Last updated on 11 August, 2023
Our suggested dog friendly Waterfall Way itinerary includes spectacular waterfalls, lookouts and gorges you and your dog can enjoy together. We also offer ideas on how to visit the national parks and make the most of your time travelling the Waterfall Way with your dog.
The Waterfall Way Scenic Drive is a stunningly beautiful route for a road trip. Passing through national parks, rainforest and lush countryside, winding its way from Armidale to Coffs Harbour via Waterfall Way will leave a lasting delightful impression.
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- How to do the Waterfall Way Travelling with a Dog
- 4 Day Itinerary Dog Friendly Waterfall Way NSW
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How to do the Waterfall Way Travelling with a Dog
Should I take my dog along Waterfall Way?
If you will not go anywhere without your dog, our itinerary has dog friendly waterfalls, spectacular lookouts, a stunning swimming creek and a brilliant cafe. The scenic drive alone is worth the effort of driving the Waterfall Way.
Waterfall Way has five National Parks where dogs are strictly prohibited. Admittedly, finding dog friendly Waterfall Way things to do was challenging. Compared to the Blue Mountains, also with multiple National Parks has over 15 Genuine Dog Friendly Walks, the Waterfall Way does not have many activities to do with dogs.
My tip is if you travel the Waterfall Way sightseeing, it is best if you are willing to leave your dog unattended in your caravan for one – three hours or arrange pet sitting. In the itinerary below, I suggest how to visit waterfalls at three of the National Parks. We did two out of the three and I think everyone should do at least one.
Is There Dog Friendly Camping on Waterfall Way?
There is dog friendly camping on Waterfall Way with most caravan parks and campgrounds outside of the national parks allowing dogs.
Where is Pet Sitting Available on the Waterfall Way?
There is dog sitting along Waterfall Way at:
Dorrigo Pet Resort | Phone (02) 6657 2425
Bellingen Dog Care | Phone (02) 6655 1979
How long does it take to do Waterfall Way?
Waterfall Way is 165 kilometres or 2 hours 20 minutes. Ideally, allow two to three days to the Waterfall Way, so there is enough time to see the sights.
Where does Waterfall Way start and finish?
Driving west to east, Waterfall Way starts in Armidale and ends at the Pacific Highway in Raleigh near Urunga.
Is Waterfall Way Sealed?
Waterfall Way is sealed. There is some pothole damage to the road after the recent rain (2022), so take it easy.
Is the Waterfall Way Okay for Caravans?
Waterfall Way is okay for caravans. The drive out of Dorrigo towards Bellingen for 15 kilometres is spectacularly beautiful as the road winds through rainforest and descends the mountains. It is also windy, with some sections single lane. These are well marked and usable with a caravan. Just take your time.
4 Day Itinerary Dog Friendly Waterfall Way NSW
Day 1 | Dog Friendly Armidale
For a day (or two if you prefer) doing dog friendly Armidale attractions, it would have to start out of town at the beautiful Armidale Pine Forest, where you and your dog can enjoy walking trails and hike in nature. The forest has many tracks of different lengths and difficulties, so you are sure to find a perfect walk for your dog.
Next, drive the 30 minute scenic drive to the historic Top Pub in Uralla, where dogs are very welcome, for a delicious lunch. At the pub, kick back and relax after your morning of walking.
Then in the afternoon, head back into Armidale for a stroll about town and a walk through the Bicentennial Arboretum with its small lake and waterfall. The Apex Lookout is a fantastic way to end the day before we suggest heading off to Wollomombi to free camp for the night, ready to sightsee along Waterfall Way in the morning.
Where to Camp
Wollomombi has dog friendly free camping at Wollomombi Rest Area or the Wollomombi General Store, each within 100 metres of the other and with access to the same public toilets.
Alternatively, if you would rather stay in a caravan park, stay in Armidale again tonight and continue your journey along Waterfall Way early in the morning.
Dog Friendly Armidale Caravan Parks and Camping
Dog friendly camping in Armidale:
Armidale Tourist Park is a small quiet park with all the features travellers love. There is a pool, playground, bouncy pillow, large sites, clean amenities, lovely staff and more. Vitally, dogs feel most welcome.
