I have many detailed pages under the heading "Dorrigo" but thought I'd include a few pics here.
It takes over an hour to climb the range but it makes for a wonderful day out.
Fondest memory: The Dorrigo Rainforest Centre is what most people aim for and here there are some lovely easy forest walks, from 10 minutes to half a day. There's lots of helpful information here about other walks in the area nearby also.
The pictures are taken on the main walk here which takes 2-3 hours and has two significant waterfalls.
The map was as confusing as it was illuminating. The main road up from Coffs Harbour was a barely discernible stub in washed out colour so it took me some time to actually realise where I was; there being no “you are here” signage on the poster board.
Eventually I figured I should head down to the Bucca Creek Picnic Area, park the motorhome, and trek uphill through the forest and return via the main road. As I later worked out, it’s not something those without a sense of space should attempt.
By the time I reached Swans Road I assumed that had to be where I turned left but, there was no sign indicating the aforementioned picnic spot and the overhanging tree branches were a little too close for comfort with the motorhome’s tall profile so I returned to the main road and went further west until it became obvious that Swans Road had, in fact, been the correct road. So I returned, parked just off the main road and headed towards a creek somewhere and, lo, there was the picnic spot, set in a delightful spot beside the rushing water.
I tarried a short while and then turned upstream on the forest track. When I stopped for a moment the peace of the rainforest immediately enveloped me. I could literally hear leaves falling, the stream gurgling and the whoop of the pigeons yet, combined, they conveyed an air of calmness and transmitted a feeling of wellbeing that nature lovers understand.
The vegetation was impressive. High above the piccabeen palms that dipped their numerous toes into the water rose massive eucalypts. Stands of pristine white flooded gums stood out in the dark understory and then rose to meet the sumptuous blue of the winter’s sky. Elsewhere ancient figs had long ago strangled the life out of their hosts and made their own contorted presence felt in a jig saw of roots that twirled upwards to the canopy whilst on the floor their defeated hosts and other fallen giants rotted beneath mossy sheets.
I trudged on over the carpet of decaying leaves and fingers of roots. The occasional vehicle roared by on the nearby road, sometimes within eyeshot, at other times invisible. I saw evidence that a logging road had once been a part of this vibrant bushland and recalled how, just down the road from where I parked, there had been a recent clear fell, a reminder of how man has used and abused the natural order of things for millennia past.
The creek named Bucca had numerous pools with reflected images of the adjacent flora and tempting clear waters for a summertime dip. Here and there the waters were broached by vine encrusted logs, many of which had been toppled earlier in the year during a violent storm and now lay, awaiting their crop of fungi, lichen and mites as they decomposed to become nutrients for the next generation.
I suddenly heard the sound of crashing nearby and was gripped by fear as I recalled the number of people killed by falling trees. Luckily it was only a large palm frond heading earthwards but the noise belied its relatively small size. It had caused me to look up momentarily though and soon after I was admiring the abundant birds nest ferns and staghorns flourishing just below the upper branches.
Then I was at an intersection. It indicated two trails going one way or apparently I could keep going in the same direction. Since they weren’t named, only colour coded, I really had no idea and just stuck with the one closest the road and carried on until it veered away and downhill while the road went the opposite way and uphill. After 10 minutes it curved back again and allayed my growing concerns. Then it started climbing steeply until a set of stairs and collapsed railings heralded the end of the hike.
The substantial railings had been washed away during the deluges of early 2013 and were still awaiting repair. I stepped out onto the road and hoped to thumb a lift back to the motorhome but my luck was out this day.
Fondest memory: I was glad in hindsight because then I might never have noticed the Vincent Tree. When we visited late in 2012 the gum tree stood proud and nearly 70 metres tall; now it was but a remnant of its former self; the crown and all but one branch had collapsed and cleared the forest floor all around the base and the plaque with its history was much overgrown with Spanish moss so as to be undecipherable.
Here I tacked into the scrub again to shoot a fallen giant that had broken its back across the river. Another 2 dozen shots later it was almost all over; the motorhome was just another 10 minutes down the road and soon I was aboard and thinking about what I would do the next time I visited as I headed back home down what used to be the route of the tramway that took the timber to a harbourside mill that burnt down in 1914.
There's "new" attraction in the area; as you probably gathered from the title, it's called the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk. Most of the tracks, either time worn by bushwalkers or locals, were already in place. However, some have been upgraded with boardwalks, those near the city area spring readily to mind.
