ORARA ESCARPMENT TO YURAYGIR NATIONAL PARK
This adventurous drive ends on the ocean front.
Just half an hour from Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast, this challenging track is perfect for the 4WD explorer, as it climbs along the ridges of rocky plateaus and winds through lush rainforest. This journey can take one day or one week depending on how much you’d like to explore the diversity around the National Parks.
The trip starts in Bindarri National Park, along Urumbilum Creek Road that cuts through subtropical rainforest, with floor-hugging ferns, tall eucalypt forests and stunning waterfalls.
Be sure to check the weather before heading out, as there are bog holes on the dirt track, and the track surface becomes slippery with wet leaf cover. Make sure you visit the beautiful Bangalore Falls. There’s also a spectacular lookout here, showcasing dramatic views of the National Park.
You should also visit Urumbilum Falls before traversing the National Park towards the east. Stop for a picnic or stay the night at Bindarray picnic area, and listen to the calls of the Woompoo Fruit Dove. If you are in no rush, stay a few more nights in the Bindarri National Park and learn about the conservation areas on site, or head to the Ulidarra National Park and visit the Forest Sky Pier.
Continue east, until you reach Karangi Dam, then head north towards Glenreagh, along the scenic Orara Way. Here you will hit Sherwood Nature Reserve. This ancient forest is home to many animals, including possums, gliders, spotted-tailed quolls, flying foxes and monitor lizards. Listen for the cries of the black cockatoo and the sooty owl.
The elevated limestone plateau features some quite difficult driving stretches and is best not tackled in wet weather.
Drive to the Waihou lookout for a perfect vista of the Orara valley below, against the hinterland’s sandstone cliff faces.Then mosey on down to Wedding Bells.
The track from Waihou to Wedding Bells gets a lot easier as you negotiate the Conglomerate. Stay the night at Woolgoolga, ready to head north to Yuraygir.
Head north along the Solitary Islands Way and be sure to stop in at one of the beautiful, long, sweeping beaches along the way, either Corindi or Arrawarra.
Turn right off the Pacific Highway onto McPhillips Road towards Wooli Wooli River, and travel to Yellow Cutting Road to witness the amazing ‘Keyman’ Statue. We’ve covered this area in greater detail in our Yuraygir National Park story.
Follow the road until a T-intersection, where you cross a cattle grid, indicating that you have just entered the National Park. This terrain is only suitable for 4WDs with aired-down tyres as you are about to hit the beach. Check the tides at Pebbly Beach before visiting.
Stay the night at the Pebbly Beach campground and keep an eye out for the Pied Oystercatcher along the water's edge. Enjoy a refreshing dip and the quiet ambience of the exclusively 4WD-access-only beach.
The crossing from Pebbly Beach to Station Creek is through a shallow (at low tide) saltwater creek, so be sure your vehicle is well equipped for this transition. Relax at the Station Creek Campground and take the day off to explore the flora and fauna of the region. You will hear the song of Bell frogs, see Rainbow Bee-eaters and even Brolgas roaming these deserted parts. Also watch out for emus strolling around Yuraygir National Park.
Station Creek marks the end of this 4WD adventure. From here, you may head North to Barcoongere for further exploration of rainforest plateaus, or back to the highway to make your way Grafton in the west, or back onto the highway, up to the iconic Big Banana, just across from the beautiful Diggers Beach.
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