting sites to visit on this Way to Armidale. The Gara Gorge is 18 km (11 mi) south-east of Armidale along the Castledoyle Road leading off the Waterfall Way just east of Armidale.
The road is sealed but relatively narrow and has a steep 14 km (8.7 mi) winding section. In recent years storms and associated flash flooding have washed away sections of the roadway where it rises to the ranges, leading to traffic being limited to one lane at the waterfalls on the Dorrigo Range.
- Bellinger Magic, Tourism Bellinger
- Waterfall Way, NSW
- Bellingen Visitor Guide, 2008, Courier Sun
- "Entry AHD105802". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
- National Parks of the Waterfall Way, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2002.
- "Waterfall Way" by Tourism Armidale; published by Cook, Green & Moore Advertising, Coffs Harbour.
- Bellinger Magic - the official visitor guide to the Bellinger region
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