Meat pies from village bakeries, spontaneous swims, an afternoon beer at a quiet country pub, and a cosy night to refuel – there are few things that scream Aussie road trip quite like it. Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of pastry, beer, or awe-inspiring stays along Waterfall Way, so we’ve wrapped up our favourite places in the region to recoup.

Waterfall Way is located on Aboriginal land and sovereignty was never ceded. The region is the traditional Country of the Gumbaynggirr, Dhanggati and Anēwan people and we acknowledge their ancestors, past, present and emerging.

 

Whether it’s amazing national park cabins in secluded bushland, rainforest camping, or luxurious eco retreats, we’ve found a stay for those seeking a night under the stars or those wanting something a little more luxe. We’ve also tried and tested some of the best local pies and brews, all in the name of adventure, of course.

Armidale

The cold-climate region of Armidale is a haven for foodies and wine-lovers, home to quaint country homesteads, and – as Australia’s highest town – national parks with some of the best sunrise and sunset views in the country. Where better to start your road trip?

 

Goldfish Bowl

Eat & Drink
Open 7 days

Start your morning, and your adventure, with a brew and some brekkie from one of the Armidale locals’ favourite bakeries. Famed for a host of delicious woodfired goods and specialty coffee roasted in-house, there’s no other way to better fuel your adventure than with a caffeine and carbohydrate kick from this cafe that wouldn’t be out of place in a trendy Melbourne laneway. 

Website

Petersons Armidale Guesthouse and Winery

Eat, Drink & Stay
Restaurant open 7 days, hours vary

It’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach a chilly -7 degrees in Armidale during the winter months, and as such, it’s known for its cold-climate, high-altitude wine varietals. As Australia’s youngest wine region, the area’s still establishing its name in the industry, however, Petersons Winery has taken home several awards at the nation’s biggest wine shows. If you’re partial to a little vino it’s well worth adding it to your list.

After you’ve sipped your way through Petersons’ best offerings, take a stroll through the English-inspired gardens and the 30 acres of vineyards surrounding the property, before retiring for a night of indulgence at the historic 100-year-old mansion which exudes pure grandeur. Don’t forget to wear your boots to stay connected to your adventure roots!

Website

 

Peterson Winery & Guesthouse

Great Hops Brewery

Eat & Drink
Open Friday-Sunday

If beer is your choice of tipple, you won’t be disappointed by Armidale’s great local brewery, aptly named, Great Hops. The brewery overlooks its fertile farmland surrounds, and with cows as your only neighbours, is exactly the low-key place to enjoy a sunset beverage.

Brewed by Armidale local, Sam Martin, the brewery focuses on classic beer styles with an Aussie twist. Having studied biochemistry and microbiology – and mastered the art of home-brewing before setting up Great Hops – you can rest assured Sam knows a thing or two about great beer. 

Insider tip! Great Hops is set to launch its very own Hazy IPA celebrating the Waterfall Way. Stop by the brewery this month to sample the delicious new brew Dorrigo Fog. 

Website

 

Great Hops Brewery Armidale

Barokee Camp Ground

Stay
From $12.30 a night

When travelling down Waterfall Way, Cathedral Rock is sure to be on your list of must-see stops (we have a full list to help you plan your trip here).

 

Barokee Campground

 

Famed for its unrivalled sunrise and sunset views, Cathedral Rock also has a campground located conveniently close. Surrounded by rocky outcrops, boulders and eucalypt forest, the campground is a great starting point for your hike, and being this close to the summit, will guarantee you a few more minutes of shut-eye. 

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Read more: Underrated Gorges, Epic Hikes, & Wild Swims Along the Waterfall Way

Toms Cabin

Stay
Open 7 days

With a plethora of walking tracks on your literal doorstep, Toms Cabin is a low-key yet incredibly well-equipped and comfortable cabin nestled in the heart of New England National Park. Falling asleep to the sounds of the bush at night, and the soft babble of the creek in the distance, this cabin exudes rustic charm, offering exactly the urban disconnect and rewilding we’re all on the hunt for.

With room for up to 8 people, you’ll spend your days swimming in the creek and exploring the ancient rainforests, enjoying a well-deserved BBQ under the stars and (if you’re tough) getting up early for sunrise at Point Lookout.

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New England NP - Toms Cabin

 

If you’re looking for a slightly more luxurious stay, with just as much natural charm, check out the nearby cottages at Two Styx, The Residence.

Dorrigo

Famed for Gondwana World Heritage Listed rainforests, and spanning farmland that produces some of the country’s best produce including beef and dairy, Dorrigo is not only scenic, it’s also a great mid-way point to refuel and recoup before continuing down the way.

 

Read more: Must-See Stops When Driving Waterfall Way

 

Lookout Mountain Retreat

Eat, Drink & Stay
Open Thursday to Sunday, hours vary

Surrounded by 17 acres of lush farmland overlooking the undulating mountains of the Bellinger Valley, the Lookout Mountain Retreat offers views for days.

