Cascades walking track

New England National Park

Overview

Cascades walking track in New England National Park is a rainforest stream walk that travels down through the valley below Wrights lookout for amazing scenic views.

Where
New England National Park
Distance
5.7km loop
Time suggested
2hrs 30min - 3hrs 30min
Grade
Grade 4
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

Price
Free
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen, suitable clothing
Please note
  • The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch

This gorgeous and tranquil 5.7km walk (return) takes viewers down along the beautiful valley below Wrights lookout walking track past cascades and waterfalls, alongside giant king ferns and mossy boulders. Five Day Creek, along Cascades walking track, is one of the most beautiful rainforest streams in New South Wales.

Visitors have described doing this walk as like being in another world, filled with vivid green moss, liverworts and lush ferns. It stands in stark contrast to the nearby dry, low heath covered, rocky outcrop of Wrights lookout. Wander slowly and find fascinating fungi along the way.

You may hear the deep calls of the brown pigeon or see flocks of white-headed or topknot pigeons searching for rainforest fruits. An enormous variety of invertebrate animals live in the park and may be encountered on this walk - the most famous of which is the living fossil velvet worm, or ‘peripatus’, as it’s commonly known. Rather like a velvety caterpillar, it can be found in moist places under fallen timber and in sphagnum moss. It has changed little from its ancestor - one of the first creatures that moved onto land 540 million years ago.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/cascades-walking-track/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Cascades walking track.

Track grading

Grade 4

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    2hrs 30min - 3hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Limited signage

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    5.7km loop

  • Steps

    No steps

  • Quality of path

    Rough track, many obstacles

  • Experience required

    Experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Cascades walking track is in the Point lookout precinct of New England National Park. To get there:

    • Turn onto Point Lookout Road from the Waterfall Way halfway between Armidale and Dorrigo
    • Continue for approximately 10km
    • Turn right just after the park entrance and park at the Robinsons Knob trail carpark.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available at Robinsons Knob trail carpark.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in New England National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    Enjoy the fresh air walking during the day, and cosy nights by the fire at Toms Cabin.

    Spring

    Climb up to Wrights lookout and see the colourful display of wildflowers.

    Summer

    Immerse yourself in the cool air and vibrant green of the Antarctic beech rainforest covered in moss.

    Winter

    Discover the spectacular icicles and frozen rock faces along the Weeping Rock walking track.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    10°C and 24°C

    Highest recorded

    32.8°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    1°C and 12°C

    Lowest recorded

    -7.1°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    January

    Driest month

    June

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    286.1mm

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    This park is in a remote location, so please ensure you’re well-prepared, bring appropriate clothing and equipment and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    If you’re bushwalking in this park, it’s a good idea to bring a topographic map and compass, or a GPS.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    River and lake safety

    The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

    Permitted

    Camp fires and solid fuel burners

    You’re encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves, especially in summer during the fire season.

    Prohibited

    Gathering firewood

    Firewood may not be collected from the park, so you'll need to bring your own.

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Bellingen (49 km)

    Bellingen is a laid-back, tree-lined town with a New Age vibe. It's set in a luxuriant valley beside the Bellinger River.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Dorrigo (35 km)

    Dorrigo is a serene country town and the gateway to Dorrigo National Park. Its close to the edge of the escarpment above the Bellingen Valley.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Kempsey (71 km)

    Kempsey is a historic river town close to national parks and majestic beaches. Kempsey is a convenient place for an overnight stop for anyone driving between Sydney and the North Coast.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Cascades walking track is in New England National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Aboriginal cultural heritage

    Point lookout, New England National Park. Photo: Shane Ruming

    The park straddles the traditional boundaries of the Dunghutti, Anaiwan and Gumbaynggirr People, and covers an area of great spiritual and cultural significance to local Aboriginals. Point Lookout in particular is a sacred location, known to Aboriginal people as 'Berarngutta', which roughly translates as 'prohibited area'. It is considered a men-only place, and today many Aboriginal women choose to continue this tradition and avoid visiting the area.

    • Point lookout Point lookout is a must-see destination for visitors to New England National Park, offering panoramic views across World Heritage rainforest to the ocean in the distance.

