It was about the time I passed the turnoff to Sarum Lookout that I heard, then spotted, an echidna. If you wish to see one on your visit to Australia, this is probably one of the best places.
I've never walked deep into here yet without seeing one and, the time before, I saw four of them. For one reason or another, these creatures fascinate me. They are a monotreme, one of only two in the world (the other is the platypus), egg-laying mammals from a branch of nature that time almost forgot.
To get a picture of one you have to be patient as, when you get near them and they become aware of your presence (not that easy because they have poor eyesight), they tend to roll up into a ball or cower and bury their head somewhere.
Thus it is that you then have to set yourself up in a comfortable position and wait until they start moving again, usually under five minutes time.
Sarum Lookout, by the way, is another rarely visited spot and you can sit there on the chiselled rock and let your mind wander though it must be said that all the other lookouts offer better views.
Tree species you can expect to encounter en route:
New England stringybark
New England blackbutt
Hillgrove spotted gum.
Native broom and wild cherry are also common. The understorey is often sparse except for occasional wattles, blackthorn and grass trees which makes for easy viewing of the native fauna.
For the first hour and a quarter, the terrain is midly undulating and presents no difficulty. You will see some kangaroos (eastern greys predominate) and some of them have become quite accustomed to humans and don't spook readily which is good if you want to take your first kangaroo pic. Be warned, grey on a grey background doesn't make for a good contrast!
After the first five kilometres though, it starts to go downhill and, after another half a kilometre, starts to go downhill seriously. Unfortunately there are only about 15 steps for the next hour and, trust me, unless you are used to going down steep inclines, your legs will ache when you finally reach the bottom. Steps make this sort of trail much easier but, apart from one lot of 13, there were just one or two and it makes for hard walking with the rock-strewn trail demanding your attention at all times.
When you finally reach the bottom there are rewards. The crystal clear waters gurgling through the rounded granite, past green weed soon to be flushed downstream when the next good rains come and all around the echo of birdlife dancing on the eucalypt boughs.
The sandy beach provides soft comfort after the harshness of the trail and the leaves a welcome respite from the sun. The swimming holes beckon you to feel the cool mountain waters and let them flush your cares away.
This then, is the Salisbury Waters experience
When you get to Dangars Falls to do your tourist thing, you may well stop and view the explanatory trail map that the National Parks and Wildlife Service have put on a display board, along with lots of other interesting information. This map will indicate there are more things to see than simply one set of falls, though the majority of tourists will never use the other trails.
Fortunately for me, work takes me up in the area rather frequently and, especially when daylight saving is in operation, allows me time to do other things.
One of the things I'd always wanted to do was to go to the end of the trail to Salisbury Waters, a name that sounded enticing to me.
The following is what happened on that day.
The opening shot I took just 500 metres from the carpark.
Armidale has some wonderful buildings. Certain schools and university buildings spring readily to mind but, if I had to live there, this would be my choice of residence.
Currently owned by a doctor, this lovely balanced piece of work is in Brown Street.
Wonderful what a brilliant Australian sky (and a polarizing filter) can do to highlight a makeover.
This is Armidale Railway Station, rather obviously recently refurbished when this shot was taken.
Part of the station is no longer needed due to modern work practices and so the left hand side of it is now a doll museum.
That reminded me that places like Forbes have turned theirs into an art gallery, Werris Creek and Tenterfield into railway museums, others into team rooms. You just never know what you might come across at the railway these days..................sometimes there are even trains!
There are a few towns in N.S.W. that have abundant autumnal displays; Armidale is numbered among them.
Its proliferance of deciduous trees leads to a blaze of colour every fall though it is rare to get as many species as I captured in this all turning at the same time.
Silly me thought it would be like this every year but, since I took this snap in the early '80s, it has never come remotely close to putting on a display of comparable magnitude.
Sure, all the leaves still turn, but it is spread out over a couple of months, which is good in one way because the spectacle lasts a bit longer, usually from late April to July.
Armidale, like all towns in the New England area, has its share of parks. As regular viewers of my pages can attest, I like parks.
This particular one is located between the Tourist Information Centre and the RSL Club and this particular sculpture is of one of Australia's larger birds, the black cockatoo. In real life they come with red tails or yellow tails and tend to nest inland and fly to coastal areas to feed, especially when the banksias are in bloom.
This is the eastern end of Smith House, part of which is accommodation in addition to the therapeutical side of things.