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Dorrigo: Discover The Plateau
dorrigo nswThe New South Wales mountain town of Dorrigo is a place that you can never get sick of, no matter how many times you visit it. It is nestled in the eastern regions of the Great Dividing Range, on a plateau that rises 760m above sea level. Home to beautiful mountains, steep gorges, pumping waterfalls and cascades, the idyllic drive here alone will capture your hearts and get you excited about what is to come.

Dorrigo is located inland from the Coffs Coast, and therefore acts as a great weekend getaway destination for neighbouring areas such as Armidale, Coffs Harbour and Urunga. This is a truly vibrant community that places a high emphasis on history and culture, which is evident through its strong ties to Australian heritage.

Natural sights and attractions abound in Dorrigo and this is essentially why it is visited by so many people. Highly regarded as Australia's National Park Capital, this area is home to a total of four World Heritage Listed National Parks, including the Dorrigo National Park and the New England National Park. Each national park is unique in their own right, with intriguing rock formations, gorges, waterfalls and cascades characterising each. Bushwalking is also extremely popular up here and with destination such as Dangar, Ebor and Wollomombi falls, you really are spoilt for choice. All of these destinations incorporate spectacular lookout points, which allow for excellent views and rare photo opportunities.

The best place to start your adventure of nature in Dorrigo is with the This stunning park is home to the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, which is an award winning establishment that is recognised nation-wide. The centre employs experienced and knowledgeable staff who can help you gain a greater understanding of Australia's flora and fauna, while taking you on a guided tour of the natural wonders present here. Attractions in the park, such as the "Skywalk", "The Glade Picnic Area" and the opportunity to walk with the birds, are frequented by families as they offer one-of-a-kind experiences with nature. There is also a strong focus on local art and culture here, which is evidenced through exhibition of local displays, which allow visitors to expand on their knowledge of both art and culture.

Dorrigo enjoys a reasonably steady climate, with glorious weather and the crisp mountain air making you feel really alive. The uncrowded main street i liken with village shops and hidden craft stalls, which are all nestled along or near the stunning river that runs through the town. For those seeking extreme thrills, explore the surrounding areas and you will come across Four Wheel Driving and Wild Water Rafting that will delight you until your heart is content. The local festivals, rodeos, shows and theatre performances also hold a prominent place here. Dorrigo is literally only just up the road from the town of Bellingen, which is home to the Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival. This annual festival attracts dedicated lovers of music and entertainment, from across the world. The Global Carnival and Stamping Ground Dance Festival are also major yearly attractions, so if you are in town around this time, you should definitely check them out.

Located on the banks of the Bellingen River and just a short driving distance from Dorrigo, lies the coastal region of Raleigh. The beautiful region is home to Australia's most easterly vineyard, the Raleigh Vineyard and Winery. Take some time out to sample the vast array of local wines, including red and white wines, ports and liqueurs. This is a great activity for couples, but if you have brought the kids along, you won't be able to resist a trip to the Raleigh International Raceway Kart Hire and Raleigh Round-Up. The kids can enjoy racing the track or the extreme waterslides, while you relax by the pool or cook up a good old fashioned family barbeque.

Keen to get out in nature, but still have a relaxing time? Well a drive up to the Valery Horse Trails will be ideal for you. Get on the back of a horse for a bush, riding adventure, because no matter how experienced you are, you are guaranteed to enjoy a fun experience that the whole family can appreciate.

After a full-on day of fun, adventure and exploration, its time to settle into your accommodation for the night and relax. Dorrigo offers accommodation to suit all needs and requirements. Ranging from quaint "Bed and Breakfasts" to Mountain Resorts, lodges and cabins, you are sure yo find something perfect for you and your family. If you wish to experience some true Aussie accommodation, book yourself into the Heritage Motel, which resembles a traditional Australian pub and offers home-style, pub-cooked meals, day and night. The friendly atmosphere and hospitality will make you feel right at home instantly.

Dorrigo is a place that invites you to get back in touch with nature and discover the true wonders of Australia's beauty, culture and lifestyle. A relaxing atmosphere and friendly vibe make it a perfect destination for a weekend escape, a family getaway or a romantic trip for two. The scenic drive is what really encapsulates the essence of the trip and makes you want to come back to see it again. So hurry up and come and discover just why this region is so special.

Christine Barton

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