The second stage of the $1.8 million upgrade of Dorrigo National Park’s beloved Wonga Walk has added a new dimension to one of the most popular rainforest walks in Australia.
Nationals Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the 100 million year-old rainforest remains the main event, but sculptures including a Wompoo Fruit Dove, eastern yellow robins, and giant panda snails now add to the experience.
“More than 150,000 people visit Dorrigo National Park each year and that number is set to climb as we position this park to be a centrepiece of tourism on the north coast of NSW,” Ms Pavey said.
“The upgraded Wonga Walk and Walk with the Birds will eventually link to the planned $56 million Dorrigo Great Walk and Arc Rainforest project, which was announced in this year’s NSW Budget, creating an unforgettable visitor experience.
“The just completed upgrade includes rebuilt, bigger boardwalks, and the addition of sculptures of rainforest species, to encourage visitors to stop and take a closer look at their surroundings.”
The project is part of the NSW Government’s largest investment in the history of NSW national parks, providing $450 million for more than 200 visitor infrastructure projects across the State by 2024.
“This record investment will boost visitor numbers, create jobs, and stimulate economic activity in regional communities right across NSW, supporting our communities to recover in the wake of droughts, bushfires, floods, and the pandemic,” Ms Pavey said.
National Parks and Wildlife Service Dorrigo Area Manager Glenn Storrie said the Wonga Walk project is aimed at providing a more engaging and immersive experience.
“Dorrigo National Park has World Heritage listed Gondwana rainforest, 600 year-old trees, cascading waterfalls, and now giant Wompoo doves,” Mr Storrie said.
“The 18 sculpture installations, some magnified and others life-sized, are a novel and tangible way to enhance the overall experience and reach new potential park visitors, who might be engaging in nature for the first time.
“Local artist Nick Warfield sculpted the wompoo fruit dove out of salvaged and recycled automotive plastics, while the 12 stainless steel creatures were created by Tim Johnman.
“The Wonga Walk upgrade also improves accessibility and provides additional education spaces along the track.
“These dedicated education hubs allow guided school groups to move away from the busy track thoroughfare and will lead to an expansion in the range of programs offered by NPWS education staff.
“Completed just in time for school holidays, we can’t wait for visitors to linger longer and see a different side of the rainforest.”