Bellingen Favorites

  • Never Never Creek
    Never Never Creek
    by iandsmith
  • Reflections at Angel Gabriel Reserve
    Reflections at Angel Gabriel Reserve
    by iandsmith
  • More reflections of Never Never Creek
    More reflections of Never Never Creek
    by iandsmith

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    Three days of walking - Blackbutt track

    by iandsmith Updated Jul 23, 2014

    Favorite thing: (Note: this track is about 40 minutes up the road from Bellingen, enquire at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre for maps etc.)
    Eventually I opted for the Blackbutt Track, a 6.5km option that finishes at the Never Never Picnic Area and leaves you with a 4 km hike back up the road. As a testimony to the chill winter’s morn (and my laziness, let’s be honest), I didn’t get going till 10.30.
    Blackbutt is a classic bush trail, the sponginess of the leaf litter making for pleasant hiking as you crack the occasional fallen twig on the track and brush aside the odd encroaching fern whose leaves dazzle green when caught in the elusive sun’s rays. Trees battered by storms past lie moss-coated and fungi encrusted across the forest floor, soon to become fodder for new growth.
    Then the scrub parts and the vision of white cascades and leaf-laden rocks draws your eye, Callicoma Falls has been reached. It’s fed by Endiandra Creek, named after an endangered rainforest tree called the Crystal Creek Walnut.
    I scanned downstream and thought I saw gold but, nay, ‘twas a false lead so I concentrated the camera elsewhere and then moved on, away from the clear water from which I drank.
    Then, after a time, it seems like you’re on the edge of the mountain and the only way ahead is down, seriously down. There’s a reason for this, you are, and suddenly there are steps, a canyon begins to swallow you and the lure of water dashing itself on hard rock is omnipresent.
    It’s a prelude to Casuarina Falls, where significantly more water than Callicoma cascades from above before parting across the ragged face. But there is more to Casuarina, for downstream there is a vista to distant places beyond, coinciding with where the water disappears into the abyss where perchance I chose to venture. It was marginally less dangerous than rock climbing as I descended, grasping trees and jutting rocks and praying my boots would grip at every foothold.
    I reached halfway down the drop and there were temptingly more falls below but prudently I decided enough was enough and scaled the heights again before climbing the stairs and moving on the trail beside Sassafras Creek, though mostly it was only visible from above through tantalising gaps. Then I thought I saw a possible breach in the forest’s defences and worked my way to Sassafras. En route every lawyer vine in existence seemed to wrap around my legs and body, causing numerous pauses and expletives deleted before, after risking a fallen log crossing, I had the creek and its numerous cascades to myself.
    There’s something about being in a place like this, knowing few have ever ventured here before, being a part of nature without feeling like you’re intruding. The solace it brings cannot be measured but it can certainly be felt; the sound of being alone is with you all the time; there’s even a certain excitement knowing you’re in a place where no-one would know where to look for you should some misadventure befall you.
    I failed to find gold here either, though two lonely shafts of light tried valiantly to reach the water, only to find the verdant rainforest canopy stifling the sun’s powerful rays and, when I walked out, it was through less strenuous terrain though still cobwebbed with vines.

    Fondest memory: The chill of the afternoon permeated the dark trail as I neared Never Never Picnic Area. A car could be heard leaving for Dorrigo, my hopes of a lift back up the 4 kms of road appeared to be dashed and, when I reached the tables and other facilities, no vehicle was visible. Thus it was after 4 ½ hours hiking in boots that were a fraction too small, I turned left and headed uphill, my feet complaining all the way as a motorbike came down the rise and I momentarily thought there could be a lift option there but he had a pillion.
    I ate and wearily headed off again; it was a footfall after footfall job, just focusing on getting back before dark when suddenly, from behind, my hopes rapidly rose with the sound of a car. I hadn’t seen it at the park but there it came around the curve and, with wide eyed anticipation, I thumbed them down.
    The three of them had just finished the Rosewood Creek Trail so we compared notes and I must have mentioned five times how grateful I was to get a lift, especially when they said they were the last car there.
    My joy at being back in the motorhome and having a cup of tea knew no bounds; I salivated over every warm mouthful and relaxed, thinking of the morrow and a walk with Terry.