Fondest memory: The walk goes from Bonville to Red Rock and there's a $2 map available at many outlets with more detail. The walk is identified with green posts with a lighthouse pictured on the top.
I'm ultimately trying to do them all and, to date, have done about half.
My favourite section to date is the Emerald Beach to Sandy Beach via Fiddamans and Diggers Point (not to be confused with the popular Diggers Beach). At low tide the sand is firm, the views sublime and there's food at either end, especially the Salt Water cafe at Emerald.
I've done Woolgooga to Ocean View, I've walked Sapphire, Campbells, Diggers, Charlesworth Bay, Jetty Beach, parts of Park Beach and bits around Sawtell.
For me, any day by a beach is worthwhile, even in foul weather it can be entertaining.
Since I've moved into the area I get to do some walks occasionally. Because I'm at Moonee Beach, that's the main place I walk but I also get to do many others from time to time
Fondest memory: So, the pictures you see here are of some of my favourite walks so far.
Because I have a diverse range of interests I tend to shoot lots of things; thus, here you see surfing at Moonee as well as a land mullet, the largest skink in Australia; Charlesworth Bay, lovely banksia blooming on a headland and an eastern water dragon (they're harmless), that I shot at Aanuka Resort.
There's an artist by the name of Robert Bosler; he's located just behind the Yacht Club on Marina Drive. If you have the time I can but recommend that you stop for a visit if you like art. Some of his stuff is top shelf and it's so good to walk in and see an artist at work.
Robert is full of interesting information about art and has produced videos to help you start painting. They explain how easy it is and how you, too, can quickly become an artist. It shows the different techniques so you can decide for yourself which you'd like utilize.
Fondest memory: Me, I just went in because I like art and loved the atmosphere inside the studio and the variance in imagery that Robert has on display.
I should warn you that Robert is, by nature, somewhat shy, especially when it comes to getting his photo taken but will warm to a conversation, particularly when it's about his favourite subject.
There are more than just "normal" flowers here, you can also get your water borne types it you're there at the right season!
This pond is right near the entrance to the park on the right hand side but there's also a creek that borders most of the park as well. "Please bring mozzie repellant!"
Fondest memory: In other tips I'll cover more of the plant life in this slowly expanding park. The following pages were done in 2012 when the Japanese Garden was underway.
There are approximately five kilometres of unobtrusive paved or gravel walking tracks and boardwalks that provide easy access to observe the flora and fauna communities.
Fondest memory: They take you past plants from all over the world, Asia, the Americas and Africa in particular. Shown here are some of the diverse range; at times spectacular, alway interesting.
You can find the Garden on the corner of Hardacre and Coff Streets, off Harbour Drive in Coffs Harbour, just 1km east of the Central Business District.
Because of the variety of vegetation you get a variety of bird life.
Fondest memory: The Botanic Garden's diverse habitats attract 150 species of birds, significant for such a relatively small area. Forest and woodland birds include Superb and Variegated Fairy-Wrens, Red-breasted Finches, Grey Fantails, Kookaburras, Pied Butcherbirds, and Currawongs. Waterbirds (e.g. heron, moorhen, kingfisher, ibis) can be seen in the wetlands, ponds and mangroves. Why not take the Bird List Information Leaflet with you and see how many species you can find as you enjoy the Garden.
There are also plenty of small colourful brids such as the gerygone, mistletoe bird and others tucked into the forest on the Creek Walk.
The Botanic Garden covers about 20 hectares of Crown Land surrounded on three sides by Coffs Creek, the banks of which are lined with naturally occurring mangroves. The tidal part of the creek forms part of the Solitary Islands Marine Park. It is one of the major regional botanic gardens on coastal New South Wales north of Sydney. There are displays of Australian native and exotic plants, including many rare and endangered species.
Fondest memory: Officially opened in 1988, the Garden continues to expand, the newest addition being the Japanese Garden which has been designed not only for plants indigenous to Japan, but also for the traditions and culture that are part and parcel of Japanese life. Engineers and gardeners have come from Coffs Harbour's sister city of Sasebo in Nagasaki prefecture to advise and teach the various aspects of a Japanese Garden.
When I last visited they had a bridge, a small pavilion, waterfall and a few other items but work was well under way on expansion.
