Dorrigo is a small country town on the Waterfall Way in New South Wales. It is about an hours drive from Coffs Harbour or one hour 45mins from Armidale along a beautiful route passing lots of waterfalls and national parks. The town itself is pretty but doesn’t really have a lot about it but it is the perfect place to stay to visit the wonderful Dorrigo National Park.
The other main attraction in this area is the Danger Falls which are only 2km from the centre of town and are sign posted at the monument. They are spectacular with lovely gentle “rapids” at the top and then they are wide and high when they go over the edge. There is a great view looking down on them from a viewing platform at the car park, then you can walk down to another platform that gives a great view of the falls and then further down for a different view again. It is quite a steep walk but not too far so should be easy enough for anyone with basic fitness. There is a huge pool at the bottom which you could probably swim in if you really felt the need but it wasn’t warm enough when we visited. You can see platypus around this pool at dawn and dusk if you are very lucky but you should bring binoculars if you hope to see them. There is a picnic area at the top with a couple of BBQs and a kid’s play area.
As it is such a small town you won’t find a huge range of accommodation in Dorrigo.
There is a pretty basic caravan park between the town and the entrance to the National Park called the Dorrigo Mountain Resort Sweetwater Village and Caravan Park. It has a few unpowered sites for tents and a few powered sites for caravans and campervans. There are also some cabins available in the Sweetwater Village area that is made to look like a town from a western movie. The toilets and showers are very clean and the hot water runs from a meter. There is a covered BBQ area with a couple of gas barbies and a couple of picnic tables but these look like they have seen better days and there is no camp kitchen. Once it goes dark it really goes dark as you are completely out in the middle of the countryside so make sure your torches have plenty of batteries. We really enjoyed our couple of nights there.
Right in the centre of town is the Heritage Hotel Motel Dorrigo which has been recently renovated. The hotel is in a building that was built in the 1920s and is in a style very typical of Australian hotels of that era. It has a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets and travellers. There are backpacker style dorm rooms and doubles and twins with shared facilities in the actual hotel. In the motel behind the hotel there are standard motel style rooms and two suites with spa baths.
There is a pretty B & B on the road to the Never Never Picnic Area called Gracemere Grange which has one Queen Ensuite rooms and twin and double rooms with shared bathroom for reasonable prices.
The Dangar Falls Lodge is right next to the Dangar Falls about 2km from the town and can accommodate up to 12 people with shared kitchen and bathroom. There are also camping facilities available.
Dorrigo Restaurants and Pubs
Dorrigo really is a bit of a one horse town with the hotel being the best option for eating or drinking in the evening. It has a Bistro which is open every day for lunch and dinner and serves up typical pub grub.
There are a few cafes in the town which do breakfast and lunch. I would thoroughly recommend Dot’s which is just beyond the Hotel on the road to Armidale and has a great breakfast selection all served by the very friendly Dot herself. This is open from 7am so is a great option if you are making an early start.
If you are travelling on to Armidale you must visit the Ebor Falls. They are a set of two waterfalls about 45km from Dorrigo just after the tiny hamlet of Ebor and are only a short distance off the highway. From the car park you can stop and look at the very pretty, gentle Upper Falls from a viewing platform. You can then either drive or walk the 700m along the escapement to the Lower Falls. If you decide to walk there is another viewing platform about half way with a view of the lower falls which are taller and more spectacular.