    Blackbutt Track Backlit forest on the Blackbutt Track Endiandra Creek Sassafras Creek (taken from the trail) Casuarina Falls on the Blackbutt Track
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Three days bushwalking - Gleniffer Falls

    by iandsmith Written Jul 22, 2014

    Favorite thing: The third day dawned and it was the day I was going to Gleniffer Falls, somewhere beyond my campsite on Never Never Creek. I hoped he wouldn’t turn up on time (7 a.m.) as the winter chill penetrated my clothing but, lo, there he was and with two passengers. My hope of stalling him with a cup of tea dissipated and I hastily started packing.
    He had Ben, a P.E. teacher at Dorrigo who is his next door neighbour and, his grandson Charlie aboard. So we clambered into the 2WD and, soon after, wished we were in a 4WD when we drove up the track to Cliff’s place, a strange assortment of edifices in various states of disrepair strewn across a bare patch of land and accompanied by abandoned motor vehicles.
    Cliff, a man in his eighties, was there to greet us and was decidedly uninterested in my handshake and introduction as he sought to find out why Terry was a day early. That hurdle over, he later wondered why Terry was locking his car as he figured that if we didn’t return in a couple of days he could look forward to adding to his car collection.
    We set off downhill to the creek and then turned left and started clambering over rocks, an act that didn’t cease for the next 7 hours.
    There are no trails here, no tracks to follow, just a seriously stony river not anxious to give up its secrets. After a time I started asking Terry, he of the GPS, how far we’d gone and how long had it taken. It must have sounded like the “are we there yet Mum?” that children are wont to cry but Terry was kind to me. I was a bit shattered when I discovered that, after an hour, we hadn’t even gone a kilometre up the creek.
    As each succeeding hour passed and we digressed up a side creek my legs started to tire as I scanned the horizon for the famous gorge that everyone else swims through but Terry said we could circumvent. Finally it was visible and the nimble among us scouted ahead to see how bad it was. Turns out it was a little too tricky to navigate so we took Terry’s diversion up the side of the seriously steep bank and scrambled our way skyward.
    At times the virgin route seemed almost impassable but, encouraged by Terry’s assurance, we soldiered on and pushed upstream before descending again to what I thought was Gleniffer Falls; but, no, it was a point from which you can view Gleniffer Falls.
    I had been warned I may not be impressed but the opposite was the case. After scrambling up a side chute of what I thought had been Gleniffer Falls, I gazed in awe at the distant spectacle of multiple falls in succession cascading off the distant mountain range. There, indeed, were the hallowed cascades. I’d never realised just how high they were. Ben proffered they were the highest in Australia but I ventured that someone had done the exercise and, accordingly, Wallaman was listed as the longest single drop in Australia though Ellenborough is claimed to be by other sources. That still didn’t make Gleniffer any less impressive; for me, they are one of the best falls I’ve ever seen.
    Sadly, to get up close to them really requires an overnight journey by the truly fit or an abseil off the cliff, neither idea holding any attraction for me. All too soon it was time to head back, Terry of the time piece a little concerned that it had taken us 4 ½ hours so far and we’d only travelled a shade over 3 kms, which was a reflection on (a) how many photos I’d taken but, more seriously, (b) how rugged it was.

    Fondest memory: As we trekked back, finding an easier route around the canyon, the pace was much quicker; after all, I’d already seen the gold I sought. It had been in the side stream and, later, in Never Never as well. The afterglow of the sun on high dashed itself on the gentle waters and there had been the enchanting gold, below the corrugation of ripples that fanned out from the base of a cascade.
    With the increased pace came fatigue and I was the first to stumble, something I did three times and Terry five; trouble was my first and third stumbles were worse than any of Terry’s and my shin and back suffered accordingly, the rocks having re-affirmed their lack of give. After not quite 2 ½ hours we were back, always with the feeling that Ben and Charlie could well have been home and showered in front of the telly if it hadn’t been for the old farts.
    Still, it had been another memorable day, one I won’t repeat, but that didn’t make it any the less unforgettable, and I had found gold.