There are a number of places to recommend and it very much depends upon your interests where you might go but, with grandchildren or children you need a little more entertainment I think.
Over the December Jan break I took my grandchildren to a NEW place that has a variety of entertaining things to do for children while providing air conditioned waiting and eating areas for grandparents and adults. TABATINGA is located next to the Greenhouse Tavern and is accessed off Bray Street Coffs Harbour right at the lights on the Pacific Highway. You can while away some hours while they mini golf in the glow in the dark or play in the Ball blaster fun shooting gallery. There is also a climbing jungle for two age groups which allows the really little ones to have a fun climb too.
Contact them on 02 66 580924 or check out their website. Great fun and reasonably priced food available.
In the Coffs Harbour and surrounding districts there are 3 Information Centres providing information for tourists on accommodation, local attractions, weekly and special events, national parks, theme parks, guided tours, shopping etc etc.
Coffs Harbour: Cnr Pacific Highway & McClean St. South end of CBD.
Phone: (02) 6652 1522 Toll Free: 1300 369 070
Urunga: Pacific Highway, Urunga
Phone: (02) 6655 5711
Nambucca Heads: 4 Pacific Highway, Nambucca Heads
Phone: (02) 6568 6954 Toll Free: 1800 646 587
The ancient ship in this photo is the working replica of a Dutch East Indies ship called the Duyfken (Dutch for Dove). It was built at the Maritime Museum in Fremantle, Western Australia. To our surprise and delight, the Duyfken had reached Coffs Harbour just prior to us – and was to be open to the public. Limited time prevented us staying for the public inspection, but an early start avoided the crowds and gave us good photos from the wharfside.
In early 1606, under the command of Willem Jansz, the original Duyfken became the first recorded European ship to find Australia when it sailed down the western coast of Cape York, the long peninsula at the north east of the continent. Jansz was actually surveying the coast of ‘Nova Guinea’, but was driven from that coast by the monsoon and, when he again reached shore – it was Australia. His maps lay undiscovered in the archives for many years, and Jansz himself died without realising he had found the sixth continent!
Fondest memory: Seeing the Duyfken was an unexpected and very welcome bonus to our visit to Coffs Harbour. Unfortunately, it's unlikely to be there should you visit, as it is based in Fremantle and travels extensively for public viewing.
Although bigger than most NSW coastal towns (its population is now well over 20.000), it is typically occupied by retirees seeking the warm north of the state and by holiday-makers eager to enjoy themselves and spend some money. The appearance of Coffs Harbour has not been enhanced by the emergence of high-rise units which remind one of suburban Sydney rather than a holiday resort.
Nonetheless, it has a kind of glorious subtropical laziness attached to it (even the McDonald's has palm trees growing around it) while at the same time wanting to be considered a thriving city.
Let’s make no secret of it. We both like a nice cold glass of beer. Being abroad is always a challenge to find a beer we like, which reflects our taste of having a beer. In Australia it was sometimes rather difficult. We found out that there are quite some local beers, only known in that particular area. But anyway, we did like the Tooheys.
Tooheys is an Australian brewery in the suburb of Lidcombe in Sydney and is a standard lager. The brewery dates back to 1869 and the brand Tooheys was first brewed in 1930. Tooheys can be found on tap at almost any bar in New South Wales, although it is not so common in other states and sometimes even has a poor reputation overthere. We saw that it was also available in cans and bottles as Tooheys Draught. Good taste and flavour!
I ended up in Sawtell in the Best Western Motel for two reasons: a- I had been delayed at Coffs doing a call and b- the particular motel had a special on.
One of the great advantages of this establishment is that it is within 100 metres of the sand. Though you can't actually see the beach, you can hear the surf and it's just across the road and through the scrub and you're there.
So, it's not an unpopular pastime for locals to take a morning stroll.
Fondest memory: Thus it was that I joined them and the beauty of this beach is that it's made for walking, particularly at low tide. Lots of nice firm sand and a lovely couple of beaches interspersed with headlands where you can climb and take in the view.
Early mornings are definitely my favourite time to be surfside, even back in the days when I was an avid board rider. Something about the clean atmosphere that seems to pervade the air. The crispness of the swells kissed by an offshore breeze as they crash into oblivion and dissipate into the rips. I've never ceased enjoying it.
If only you didn't have to get out of bed so early!