Falling in love with waterfalls in New South Wales
IF TAKING in the view of, and spray from, waterfalls is your idea of a holiday, then NSW's Waterfall Way is the way to go.
I'm a bit of a falls guy, so I had a great time on a recent visit to the Waterfall Way: a 191km stretch of highway next to no fewer than 14 waterfalls, from the east coast just south of Coffs Harbour through to the New England highlands town of Armidale.
And it was water all the way except for the dry-as-a-bone Wollomombi one.
Still, you can't have everything, and on balance, the trip didn't disappoint.
First port of call on the highway west from the Pacific Highway was the pleasant little hip town of Bellingen.
Stop here for a coffee and observe the colourful locals before heading into the high country of the Dorrigo National Park.
First stop was the park's Rainforest Centre which is connected to a short (50m) but impressive skywalk for stunning views over the national park.
Low cloud cover interrupted viewing proceedings on our first visit, but after a lengthy walk into the rainforest, we returned to find the clouds had lifted and the glorious valley was there for all to see.
We had headed into the rainforest for a mostly easy walk along the Wonga Track to check out the waterfalls, firstly the free-flowing Tristania Falls, with moss clinging to the granite-looking cutting.
It appeared as if someone had built a massive retaining wall.
A pic here was definitely a moss-have.
As per usual, we took a wrong turn and doubled the length of our walk but thankfully, much of the trek was shaded by tree canopy.
It's worth the walk even without the added attraction of the waterfalls.
You could spend the best part of a day at this national park, but we had other watery wonders to see so it was onward 50km to the west to check out the double-decker Ebor Falls.
Here, there was no chance of getting up close and personal to see the upper and lower falls like the pair at Dorrigo.
But there were first-rate viewing platforms to breathe in the panorama of the watery drop, dubbed "the great falls" by the Gumbaynggirr people. The falls plunge 100 metres. The lookouts are near the car park so it's easy to get a great look.
Nearby was the Cathedral Rock National Park but time was not on our side as we also wanted to see one of the jewels in the waterfall crown in this neck of the woods: those Wollomombi ones, and they were 35km to the west.
And what a letdown … not a drop of water in this still impressively craggy gorge.
If time permits, consider exploring other national parks in this area such as Cathedral Rock, Oxley Wild Rivers and New England.
*The writer and his photographer wife paid all their own bills.