McDirtys walking track

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Overview

This medium walk offers scenic waterfall views over Dangar Falls in World Heritage-listed Oxley Wild Rivers National Park with fabulous wildlife and birdwatching.

Where
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
Distance
6km return
Time suggested
2 - 3hrs
Grade
Grade 3
Price
Free
Please note
Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch.

If you like to combine wildlife, waterfalls and birdwatching with an energetic trek, then try the McDirtys walking track. Following the gorge ridge, you can see impressive views of falls country of the northern section of the World Heritage-listed Oxley Wild Rivers National Park from a number of lookouts.

At the lookout directly above Dangar Falls, you’ll be spritzed by crystal clear mist after a heavy downpour. Passing heathlands and dry gums, look for eastern grey kangaroos relaxing in the shade, as well as scrub wrens, treecreepers and crimson rosellas.

From the spectacular Rock Wallaby lookout, you’ll see unending scenic views of the deep river gouged ravines. Keep your eye out for the rare gorge wattle that clings to the steep cliffs.

Soak up the big open spaces over a packed lunch at any of the lookouts or head back to Dangar Falls picnic area.

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/mcdirtys-walking-track/local-alerts

Park info

  • in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park in the North Coast and Country NSW regions
  • Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • There are 3 areas in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park where you'll need day use vehicle permits: Halls Peak campground and picnic area, Riverside campground and picnic area, and Youdales Hut campground and picnic area. Day use vehicle permits can be bought online or by calling the National Parks Contact Centre on 1300 072 757. If camping, permit fees are included in the campground fee.

    Contact us for permits (/about-npws/contact-us).
See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Track grading

Grade 3

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

    2 - 3hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    6km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

McDirtys walking track is in the Dangars Gorge precinct of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. To get there from Armidale Post Office:

  • Follow Faulkner Street to the south
  • Turn left into Kentucky Street and drive for 1km, following the signs to Dangar Falls.
  • Turn right into Dangarsleigh Road and continue for approximately 8km
  • Turn left at the sign to Dangars Falls and follow the unsealed road for 10km
  • McDirtys walking track starts and returns to the Dangars Falls picnic area

Parking

Parking is available at Dangars Falls picnic area.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

A great time to tackle the Green Gully track when the days are not too hot and the nights not too cold.

Spring

The heathlands are a riot of colour when the flowers are out.

Summer

The waterfalls are likely to be at their most impressive after the summer rains.

Winter

Crisp, cool and clear days are good for a brisk half day bushwalk.

Facilities

Toilets and picnic facilities are available at Dangar Falls picnic area.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

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.

Prohibited

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

Armidale (39 km)

During autumn the parks and gardens around Armidale show their beautiful colours. Enjoy a drive along the Waterfall Way, stopping at waterfalls and craggy gorges in the rugged countryside.

www.visitnsw.com

Guyra (46 km)

Fishing in one of Guyra's numerous and beautiful streams is a great way to relax and get back to nature. You might land a big trout, too! If you're looking for more active pursuits, you're within easy reach of a number of scenic national parks, where rock climbing, kayaking horseriding and bushwalking are just some of your options.

www.visitnsw.com

Uralla (41 km)

Uralla offers fascinating insight into the gold-rush days of the 1850s. Stretch your legs on the Uralla Heritage Walk, which has 30 historic buildings along the route.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

McDirtys walking track is in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A national first

Gara Gorge, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

John Oxley was the first European to visit the New England region, passing through the area that is now Oxley Wild Rivers National Park in September 1818. Following Oxley, cedar-getters penetrated the remote and inaccessible gorges followed by pioneer cattle grazers who braved the remote wilderness for a hundred years. Between 1893 and 1894 the first commercial hydro-electric scheme was constructed to power the town and gold mines of nearby Hillgrove. Today you can visit the remains of this historical site when you take a walk along the Threlfall Historic walk.

  • Threlfall walking track Threlfall walking track in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park takes in the spectacular Gara Gorge wilderness area, with scenic views and a chance to see the historic hydro-electric scheme.

Abundant wildlife

two brush tailed rock wallabies sitting on a rock. Photo: Piers Thomas/OEH

The varied plant communities of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park provide a home for over 350 animal species, including the largest confirmed population of brush-tailed rock wallabies. Even though there are roughly 10,000 of this endangered species in the park, you'll have to keep your eyes open to catch a glimpse of their bushy tail. The park also boasts over 173 bird species, including the majestic wedge-tailed eagle, peregrine falcon, square-tailed kite and sea eagle.

  • The Green Gully track Make a booking to experience fern-lined gullies, high elevation forests and wildlife along the Green Gully track. Stay in heritage huts for a break from this challenging multi-day hike.
  • Threlfall walking track Threlfall walking track in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park takes in the spectacular Gara Gorge wilderness area, with scenic views and a chance to see the historic hydro-electric scheme.

Ancient lands

Chandler view circuit walk, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. The park contains some of the best examples of dry rainforest communities in Australia. When you are out exploring the wet and dry eucalypt forests, grassy woodlands and heathlands of the park, look for native olives, lacebarks, shiny-leaved and giant stinging trees, shatterwoods, scentless rosewoods and red kamalas.

Jaw-dropping scenery

Wollomombi walk, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

With dramatic ridges and gorges, towering rock outcrops and beautiful rivers and waterfalls, there is something new around every corner and you'll be constantly amazed by the views. The sight of a majestic wedge-tailed eagle soaring high above the gorges looking for food is a truly spectacular sight to behold. Don't forget your camera, give yourself plenty of time and keep your eyes open.

  • Budds Mare lookout Enjoy a picnic lunch at Budds Mare lookout surrounded by World Heritage listed rainforest and looking out to spectacular views across the Apsley River.
  • The Green Gully track Make a booking to experience fern-lined gullies, high elevation forests and wildlife along the Green Gully track. Stay in heritage huts for a break from this challenging multi-day hike.
  • Tia Falls walk The short and easy Falls walk in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is great for children. It leads to spectacular views of Tia Falls and Gorge and the lookout picnic area.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

    The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

  • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

    The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

  • Southern boobook. Photo: David Cook

    Southern boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae)

    The southern boobook, also known as the mopoke, is the smallest and most common native owl in Australia. With a musical 'boo-book' call that echoes through forests and woodlands, the southern boobook is a great one to look out for while bird watching.

  • Tawny frogmouth. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

    Found throughout Australia, the tawny frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl due to its wide, powerful beak, large head and nocturnal hunting habits. The ‘oom oom oom’ call of this native bird can be heard echoing throughout a range of habitats including heath, woodlands and urban areas.

  • Peron's tree frog. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Peron's tree frog (Litoria peroni)

    Peron’s tree frog is found right across NSW. These tree-climbing and ground-dwelling Australian animals can quickly change colour, ranging from pale green-grey by day, to a reddish brown with emerald green flecks at night. The male frog has a drill-like call, which has been described as a 'maniacal cackle’.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

View from Budds Mare lookout, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary