DORRIGO NATIONAL PARK
Included on the World Heritage List in 1986, Dorrigo National Park is recognised as an area of exceptional natural beauty with significant habitats of outstanding universal value to science and conservation. One of Australia's most accessible World Heritage rainforests, the Park provides all visitors with an opportunity to experience and appreciate this unique environment.
LOCATION AND ACCESS
Dorrigo National Park encompasses 1173 hectares of the Great Escarpment of the Dorrigo Plateau, 60km west of Coffs Harbour. Access is via Dome Road of the Waterfall Way about 2 kilometres east of Dorrigo. The park is open from 5am to 10pm.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Dorrigo Rainforest Centre: The visitor centre is open 9am to 5pm daily and provides an introduction to the World Heritage rainforests of north-eastern New South Wales. The Centre includes a National Parks shop, a display on rainforest, video theatrette and Canopy Cafe. The dramatic Skywalk boardwalk provides views over the rainforest canopy.
From the Rainforest Centre
Lyrebird Link Track (400m) connects with
Wonga Walk, a 5.8km circuit walk through subtropical rainforest via The Glade, Crystal Shower Falls and Tristania Falls.
The Glade Picnic Area:
The Glade is 1km by road or walking track from the Rainforest Centre. Start here for barrier free access to Walk with the Birds boardwalk (200 metres return). Satinbird Stroll (600 metre circuit) also begins here.
Never Never Picnic Area:
A scenic 10km drive along Dome Road ends in the secluded beauty of this Picnic Area. Walking tracks give access to warm temperate rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest.
Rosewood Creek Track
5.5km (2hrs) circuit following the creek past silent rainforest pools and Coachwood Falls and the turnoff to Cedar Falls. (Allow 1 hour extra if you take the steep track which
zigzags down to the base of the falls).
4.8km return walk from the picnic area. A pleasant path along Sassafras Creek arrives at the top of the falls, where a view of McGraths Hump and the Great Escarpment unfolds before you.
6.4km one way. Best walked from the
car park just inside the park boundary, this track follows the escarpment edge. Return via Dome Road to the
car park is 5km.
GEOLOGY AND LANDFORM
Much of the Dorrigo Plateau was once covered by basaltic lava flows from the Ebor Volcano, active until about 18 million years ago. Under the influence of a very high annual rainfall the basalt weathered to form the impressive escarpment and rich soils around Dorrigo. In the northern part of the park and in the valleys the basalt has eroded away to reveal metamorphic and sedimentary rocks from a much earlier period.
The combination of different soils, varying altitude and bounteous rainfall has produced a rich variety of plant and animal life within Dorrigo National Park. The fertile basaltic soil along the south west boundary supports subtropical rainforest, which can be seen at its best on Wonga Walk. A characteristic feature of this type of rainforest is the variety of tree species in the multi layered canopy. Some common ones are yellow carabeen, booyong, strangler fig and giant sting tree. Buttressed trunks, palms, thick woody vines and epiphytic orchids and ferns are also common, adding to the picture of luxuriant vegetation.
In contrast, the warm temperate rainforests occurring on the poorer clay soils around Never Never Picnic Area are less complex, with only two tree layers and fewer canopy species. The warm temperate rainforests are dominated by coachwood, sassafras and
The third major forest type in the park is moist eucalypt forest, which can be seen on the more exposed ridges sloping down into the Bellinger Valley. Sydney blue gum, blackbutt and tallowwood are the main species, their grey-green crowns contrasting with the darker green of rainforest canopy in the gullies.
Birds are the most noticeable of the park's wildlife, over 120 species having been observed.
Subtropical rainforest is a particularly rich habitat for ground dwelling birds that feed on the abundant life within the
leaf litter. These include the lyrebird, brush turkey, whipbird, logrunner and noisy pitta, as well as the smaller yellow-throated and white-browed scrubwrens. The treetops are home to a different set of birds - fruit-eating pigeons, king parrots, green catbirds and satin and regent bowerbirds, all of which can often be seen from the Skywalk.
Apart from red-necked and red-legged pademelons, most of the park's mammals are nocturnal. A night walk in the rainforest with a strong torch may reveal ringtail and brushtail possums and sugar, pygmy and greater gliders.
Dorrigo National Park also conserves some interesting reptiles such as the land mullet - a large rainforest skink, carpet and diamond pythons, lace monitor and the rare southern angle-headed dragon.
NPWS Dorrigo District Office, Dome Road
P O Box 170 Dorrigo 2453
Phone: (02) 6657 2309.