Take a drive to these beautiful Manning Valley landscapes including one of Australia’s top ten waterfalls.

Exploring the beautiful rural landscapes of the Manning Valley prepares you for the spectacle of Ellenborough Falls, easily one of Australia’s top ten waterfalls, plus picturesque Potoroo Falls.

The waters of the Manning River are an important part of our identity.

The Manning River is one of the state’s important river systems, especially for the Barrington Coast. The river is born high in Barrington Tops above Gummi Falls and descends 1,500 metres over its 261 km course. The catchment basin covers 8,125 square km which is 80% of the Barrington Coast, known as the place where the leaves touch the waters from the mountains to the sea. So the waters of the Manning River are an important part of our identity.

Points of interest

Manning Valley towns and sleepy villages

This scenic drive approaches the southern entry to the Manning River valley via the hilltop village of Krambach. Descending from the ridges into a lush rural landscape, you’ll quickly understand why this region was one of the first to be opened up to settlers.

1. Nabiac: Nabiac sits alongside the Wallamba River and means 'place of the wild fig'. Be sure to explore to quaint shops in the quiet streets off the Pacific Highway, you'll discover the National Motorcycle Museum plus cafes and antiques.

2. Krambach: Krambach is a quiet village on the Bucketts Way with a welcoming country-style pub.

3. Tinonee: Tinonee was one of the earliest settlements in the Manning Valley. What was once a bustling town centre is now a peaceful riverside village providing a focus for indigenous arts and crafts including pottery and handcrafted local goods. Tinonee is also home to a historical museum, a bustling general store, café and artisan gallery.

4. Mondrook: The quiet village of Mondrook offers country hospitality with charming cafes, galleries and an artisans retreat.

5. Brushy Cutting Lookout: A fabulous photo opportunity from Brushy Cutting Lookout, here you’ll snap breathtaking panoramic views over the Manning Valley.

6. Wingham: Wingham was settled in 1853 at the highest navigable point of the Manning River. Step back in time as you admire the National Trust listed buildings and visit the Historical Museum. The pretty town boasts some gorgeous boutique stores and award-winning cafes where you can savour the fresh local produce.

7. Wingham Brush:
Down by the Manning River you'll discover Wingham Brush, a rare and beautiful nature reserve. Covering 10 hectares of subtropical floodplain rainforest, it's one of only a few remnants of this rare rainforest type in Australia. Giant Moreton Bay figs tower over a gently winding boardwalk, with wandering scrub turkeys and a large colony of endangered grey-headed flying foxes.

8. Bobin: This quiet village is famous for being the place where the 1992 Australian animated theatrical movie "Blinky Bill: The Mischievous Koala" was filmed.

9. Elands:
Another a sleepy rural village sitting high on the beautiful Bulga Plateau. Its a great spot for getting provisions for your journey to Tapin Tops or Comboyne Plateau.

10: Rowleys Peak Lookout: From this lookout in Tapin Tops National Park, you can stand over 1000m above sea level and enjoy astonishing scenic views out over the park, Taree and beyond.

Ellenborough Falls at Elands (photo: East Coast Photography)
Ellenborough Falls at Elands (photo: East Coast Photography)

11. Ellenborough Falls

Departing Wingham for Ellenborough Falls on this scenic drive, you’ll see how the rural land changes as you head towards the Bulga Plateau and the village of Elands.

At 200 metres, Ellenborough Falls is the tallest single drop waterfall in New South Wales and amongst the tallest in the southern hemisphere. It's an iconic experience of the Manning Valley region in the Barrington Coast.

There are four ways to experience Ellenborough Falls depending on your fitness level. At the top of the falls near the car park is the first viewing platform and nearby there's a short walk to another viewing area near the waterfall drop-off. Both of these are easy effort.

The third option is a 10 minute walk down the timbered walkway to The Knoll. This viewing platform is directly opposite the falls for a top-to-bottom vista of the waters of the Ellenborough River tumbling into the ravine below.

The fourth option is truly worth the effort. You descend 641 steps to the base of the falls, with rest stops that you'll appreciate on the way back up. At the bottom is a rock pool misted by the spray of the water, splash some of the icy water on your face to cool off.

The view looking back up the waterfall is mesmerising, it puts their small human scale into perspective. On the slower walk back up those steps, notice the changing plants and foliage, keeping an eye out for the birds and animals that make this special place their home.

12. Potoroo Falls

If you still have time remaining, you may wish to proceed with this scenic drive to Potoroo Falls in Tapin Tops National Park. This park lies on a spectacular section of the Great Eastern Escarpment, high up in the mountains northwest of Wingham, to the west of Ellenborough Falls.

In Tapin Top, scenic lookouts such as Rowleys Rock lookout provide astounding panoramic views out across the Manning Valley to the Pacific Ocean beyond. Wander through the park’s subtropical rainforest and old growth eucalypt trees with its richly diverse plant and animal habitat.

Potoroo Falls walk is a fun, easy walk that involves a bit of rock jumping along a creek down to the falls and their swimming waterhole. From the picnic area, follow Potoroo Falls walk approximately one kilometre upstream along Little Run Creek to the tranquil, scenic waterfall and swimming hole.

At the start of the track, you’ll spot the largest recorded watergum in New South Wales, not to mention many species of rainforest trees and interesting plant life and wildlife along the way. As the route follows the creek, it involves some rock-hopping, so be prepared for wet feet and a bit of splashing. Don’t forget to take your swimming gear for a dip at the beautiful swimming hole – it’s the perfect place for cooling down when the weather is hot.

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