    Amazing wildlife

    Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), New England National Park. Photo: Jim Evans

    The park's altitudinal range, from 150m above sea level to 1563m, makes it a superb habitat for a diversity of wildlife. You might see kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, possums and the inquisitive spotted-tailed quoll. Adults and children alike will love watching the resident lyrebird at Banksia Point. Yet with over 100 species of birds in the park, there are plenty of opportunities for birdwatching. You might spot white-throated tree creepers and rufous fantails in the open forests, while in winter flowering banksias attract Lewins honeyeaters and eastern spinebills.

    • Point lookout walking track It only takes 20 minutes to negotiate the easy Point lookout walking track, but the views from this sealed track, within New England National Park, are truly stunning.
    • Wrights lookout walking track Wrights lookout walking track takes you through a lush world of ferns and wildflowers to a rocky plateau with spectacular panoramic views looking down to Bellinger River.

    Historic heritage

    Point lookout, New England National Park. Photo: S Leathers

    In 2010, New England National Park celebrated its 75th anniversary as one of NSW's most iconic parks. Its history is a testament to the vision and dedication of several influential New Englanders, notably Philip A Wright and his son Peter. They were deeply impressed by the beauty and grandeur of Point Lookout and recognised the value of the area as a sanctuary for plants and animals. After you see the spectacular views at Point Lookout, take a moment to learn about the history of the park and the visionary people behind its conservation.

    Volcanic landscape

    Tea Tree Falls walk, New England National Park. Photo: J Evans

    The steep cliffs of the plateau edge at New England National Park are the result of at least 5 basalt lava flows from the Ebor volcano, forming a rim over 300m thick. Active until about 18 million years ago, this massive volcano was centred around The Crescent, a semi-circular ridge in the Bellinger Valley, visible from Point Lookout. Subsequent erosion has created the dramatic profile of the escarpment we see today. The Banksia Point circuit provides a close-up view of a basalt flow, and you can see the layers of cliffs north from Point lookout.

    • Point lookout Point lookout is a must-see destination for visitors to New England National Park, offering panoramic views across World Heritage rainforest to the ocean in the distance.
    • Tea Tree Falls walking track Roam through eucalypt forest and beneath hanging moss on Tea Tree Falls walking track, linking Thungutti campground and Toms Cabin in New England National Park.

    World Heritage rainforests

    Wrights lookout, New England National Park. Photo: S Ruming

    The rainforests in New England National Park are part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area; the most extensive strip of diverse rainforest anywhere on earth. The World Heritage Area is a direct window into the past and the future, providing a link to the ancient pre-human world and a stunning and irreplaceable record of life on our planet. Discover the ancient Antarctic beech forests below the escarpment edge on trails like the Lyrebird or the Eagles Nest walking tracks.

    • Eagles Nest walking track See the best that the park has to offer in just a few hours on the Eagles Nest walking track. Experience World Heritage rainforest, snow gum forest and outstanding views.
    • Weeping Rock walking track A short walk along Weeping Rock walking track in New England National Park will take you to a basalt cliff with natural springs above and covered in moss and ferns.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

      With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

    • Satin bowerbird. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Satin bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)

      With vibrant blue-violet eyes and curious antics, the satin bowerbird is a favourite for bird watching and easy to spot as it forages for food in open forest. Relatively common across eastern Australia, in NSW they’re found in coastal rainforests and adjacent woodlands and mountain ranges.

    Plants

    • Blueberry ash. Photo: Jaime Plaza

      Blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

      The blueberry ash is a rainforest shrub which produces blue olive-shaped berries and spectacular bell-shaped flowers, which often appear on the plant together. It is a tall slender shrub or small tree found in rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and coastal bushland in eastern NSW, south-east Queensland and Victoria.

    • Wonga Wonga vine. Photo: Barry Collier

      Wonga wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)

      The wonga wonga vine is a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. A variation of the plant occurs in the central desert, where it resembles a sprawling shrub. One of the more common Australian native plants, the wonga wonga vine produces bell-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring, followed by a large oblong-shaped seed pod.

    • Coachwood flower. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum)

      Coachwood trees are Australian native plants that grow in warm temperate rainforests along coastal NSW. Also known as scented satinwood, the mottled grey bark of the coachwood has horizontal markings and a delicate fragrance.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    School excursions (1)

    Cascades walking track, New England National Park. Photo: L Burke