This Road Trip in Australia is a Waterfall Lover’s Dream3 min read
Head north from Sydney, Australia toward Coffs Harbour and you’ll find yourself on a coastline-hugging highway, never far from tiny waterside towns with picture-perfect beaches. The entire route is a journey through the national parks of New South Wales, with brushland, wetlands and rainforests all part of the ever-changing topography along the way. You’ll find everything from leisurely waterfall hikes to whitewater rafting within these parks.
The abundance of rivers that run through this area allows for paddleboarding and kayaking excursions while many of the beaches are great for surfing. In addition, opportunities abound to spot some of Australia’s most lovable wildlife. You’ll find kangaroos hanging out on the headlands near Coffs Harbour and koalas chilling in the bush around Fort Macquarie.
Once you reach Coffs Harbour, spend a day or two enjoying this one-of-a-kind beach town. Known for the Big Banana—a quirky roadside attraction featuring a massive banana monument, mini-golf and banana-flavored treats (try the milkshake)—there’s so much more to explore in this beach town. Go for a jog on the well-maintained trails by the river or rent a paddleboard to enjoy time on its waters. Keep an eye on the trees for rope swings when you want to cool off.
On the Look at Me Now Headland, overlooking two of the most beautiful beaches in the area, you’ll find some of Coffs Harbour’s most famous residents. Visit at sunset and you’ll likely run into the wild kangaroos that call this headland home.
While there is something for every type of outdoor adventurer along this route, it’s a particularly appealing journey for hikers and waterfall lovers. Once you’re refueled from the drive up to Coffs Harbour, it’s time to embark on the waterfall exploration of a lifetime. Heading west from the coast, you’ll travel along route B78, which is better known as Waterfall Way. This route covers 115 miles traversing five national parks. No matter what type of waterfall hiking adventure you’re after, you’ll find it along this route.
One of your first stops (or a day trip from Coffs Harbour) should be to Scout’s Falls. While less than a mile round trip, the trail to this waterfall can be a little rough in parts. You’ll find yourself scrambling over rocks at multiple points to reach the waterfall. Luckily, you’ll be rewarded by the wild nature and cool swimming hole at the base of the falls once you arrive.
Continuing along Waterfall Way, you’ll reach Dangar Falls an hour west of Coffs Harbour. With an easy-to-reach upper overlook or a 15-minute downhill walk along a paved pathway, this waterfall plunges 30 meters over a basalt wall. Next stop? Ebor Falls. Ebor Falls is a crowd favorite along Waterfall Way. Part of the Guy Fawkes River, this two-tiered cascade falls is a spectacular sight. There’s a viewing platform right beside the parking lot or you can venture to two alternative platforms to see the lower falls close up.
Those up for a longer hike should tackle the trek to Wright’s Lookout and the Cascades. The hike is approximately 5 miles and begins through beech forests on a steep climb to Wright’s Lookout. Once you join the Cascades Track, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a fairytale forest. You’re surrounded by waterfall streams, lush ferns and mossy boulders.
Hitting the road again, you’ll pass by Wollomombi Falls toward the end of your drive. At over 720 feet, this is the tallest waterfall in New South Wales. You’ll view it from a platform located near the parking area, but if you like, there are multiple bushwalking opportunities in the area. Ready for a good night’s sleep? The city of Armidale marks the end of Waterfall Way so you can grab a hotel and refuel.