Heading South from Coffs, take the Repton exit and turn right just before the Old Raleigh Bridge.
On the way stop at Perry’s hill, which has a picturesque lookout over the valley below and make sure you also look at the old Butter Factory on Waterfall Way on the approach to Bellingen, which offers woodturning, a leather maker, artist’s studio and other boutique outlets.
Bellingen is great place to take a break to look around the town before heading up the mountain on your way to Dorrigo.
The quaint village of Bellingen’s main streets are an eclectic mix of designer names and arts and crafts outlets. The historic Hammond and Wheatley Emporium is a nineteenth century department store housing home wares from all over the world as well as top-class clothing ranges.
The narrow winding path up the mountain has some spectacular views of rain forests and the coast on your way to Dorrigo.
Dorrigo is a beautiful country town and the gateway to Dorrigo National Park, which is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. You can walk above the rainforest canopy on an elevated boardwalk to the Skywalk lookout for spectacular views; the Skywalk lookout is simply breathtaking.
Dorrigo rainforest centre is the perfect place to begin your discovery of the ancient World Heritage wilderness and its wonderful bushwalking trails and many intriguing animals including lyrebirds, a native bird with the ability to imitate almost any sound.
Dorrigo comes from the Aboriginal word, dondorrigo, meaning “stringy-bark”.
Believing for many decades, that explorer and settler Major Edward Peake, named the region after a Spanish General named Don Dorrigo with whom Peake fought in the Peninsula War.
Close to Coffs Harbour, Bindarri National Park offers 4WD touring routes, mountain bike trails, walking tracks and scenic spots for picnicking, swimming and bird watching.Read more about Bindarri National Park
Just 20km inland from Coffs Harbour, Bindarri National Park is a beautiful natural playground just waiting for you to explore.
See the headwaters of Urumbilum River drop over the Great Escarpment, carving a series of spectacular waterfalls in its rugged mountain ravine. Drive through pockets of old-growth forest, lush subtropical rainforest, and tall eucalypt forests, while catching glimpses of the coast in the distance.
Enjoy exploring by 4WD or cycling on remote mountain bike trails. Swim in the clear waters of Urumbilum River or just relax in one of the scenic picnic spots. The kids will love splashing in the water, spotting frogs and looking for platypus at Bindarray picnic area.
Hidden away in the mountains, you will barely see another soul at Bindarri, yet you will see plenty of local wildlife. Listen for lyrebirds calling in the rainforest and watch for swamp wallabies and red-necked pademelons in the forest.
Read more about Bongil Bongil National Park
Bongil Bongil National Park south of Coffs Harbour has plenty to offer including wild beaches, sweeping coastal views and peaceful streams.
The park is popular with locals for a spot of fishing, either on the pontoon by Bonville creek or on the beach around Bundagen Head. Picnic and barbecue facilities are available nearby and there are opportunities for both beach and rainforest walking. The park is also a regional favorite for mountain bike adventures.
The rainforest of Bongil Bongil National Park provides habitat for migrating birds and animals, and surrounding eucalypt forests are home to one of NSW’s largest koala populations. You might see them sleeping in the treetops or munching on leaves.
With so much to offer visitors, it is no wonder Bongil Bongil is a popular beach holiday destination.
Karangi Dam is located about 15km west of Coffs Harbour CBD and can hold up to 5,600 megalitres of water (one Olympic swimming pool holds 1 megalitre.)
The purpose of Karangi Dam is to store sufficient water so that:
During high flow periods, the dam fills from the Orara River or the Nymboida River.
In dry periods, when there is low flow in the Orara River or the Nymboida River, stored water will be supplied from the dam. This is to protect the river ecology.
When the water from the Orara River or Nymboida River becomes excessively dirty (turbid) during flood times, water need not be pumped.
Karangi Dam built in 1980, services the residents of Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and the coastal strip north of Coffs Harbour, including Woolgoolga. It was originally designed to store 2,200 Megalitres (1 Megalitre equals 1 million litres) of water pumped from Cochranes Pool on the Orara River.
Due to a growing population and water demand in this region, in 1988, the Department of Public Works & Services raised the dam by adding a 1.5 metre high Labyrinth Weir to the existing spillway & an extra 1 metre to the top of the dam. This increased the capacity to 2,630 megalitres.
After many years of water restrictions, Karangi Dam was raised a further 10 metres in 1994, as an emergency measure, until the finalization of a Regional Water Supply Scheme. Raising the dam increased its capacity to the current day 5,600 megalitres.
Cascade National Park, only an hours’ drive from Coffs Harbour, and it is ideal for a day trip. Rainforest, walking tracks, car touring and excellent cycling opportunities await you.
Read more about Cascade National Park
Cascade National Park is a magical environment made up of temperate and subtropical rainforest. Its 3,700ha are home to plants and wildlife of all kinds. The elegant lyrebird lives here, as do several types of rare frogs who inhabit the forest leaf litter.
The natural beauty of Cascade National Park is sure to inspire and charm the entire family, so pack a picnic and spread out a blanket for a relaxing day out.
Kayaking and white-water rafting enthusiasts will love the spectacular scenery along the Nymboida River in Nymboi-Binderay National Park.
Read more about Nymboi-Binderay National Park
The Nymboida River runs through the heart of Nymboi-Binderay National Park, making it a popular destination for white water rafting and kayaking.
Although rafting is the best way to appreciate fully the park’s stunning beauty, Moonpar Forest drive offers an alternative option while experienced bushwalkers will love exploring the park’s landscape on foot along unmarked trails, through tallowood trees and coachwood rainforest. It is a great place to escape to nature for the weekend.
The stunning rainforests and extensive old forests in Nymboi-Binderay provide a habitat for a variety of threatened animals like the powerful owl, stuttering frog as well as the more common koala and kookaburra. Along with the park’s 55-metre tall eucalypts, you will discover the remnants of the early timber industry and historic days of the axe, crosscut saw and steam tramways.