The recently refurbished property has just the right combination of rustic charm, and all the mod-cons you need. The onsite cafe and restaurant is a Dorrigo attraction in itself, featuring a huge stone fireplace, beamed wooden ceilings, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the rainforest, mountains, and distant ocean below. Whether you visit for a meal, a sundowner, or a night of rest, we recommend making the stop before heading down the winding Dorrigo Mountain road.

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View Dorrigo

Heritage Hotel Dorrigo

Eat, Drink & Stay
Open 7 days

Known affectionately as the ‘top pub’ to locals, the Heritage Hotel is a quintessential small town pub, with an onsite bistro, no-fuss accommodation, and pool tables for a pre-meal game. Offering all the usual pub favourites and a host of other more upmarket offerings, the top pub’s menu is certain to satiate even the fussiest of taste buds.

 

 

Located in the centre of the tiny Dorrigo township, it’s a great choice for a meal, a beer, and a kip. So, pull up a pew with the farmers, order a beer, and enjoy the friendly banter of the locals.

Website

Components Cafe

Eat & Drink
Open 7 days

If you’re a self-confessed coffee snob, travelling through tiny rural towns can mean you’d sooner skip the caffeine hit altogether than settle for a ‘truck-stop’ coffee. Luckily, Waterfall Way is rife with options for the coffee connoisseur, and one of our favourites is Components Cafe.

Located inside a beautifully converted weatherboard home, the exposed wooden beams and open-air style create an atmosphere that’ll warm you up just as quickly as the coffee. On a hot day, explore the backyard garden, or grab a takeaway from the leafy laneway walk-up window.

The menu offers homemade goodies that taste better than your mum’s (probably). From freshly baked pies and daily-made scones to house-made potato rostis and a host of sweet treats – the cosy atmosphere is made better only by the aroma.

Website

The Dorrigo Deli

Eat & Drink
Open Monday-Saturday

With so many incredible stop-offs along Waterfall Way, it’s rude not to plan at least one picnic. Dorrigo Deli is packed full of hand-picked imported and local produce, including a delectable range of charcuterie goods made for enjoying al fresco.

From cheese and olives to health foods and ham, the crew at Dorrigo Deli will leave you well-stocked for your picnic, and your road-trip home.

Website

Bellingen

With a vibrant atmosphere and colourful local community, there’s no shortage of things to stop and admire, places to eat and drink, and cosy guesthouses in Bellingen. From breweries and restaurants to low-key pubs and takeaway options to enjoy by the river, you’ll have a feast of options to choose from.

 

Swiss Patisserie

Eat & Drink
Open Monday-Saturday

If you’re using this trip as an excuse to eat your weight in pastry, then you won’t mind another suggestion for a killer bakery. The Swiss Patiss’ is another local favourite, and for good reason.

Owned and run by Swiss-born local, Rick, the bakery specialises in Swiss baked goods. Trained as a pastry chef and baker just outside of Zurich at the age of 14, it’s safe to say you’re in for a treat whatever your order. Sample traditional Swiss pastries, freshly made sourdoughs, or their range of pies, often featuring a delicious Swiss twist – pulled pork and sauerkraut pie, anyone?

Website

The Old Butter Factory

Eat & Drink
Open 7 days

As the name suggests, The Old Butter Factory is an old butter factory, originally opened and operated in 1906. Having been through many a change since then, the factory is still dripping with history and industrial allure.

The iron-roofed, weatherboard building exudes country charm, and with al fresco dining areas available, it’s the perfect place to soak up some fresh country air over a spot of brekky or an afternoon vino.

Website

Bellingen Brewing Co.

Eat & Drink
Open Thursday-Saturday

Locally crafted beer, live music, and strong environmental ethics – if there’s a better combo than this we’re yet to find it. Bellingen’s resident brewery and boutique bar is exactly what you’d expect to find in the trendy, vibey town that’s affectionately known as Bello.

As soon as you walk through the doors, you’ll feel the allure of a cosy atmosphere created by local timbers and salvaged materials. With a range of locally crafted artisan beers and ferments on offer, this charmingly authentic place is built for Sunday sessions. So, order a brew and call the boss, it looks like an impromptu long weekend is on the cards.

Website

Promised Land Retreat

Stay
Open 7 days

If you’re on the hunt for something a little special, we suggest Promised Land Retreat. Nestled amongst the forest and hills of one of Bellingen’s most spectacular regions, you’ll have the swimming holes of the Promised Land right on your doorstep.

The 100-acre property features three chalets, all crafted out of local timber and featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding doors, and uninterrupted valley, mountain and rainforest views. A stay at these chalets will leave you feeling totally immersed in the natural environment.

We reckon you’re hard pressed to find a better way to end your trip than swimming in rivers, sipping sunset brews, and sleeping nestled amongst the treetops.

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