Big4 Highlander Van Village has some older, maintained amenities, a pool and other facilities. Located close to shops and dog friendly, this could be your place to stay in Armidale.
Armidale Showgrounds has decent showers, toilets and laundry for guests to use. Enjoy staying on large grassy sites with your dog, powered or unpowered. Water is also available.
Day 2 | Armidale to Dorrigo via Wollomombi
Driving distance Armidale to Dorrigo | 127 kilometres or 1 hour 30 minutes
To start today, it is worth considering unhitching your caravan and leaving it at Wollomombi because the first few dog friendly Waterfall Way sights are along dirt roads, which are narrow in some sections. Alternatively, if you take your caravan, be mindful of the narrow roads and where you park your caravan.
From Wollomombi, it is a 15 kilometre drive back towards Armidale to the historic mining town of Hillgrove. Today, non of the old buildings remain standing, but you can venture around the reading plaques and history of where the mining town buildings once stood. There is also a small museum.
From Hillgrove, drive 5 minutes along Old Hillgrove Road to the dog-friendly Baker Creek Falls Lookout. You will hear the thunder of falls as soon as you step out of your car. The falls are impressive!
Next, drive over to the dog friendly Metz Gorge Lookout. Admittedly, I thought it would be an alternate view of Baker Falls, but instead, there was a view over the Historic Baker Mine down in the splendid Metz Gorge.
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is only a five minute drive from the Wollomombi free camps, so if it suits you too and the weather is cool, leave your dog in your caravan and head over to the park.
At the national park, we walked the 700 metre return walk to Mains Falls Lookout. If you do not want to leave your dog for long, this is the best lookout to do at the national park. You could be in or out in less than 30 minutes.
Additionally, we walked the four kilometre return trail to Wollomombi Falls and Chandler Falls Lookout. The boardwalk crossing over the Wollomombi River was exhilarating, with the river fast flowing under our feet. The views of the falls were okay, but I was disappointed the view of Wollomombi Falls was not of the long drop, only the top of the falls.
Edgars Lookout is a quick driving detour out of the park. The views of the gorge were nice, with the falls way off in the distance.
By now, you will likely be hungry for some lunch. Back at Wollomombi, have lunch in your caravan or grab an order of some highly praised hot chips from the Wollomombi General Store. Once you have eaten, hitch the caravan back on and head down the road towards Ebor.
In Ebor is the Ebor Falls at the Guy Fawkes River National Park. To see the falls leave your dog in your car or caravan at Ebor camping area, Ebor Recreation Area across the road from the park entrance. It is a fifteen minute loop walk to the falls. You can be back with your dog in half an hour or less.
Continue the drive to from Ebor to Dorrigo to your campsite for the night.
For the afternoon, after checking into your campsite, head to the magnificent dog friendly Dangar Falls, a five minute drive out of town. I kid you not when I say Dangar Falls is up there with the best on Waterfall Way. Check out the falls from the lookout at the carpark and the twenty minute return trail down to the base of the falls is a lovely dog friendly walk.
Dog Friendly Dorrigo Caravan Parks and Camping
Dog Friendly Camping Dorrigo:
- Dorrigo Mountain Holiday Park is a small pet friendly tourist park with a relaxed atmosphere. Although the amenities are dated, we chose to stay here because it is close to town and the Dorrigo National Park.
- Dangar Falls Lodge, Camp & Caravan is a lovely small park with a beautiful vista near the dog friendly Dangar Falls. The campground is a few minutes drive out of town, perfect Waterfall Way camping for those who love the serenity.
- Dorrigo Showgrounds is the other dog friendly campground in town with lovely green campsites. It has everything you need and nothing more.
Dog friendly free camping near Dorrigo:
- Rose Park Camp Spot in Thor, mid way between Dorrigo and Bellingen, is the closest dog friendly donation/free camping on Waterfall Way NSW. The campground is reviewed highly and has toilets. It could be your base for Dorrigo and Bellingen.
Day 3 | Dorrigo to Bellingen
Driving distance Dorrigo to Bellingen | 29 kilometres or 35 minutes
Before you check out, take the beautiful, ten minute drive to Griffith Mountaintop Lookout to see the best views of the mountains on Waterfall Way Dorrigo. The scenic drive along a country lane lined with trees, wooden farm fences and green rolling hills is idyllic. I loved it!
