Rainforest loop

Dooragan National Park

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Overview

This relaxing walk close to Laurieton and Port Macquarie, loops through rainforest to a remote lookout with coastal views, before returning to North Brother summit picnic area.

Accessibility
Medium
Distance
0.6km loop
Time suggested
15 - 30min
Grade
Grade 4
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water, binoculars, insect repellent
Please note
  • At times, as with anywhere in the bush, ticks, leeches, and other biting insects may be about, and it’s a good idea to wear light-coloured clothing and insect repellent if you’re sensitive to such bites.

Rainforest loop is a relatively relaxed walk leading to the furthest end of the loop, where a small remote lookout platform looks back at Diamond Head. On the southern side of the loop, the rainforest - with its suspended gallery of birds nest ferns - plunges you into an amazing green cathedral.

The highlight of taking this walk is really the gallery of birds nest ferns, epiphyte orchids, and other plants on the southern part of the loop walk. There’s also an amazing example of a strangler fig close to the track, near the carpark end of the southern side of the loop walk. The northern end of this loop track is wheelchair-accessible.

Surprisingly few people use this track, so the casual picnic visitor to the lookouts could easily find a little piece of solitude and serenity in the cool harmony of the rainforest here. Starting and ending at North Brother summit picnic area, why not enjoy scenic views over the coast and watching hang-gliders launch themselves from the summit.

Take a virtual tour of Rainforest loop captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


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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/rainforest-loop/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

  • in Dooragan National Park in the North Coast region
  • Dooragan National Park is open sunrise to sunset but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Rainforest loop.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    15 - 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Limited signage

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    0.6km loop

  • Steps

    No steps

  • Quality of path

    Well-formed track

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    On entering Dooragan National Park:

    • Enter the park via Captain Cook Bicentennial Drive, just north of the main part of Laurieton.
    • Travel 5km up Captain Cook Bicentennial Drive to Summit picnic area (there’s a carpark at the terminal end of this dead-end road access point)
    • Enter Rainforest loop from the western side of the picnic area, opposite the toilet block and shelter shed.
    • Either ends of this loop walk are about 30m apart, off the edge of the western picnic area.

    Parking

    Parking is available at Summit picnic area. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited at times

    Best times to visit

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

    Spring

    A colourful burst of wildflowers spring into bloom under the forest canopy, particularly in the open, grassy forest. Hill-topping butterflies start to use the summit area of the mountain, and on warm calm days, they spend all day dancing around near the lookout. .

    Summer

    This is the best time for north-easterly winds, favoured by hang-gliding enthusiasts. Watch the amazing spectacle of these masters of the sky launching themselves from the summit.

    Winter

    This is the best time to tackle the strenuous Laurieton track, with the weather cool enough to make the exercise a pleasant way to keep warm, and a great time to hear lyrebirds chortling away in the cool gullies nearby.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    23°C and 26°C

    Highest recorded

    40.2°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    16°C and 20°C

    Lowest recorded

    -5°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    310.6mm

    Facilities

    Drinking water is not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

    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.

    • The walking opportunities in this park are suitable for experienced bushwalkers
    • If you’re bushwalking in this park, it’s a good idea to bring a topographic map and compass, or a GPS, although the track is easy to follow.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus 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).

    There's reasonable mobile reception in this park.

    Accessibility

    Disability access level - medium

    • The northern end of this loop is around 200m of sealed path through coastal rainforest. It's suitable for wheelchairs, prams and visitors with limited mobility. 
    • Some assistance may be required on gentle hill sections and there may be occasional obstacles on the path.

    Medium access presents some minor difficulties, such as a grassy surface. You may require a little assistance to get around in some areas.

    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.

    Learn more

    Rainforest loop is in Dooragan National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A choir of birdsong

    Sunset over Dooragan National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    While most visitors may see certain species around the lookouts - like cheeky magpies, currawongs and kookaburras - those with an ear for birds will find the forest has a greater diversity than their eyes would have them believe. Occasionally, a lucky birdwatcher may spot the dramatic flash of rainbow colour as a wompoo fruit-dove darts from place to place in search of rainforest fruits. Overhead, resident wedge-tailed eagles demonstrate their clever use of up-drafts, watching for where their next meal might come from.

    • Laurieton track Part of the Three Brothers, this challenging walk to the scenic summit overlooking Laurieton is not to be missed. The views are some of the best across northern New South Wales.
    • Rainforest loop This relaxing walk close to Laurieton and Port Macquarie, loops through rainforest to a remote lookout with coastal views, before returning to North Brother summit picnic area.

    Dreamtime stories

    Camden Haven Inlet, Dooragan National Park. Photo: Leo Meier

    The local Aboriginal people tell a Dreamtime story of three brothers in the Birpai tribe who were killed and buried where the mountains stand. The youngest of the three brothers was Dooragan, hence the park's name. Coincidentally, 'Three Brothers' was also a name given to the three mountains by Captain James Cook as he sailed past in 1770, without any knowledge that the local Aboriginal people referred to them in such a similar way.

    Soar like an eagle

    Dooragan lookout, Dooragan National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Popular for almost 30 years as a hang-gliding site, most park visitors leave launching themselves off the summit to the professionals, and just enjoy watching the awesome spectacle as experienced pilots lift off from and soar around the lookout area.

    • Rainforest loop This relaxing walk close to Laurieton and Port Macquarie, loops through rainforest to a remote lookout with coastal views, before returning to North Brother summit picnic area.

    The lifeblood of Laurieton

    Queens Lake, Dooragan National Park. Photo: Andy Marshall

    Sixty or so years after Captain Cook passed by, the forests of North Brother Mountain and good access to waterways for easy transport and shipping, meant that timber harvesting contributed to the establishment of the Camden Haven area, and pioneer settlements developed around them.

    • Laurieton track Part of the Three Brothers, this challenging walk to the scenic summit overlooking Laurieton is not to be missed. The views are some of the best across northern New South Wales.

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