Dangar Falls

New England Region / Bellingen Shire / Dorrigo, New South Wales, Australia

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 2
Dangar Falls
Dangar Falls was a waterfall that we didn't expect to see going into our trip in May 2008. We happened to be aware of its existence only after making a stop at the visitor centre in the nearby town of Dorrigo. Nonetheless, Julie and I were certainly glad to have made the visit because we were treated to a classic block type waterfall said to be plunging 30m over a basalt wall. This waterfall should not be confused with the similarly named Dangarsleigh Falls (also called Dangars Falls for short) near Armidale, where that one was dry during our visit despite it being taller. At least the one pictured above was gushing, which further reinforced to us the variability of the quantity of water captured in the drainages of the New England area during our trip.

From the car park and picnic area (see directions), we first went right to the upper overlook which was merely a few paces away. It was from this vantage point that yielded the photo you see at the top of this page, and you might be able to tell that we could also see a smaller upper tier further upstream that didn't appear to be accessible given the infrastructure in place already.

Then, when we walked along the gorge rim away from the waterfall, we encountered a shadowy path that descended in the same direction before switching back and going right towards the front of the falls. As we got closer to the falls, it definitely got a little misty, but we didn't need a rain poncho. Nevertheless, there was enough mist to refract the late morning light and produce some rainbows at the very base of the waterfall, which further attested to the healthy volume that the Beilsdown River was getting.

Julie and I also noticed some faint basalt-like columns in its underlying bedrock, which hinted at the area's volcanic origins while also providing the means that gave rise to the waterfall itself. In fact, such features seem to be fairly common amongst many of Australia's waterfalls (e.g. Browns Falls, Trentham Falls, and Ebor Falls, among others).

Finally, Julie and I remember Dangar Falls in a rather infamous way. Basically what happened was that we were picnicking near the car park when an insect that looked just like a leaf showed up and disrupted our lunch. As we were fumbling around trying to take macro photographs of it, somehow we managed to drop Julie's Sony Cyber-shot and broke it (she still blames me for this mishap to this day). Doh! So if you've noticed there's no movie of this waterfall (a real shame in this case), this was the reason why. It wasn't until we were up at Byron Bay a few days later did we finally have a replacement.

Directions: From the intersection of Waterfall Way (Hwy 78) and Hickory St right in the centre of Dorrigo, we went north on Hickory St for 500m before turning left onto Vine St and continuing for another 500m. Then, we kept right and crossed over the Bellingen River as the road became Coramba Rd and we followed this road for another kilometre before turning right into the signposted car park for the waterfall. Dangar Falls was about 2km north of the Dorrigo town centre.

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The base of Dangar Falls
About 40km west of Dorrigo (and Dangar Falls) was Ebor Falls.  This was the Lower Ebor Falls in suboptimal morning light
About 4km south of Dorrigo was the walk for Crystal Shower Falls, which was pretty neat in that we were allowed to go behind it
Another look at the Dangar Falls and some smaller upper tiers from the lookout near the car parkAnother look at the falls and some smaller upper tiers from the lookout near the car park

Julie on the trail entering the shadows leading to the base of Dangar FallsJulie on the trail entering the shadows leading to the base of the falls

Julie on an elevated walkway approaching the base of Dangar FallsJulie on an elevated walkway approaching the base of the falls

Almost at the base of Dangar FallsAlmost at the base of the falls

At the base of Dangar Falls with a rainbow and some evidence of basalt cliffs to the leftAt the base of the falls with a rainbow and some evidence of basalt cliffs to the left

View of Dangar Falls and its extensive plunge poolView of the falls and its extensive plunge pool

This little guy started the chain of events that broke Julie's cameraThis little guy started the chain of events that broke Julie's camera

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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