How did we survive our trip along waterfall way from Armidale to Coffs Harbour? On paper the task seemed simple enough. A leisurely 180 km drive trough rolling green hills down and past rainforests from pastoral Armidale to the coastal playground around the Coffs Harbour Holiday Coast.
Despite some great hospitality and a quality campground at the Highlander Big four tourist park in Armidale we were getting itchy feet and were ready to move on. Armidale is a nice enough city with friendly folk, but the pace of life was starting to wear on us. Armidale is described as Australia's highest city in the billboards as you enter. But in reality the only real way Armidale qualifies as a city is by the old adage that any old place can call itself such as long as it manages to attract two bishops.
In reality Armidale was a stopover for us which we endured because of the expensive rates the kid friendly tourist parks on the coast charge this time of year and the fact that we were forced to escape the Tamworth country music festival early, for fear of melting in 40c temperatures. The comparative 30 C temperatures with cool nights were a treat. Look out for lot's of frosty and snowy nights in winter however.
While Armidale i apolished country town comparatively larger and more refined in the area, it remains a country town with a bit of a difference. The foresight of previous generations developed it as an education centre and it now houses a hos of exclusive private schools as well as The University of New England. The quality of the conservation work on the old schools, and public buildings in the area is quite impressive and there are a number of historical homes and places to visit. You can read more about these on our Armidale page.
Our first Waterfall stop were the impressive Wollomombi Falls. At least I was impressed with the rugged wilderness of the area, while April who grew up close enough to Niagara Falls didn't seem to get my enthusiasm. Perhaps I was glad to get out of Armidale. I did however see pictures of these falls after heavy rains and they look a lot more spectacular than they do in the pictures i took.
The falls are in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and less than One km off the road
Our last place of financial refugee, and heat of summer refuge was Ebor Falls. These are a series of falls along the Guy Fawkes River and the most spectacular falls 100m. The Gumbaynggirr aboriginal people call these ‘the great falls’.
Despite fears we may in fact get bored to death here we manged to keep ourselves entertained here for almost a week. While other fried elsewhere in the hottest NSW summer on record we rugged up each night with our sleeping bags and the comfort we were only paying $20 per night for our campsite while others on the coast were paying twice as much.
Days were filled with trips down to Dorrigo and taking walks along the stream to the waterfall. These take a bit longer than you would expect when you factor in the number stops to pick blackberries, and apples which grow beside the roads and paths.
The whole area was ablaze with Golden Everlasting Daisies and other wildflowers which was a joy to experience.
In fact about the only challenge we had a Ebor was the vibe at our place of staying. See my rant below for more details on this.
The trout farm is further up the range from Ebor and is well worth the time. As well as all the educational stuff like fish and turtles in tanks the kids and adults get to feed the large fish which literally jump put of the water in the excitement of seeing one of the few tourists which venture this way..
At about 700 meters you are about half way down the range in altitude here but the weather remains cool enough in summer. Which only a population of a few thousand Dorrigo is paced with natural attractions.
Have your camera ready for the leg between Dorrigo and Bellingen as this is where a lot of the best
Dorrigo was well worth all the day trips we made here. Along with the Rainforest walk there are other great natural attractions and walks in the area.
Hippie and High Class town Bellingen Is a little steamier and does not enjoy the cool summer climate of the other towns. But this is compensated for by the river which makes for an excellent place to cool off. We took our three year old in for a dip and were surrounded by half the local high school come lunch time. What a nice feature for them and us on a hot day.
Bellingen has galleries and fancy eateries as well as more family friendly attributes. The farmers market here is one of the more authentic you will find.