Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mid North Coast NSW

Crowdy Bay National Park in winter. It was full of banksia and other native flowers and alive with honeyeaters. The roads were well maintained but unsealed ie dirt. After quite a time we arrived at a camp ground were kangaroos grazed on the grassy areas and again, abundant birdlife created a wonderfully cheerful chattering in the surrounding bush. A short walk down to the beach for this shot looking to the north. It was a very beautiful park. Idyllic.

In the interest of those thinking of coming up to camp, here's a not very good shot of the campground, complete with roos grazing. The flowering trees are paperbarks (melaleucas).

Here's the view across the breakwater to the north in Port Macquarie. When this photo was taken we were staying at the HV Boutique Motel which is just across the road from this view. Many of the apartment blocks have views across the ocean or up the coast.

Back in 2005 when visiting Port Macquarie, we decided to take a few days to wander up the coast a bit. .. but before we got away, Dad introduced us to Innes View Road. I don't know why it took so long for us to find Innes View Road. It's up past Comboyne, which is itself a lovely district of dairy farms cleared from the Big Scrub.

Dad was so disappointed that he didn't get to show it to us on a clear day, but I love wet cloudy weather and I thought it was totally exhilarating with the clouds rising up the edge of the mountains past green fields of friesian cattle. We've gone for a run up to Innes View Rd fairly regularly since. Last year we struck a brighter day as you can see in the next picture. Notice that the road runs along the very ridge top with steep drop away on either side overlooking a mix of farmland and apparent wilderness. Breathtaking.
There is a farm along the way that straddles the road in this magnificent spot. We pulled over to say hello to a lovely elderly lady as she was feeding her poddy calves. She'd moved to the farm as a new bride just after WWII. Wow!

I've been reading The Silver City by Ion Idriess. Turns out that this book is his memoir and he spent some years of his early childhood in Lismore. He describes the process that must have been typical through the rainforest areas along the north coast with timber getters and homesteaders clearing blocks and burning to establish the farms out of the big scrub. Though it was written in 1956, there is a clear tone of regret at the environmental destruction across this country in the wake of white settlement. Gives one pause for thought because things have only got worse since then in terms of habitat loss.

Up past Comboyne there is a tiny patch of remnant rainforest in Boorganna Nature Reserve. There are some wonderfully situated picnic tables with stunning views, situated as it is at the crest of a hill.

Within the reserve a track winds down a rather steep hill to a lookout over a waterfall.. This is all I had time for as Mum was waiting for me, but the track goes steeply down past this lookout to fern valley to the base of Rawson falls. Here and there among the forest are the stumps of trees clearly showing the scars where the boards for the loggers to climb have been wedged in the living body of the tree. A sad sight to contemplate.

Quite a way inland from Port, is Ellenborough Falls. On the way back to Sydney we decided to make a day of it and take mum up there for a look. She's very fond of waterfalls!

At the end of this walk there is a lookout directly opposite the falls that provides a much clearer view. We were last at Ellenborough Falls over a decade ago and the viewing arrangements were quite different. I recall my eldest daughter and I walked down to the base of the falls. The lizards were completely unfraide of us. We turned back when signs warned of stinging nettles. I had no idea what stinging nettles looked like and we weren't wearing covered shoes so I thought it prudent to turn back. The path was indetectable from the scrub. We doggedly followed the people ahead of us but it was quite scary. The relief when we made it back to the waiting family was immense. It must be terrifying to be lost in the bush for real.

We were aiming to see some new country we'd not previously explored and that was too far for a day trip so we pressed on determinedly north. stopping at an occasional deserted beach. The NSW coast is just an endless string of sandy beaches broken up a little by headlands here and there.
I couldn't resist having a look at Mount Yarrahapinni. This is located within Yarriabini National Park. Yarrahapinni was the name of the property owned by Esther's parents in the iconic Australian story "Seven Little Australians" by Ethel Turner.
On the way in to the National Park we stop for a look at the beach at Grassy Head

We turn in and we are not disappointed to have made this diversion. Beautiful hoop pine and flooded gum. The road is unsealed and we crossed a couple of shallow creeks reveling in the shade and damp.

After a time we turn into the Pines Picnic Area. The flooded gums shine in the light like beacons. I don't think I've ever seen such a beautiful picnic area. There is a sculpture in the picnic ground erected by the local indigenous people. As I recall there is some information about the symbolism of the sculpture, but ah the hazards of not blogging promptly! I can't remember now!

The flooded gums provide an architectural contrast to the hoop pines whose branches form a lacy canopy sheltering staghorn ferns high on the trunks.

From the picnic area we continue to climb the mountain. There are lookouts situated along the way with views east south and eventually all directions. I think it's South West Rocks across on the crescent headland in the distance in this shot. From the top of the mountain they say that on a clear day you can see all the way to North Brother at Laurieton, south of Port Macquarie.
The top of the mountain is a bit of a let down as it is the location of a communications installation, so we don't hang around. Anyway we had places to be.
We take a scenic backroad to Bellingen. It's a shady forest drive along dirt roads and we find it more interesting and enjoyable than sticking to the highways.

Next day we head off to explore the Waterfall Way.

Griffiths Mountain top lookout. On a clear day they say you can see all the way to the ocean. Not clear today but I don't care a bit. I LOVE this sort of weather with clouds and mist across the countryside.

Dangar Falls out of Dorrigo

Dorrigo National Park, along the walk to Crystal Falls. It's a misty rainy day with light showers passing through throughout the day

Looking out from behind crystal falls.

There is a beautiful picnic area in Dorrigo National Park, complete with Brush Turkeys!

Some beautiful fungi colonising a fallen log in Dorrigo NP

Looking out at approaching rain from the treetop boardwalk just out from the information centre and cafe in Dorrigo National Park. As we view we hear the rain approach as the large drops hit the foliage of the forest, and make a run for it back under shelter.

Upper falls

Looking out over the national park.

Upper and Lower falls veiled by a light drizzling rain

Wollomombi Falls

Eucalypts and grassy understorey

Looking out over the wildnerness. This was the sort of terrain the aboriginal people were driven to having to survive in when the surrounding land was taken over and cleared for farms. Note you can see the farms coming right up to the edge of the gorge.

Fantastic trees at Hungry Head Beach around the carpark. Wet from the rain they are absolutely glowing

Close up the bark is a nobbly delight.

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