Living on the Mid North Coast allows us to be close to some of the best day trips New South Wales has to offer. We were headed up north from Forster, without a plan. We decided to go wherever the roadside signs took us. A wonderful detour on the way to Port Macquarie was Dooragan National Park. This Aboriginal site has been well maintained to provide an incredible stop for a bit to eat and some relaxation among the forest.
Dooragan National Park - North Brother Mountain Lookout
Where Is Dooragan National Park?
This beautiful patch of Australian Bushland is located in the Camden Haven region, between Port Macquarie and Taree. It is approximately 4.5 hours from Sydney driving along the Pacific Highway.
How To Get To North Brother Mountain Lookout?
There are 2 ways to get to the summit.
1) Starting in the town of Laurieton, take the 3km Laurieton Walking Track all the way to the top. This scenic hike can take between 1.5 hours - 2.5 hours to complete. It is a challenging hike, with plenty of rewards awaiting you at the top.
2) Drive up the 5km Captain Cook Bicentennial Drive, taking you straight to the lookout carpark. As we had a full day of exploring the rest of the region, ahead of us, the drive was a much more comfortable option.
How Long Should You Spend On North Brother Mountain?
It is completely up to you! We went for a casual stroll along the Rainforest Loop, checked out all of the lookouts and had a snack. We spent around 1 hour in total up there. There were plenty of groups who had settled into one of the shaded picnic areas for a lengthy lunch. Take some food, water and a camera and enjoy the day. I was having a blast photographing all the Butterflies and Birds that were lucky enough to have this lookout as their backyard.
What To Bring To North Brother Lookout?
I would suggest packing a picnic, water, and a good book. Bring picnic chairs or a rug for a bit of a personal touch to your experience. Pack your camera and binoculars as you won't find it hard to scope out the local Fauna. Remember your sunscreen, bug repellant, a hat and sunglasses. If walking the Rainforest Loop, definitely pack on the Aerogard!
History Of The Three Brother Mountains
The names for these 3 mountains comes from an Aboriginal folk story. Legend says that 3 brothers set up camp in the Camden Haven Region. One of the brothers left the camp briefly. When he returned, he found his 2 brothers had been killed and eaten by a witch. He killed the witch and took the bones of his brothers. He laid them to rest in 2 seperate areas. He then killed himself out of shame of not being their to protect his brothers. From these 3 seperate areas, rose 3 mountains that are now known as North Brother Mountain, Middle Brother Mountain and South Brother Mountain.
This area was gazetted as The Three Brother Mountains Aboriginal Place on December 21, 2001. A symbol of the importance that this land has to our Aboriginal People and Culture.
There are 4 lookouts on top of North Brother Mountain. The surrounding Dooragan National Park ensures incredible, naturally framed views from all of them. Laurieton Lookout is the main lookout, with spectacular views down to the town of Laurieton, Tacking Point, Camden Haven River Inlet and the town of North Haven.
Don Johnstone Lookout
The second best lookout from the mountain is Don Johnstone Lookout. This lookout spans over to the South, looking towards South Brother Mountain and Middle Brother Mountain. You have uninterrupted views of Watson Taylors Lake and Crowdy Bay National Park. Can you spot the highway? It's amazing how small the ant-like cars look from up here!
Rainforest Loop and Diamond Head Lookout
This small walking track loops down along the mountain side, with access from the carpark. It is nearly 1km long, with most of it being unmarked or paved. About 3/4 the way along, you will pop out to an opening, where a small lookout platform has been built. This looks out towards Crowdy Head National Park. The loop is a wonderful shady retreat, encasing you in a world of Eucalypt, Ferns and Figs. It's interesting to see the transition between dry bushland to rainforest in such a small area.
Travel Responsibly In Dooragan National Park
Follow these 3 easy steps to ensure a wonderful piece of Australian National Park is maintained for years:
1) Take all rubbish with you. Do not leave anything behind. Even if you think that food scraps aren't waste, this can have a huge impact on the local ecosystem.
2) Stick to the marked paths. Try not to disturb any plants or animals that may be off the track. Let nature be.
3) Take as many photos as you like, but do not take anything else. There may seem to be an abundance of plants, leaves, flowers around, but you do not need to take these. The native Flora and Fauna need these much more than your vase at home does.
More Things To Do In The Camden Haven Region
Within an hours drive North you will find Tacking Point, Crescent Head, Port Macquarie, Laurieton and Kempsey.
Within an hours drive South you have the abundant Mid North Coast region of New South Wales.
Check out my comprehensive guides for this region.