ExperienceNature

Experience nature in Armidale

New England’s national parks boast an extensive gorge wilderness with over 500 kilometres of wild and scenic rivers. Discover a unique natural playground with magnificent waterfalls, rainforests and exotic flora and fauna.

Imagine a place where the geology and biodiversity is unique, where you can climb giant rock formations, stroll through rainforests, encounter rare wildlife, watch powerful waterfalls, camp in the wilderness, paddle wild rivers, and find endless breathtaking views. This is all part of the New England experience – there are hundreds of thousands of hectares of national parks and state forests to explore.

From Point Lookout in the New England National Park, you can gaze out in all directions across unspoilt wilderness and the Bellingen Valley all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Rock wallabies and lyrebirds are among the rare sights you can expect to encounter along the walking tracks that zigzag through the banksia and snow gum populated bush around the lookout.


Experience feature attractions

Dangars Falls picnic area

A perfect bush setting on the Northern Tablelands, the Dangars Falls picnic area has dramatic views over the deep ravines and gorges of the northern edge of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. In spring, the cliff tops come alive with the colour of wildflowers. You might need to take a closer look, as some are only tiny. After a downpour the mighty falls come alive, plunging 120m into the ravine, filling it with mist and rainbows. After a lazy picnic lunch or barbecue, spend a relaxing afternoon by the river where the kids can dip their toes and watch the fish. Or if you feeling like stretching your legs, try McDirtys walking track.
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Wollomombi Falls

The Wollomombi Falls are one of the highest falls in Australia. The spectacular single fall from the undulating plateau country around Wollomombi to the floor of the Wollomombi Gorge often gives visitors a truly superb view. The views, though sometimes shrouded in mist, are most spectacular after heavy rain in the area. Wollomombi Falls are located less than one kilometre south of the village of Wollomombi and approximately two and a half kilometres by road. The access turn off is one and a half kilometres from Wollomombi on the Waterfall Way towards Armidale. Wollomombi Falls are located in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.
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New England National Park

Located in the Northern Tablelands of NSW, New England National Park is a place of spectacular beauty and pristine wilderness. Part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, it offers visitors an unforgettable holiday experience or a peaceful weekend getaway. Discover the ancient world sealed in Gondwana rainforest, wander through snow gum forests dotted with crimson rosellas, and see breathtaking views from the Great Escarpment on one of the many walking tracks. Walks range from an easy 200m stroll to multi-day hikes through remote wilderness. Experience sensational sunrises and breathtaking views stretching over forested valleys all the way to the coast from Point lookout. Pack a picnic and spend a few hours admiring the spectacular view before you. Visit for the day, or take advantage of the various accommodation and camping options and stay a few days while immersing yourself in this magical world.
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Ebor Falls

Watch the Guy Fawkes River plunging 100m over two waterfalls at Ebor Falls. Three lookout platforms along the edge of the gorge – upper falls, lower falls and valley view — give spectacular views out into the rugged gorge country. A walking track links the upper falls and lower falls lookout platforms via the escarpment edge and is an easy walk that’s suitable for children. You can start out at either end and return via the road. Golden everlasting daisies bloom around the upper falls in the warmer months and rare ground orchids flower in the late spring and summer. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a wedge-tailed eagle soaring above you as you picnic in the grassy woodlands area next to the falls. The Gumbaynggirr people traditionally called Ebor Falls ‘Martiam’, which means ‘the great falls’.
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Cathedral Rock National Park

Camp, walk, birdwatch and enjoy scenic views with great picnic spots at Cathedral Rock National Park, just east of Armidale and west of Dorrigo on the New England Tablelands. Rock-hopping isn’t just for the wallaroos at Cathedral Rock National Park. Hike to the park’s main boulder piles of Woolpack Rocks and Cathedral Rock and scramble to their summits. Then enjoy the superb views across the wilderness landscape of dry eucalypt forest and granite outcrops. The park’s rock formations are particularly photogenic in late-afternoon light or mist. Take short walks from the campgrounds, or do a long hike between them. For an exhilarating challenge, you can carry your pack for the 10.4km Barokee to Native Dog Creek walk, camp at the other end, and retrace your steps later. Whether you’re visiting the park for a picnic lunch or camping for a few days, there are plenty of birdwatching opportunities. The screech of the glossy black cockatoo lets you know there’s a flock overhead. You may be fortunate and spot the endangered turquoise parrot or wedge-tailed eagle circling the granite tors.
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Gara Gorge lookout

If you like to combine an easy walk with a spectacular view then it’s time to pack the car and head to Gara Gorge lookout, accessed along Threlfall walking track. You’ll be rewarded with scenic views down the rugged gorge. From the lookout, you’ll see gum-lined valleys and steep ravines that continue to the coast. Look for brush-tailed rock wallabies sunning themselves on the outlying stone as you breathe in clean, crisp mountain air. Bring your binoculars for birdwatching as peregrine falcons and wedge-tailed eagles can sometimes be seen in the skies above. After all that fresh air and scenery, you’ll be ready for lunch, so head back to either Threlfall picnic area or the popular Blue Hole picnic area for a bush picnic or barbecue.
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Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve

Located on the edge of Guyra, 37km north of Armidale, Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve offers a special birdwatching experience. The reserve is a rare breeding place for several freshwater wetland bird species and a resting place for numerous migratory birds. Plan a visit or stop over while driving through the northern tablelands. You’ll see an ever-changing array of birds, and it’s a great option if you’re looking for things to do with kids. Find a spot on the observation platform on the lagoon’s eastern edge to be treated to scenic views of this rare montane wetland. Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve is also a lovely spot for enjoying a picnic by the water.
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Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve

Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve is easily accessible by driving from Glen Innes and Armidale, making it a great destination for car touring and day trips by the lagoon. Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve is a hidden gem, ideal for daytrippers and those looking to getaway from it all. It’s only a short drive from Armidale and Glen Innes, yet offers superb birdwatching, bushwalking and picturesque places to picnic. The reserve protects Ramsar-listed Little Llangothlin Lagoon and the surrounding wetlands, one of the few remaining high altitude freshwater lagoons on the New England Tableland. It provides refuge for over 100 species of birds and an abundance of animals, so no wonder it’s a favourite for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts. Enjoy birdwatching around Little Llangothlin picnic area and wander down to the nearby viewing platform. Or go bushwalking along the easy Lagoon Circuit walking track and take advantage of the many great vantage points to admire this spectacular natural setting along the way.
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Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, near Armidale, spoils you with World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest, dramatic gorges and magnificent waterfalls. It’s also home to the endangered brush-tailed rock-wallaby. Watch the live stream to catch a glimpse of this iconic species in their rocky habitat.
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Experience using mobile apps

Discover your next destination and get inspired by Cya On The Road. Your mobile phone is now your personal tour guide that takes you to hundreds of thousands of locals favourite spots and hidden gems, from big cities to regional towns, and tells you the fascinating behind the scene stories.

Experience our region’s history and culture through Soundtrails – self-paced locative audio walks delivered to you through an interactive app platform suitable for most mobile devices.


Get inspired through our stories

Natural Wonders & Gorgeous Gorges in New England High Country

Imagine a place where you can climb giant granite rock formations, stroll through rainforests, encounter rare wildlife, watch powerful waterfalls, camp in the wilderness, paddle wild rivers and take in breathtaking views from one of the tallest points of the Great Dividing Range. This is all part of the New…

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Exploring Waterfalls in New England High Country

The Waterfall Way is one of the main arteries into New England from the east, and it’s aptly named. Weaving through a number of the high country’s world-class national parks, this road promises to defy the advice of 90s pop culture and instead go chasing waterfalls. Here’s our pick of…

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Exploring National Parks around Armidale

In the depths of winter, mist can drape New England National Park like a chiffon veil, settling silently in the valleys and lingering for hours. Moss-covered Antarctic beech, which have thrived on the Great Dividing Range for aeons, assume a ghostly appearance on such mornings – and deep within the…

Read story titled Exploring National Parks around Armidale

Exploring Tourist Drive 19

If you find yourself in Armidale or Uralla needing to while away a few hours, Tourist Drive 19 is for you. It comprises 86km of country back roads, including 20km unsealed, and will easily fill half a day or more. You’ll need to pack walking shoes, a picnic spread, a…

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Much of New England National Park is World Heritage listed, protecting a significant expanse of Antarctic beech rainforest that has thrived on the edge of the Great Dividing Range here for eons. This is one of the very few places in the world where you can experience what the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana may have looked like.

The landscape in the Cathedral Rock National Park, an hour’s drive east of Armidale, offers a different spectacle. Here, there are a couple of walking tracks for spying wildlife and lovely views, and a tumble of huge granite boulders provides bushwalkers with a novel obstacle course.

Hundreds of kilometres of waterways rage and meander through the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, where huge tracts of magnificent wilderness are also World Heritage listed. This is where camping, trout fishing, kayaking, swimming, canyoning and abseiling in incredibly beautiful locations are major attractions.

Point Lookout in the New England National Park is the place to be for an unbeatable sunrise view and on a clear day you see out to the Pacific Ocean. If you are keen for a hike, Lyrebird Track will lead you to Wrights lookout, high up on an exposed basalt plateau. On a summer’s day, take a hike to Cascade Falls and enjoy a paddle in the fresh mountain streams.

Blue Hole is a popular swimming spot for day trips and the Threlfall Walking track is a pleasant 5.5km loop that has scenic views and a chance to see the historic hydro-electric scheme. Or, you can spend several days following the Bicentennial National Trail on foot, horseback or mountain bike through rugged country, camping in historic stockmen’s huts along the way.

Rivers meandering through the eastern fringe of the tablelands have created a unique landscape of deep gorges and dramatic waterfalls. Wollomombi Falls, east of Armidale in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is one of several must-sees. These are the highest waterfalls in New South Wales. If you’re fit, you can tackle the track that descends the steep fern-clad gully there to swim in the crystal-clear waterholes downstream. Walk the Wollomombi Gorge’s rim-top tracks for fabulous views in all directions, keeping an eye out for rare wallabies as you make your way through the bush. Another must-see is Dangar Falls, reached via TD 19 along Dangarsleigh road, 21 km south of Armidale.

A particularly exhilarating way to experience the wonders of the gorge country is on board a Fleet Helicopters’ scenic tour. As the chopper swoops down the precipitous canyons, the bird’s eye view of dry rainforest, flowing rivers and cascading waterfalls is amazing. Adventurous types can be dropped in the heart of this wild rugged country where camping, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and fishing are popular pursuits.

If being dropped by helicopter in a remote riverbed isn’t your thing, all these pursuits can be enjoyed by following walking tracks of varying levels of difficulty in the national parks. You’ll find easily accessible lookouts and pretty picnic and overnight camping spots near most of the major waterfalls.