Our Dorrigo Roadtrip and why we loved it!

Well, we’ve had requests to share last month’s wonderful New South Wales getaway. A couple of places we stayed with friends on their farms – so have substituted AMAZING sites nearby. We also made the starting point as Brisbane. So here it is:

DAY 1 Brisbane to Koreelah Creek Camp, NSW (no pets) – 108km

Koreelah Creek Camp, NSW
Koreelah Creek Camp, NSW

Take in Queensland’s Scenic Rim – we had a fantastic lunch at Harrisville’s Royal Hotel (a free camp), picked up fresh vege at Kalbar and drove past Lake Moogerah. (Extra night? Stop here at the caravan park or The Gorge near Aratula.) From Mount Alford drive south to Carneys Creek Road. It is a beautiful drive and worth the many miles of dirt. You’ll see the first of your waterfalls – there is a little one at the campground!

DAY 2 Clouds Creek Rest Area – 189km

Bonalbo campsite
Bonalbo campsite

You can add in a side trip to a better known waterfall, the magnificent Queen Mary Falls and Killarney back in Queensland (check road conditions first). We followed the Clarence Way  today, and stopped briefly at Tooloom National Park, which locals tell us is a lovely rainforest walk. We also stopped at suprising Bean Creek Falls (only small vehicles, we just got around in our small hybrid, bring togs) and lunched at beautiful Bonalbo. Community-run Bonalbo Caravan Park would be a lovely overnighter beside the creek. Say hi to the caretaker for us! I would also add another night at Lilydale Primitive Camp, right on the Clarence near Copmanhurst. Nymboida Camping and Canoeing looked great, too.

DAY 3 Platypus Flat Campground (no pets) – 20km (more into Dorrigo)

Platypus Flat
Platypus Flat

First we drove into Dorrigo to explore – we found lovely cafes for a coffee and hot chocolate (Components Cafe) – temperatures dropped about 12 degrees as we drove up the mountain from Grafton! Later, a lovely lunch spot with scrumptious salads (just north of the Info Centre).

A must do is a visit to Dangar Falls, on the outskirts of town. There is a campground right next door! It was chilly but worth it! We drove from here, via Cascade and LOTS of dirt to the camp. Our advice is drive in through Bostobrick, there is less dirt road this way.

DAY 4 Native Dog Creek Camp (no pets) – 46km

Native Dog Campground
Native Dog Campground

A big day! We didn’t just do 46 km, we drove an extra 10km dirt road into the Memorial Grove in the National Park. We stopped at Dorrigo National Park and the awesome skywalk. Then onto Bellingen (Roses Park would be an excellent free camp) on the way down the range (add 60 km). We drove past two waterfalls on the road itself! No wonder it is called the Waterfall Way.

Explore this lovely (but touristy) town, and the scenic drives. The Promised Land is just as delightful as its name (add another 25km-ish). Waterhole after waterhole in Never Never Creek. You can ask the Info Centre for a guide. But PLEASE take any rubbish with you, park sensibly and remember there are no public toilets out that way. If the car park area or roadside is congested, drive on. There are spots to swim all along.

Ebor is another must do – there are two camps in town – hopefully Ebor Falls will be open again after the upgrades and repairs next time we pass through. Instead, we drove on the Guyra Road to a campground we had never heard of, at Cathedral Rock National Park. What a great spot Native Dog Campground is.

DAY 5 Cranky Rock Recreation Reserve – 181km

Cranky Rock Recreation Reserve
Cranky Rock Recreation Reserve

After a night all on our own, we tackled the 1km circuit, then the 8km return trip to Woolpack Rocks. Highly recommend it!

Everyday of this trip brought surprises for us. All pleasant. Mother Of Ducks Lagoon in Guyra was blowy, but another sweet spot for lunch, with observation decks over the wetlands for birdwatching. We enjoyed refreshments at Delungra Hotel, another free camp – this one beside some sheep. It has a new publican, and the meals sounded great.

Our stop for the night was a gem! Again, we had never heard of it or been to Warialda, but I read the name in our CAMPS guide and visited for that reason alone. And the waterhole!

DAY 6 Croppa Creek Rec Ground – 59km

Pally Pub
Pally Pub

We diverted a little west to see our son today, out harvesting. After more swims in the Gywdir River at Gravesend – Ezzy Crossing is also a free camp (and there are two other camps in town). We were awed by perfectly pretty Pally Pub. Wonderful to to see walls of the old pub adorning the interiors. Friendly team, yummy meals and a beautiful family-friendly beer garden and outdoor area. They run a caravan park next door. No wonder this hotel draws in crowds from far and wide. After stopping off to see the Pallamallawa Fishing Club free camp, we had a night at Croppa Creek. This little club is open Friday and Saturday nights for meals, as well.

DAY 7 Return to Brisbane – 323km

We drove home through Coolatai, Kwiambal National Park (you’d want to spend a few days here for gorges, waterfalls, and swimming holes), Ashford, Bonshaw and Texas. All have great spots for camping on a budget. Loved our healthy salad lunches at the Stockman Hotel, Texas. Other beautiful locations we drove home via included Lake Coolmunda, Goomburra (Heatley went off the main drag for this) and Cunningham’s Gap at Main Range National Park. Whew!

Well, our whole trip’s accommodation cost the two of us $34 for the week. Check out pages 56 and 57 of your CAMPS 12 or CAMPS Pendium for details. Instead of a quick week, this little trip of about 1000km could be a month plus! So much to see, so many fantastic camps and caravan parks, those powerful rivers, and we met lovely travellers! We especially loved our NSW national parks. Hope you like our rundown?

Here’s the itinerary and map of our roadtrip from the CAMPS App.

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