A trip down Waterfall Way is a photographer’s delight. Throw in an La Nina weather event that has resulted in an extremely wet summer and the result is spectacular waterfalls some of which cascade right by the roadside. As you travel this country, it becomes obvious why the Gumbaynggirr people lived here for thousands of years. I’d say it is one of the best road trips in NSW if not Australia. The road links the pristine beaches of the East Coast just south of Coffs Harbour at Urunga, with the inland town of Armidale, climbing the escarpment of the Great Diving Range to Dorrigo along the way.
On this road trip you can hike in the lush rainforests of Dorrigo, visit numerous waterfalls, camp in National Parks, kayak and swim in pristine waterways and get a taste of rural life in Australia. The town of Bellingen is a must with its eclectic bookstores, cafes, ethnic food restaurants, weekly markets, and bohemian vibe. This stunning area has long been a magnet for creatives seeking inspiration. A few years ago, I spent a week participating in Camp Creative, immersing myself in landscape photography. Sadly, the event has not happened for a couple of years due to Covid. Last month we came up here for work and I wanted to share a few of the images I took and the places I visited.
When to go: You can come to Bellingen at any time but be aware that the road through Dorrigo is narrow and windy and can sometimes be closed due to earth slips. It can be quite hot and sticky in the summer, but you will find beautiful misty mornings in the winter.
Where to stay: Bellingen is a great base from which to explore the area. As we travel in a motorhome, we often free camp or stay at the Bellingen Showground. There is a free camp at Thora with basic toilet facilities and a newly renovated free camp at the Burdett Park football field. You can also camp at Urunga and Dorrigo, rent cottages in the area or stay at the pub in Bello. You will find wonderful camping in the National Parks, and we enjoyed the campsite at Wollomombi.
The NSW National Parks website for planning your trip.
Wiki Camps App—for campsites and what to see
PhotoPills App—for planning your photography adventures
The Visitor’s Information Centre in Bellingen
What to Bring—Besides some good hiking boots, swimmers, and a raincoat, I would say your camera, tripod, filters and all your lenses. There are sweeping vistas as well as flora and fauna to record.