Natural Wonders

Waterfalls across northern NSW you don’t want to miss this wet summer

With a wetter than average summer forecast, sightseers can expect to feel the spray of waterfalls and the roar of river systems full to the brim across northern New South Wales.

From Ellenborough Falls on the mid-north coast to Wollomombi Falls near Armidale, here are some spectacular spots to visit these holidays that’ll leave you speechless.

Ellenborough Falls, Mid-north Coast

At 200 metres high, Ellenborough Falls is the tallest single-drop waterfall in NSW.

Located near Elands, the falls are about an hour’s drive from both Taree via Bulga Road and Wauchope off the Pacific Highway near Port Macquarie.

A waterfall cascades down on the left into a river below.
All walkways to access Ellenborough Falls are well defined but visitors are urged to take care around the strong stream.(Supplied: East Coast Photography)

You can view the falls from two easy-access platforms, one is located right near the car park and picnic area, the other is a 10-minute stroll down a timbered walkway to “the Knoll” directly opposite the waterfall.

If you want to get closer and enjoy a hike, you can take a 641-step descent down to the base of the falls. 

Take your time to catch your breath on the way down and keep an eye out for the birds and animals that make this special place their home.

Ariel shot of a heavy stream of water running off the top of a mountain to a river below. Lush green bush surrounds.
Ellenborough Falls after heavy rain.(Supplied: A Way We Stay)

Crystal Shower Falls, Coffs Coast

Crystal Shower Falls in Dorrigo National Park offers the chance to walk behind a waterfall.

“This rainforest comes to life in the wet,” National Parks and Wildlife Service Coffs Coast area manager Glenn Storrie said.

Just an hour’s drive west from Coffs Harbour, the 4.4-kilometre walk starts from Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and winds through a towering forest.

From the suspension bridge across the valley, there are fantastic views of the water gushing into the pool below.

“Don’t miss the short side track leading behind the waterfall into a rocky cavern, where you can look through the veil of falling water,” Mr Storrie said. 

A large steel bridge connects one side of lush forest to the other over a steep valley.
Even Crystal Shower Falls, which is known for its veil-like stream, is expected to be “pumping”.(Supplied: NSW National Parks)

Wollomombi Falls, Northern Tablelands

Located less than half an hour’s drive or a short helicopter ride from Armidale, a trip to Wollomombi falls offers a chance to traverse the raging Wollomombi River and admire the majesty of two impressive features.

tourists on a metal bridge over a swollen river
Sydneysiders Rob and Margie Collins capture moment on the gorge walk.(ABC News: Jennifer Ingall)

Located in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, Wollomombi Falls can be viewed from a number of locations, including a 4km walk around the rim of the gorge where you can take in the Chandler Falls as well.

Sydney’s Rob and Margie Collins were taking in the wonders of the Waterfall Way, which runs inland from Armidale to Coffs Harbour and visited Wollomombi Falls, in December.

“Spectacular, amazing, the gorge is so impressive,” Ms Collins said.

Two waterfalls feed into the river below.
Like a scene out of Jurassic Park, Wollomombi and Chandler falls in full flow near Armidale.  (ABC News: Jennifer Ingall)

Dangars Falls, Northern Tablelands

While in the Armidale area check out the Dangars Falls, just 17km south-east of the city.

The picnic area offers dramatic views of the water as it cascades 120 metres into the ravine below.

Fed by the Salisbury Watercourse rather than a river, it is best viewed after rain.

A couple pose on a platform in front of a waterfall.
Sean Carroll and Toni Ryan were wowed by the majesty of Dangars Falls, near Armidale.(ABC News: Jennifer Ingall)

Killen Falls, North Coast

Killen Falls is home to one of the last-standing remnants of the big scrub rainforest which once blanketed the Northern Rivers before being cleared by cedar cutters. 

While swimming is not safe, the waterfall is still a scenic spot worth viewing this summer with predictions of high rainfall and therefore water tumbling over the cliffs.

Waterfalls into a deep gully, the waterfall covers a deep cave behind it.
The falls featured in the recent TV mini-series Nine Perfect Strangers starring Nicole Kidman.(Supplied: David Carroll)

The 10m waterfall on the Emigrant Creek catchment at Tintenbar is just a short 20-minute drive from Ballina. 

You can witness the falls for yourself from a viewing platform just 300m from the car park or for experienced bushwalkers there’s a steep 1km trek to the base.

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