Summary: A pleasant loop that features a short scramble to the top of Cathedral Rock, from which there are sweeping views over the New England Tableland.

It’s my second short bushwalk on our Dorrigo weekend, after the Wonga Walk on the previous day… the Cathedral Rock Walk in the Cathedral Rock National Park is a 90min drive from our house in Promised Land, near Bellingen. As I head inland on the Waterfall Way the weather gradually improves from heavy rain, to scattered showers and finally some patches of sun as I reach Ebor. The start of the Cathedral Rock circuit is at the end of an 8km gravel road, just after Ebor.

It’s easy walking through the sub-alpine woodland, with the track still wet from recent rain.


The track splits into two after about 400m, forming a large loop around Cathedral Rock. I take the left-hand fork, and the track gradually ascends over the next 1.8km to the junction with the track up to the top of the rock.

A sign at the start of the track to the top warns that it’s a “Grade 5” trail (whatever that means) and involves a steep climb. The track immediately starts ascending quite steeply through rocky terrain, with frequent signage showing where the trail goes.

After a few hundred metres, I reach the base of Cathedral Rock and the real fun begins


There’s no exposure or climbing involved, but some scrambling is required as the route goes over large boulders and between crevices, towards the top of the rock.

With the top in sight, there are a couple of chains to help climb some of the bigger boulders. Cathedral Rock was was formed millions of years ago by the Ebor volcano, with molten rock being forced into fissures deep within the earth’s crust. Weathering then exposed the large granite tors – the most notable being this one – as a series of large granite boulders balanced on top of each another.

At the top of the rock Cathedral Rock is a large flat area, with views in all directions including across the New England Tableland and the nearby Round Mountain (distinguishable by its radar air navigation station on the peak).


Ironically, after having no problems reaching the rocky summit, as I explore the top of the rocky outcrop I slip on a wet section of rock. I only suffer a few scratches, but my trusty 24-105mm lens bears the bring of my fall and is damaged beyond repair. So the rest of my photos, as I make my way back down to the bottom and back to the car, is from my iPhone!

It’s about the same distance going back via the other section of the loop, with the track ascending again as it makes its way around Cathedral Rock. There’s a clearly marked junction with the track that goes north past Woolpack Rock and up to Native Dog Creek Camping Area, another access point to the national park.

From the north-eastern end of Cathedral Rock the track starts descending again, past large mossy boulders, ferns and and large trees that make it feel like a rainforest landscape. From here it’s a very pleasant and fairly quick walk back down to the car. A great little walk – I’d love to do this again, timing it to be at the top of Cathedral Rock for sunrise or sunset!

0.0km Start at Barokee Camping Area (carpark)
0.4km Track junction - start of the loop walk
2.2km Junction with track to Cathedral Rock 
2.7km Top of Cathedral Rock
3.3km Return to loop track
5.8km Return to carpark

More information on Cathedral Rock Walk

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