Important: When walking these tracks, it is advised that you bring a Dorrigo National Park map along with you for reference. Also, the rainforest temperature tends to be significantly cooler than normal forecast temperatures, so it is advised that you bring a jacket along with you.
Day One: Lyrebird, Satinbird & Bird Boardwalk Adventure
Approximate Duration: 3 hours
Depart the Mountain Retreat around 8:30am to arrive at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre around 9am.
If you are interested in getting to know the wonderful birdlife and nature surrounding the Dorrigo Rainforest, there are a few easy avenues you can use to explore this. Beginning at the Rainforest Centre, the Lyrebird Link Track is an ideal introduction to the sub-tropical rainforest. It is only a short stroll from the Centre, however it will provide you with a taste of what is to come. This track takes roughly half an hour to an hour to complete, and it is a lovely place to start your exploration of the World Heritage listed rainforests of Dorrigo. The Lyrebird track will expose you to Giant Stinging Trees (sounds intimidating, although they won’t hurt you), Birds Nest Ferns and Lawyer Cane Palms. The track contains a variety of information placards so you will not be deprived of any important info!
Following this track, make your way to the Glade Picnic Area which is 1km from the Rainforest Centre.
Next is the Walk with the Birds boardwalk: a 200 metre return stroll on a barrier-free elevated boardwalk stretching across the flourishing Rainforest canopy. This walk is ideal for people of all ages and abilities (so no need to stress about not being able to handle any steeper inclines!). To access this boardwalk, you begin at the Glade Picnic Area which is one kilometre from the Rainforest Centre. Positioned at the mid levels of the Rainforest, this walk will offer you an exclusive display of unique flowers, seeds and will also showcase the lower treetops of the canopy (which are otherwise unseen if you’re on the ground! How’s that?). Keep your eyes peeled for such treats as the courting spectacle of the paradise rifle bird, and the intriguing mound-building by the male bush turkey!
The Satinbird Stroll can be easily accessed from the Walk with the Birds boardwalk down into the forest, and it loops back to the Glade Picnic Area. This walk will offer you a more profound experience of the sub-tropical rainforest with its assembly of plant species, vines, epiphytes and buttressed roots. Once back at the Glade Picnic area, you may observe the Australian Bush Turkey, Eastern Yellow Robin, White-browed Scrubwen and Bassian Thrush (and that’s just at the picnic area!). Whilst enjoying lunch at the picnic area, let the birdlife come to you.
Day Two: Dangar Falls
Approximate Duration: 2-3 hours
Today you’ll continue to observe some of the most phenomenal, nocturnal birds of the plateau. Dangar Falls is located 2km north of Dorrigo on the Coramba Road, and just a short 9-minute transit from Lookout Mountain Retreat. These falls offer breathtaking views extending over the deep ravines and gorges of the northern side of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. You’ll venture down a short walkway through luscious greenery which leads down to the base of the falls. The lower falls are nothing short of spectacular, however the scenery is just the beginning. Usually circling around the rocky riverbed are Golden Whistlers, Grey Shrike Thrushes, and dainty Red-browed Finch.
Lunch by the falls
For the intrepid or just the adventurous type, McDirty’s Walking Track is an energetic trek combining wildlife, waterfalls and birdwatching. This track is surrounded by heathlands and dry gums, and is home to a plethora of beautiful birds including the sociable Treekeeper bird and the crimson Rosella. This track is particularly gorgeous if you walk it straight after a heavy downpour as it you will be spritzed by a crystal clear mist which is sure to add to the enchantment of the experience.
Day Three: Ebor Falls & Point Lookout
Approximate Duration: 3-4 hours
The commute between Lookout Mountain Retreat and Ebor Falls is a short and sweet 45 minutes. The drier and vast countryside of Ebor lends itself to an incredibly pleasant day out. Today calls for a delicious packed lunch, binoculars and all your best picnic accessories!
Ebor Falls National Park includes three primary viewing platforms: upper falls, lower falls and valley view. Regardless of which platform you’re on, you’ll get the stunning view of Guy Fawkes River nested within the rugged gorge country. The birdwatching opportunities in this area are virtually endless for adults and children alike, as each of the walking tracks along the escarpment edge are relatively easy. You are more than likely to catch a glimpse of the heroic wedge-tailed eagle soaring above the grassy woodlands, or birdlife less common in the coastal regions such as the Red-browed Tree Creeper and White-eared Honeyeater. While the area in its entirety is a great spot to simply ponder around admiring the beauty of the falls (whilst keeping your eyes peeled for the local feathered beauties), the lower falls picnic area is said to be the best for birdwatching. Although, this is 110% up to your discretion!
Enjoy a picnic lunch on the grassy mountainside of the falls
This afternoon you will venture through to Point Lookout which leads to a stunning view of the forested ranges to the coast. It’s around a 20-minute drive from the Falls. In the warmer months, keep your eyes peeled for the Flame Robin. The colder months entice the male Superb Lyrebirds who are known to showcase their loveliness. To add just that little more magic to this area, often echoing throughout this area is the melodic flute call accompanied by a wide range of mimicry of other birds. Prepare for almost all of your senses to be satisfied!
You can then chose to return to Lookout Mountain Retreat or continue your adventure with the Cathedral Rock Hike, which is a 1.5-2.5 hour hike.
Cathedral Rock Hike Option
Come the afternoon, you’ll depart Dorrigo Lookout Mountain Retreat around 1:30pm to arrive at Cathedral Rock National Park at 2:30pm. This hike is just as enjoyable as it is challenging, and it lasts for roughly 1.5-2.5 hours depending on your fitness level. This Grade 5 hike is a 6km loop easily accessible from the Barokee Campground. Follow the circuit clockwise and hike through sub-alpine woodland to summit turnoff.
Cathedral Rock is perched on 200m of stacked boulders and offers the hiker a natural throne to observe from. The term ‘rock-hopping’ is wildly appropriate for this particular hike as that will be exactly what you will be doing throughout majority of the hike. Ensure that you take care scrambling over the boulders and straddle crevices as boulders can be slippery and hazardous. On your return back to the campground, be sure to follow the circuit around through a protected valley of manna gums. Birdwatching is also a favourite pastime activity on this hike – so ensure you’ve packed a pair of resilient binoculars.
For the intrepid type, bring a headlamp and complete the hike at sunrise or sunset. The view is spectacular so be sure to pack a camera alongside your raincoat, warm clothes and flasks full of a hot beverage of your choice.
Return to Lookout Mountain Retreat for your evening relaxation.