THURSDAY 18 FEBRUARY WOOLGOOLGA
We did not get a particularly early start, as John slept in somewhat. But after breakfast, we headed off to go to Dorrigo.
Took the Pacific Highway south, through Coffs Harbour, and then the road that goes through Bellingen and up the Range. We have been up the Bellinger River valley before, but it still impresses as being so pretty. We have said on previous occasions how, if we could have afforded it, we would have liked to move there. It remains one of the most attractive areas, for living in, that we have seen. Real estate values reflect the fact that we are not the only ones who think this!
The road, which is quite narrow for much of the way, initially follows the Bellinger River valley, and there are glimpses of the river through the trees that line the road. It is fertile farming country, along the valley. After Bellingen town, the road climbs up the range; in places there are steep drops to one side and rock walls to the other.
We followed a petrol tanker up the very bendy climb beyond Bellingen. He had to swing really wide on some of the corners. It is not a great road for driving a big vehicle on.
We turned off just before Dorrigo township to go to the National Park centre – Information Centre and the location of the Skywalk – an elevated boardwalk across to a viewing point over the forests towards the coast. The outlook was somewhat hazy, but vast.
At the Information Centre, bought a CD set of bird calls, thinking we could listen to these on the Truck sound system, while travelling in places with poor radio, and thus learn to identify some species by their calls. Quite often, in the bush, one can hear but not see.
After that, went to the Glade picnic area and ate our lunch there. We were entertained by bush turkeys chasing about.
We decided to undertake the 5.6km Wonga circuit walk, through the forests. It was excellent. Part of the walk is just above the drop off of the escarpment – we could see it falling away beyond the trees. The route took us past two interesting waterfalls – both flowing well. Tristania Falls were a “normal” kind of waterfall.
The Crystal Cascades were different – in a kind of grotto with little plants growing on the wet rocks, nourished by the spray from the falls. One could walk in behind the Cascades and look out through the curtain of water.
We identified three new birds on the walk – made it an even more great day. White headed Pigeon, Australian Thrush, Eastern Whipbrid.
By the time we ended the walk, the outlook to the coast was obscured – it looked like it was raining pretty heavily, down there.
On the drive back, called in at a good roadside produce stall, that we’d noted on the way, this morning, and stocked up somewhat.
We got back to camp just after 6pm, having driven 190kms. It had rained very heavily, here, apparently.
While tea was cooking, John walked to the shops and got a video, and I defrosted the fridge.
Tea was tomato and herb soup, stroganoff and noodles. Fruit for dessert.
John’s video – Amiset – was very average!