Next, possibly with your caravan hitched back on, head into the town of Dorrigo for a stroll with your puppy. As an op shopper, I recommend Vinnie’s. Other things to do in Dorrigo is the Heritage Dorrigo Hotel, Spar and IGA Supermarkets (Spar is better priced), an Antique Store that has been closed for years (still peer through the window) and a woodfire bakery (cash only) to buy a sourdough loaf.
Dorrigo National Park is the next stop on this Waterfall Way itinerary. My tip is it possible to park a caravan on Dome Road, on the grassy verge, outside the entrance to the park. On a cool day, leave your dog here in your caravan. Make sure you are not in the park’s carpark which is marked by signs and marked car parking spots.
The quick choice of what to do in Dorrigo National Park is the Rainforest Centre, the 75 metre Dorrigo Skywalk Lookout (a $2 donation per person) and the easy 30 minute return walk through the breathtaking rainforest along the Lyrebird Link Trail. If you have a little more time at the end of the Lyrebird Link trail, continue to the Glade Picnic Area to enjoy the rainforest for a bit longer.
The longer choice is the above, as well as the 6.5 kilometre loop Wongo Walk that takes in the spectacular Dorrigo waterfalls, Crystal Shower Falls and Tristania Falls. All up, it takes nearly three hours to do this walk. Also, follow the tip we got from a lovely park ranger and walk the trail anti clockwise; it is a much kinder climb up the steep inclines going that way than clockwise. The falls and the walk were wonderful, but do not stress too much if you are uncomfortable leaving your dog for so long.
It is a breathtakingly beautiful steep windy drive down the mountain from Dorrigo for 15 kilometres, heading to Bellingen. Also, as you drive, keep an eye out for the Sherrard Falls and a glimpse of the Newell Falls (both are no stopping).
In Bellingen, head straight to the super dog friendly Old Butter Factory for delicious lunch and gelato treat. Before or after lunch, wander the historic factory grounds and the attached specialty shops and galleries with your dog. See if you can find the flood markers, the last in 2022 and be amazed the place is still standing!
After lunch head over and check into your Waterfall Way Bellingen campsite for the night.
For the afternoon, take a scenic country drive out to Gleniffer to the dog friendly Angel Gabriel Capararo Reserve. At the reserve is one of the prettiest crystal clear creeks we have seen on our travels. It is so worth the fifteen minute drive from Bellingen. Chika loved the short walk along the creek’s edge, swimming and having a good sniff around. We loved it too, although, in July, it was too cold for us to swim. It is a stunningly beautiful place.
Dog Friendly Bellingen Caravan Parks and Camping
Dog friendly camping Bellingen:
- Bellingen Showgrounds is a charming, relaxed dog friendly camping along Waterfall Way, close to town. The amenities are clean and the camp hosts are friendly. What more do you need? Camping along waterfall Way
Dog friendly free camping Bellingen
- Burdett Park Football Field is dog friendly camping for a donation a short drive out of town on Waterfall Way. There are toilets and bins. We stayed here and found it more than adequate for one night.
Day 4 | Bellingen to Urunga and Coffs Harbour
Driving distance Bellingen to Urunga | 15 kilometres or 15 minutes
Driving distance Bellingen to Coffs Harbour | 35 kilometres or 30 minutes
Urunga is lovely and the perfect way to finish the Waterfall Way with a stroll along the dog friendly Urunga Wetlands Boardwalk. The one kilometre walkway meanders through stunning wetlands to a lookout and a dog friendly beach.
Next, you may wish to head north along the coast to the dog friendly Coffs Harbour. Our favourite places to visit in Coffs Harbour with your dog are:
- Forest Sky Pier has sensational views over Coffs and the coast.
- The Big Banana to get the iconic photo with your dog.
- Bonville Headland in Sawtell is a pretty spot and fantastic for land based whale watching with your dog.
Dog Friendly Waterfall Way Map
We have put together a Dog Friendly Waterfall Way map. The map is interactive and can be downloaded.
A dog friendly Waterfall Way road trip is possible when you know where to go. Happy travels!