Oohing and ahhing at waterfalls sounds like a pretty nice way to spend the weekend. Driving only an hour outside of Coffs Harbour towards Crystal Shower Falls, you’ll see enough waterfalls to fill the waterfall-chasing quota.
- Swing bridges
- Stunning rainforest
It was a cold, wet and gloomy day and I was determined to go and gaze upon the beauty of this waterfall I had heard so much about. I dragged my husband and his brother out the door, threw them in the back of my little hatchback and exclaimed ‘This is the perfect weather for waterfalls!’
From Coffs Harbour, the drive to Crystal Shower Falls took little over 1.5hrs. When I saw the waterfalls cascading down the cliffs on the very side of the road I wished I wasn’t driving so I could gaze a little longer. Before we knew it we had crested the mountain pass and were turning into the Dorrigo National Park Rainforest Centre. A gold coin donation will get you through the door and on your way to the trailhead.
The trails are clearly marked. To get to Crystal Shower Falls you will have to follow the first part of the Satinbird Stroll and then join the Wonga Walk. As you descend the path you will see lush rainforest, creeping strangler figs (Ficus Watkinsiana), roots dangling from high in the canopy, Bird’s-nest ferns (Asplenium Nidus), plenty of Bush Turkeys and if you’re lucky you may even see some Lyre Birds! Along the way there is plenty of signage with lots of information about all the flora and fauna you may see. Where did you think I learned Latin?
After about 20 minutes of walking, I set foot on the edge of a swing bridge and squealed in delight. God I loooove swing bridges! I then turned to my right and I saw it. Crystal Shower Falls. And at that moment I knew I had come across the most beautiful waterfall I could ever remember seeing.
Tumbling over the rocky escarpment, surrounded by green on all sides. It was beautiful. And it only got more beautiful. After crossing the bridge you have the option of walking around behind the waterfall. Looking out of the cave through the crystal curtain of water I thought to myself ‘This is where fairies would live.’
Not a moment later I turned to leave and movement on the roof of the cave caught my eye. What was that!? Oohhhhh a fairie? A little birdy? I’ll get closer for a look. NOPE. Not fairies. Not birdies. NOOOOOOOPPPE. It was a bat. Well not just ‘a’ bat. 4 or 5 of them! My instinct was to scream and run. It took every inch of my being not to. Instead, I sat down and I watched them. The little guys were actually pretty cute and fluffy. About the size of my closed fist, they were nowhere near the size of their fruity cousins.
I sat and watched them yawn, and ruffle and scratch for about 20 minutes and decided it was lunchtime. We all made the stroll back up to the rainforest centre and decided we would head back down the pass to Bellingen for a feed from one of the local restaurants. With all the local and freshly grown produce, it is definitely worth dropping in to town to sate your post adventure hunger.
Only yourself! Though if you’re anything like me a camera also falls into this category.
How To Get There
From the M1 just South of Coffs Harbour turn onto Waterfall Way (aptly named) and head west. Follow this road through Bellingen, up the twisty and turny mountain pass (be very careful), ooh and ahhhh at all the waterfalls (not if you’re driving) then turn right a few kilometres after the road flattens out following the brown sign for Dorrigo National Park. At the end of this road you will come to a national parks information centre and the trailhead for the Satinbird stroll.
Beginner — Suitable for children and anyone with low to moderate fitness levels. It is graded as a level 2 walk. With all the stunning rainforest flora and fauna and many seats to stop, sit and admire upon it is achievable for almost anyone.
Distance Covered / Time Taken
3.5km return / 2 hours