OK, we’re calling it… we’ve found the best walk in Australia. The Crystal Shower Falls walk in Dorrigo National Park lies just under an hour’s drive inland of Coffs Harbour. It’s also a six hour drive from Sydney and would make a great place to spend a long weekend.
Although the Crystal Shower Falls is the most popular hike in Dorrigo, there’s a reason why it’s the best. Think mind blowing rainforest that you’ve never seen anything like it before, zero crowds that you’ll almost have the entire walk to yourself and beautiful waterfalls that you’ll wonder if you’ve entered into a fairytale. It honestly doesn’t get much better than this.
If you’re thinking of hiking in Dorrigo National Park, here’s what you need to know about the Crystal Shower Falls hike.
The Dorrigo Skywalk Rainforest Centre is amazing. We weren’t expecting much but the Skywalk itself is so incredible, when you look over the top of the World Heritage rainforest, you’ll soon realise you haven’t seen anything like it before.
You’ll need to park up at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre to start the hike so go and check out the platform! It’s also wise to go inside the centre and have a chat with the friendly staff about the hikes in the area. We only had time to do one but we can imagine there would be a lot of amazing hidden gems in the area to discover.
2. Crystal Shower Falls walk is actually called The Wonga Walk
Don’t get confused with the name – the Crystal Shower Falls walk is actually called The Wonga Walk and takes about 2.5 hours to complete the 6.6km loop.
Make sure you wear layers on this hike because you’ll go from humid temps to much cooler temps the further you walk into the rainforest.
3. Where to start the Crystal Shower Falls walk
It’s a bit confusing but there are a few starting points for the Crystal Shower Falls walk. You can park at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and walk either clockwise or anti clock wise around the circuit which is just under 6KM and takes 2h30m to complete (walking at a slow pace).
Or you can park at The Glade Picnic Area and just walk down to Crystal Showers Falls if you’re short on time. It takes about 20 minutes rather than two hours to do this shorter version of the walk but you’ll be missing out on some of the best parts.
4. Do the walk clockwise
We were specifically told to do the walk clockwise from the Rainforest Centre rather than going anti clockwise from The Glad Picnic Area. This is because if you go anti clockwise, you’ll have a big hill to climb at the end.
Because we started at the hill and had to walk down, the scenery is simply mind blowing. You don’t want to be concentrating on walking up hill when you have the beautiful rainforest to take in.
This is actually the best part of the walk so make sure you do the Crystal Shower Falls walk clockwise.
5. The Gondwana rainforest is mind blowing
Because we did the walk clockwise, we spent about half an hour not getting very far because we were completely gob smacked at the beauty of the rainforest.
It’s part of the Gondwana Rainforest which is over 1 million years old and you can see why. The trees are massive and the roots are intwined into the tree trunks which is something we both were completely mesmerised by.
After all of the hikes we’ve done in Australia and around the world, we’ve never come across a rainforest like this before. It’s worth coming to Dorrigo to see these trees alone.
But wait… there’s more to see.
6. There’s not one but two waterfalls on this hike
We came across Tristania Falls first, an absolutely beautiful waterfall complete with a suspension bridge. We were in total awe of this sight.
But it was when we hiked over to Crystal Shower Falls when we found the winner. This waterfall is literally the most romantic waterfall we think we’ve ever seen.
You can view it from different spots and walk right underneath it (that path was closed at the time we visited). There’s another suspension bridge to take in the beauty of this spot because you’ll want to stay here for a while just to appreciate how stunning it really is.
7. The Bird Walk
On the way back with a short hike up a hill, we were greeted by a paved walking track known as the birds boardwalk. It’s a stunning walkway so you don’t need to look where you’re going and just spend time in awe of this incredible national park.
8. You’ll want to come back
We only did this one hike in Dorrigo NSW to Crystal Shower Falls but we’re glad we did because it really is a magical hike.
Only bring children with you if they are used to walking in National Parks and only do the loop with them if they are generally happy to walk for 2.5 hours or more.
9. Finish the hike with a dip in Dangar Falls
We recommend driving just a few minutes down the road over to Dangar Falls for a swim. Dangar Falls is an exceptionally beautiful waterfall that you have to make the effort to visit when in Dorrigo National Park. It’s an incredibly easy track to follow and just five minutes to reach the bottom which has to be the easiest walk we’ve ever been to get to a bottom of a waterfall in Australia.
10. Stay At The Beautiful Bellingen YHA
We’ve checked out both Dorrigo and Bellingen towns and personally preferred Bellingen.
Make sure you stay at the Bellingen YHA as it’s located right in the middle of town but has a stunning view and is set in a gorgeous Australian home. It’s the type of place you’ll want to come back to. Trust me, we’re looking forward to staying there again very soon!