IN A move that will firmly place New South Wales on the global ecotourism map, the state government is set to invest $56 million into the Dorrigo National Park to introduce a new visitor centre and multi-day walk, in what will be part of the largest capital investment program ever undertaken in NSW national parks.
The Dorrigo National Park is located around an hour from Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast and encompasses part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
The new Dorrigo Escarpment Great Walk will comprise of a 46-kilometre walking track with three suspension bridges, taking travellers through the Dorrigo and Bindarri National Parks over two or four days.
The walk will provide low-cost accommodation owned and operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, consisting of four purpose-built, low-impact communal walkers’ huts and camping areas with tent platforms and composting toilets.
The Arc Rainforest Centre, featuring an energy-efficient, sustainable design and recycled materials, will connect visitors to the new walk, as well as the existing six-kilometre Wonga Walk. The centre will also include a boardwalk that overlooks the rainforest and a treetop skywalk with an upper and lower deck catering for all weather conditions.
The project aims to connect more people to nature and Aboriginal culture, breathe life back into ageing infrastructure, generate ongoing jobs, and boost tourism to help regional NSW towns recover from drought, the 2019-20 bushfires and COVID-19.
The new attractions are expected to attract an extra 200,000 visitors to the region, with Minister for Environment, James Griffin, enthusing that the rainforest at Dorrigo National Park is “even more spectacular than the Daintree”.
“I want everyone who comes to our NSW national parks as a visitor to leave as a conservationist, and this world-class Dorrigo Escarpment Great Walk helps us achieve that.”