Crystal Shower Falls

Dorrigo National Park, New South Wales, Australia

About Crystal Shower Falls

Hiking Distance: 4.8km round trip or 5.8km loop
Suggested Time: 90-120 minutes

Date first visited: 2008-05-07
Date last visited: 2008-05-07

Waterfall Latitude: -30.38035
Waterfall Longitude: 152.72964

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Crystal Shower Falls was an attractive, light-flowing waterfall that allowed us to go behind it.

Julie and I certainly didn’t expect to see this waterfall going into our May 2008 visit to Northern New South Wales.

Crystal_Shower_Falls_027_05062008 - Crystal Shower Falls
Crystal Shower Falls

However, after we took a brief visit to the visitor centre in the nearby town of Dorrigo did we come across some brochure featuring this waterfall, which finally made us aware of it.

With so many other waterfalls in the New England region seen earlier in the day (especially along the Waterfall Way), we could have opted to skip the falls.

Needless to say, we were glad that we persisted with making our visit despite our waterfall fatigue.

Hiking to Crystal Shower Falls

Unlike the other waterfalls we had visited on this trip, Crystal Shower Falls required a bit of a hike.

Once we left the car park (see directions below), we passed through the Glade Picnic Area before picking up a 5.8km loop trail known as the Wonga Walk.

Even though this loop hike also passed by another waterfall called Tristiana Falls, we ended up opting to do an upside-down out-and-back hike to just Crystal Shower Falls.

Crystal_Shower_Falls_014_05062008 - Julie on the Wonga Walk towered over by attractively tall trees en route to Crystal Shower Falls
Julie on the Wonga Walk towered over by attractively tall trees en route to Crystal Shower Falls

We chose the upside-down out-and-back hike as it became late in the day when we started, and this abridged route probably saved us about one kilometre.

We still took 90 minutes to do this hike so I’d imagine it would take even longer had we completed the much longer Wonga Walk.

The Wonga Walk proceeded pretty much under a shady rainforest canopy.

So the hike felt cooler than we initially thought (especially given how warm it was earlier in the day).

Given the pretty long downhill walk, we knew that we would have to exert ourselves even more on the way back out.

Along the well-maintained track, we encountered a few panoramas looking towards the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Crystal_Shower_Falls_003_05062008 - While starting the hike down to Crystal Shower Falls, we got this view hinting at Australia's Central Coast (possibly in the direction of Coffs Harbour)
While starting the hike down to Crystal Shower Falls, we got this view hinting at Australia’s Central Coast (possibly in the direction of Coffs Harbour)

We also checked out some of the interpretive signs along the way.

Only after reading some of the signs did we realize that some of the broad-leafed plants flanking the track secreted some neurotoxins.

That made us very careful not to stray from the track and potentially touch any of the foliage.

As we got deeper into the rainforest, we also encountered a few streams to break up some of the silence.

The flow of the streams helped to assure us that the falls would have somewhat decent flow.

Anyways, with the amount of time we spent on the track, we gradually noticed the forest’s more subtle features like the bird songs, the rustling of the leaves in the wind, and the height of the trees around us, among other things.

Crystal_Shower_Falls_044_05062008 - Julie checking out the backside of Crystal Shower Falls as this was one of those waterfalls that we were able to go behind
Julie checking out the backside of Crystal Shower Falls as this was one of those waterfalls that we were able to go behind

When we arrived at the Crystal Shower Falls, we managed to take our best photos from the approach where we could best appreciate the waterfall’s full context (despite the lush overgrowth) as you can see in the photo at the top of this page.

Beyond our first views of the falls, the track then swung around the back of the Crystal Shower Falls where it would continue its circuit.

However, we turned around at this point fully satisfied with our waterfalling experience.

That said, we can’t say more about what else we could have experienced further beyond on the Wonga Walk.


Crystal Shower Falls resides in the Dorrigo National Park near Dorrigo in New South Wales. It is administered by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Crystal_Shower_Falls_001_05062008 - Julie embarking on the walk to Crystal Shower Falls taking the shorter side of the Wonga Walk Loop
Crystal_Shower_Falls_006_05062008 - We noticed this interesting-looking bird grazing about at the Glade Picnic Area
Crystal_Shower_Falls_009_05062008 - Julie descending on the track surrounded by tall trees providing plenty of shade
Crystal_Shower_Falls_055_05062008 - We weren't sure, but Julie and I were suspicious of broad-leafed plants like this that might have been the poisonous plants secreting some kind of neurotoxins
Crystal_Shower_Falls_011_05062008 - Julie descending deeper into the forest canopy cover
Crystal_Shower_Falls_019_05062008 - A small cascade we saw en route to Crystal Shower Falls
Crystal_Shower_Falls_036_05062008 - Julie admiring Crystal Shower Falls from its backside
Crystal_Shower_Falls_043_05062008 - Profile of Crystal Shower Falls showing its height relative to the alcove that Julie was within
Crystal_Shower_Falls_056_05062008 - Julie looking around at the forest as we slowly made our way back up to the Glade Picnic Area
Crystal_Shower_Falls_058_05062008 - On the gradual uphill hike back up to the Glade Picnic Area

The nearest town to Crystal Shower Falls was Dorrigo so we’ll pick up the directions from there.

From the intersection of Hickory St and Waterfall Way (Hwy 78) in the Dorrigo town centre, we continued east on Waterfall Way for the next 2km (the route would veer south shortly after going east).

We then had to turn left onto the easy-to-miss Dome Rd.

After about 1.4km on Dome Rd, we then turning right (south) at the visitor centre to go onto Lyrebird Lane, and eventually reach the car park for the Glade Picnic Area.

For context, Dorrigo was 64km (an hour drive) west of Coffs Harbour. Coffs Harbour was 391km south of Brisbane, 157km north of Port Macquarie, and 537km (6 hours drive) north of Sydney.

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Tagged with: dorrigo, national park, bellingen, waterfall way, coffs harbour, new england, new south wales, australia, waterfall, glade, tristiana, northern new south wales, wonga walk

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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