    The lure of Gleniffer Falls Never Never Creek The gorge on Never Never Creek A tributary of Never Never Creek
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Three days of walks - Stony Creek

    by iandsmith Written Jul 22, 2014

    Favorite thing: I’d seen it before in the creeks; the colour is unmistakeable, but it’s not very common. It depends so much on light or, more correctly, the angle of it. Traipsing through rainforests means that light can be a problem but, just occasionally, when the stars are aligned, so to speak, the flashes of brilliance can be observed.
    Thus began my odyssey around Bellingen, seeking out new creeks in this fertile land of promise, places unobserved in my decades of wandering. My first outing was up the Syndicate Ridge Track, a trail that, at times, crosses the path of an early 20th C logging tramway. Where Alma Lane ends is where one end of the track begins, a pleasant meander through cowpat encrusted paddocks with the Great Divide as a backdrop.
    I didn’t plan on doing the whole trail; 7 hours one way up a steep ridge without photos was not what I sought. No, I was after Stony Creek, a watercourse shown as being off to the right of the ridge. I walked out of the fields and into the forest, reaching a floppy barbed wire gate soon after. Having breached this minor obstacle, it was but 100 metres further on that I noticed what might be a rarely used track descending into the gully, and so it turned out. The last 30 metres required bracing against trees to scramble down but when I arrived it was to a little piece of paradise.
    Here trickles of water played over moss-strewn rocks and gurgled through the cracks with rainforest flora criss-crossing overhead, stemming the sun’s rays. The little light that appeared on the stream’s surface was merely a reflection of the sky and the water was so clear as to be almost invisible in the intervening ponds. Large rocks lay scattered midst the smaller rocks beneath the smooth water’s surface, telling a story of floods past and warnings of floods yet to come.

    Fondest memory: I entered this world alone and spent nigh on two hours here, not moving more than 100 metres from my entry point. Once I spied a fungi encrusted log merely 30 metres across the other side yet it took me over half an hour and seven other fungi species photographed before I got to it and then saw another five thereafter. The tranquillity of the forest, breached only by the occasional bird cry, cast a calming blanket over my mind.
    All too soon, it seemed, I was heading back to the motorhome, now planning for more of the same the next day.

    Stony Creek Fungi Trametes versicolor fungus On the Syndicate Track
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Angel Gabriel Capraro reserve

    by iandsmith Written Jun 27, 2014

    Favorite thing: Should you be doing the Promised Land loop road, there are three creek crossings en route. If you are travelling clockwise, this reserve is the last of the three.
    It is popular, to a degree, in summer. The fact that is has a couple of areas to park your car and a rubbish bin testify to that.
    In cooler times however, you may find the place deserted, as we have done on a couple of occasions.

    Fondest memory: We didn't go there for a picnic but merely stopped to take photographs. It was so good and had such promise that I went back again on my own for another session and plan to go again in warmer times.
    Hopefully the pictures reflect just what a beautiful spot it is.

    Never Never Creek Reflections at Angel Gabriel Reserve It's made for photography More reflections of Never Never Creek Further upstream
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Photography

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  • unravelau's Profile Photo

    The countryside is so lush and the river so

    by unravelau Written Dec 12, 2003

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: beautiful, I would just have to take them for a drive around .............. over the bridge to north Bellingen, around to the island that houses a large flying fox population.........and further afield to see the general scenery around the Promised Land and Never Never Creek etc.

    It reminds me a bit of what I think that Ireland looks like.........maybe someone can tell me what they think?

    Fondest memory: The people are incredible. I can remember being phoned while there was still a couple of feet of water in the house. This woman asked how many people were presently there helping us to clean up.............I counted fourteen. A short while later the same woman came in with above knee galoshes, a silver tray and tea service and cups and cake to feed the fourteen..................amazing stories I have to tell about the wonderful community of Bellingen.

    Old and New.
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

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  • unravelau's Profile Photo

    Where to go, what to see, who to ring, how far?

    by unravelau Updated Jul 22, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: There is a Neighbourhood Centre right in the Centre of Town.................coming in on the right hand side. The beauty of Neighbourhood Centres is that they can be a mine of information.......... I would make it my first port of call upon arrival.

    A great local site that you can tap into for more information is www.bellingen.com/

    Fondest memory: The beautiful green of the valley.

    Bellingen Neighbourhood Centre.
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Festivals
    • Arts and Culture

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